Interpretation Today

Seminar, 5 EC, starting September 20, 2017 | How can we assess the status of interpretation in the Humanities today? Increasingly in the last decades, scholars have written about the limits of interpretation. We discuss various orientations toward reading that oppose some of the hallmarks of the hermeneutic tradition—such as depth, consciousness, the primacy of language, humanism, interpretation, mediation, epistemology, and historicism. Instead, these theories value surfaces, description, cognition, affect, materiality, nonhuman entities, the natural and social sciences, and speculative thought.

Dissecting Violence

CFP ASCA/NICA Graduate Workshop, deadline October 17, 2017 | Violence is all around us. In Dissecting Violence, we will take on violence and its structures, its imaginaries and representations, as well as the multiple ways it can be resisted.

Translation and Performance

NICA Core Course, 6 EC, April-May 2018 | The course investigates translation in the realm of theatre and performance. This includes translation in the linguistic sense in which it is most commonly understood, but extends to an array of questions pertaining to translation in its root sense of ‘a carrying over’ across a much broader range of semiotic, embodied and inter-subjective forms and practices.

NICA Electives: Ecologies of Curation (Utrecht University)

Block 2 (13 November 2017 – 26 January 2018) – Utrecht University
Ecologies of curation entails the trans- and interdisciplinary study of the interaction between spectators, artworks/performances and the spatial, social and media environments wherein the objects and acts are staged, produced, situated. Taking the etymological roots of curating as ‘care-taking’ into account, we will explore how curators can and should respond to transformational practices that increasingly cross and bend institutional borders.

NICA Electives: Urban Interfaces (Utrecht University)

Block 3 (05 February 2018 – 06 April 2018) – Utrecht University
This course actively teams up with ongoing research of MCW’s research groep [urban interfaces]. [urban interfaces] investigates urban transformations and the role of mobile and locational art, media and performance in urban contexts.

NICA Electives: Corporeal Literacy (Utrecht University)

Block 4 (23 April 2018 – 29 June 2018) – Utrecht University
In this course, we will focus on movement and gesture as aspects of how we are corporeally literate that have for a long time been neglected in accounts of embodied meaning making but are currently gaining more prominence as the result of technological developments (movement becoming more and more part of what can be detected and shared by media as well as of ways of using media and interacting with them) and also the emergence of embodied, embedded and enactive understandings of perception and cognition. During the meetings we will discuss a panorama of historical and contemporary approaches to movement and gesture in relation to questions of (among others) affect, emotion, experience, spatiality, and memory. Students are invited to explore the potential of these readings for the analysis of encounters with objects, events and situations of different kinds.

Cities Seminar 2017-18: Entangled Cities

Seminar and tutorial, 6 EC, starting September 29 | What happens, we wonder, when instead of taking the city as a pre-existing, object of analysis, or object of ‘theory,’ we consider how it is co-produced in encounters with, for example, discourses around, race, gender, ability and ecology?

John Lysaker & Paul Lysaker: Disordered Self

Public lecture, May 31 | How can we approach self-experience, and how can we understand the disordered self? What are the conceptual and existential challenges of taking care of (or managing and directing) this disordered self? What can the humanities – or art and literature – tell us about mental illness, and how can we further develop theories of the self by building on experiences from clinical practice? During this special event, John Lysaker, Professor of Philosophy, and Paul Lysaker, Psychiatrist and Professor of Clinical Psychology, will tackle these and other questions.

Fashion and National Identity

Seminar, June 19 | The central question of this seminar is the relation between fashion and national identity. Clothes have served in different ways to represent a nation, often in ambiguous and paradoxical ways. But what connects clothes to a nation: the designer’s nationality, the production of clothes, or what people wear? Historians, cultural scholars, museum curators and journalists reflect on how clothes reproduce, shape and question national identity.

PhD Work in Progress

Graduate workshop, June 9 | In preparation of drinks and fingerfood, NICA PhDs Thijs Witty, Olga Krasa-Ryabets, Jan Overwijk, Florian Goettke, and Sandra Becker present work in progress. Yolande Jansen and Murat Aydemir reflect on Cultural Studies ‘now.’ Everyone is invited.

Stuart Elden: Urban Territory, Early Foucault

May 23 and 31, reading session (2 EC) and public lecture | Stuart Elden is Professor of Political Theory and Geography at the University of Warwick, UK. He is the author of seven books, including works on territory, Michel Foucault, Martin Heidegger, and Henri Lefebvre. Elden will present a public lecture, titled “The Early Foucault and the Politics of European Intellectual History.” In addition, he will participate in a joint reading session on urban territory.

