Lectures in Media, Art, Politics

In collaboration with NICA, LUCAS will host a monthly series of talks on the changing function of media, art, and literature in our increasingly globalized and media-saturated world.

Media, Art, Politics

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Speakers from various academic backgrounds and in different stages of their career reflect on the diverging ways in which contemporary technological and social developments are challenging and transforming the cultural and political conditions of our current existence. Each lecture focuses on the inextricable intertwinement of art, literature, media and politics in the phenomena that are discussed.

Time: Every 3rd Wednesday of the month, 17:00-19:00 in Lipsius building Leiden University

Dates for 2015-2016
14 October 2015, 18 November 2015, 16 December 2015, 17 February 2016, 16 March 2016, 20 April 2016, 18 May 2016 and 15 June 2016.

Location for the lectures: Lipsius 148, except for: 17 February: Lipsius 011 and for 20 April: Lipsius 307 

If you want to join the mailing list, contact: Tingting Hui


Upcoming lectures

16 December 2015:
Dr Lara Mazurski (AUC & ASCA), Disidentifcation & Feminist Performance Art
In this talk, Dr Lara Mazurski (AUC & ASCA) will address dominant and minority constructions of identity within feminist performance art. The talk focuses on the ways in which one can embrace and also reject hegemonic imaginings of identity, pointing to a middle ground in which an individual can take on an identity and reveal its complex construction. In the West, when we think of veiled Muslim women our imaginings have often emerged as a result of mediatized texts and images that are about Islam. In these representations we are offered particular views of how we are to think of Muslim women, to represent them, and as a result we are often limited by a particular vision of them – that is Orientalistic.  This talk reflects on the ways that performance art can help viewers to negotiate dominant and minority constructions of ethnic identity and offer other possibilities for transformation. To explore these issues further I draw from the body of work on disidentificaiton within queer theory such as José Esteban Muñoz’s Disidentifications (1999) and Eve Sedgwick’s Epistemology of the Closet (1990). Case studies will be drawn from Martha Rosler and Fouzia Najar. More information

Past Lectures

18 November 2015:
Marie Beauchamps (UvA, Law), 'Affective Identities'.
In this lecture, Marie Beauchamps will talk about denaturalization (i.e. the deprivation of citizenship) in the context of the politics of citizenship and nationality in France. Combining research insights from history, legal studies, security studies, and narratology, she demonstrates that the language of denaturalization shapes national identity as a form of formal legal attachment but also, and more counter-intuitively, as a mode of emotional belonging. As such, denaturalization operates as an instrumental frame to maintain and secure the national community. Drawing on case studies from both World Wars, periods during which governments deployed denaturalization as a weapon against “threatening” subjects, she exposes how the language of denaturalization interweaves concerns about immigration and national security. It is this historical backdrop that helps us understand the political impact of denaturalization in contemporary counterterrorism politics, and what is at stake when borders and identities become political weapons. More information

14 October 2015 :
'MAP presents: Four Theoretical Objects': Four mini-lectures by young LUCAS-NICA-scholars who have recently embarked on research projects.
Each presentation will confront us with a cultural object that raises a series of theoretical questions that will be at the heart of their research projects. We will focus on the question: how do we combine an analysis of a specific case with a discussion of larger theoretical questions?
• Looi van Kessel (LUCAS), 'Writing against the Closet.' On James Purdy, homophobia & gay activism.
• Tessa de Zeeuw (LUCAS), 'The Criminal Procedure as Cultural Technique.' On Lucia de B., Calculation & Statistics.
• Wouter Oomen (NICA), 'Mediated Suffering.' On Charity Fundraising in a Globalized World.
• Anna Volkmar (LUCAS), 'Touring the Chernobyl Exclusion Zone.' On Post-nuclear Landscapes.
The discussion will be introduced by Pepita Hesselberth & moderated by Yasco Horsman.

20 May 2015:
Dr. Joost deBloois: 'Precarious Pedagogies: Politicizing the Humanities'
In this talk, Dr. Joost de Bloois (UvA) will address new ways of politicizing the humanities in the context of contemporary capitalism. Today, the humanities find themselves in a precarious position within the new ‘cognitive capitalism’ that puts ‘knowledge production’ at the heart of the economy. At the same time, the humanities are in an equally precarious position within neoliberal forms of policy-making and management. De Bloois asks how, within such a context, the legacy of critical theory can safeguarded? What remains of the democratic potential of the humanities? What kinds of pedagogies are needed to repoliticize the humanities today? De Bloois will take contemporary theories of ‘precarity’ within the humanities as possible ways of addressing these issues.
More information

15 April 2015:
Dr. Aylin Kuryel(University of Amsterdam): 'Image Acts and Visual Communities: Contemporary Nationalism in Turkey'
In this talk cultural analyst and visual artist Aylin Kuryel will talk about her work on the image politics of nationalist practices in everyday life in contemporary Turkey by tracking the way images of the nation travel through a variety of fields. Through a variety of objects, such as commodities, masks, tattoos, advertisements, films, apparitions, monuments and artworks, she explores how images act both to draw borders around communities and to provide the means to challenge these borders. As part of her work, she completed a 30-minutes documentary, Image Acts, which also focuses on diverse performances of national identity in everyday life.
More information

18 March 2015
Roundtable discussion: What Was Charlie Hebdo?
For the March session we are organizing a roundtable discussion in which our speakers will contemplate the questions: “What was Charlie Hebdo?” and “How should/can/do we respond to an event like this as scholars in the Humanities?” This session is organized in collaboration with the ASCA research group “New Political Ecologies: Globalization, Sustainability, Precarity” and is deliberately set up as a cautious prequel to a two-day workshop organized in Amsterdam on May 21-22 on Global Grief and Local Iconoclasms: What in God’s name happened in January 2015? Confirmed speakers for the roundtable discussion in Leiden are: Dr. Joost de Bloois (UvA), Dr. Maria Boletsi (Leiden), Dr. Yasco Horsman (Leiden), and Prof. dr. Yolande Jansen (UvA). The discussion will be moderated by Pepita Hesselberth. More information

