Unhinging the National Framework: Perspectives on Transnational Life-Writing

Unhinging the National Framework: Perspectives on Transnational Life-Writing
Symposium Friday, 7 December 2018, 9.30 – 17.00
Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam

09.30 – 10.00 Welcome with coffee/tea
10.00 – 11.00 Opening keynote address: Prof. dr. Ann Phoenix, University College London: “Changing life stories? The place of intersectionality in narratives of transnational lives”
Introduction: Prof. dr. Sawitri Saharso, University of Humanistic Studies Utrecht; Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam
Respondent: Dr. Katrine Smiet, Utrecht University
Chair: Prof. dr. Susan Legêne, Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam

11.00 – 11.30 Research pitches

– Prof. dr. Giles Scott-Smith, Leiden University
– Yvette Kopijn, University of Amsterdam
– Widya Fitria Ningsih, Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam

11.30 – 12.00 Coffee/tea

12.00 – 13.00 Prof. dr. Ismee Tames, Utrecht University and NIOD Amsterdam, “’For our freedom and yours’: Transnational resistance against fascism, 1936-1948”
Respondent: Dr. Marleen Rensen, University of Amsterdam
13.00 – 13.30 Lunch and poster presentations

13.30 – 14.30 Dr. Pia Wiegmink, Obama Institute for Transnational American Studies, University of Mainz: “Mobility, belonging, and antislavery critique in antebellum African American women’s travel accounts“
Respondent: Dr. Marijke Huisman, Utrecht University

14.30 – 15.30 Dr. Leonieke Vermeer, Groningen University: “Little crosses in the margins. Self-censoring in diaries as international practice”
Respondent: Dr. Ernestine Köhne-Hoegen, independent researcher
15.30 – 16.00 Coffee/tea

16.00 – 17.00 Panel Discussion: Transnational Celebrities
Dr. Jaap Kooijman, University of Amsterdam: “Not just a country, but an idea: Bono’s promotion of the American Dream”
Dr. Dennis Kersten, Radboud University: “There’s a place in Beatle biofiction: John Lennon’s Irish odyssey in Kevin Barry’s Beatlebone.”
Dr. Gaston Franssen, University of Amsterdam: “Geert Wilders as a transnational celebrity politician.”
Lonneke Geerlings, Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam
Prof. dr. Maaike Meijer, biographer and emerita professor Maastricht University
Dr. Anneke Ribberink, Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam
Chair: Prof. dr. Diederik Oostdijk, Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam

Venue: OZW Building, De Boelelaan 1109 (the rounded, red-brick building next to the Main Building) Room 6A01 (6th floor)
Free of charge but please register before 4 December 2018 by sending an e-mail to b.boter@vu.nl


Conference dates: Thursday 4 and Friday 5 July 2019
Location: Radboud University, Nijmegen, The Netherlands
Organisers: Dr. Dennis Kersten (RU), Dr. Usha Wilbers (RU) and Prof. Antony Rowland (ManMet)

Deadline abstracts: 1 February 2019

Metamodernism registers how artists across different disciplines have recently responded to the ways in which postmodernism appears increasingly unable to account for recent developments in history and culture. Critics differ, however, in their response to this phenomenon, which can be roughly divided into two main perspectives. Tim Vermeulen and Robin van den Akker – working in the areas of fine art and cultural studies rather than literary criticism – propose that Metamodernism attempts to account for the emergence of a wider “structure of feeling” in the twenty-first century which responds to our historicity, bound up with the aftermaths of 9/11, the financial crash and austerity. David James and Urmila Seshagiri, on the other hand, present Metamodernism as a concept that explains the resurfacing, and reworking, of Modernism in contemporary fiction. This conference seeks to bring together the various strands in this debate by focusing on the question how Metamodernism, in the terminology of Vermeulen, Van den Akker and Alison Gibbons, upcycles “past styles, conventions and techniques.”

We welcome abstracts for presentations about case studies of Metamodernism—in various disciplines, genres and cultural contexts—which explore the way in which they relate to earlier ‘isms’, art movements and aesthetic legacies. We are specifically interested in papers which explicitly address issues of:

  • Interdisciplinary Metamodernism
  • Architecture and Metamodernism
  • Poetry and Metamodernism
  • The resurfacing of Modernism and / in Metamodernism
  • Metamodernism and visual art
  • Metamodern music
  • Metamodernism and the ‘new sincerity’
  • Metamodernism and ‘Up Lit’

We also welcome proposals for joint panels (three papers maximum).

Please send a 250 word proposal, including a brief CV, by 1 February 2019 to: Dennis Kersten: d.kersten@let.ru.nl / Usha Wilbers: u.wilbers@let.ru.nl / Antony Rowland: a.rowland@mmu.ac.uk.

Seminars in Global Art History and Heritage

As a follow up to the successful conference “Netherlandish Art and the World” that took place in Utrecht on October 25-27, we would like to invite you to the first meeting of a new series of bi-monthly Seminars in Global Art History and Heritage. This seminar is a cooperation of the NWO-Vidi project “The Chinese Impact” at Utrecht University, Leiden University, and University College Utrecht. It is organized by Mary Bouquet (UCU), Stijn Bussels (LU), and Thijs Weststeijn (UU).