Videocontemplation, with Lata Mani and Nicolás Grandi

23-24 May 2017, Film Screening and Masterclass, 1 EC |The Poetics of Fragility is a kaleidoscopic bilingual exploration of the texture, vitality and aesthetics of fragility. It interweaves stories of bodily frailty with optical vignettes of nature’s delicacy to reclaim fragility as intrinsic to existence, not something to be bemoaned or overcome. The masterclass inquires whether and how the camera can act as a tool for philosophical inquiry. How might mystery be restored to word and image in context of the transactional instrumentalism that characterizes neoliberal excess? What forms and genres facilitate an opening out of perception? Given the simultaneous avowal and disavowal of matter and of embodiment in our time what might we propose as constituting a hermeneutic of the senses, or to put it another way, an aesthetics of the sensible?

Travelling Cultures, with Mieke Bal

Masterclass in Rome, September 20-30, 6 EC, apply before May 15 | Many of the foundational myths informing “Western Civilization” are narrations of the often violent conflicts performed in a situation where cultures on the move meet. The Rape of the Sabine Women is just one of such tales that illustrate how Rome and its history offer a privileged perspective on the pivotal role of violence in establishing civilization, as well as on the strong cultural memory they produce through the works of art inspired by these myths. In the current global political situation, it is worth revisiting those myths to explore, with the tools of cultural theory, how the movement of cultures, which was once the standard of human cohabitation, has become seen as problematic in the present.

Decolonization, New Materialism, Human Rights, Memory

ACLA Masterclasses, 1 EC, July 4-6, 2016 | In the run-up to the 2017 annual meeting of the American Comparative Literature Association (to take place in Utrecht July 6-9), there will be four masterclasses for research master students and PhD candidates on a wide range of subjects. In order to receive credit (1 EC), participants are required to take two of these masterclasses (you can pick any combination), but you must register by 18 June 2017. Each masterclass will take two hours and require the preparation of 2-3 articles or book chapters.

Mediated Matters, with Dorita Hannah and Julian Hetzel

Masterclass, May 19 and 22, 2 EC | This masterclass explores performance design as critical perspective on the complexity of our contemporary condition, in which we cannot separate the theatrical from the sociopolitical. Together with Dorita Hannah (University of Tasmania), we will explore the theoretical foundations of performance design and explore the potential of this approach through a series of case studies. These examples will include the work of Julian Hetzel, in particular his performance installation Schuldfabrik, present at the Spring Festival.

Reception, Nachleben and Transhistorical Art History

Masterclass, June 28-30, 3 EC | This masterclass will explore the methodology one might use in art and cultural historical reception study. Recurring themes in such research often are cross-mediality (reception of one medium in another) and cross-modality (reception in another context); temporality, cross-historicity and trans-historicity: dynamics of reception within another time period altogether; along similar lines, transnationality or even trans-globalism; identity-politics and nationalism; and the rather large spectrum of modes of “reception”, incorporating relevance, reception in the classic sense, nachleben, survivance, and appropriation as much as restoration, (re-) construction, and invention.

Nanna Bonde Thylstrup: Mass Digitization

MAP Lecture, March 22 | In this talk media scholar Nanna Bonde Thylstrup (University of Copenhagen) will discuss the politics of mass digitization, focusing in particular on its legal, cultural and ethical implications drawing on analyses of Google Books, Europeana and the emerging phenomenon of “shadow libraries”, that is, platforms that amass illegal text collections in the name of open access.

Everyday Analysis and Politactics with Dan Bristow

Public Talk and Masterclass, May 4, 1 EC | From 2012 to 2016 the Everyday Analysis collective ran a successful blog and website ( dedicated to exploring everyday life, culture and politics from the perspective of literary and cultural theory, taking inspiration from earlier projects such as Roland Barthes’ Mythologies. The talk will explore the origins and philosophy of Everyday Analysis, and will present extracts from Politactics selected for their relevance to recent (and ongoing) political development in Europe and America. Presenting will be Dan Bristow, co-editor of Everyday Analysis and author of Lacan and Joyce: Reading, Writing and Psychoanalysis (2016), along with Ben Moore (Department of English), a regular contributor. Preceding the talk is a masterclass aimed at master students, which will explore ways of engaging with the work of Jacques Lacan (and psychoanalysis in general) as a tool of cultural analysis, taking as case studies a selection of pieces from Everyday Analysis and Bristow’s work in progress on 2001: A Space Odyssey (Kubrick, 1968).

Public Lives/Private Platform: Politics of Twitter

CFP, Symposium May 23-24, 4 ECTS | We call for researchers, artists and activists to reflect on how Twitter has expanded, complicated and advanced the concept of free speech. We are especially interested in explorations of Twitter’s potential as a site for social change, and of the unique forms of political and cultural expression that this space makes possible.