18 February 2015:
Dr. Eliza Steinbock: 'Vital Art: Transgender Portraiture as Visual Activism'
While many people are familiar with the term transgender, knowledge is lacking about how transgender people experience and respond to social stigma. In this talk Eliza Steinbock highlights the strategic role of portraiture in how visual activists address multi-pronged discrimination and an injurious media landscape. She will reflect on the necessity of incorporating qualitative research methods, such as interviewing and ethnography, into a practice of visual interpretative methods. More information

17 December 2014:
Prof. Frederik Tygstrup (Copenhage University): 'Speculation and the End of Fiction'?
By the beginning of the 21st century, media of speculation seem to have reached a point of excess. With big data, probabilistic speculation is about to accustom us to read “what if”-questions in an altogether indicative mode, just as big finance has succeeded to reverse the hierarchy between value assets and the media of liquid capital. This raises the question of what happens to the third medium of speculation in our late modernity, that of fiction? In this talk, Frederik Tygstrup will diagnose the fate of fiction in an age of hypertrophied speculation, how practices of fiction-making migrate, how the functions of fiction transform,and eventually how our present notion of fiction is due for a conceptual makeover. More information 

19 November 2014:
Daan Rutten:'The Ludification of Politics: Berlusconi, Putin and Fortuyn'
Theatrical politicians such as Silvio Berlusconi, Vladimir Putin and Pim Fortuyn seem to change the political order of modern democracy into merely a state of play. But if we take the main argument of ‘play-studies’ as serious as possible, namely that modern culture, including politics, is always already a game to be played, how are we able to understand, let alone judge politicians who act as players?
Daan Rutten (1981) is a cultural sociologist. He works as tutor and editor at Erasmus University. He wrote his PhD-thesis on Dutch literary writer and geographer Willem Frederik Hermans and his complicity with cultural studies. Recently he also organized the conference ‘Games of Late Modernity: Johan Huizinga’s Homo Ludens’.

15 October 2014:
Roxana Bedrule: 'Inheritance and Archives. Affective Economies in Postcommunism'
Building on her PhD project conducted at the University of Copenhagen, in this talk Roxana Bedrule discusses the possibility of a curatorial strategy for displaying photographic records from the repositories of the former secret services in Central and Eastern Europe Drawing on Spinoza’s theory of affect (read through Deleuze), Bedrule highlights the ways in which those who access these “analogue” archives produce secret photographs anew by inventing protocols of use, through, first, the mining strategies they come up with; second, the ways they restrict access by producing and overwriting digital versions of the image; and third, the ways in which they arrange images in an exhibition or for recirculation. More information

17 september 2014:
Thijs Witty:‘Spatialized Essays. On learning how to live without speculation'
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The video essay thrives: cheap camera equipment and editing software, billions of low-fi digital images circulating online, free distribution platforms, and all of this available in a culture obsessed with personal interrogation and self-reflexivity. Whilst there are plenty of palatable critical theories surrounding the essay form, it is also tempting to thematise its semblances with the modes of vision that predominate in today’s culture industry. In this talk Thijs Witty discusses some recent video essays (Hito Steyerl, Allan Sekula, Werner Herzog, and Jem Cohen) that all cast a skeptical glance to the habits of the spectacle, not necessarily resisting its demands, but turning them into something all the more interesting. More information

21 May 2014:
Dr. Karin van Es
(Utrecht University): The Paradox of Liveness
Liveness has been a persistent and much-debated concept in media studies. It has long been associated with broadcast media, and television in particular. However, the emergence of social media, following the dot-com bubble bust, has brought new forms of liveness into effect. These challenge common assumptions about and perspectives on liveness, which fail to capture those new forms, provoking a revisiting of the concept as such.  In this talk Karin Van Es presents a more comprehensive understanding of what liveness is, and, perhaps even more pertinently, clarifies the stakes surrounding the category of the ‘live’ that critically engages with questions of user-participation and media power. More information 

16 April 2014:
Dr. Niall Martin(UvA): Becoming Shameless: Shame, Shamelessness and the Embarrassments of Post-Ideological Subjectivity
In this talk cultural analyst and literary theorist Nial Martin examines the generalized imperative to ‘become shameless’ within communicative capitalism, and argues that the shamelessness is emerging as the organizing principle of a post-ideological affective cartography. It focuses on the ways in which the economic and political demands that we become shameless in order to fulfill our potential as neoliberal subjects relate to the increasing use of shame and shamelessness to frame and produce cultural conflict: the way that is, that affect replaces ideology as the producer of difference. To explore these issues this talk will draw on the burgeoning body of work on shame within queer theory such as Jennifer Biddle’s ‘Shame’ (1997) and Dina Georgis’s ‘Thinking Past Pride’ (2013). Case studies will be drawn mainly from British and Dutch popular culture. More information 

RMA Students

The talks are open to all students, BA, MA and RMA. There is no need to register, unless you are an RMA student and want to apply for earning 1 or 2 ECs. RMA students can earn 1 or 2 ECTS by: a) committing to attending all talks of one or both semesters, b) critically engaging in the discussion (e.g. by asking a question or giving a comment); c) writing a brief critical response to each presentation, the series/semester as a whole, or one specific topic (to be discussed) of no more than 1200 words. RMA students can apply by sending a brief motivation and a bio to the address below.

Contact: p.hesselberth@hum.leidenuniv.nl and y.horsman@hum.leidenuniv.nl

Last Modified: 17-03-2016