Our first international guest is Dr. Elsje van Kessel (University of St Andrews), who will speak about:

Art, Law, and the Freedom of the Seas in the Early Seventeenth Century

Time and place: Thursday 20 December, 15-17hrs, Vossius Zaal, Leiden University Library

Seating is limited, so please confirm your attendance with Stijn Bussels: s.p.m.bussels@hum.leidenuniv.nl

This paper addresses the relation between art and law in the Mare Liberum/Mare Clausum debate of the early 1600s. The question about the freedom of the world seas – or rather who owns the seas and the material riches that are transported via their waters – occupied the most prominent jurists of the early seventeenth century. As legal historians have recently shown, the debate had its origins in a specific historical event; namely, the Dutch capturing of a Portuguese cargo ship near present-day Singapore in 1603. The vessel, subsequently taken to Amsterdam, was full of spices, textiles, porcelain, precious stones and jewellery, yet accounts of the debate and the legal theory to which it gave rise have ignored these objects. My paper will examine the objects on board the ship in their interaction with this body of legal thought. How did such objects – of a variety of East Asian backgrounds, often produced for export – change as their legal status turned? And can a formal analysis of objects helpfully inform our understanding of categories like ‘booty’ and ‘spoil’?


Image caption: unknown artist, Prospect of Lisbon, 16th century, pen and washed ink drawing on paper, 75 x 245 cm, Leiden, Leiden University Library (detail)


The illustrated cityscape: imperfect lines of urban exploration

The illustrated cityscape: imperfect lines of urban exploration

Tânia A. Cardoso

Supervisors: Pr. Dr. Emilie Sitzia & Dr. Carolyn Birdsall

Cities have been a vital component of visual storytelling and reportage since illustration became a product for the masses disclosing modern urban life and its practices. Illustration as an exercise of critical, creative and artistic freedom allows for an intensive engagement between its creators and the city and simultaneously explores the potential to create discursive space revealing the city as a complex entity to its inhabitants/audience while enabling alternative and multiple perspectives. Combining theory and praxis this research intends to demonstrate how the phenomenon of “illustrated cities” can be found at the intersection between urban experience, place and illustration.

The Afterlife of the Object


European Summer School in Cultural Studies

University of Copenhagen, 18-22 June 2018

An object causes passion, as in the figurative notion of a loved object. “The Afterlife of the Object” 2018 summer school will contemplate how we establish narratives of the past and the self through objects.

We will view objects, not only loved, but also hated, ignored, collected, thrown away, performed, written, rewritten, translated, lost and found. The “object” of our study will be considered broadly, including but not limited to art, books, collections, fetishes, poems, letters, song, and beyond.

For example, in “The Daughters of the Moon,” Italo Calvino imagines the afterlife of earth’s only permanent natural satellite when she has she become too old and worn to be seen as “full.” Calvino’s story is a troubling allegory on consumerism, ecology, gender, destruction and desire, written in the ripe year of 1968.

In Slaves and Other Objects (2004), the classicist Page duBois looks at our erasure of slaves as an idealization of the afterlife of ancient Greece, resulting in a collective blind-spot (a de-realization) that has fed and still feeds troubling views on race, including America’s nostalgia for the antebellum South.

Han Kang’s 1997 short story “The Fruit of My Woman” takes the afterlife of animals as objects of food as entry into becoming plant.

Lee Edelman’s No Future: Queer Theory and the Death Drive puts a stop to mortgaging our future through the body of the child in an acceptance of the death drive through the afterlives of Hitchcock’s films.

The summer school week will feature keynote lectures (to be announced) as well as short papers presented by PhD candidates and other young scholars and a series of seminars in which we will closely examine the texts mentioned above, along with other works, including Dan Chaisson’s book of poems, entitled The Afterlife of Objects and Michael Ann Holly’s The Melancholy Art.

We welcome papers dealing with these questions from art historical, cultural, literary, cinematic, material, affective, technological, machinic, linguistic and other perspectives.

Applicants do not need to present a paper. However, those wishing to present should send a proposal of no more than 300 words and a short bio (max. 150 words) to:

afterlifeoftheobject@gmail.com by 25 January 2019. You will be informed whether your contribution has been accepted by 8 February 2019. Papers will be circulated before the conference and will have to be submitted in full (max. 4,000 words) by 1 May 2019.

PhD students are credited 3,8 ECTS if certain requirements are met. For more information, please contact the organizers.

The ESSCS is an annual network-based event offering interdisciplinary research training in the fields of art and culture. The network comprises the University of Amsterdam, Leiden University, University of Copenhagen, University of Giessen, Goldsmiths College, Université de Paris VIII, the Lisbon Consortium, Ljubljana Institute for Humanities, University of Trondheim and Catholic University Rio de Janeiro.

Organizers: Frederik Tygstrup, Rune Gade and Carol Mavor.