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Chair group Culture and Literature

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About the Chair group

The chair group European Culture and Literature conducts multi-disciplinary research and offers research-led teaching on cultural topics, institutions, heritages, policies and aesthetics from synchronic and diachronic perspectives, applying a wide range of quantitative and qualitative methods. Our common point of departure is that culture and literature are much more than just words and pieces of art. People live by metaphors and culturally mediated intellectual representations of the world, by their shared historical experience, and by their emotional attachment to cultural communities, which determine their understanding of daily life and influence their decisions. At the chair group, we investigate the societal challenges of a more inclusive Europe with a special emphasis on cultural narratives of crisis, cultural transfer, intercultural literature, cultural industries, technology and the role of arts in a globalized society. We understand cultural and literary phenomena as transnational and multilingual in their connections to anthropological and political narratives, and we investigate these connections at a global, comparative scale.

The chair hosts the Netherlands Research School for Literary Studies (OSL) and the DemCP Research Group Data Science, Culture and Social Change.

Recent Flagship Projects in the Chair group

Members of the chair group are involved in a wide range of research projects, many of which are funded by renowned national and international institutions – for detailed information, visit our members’ individual profile pages (links in the table below). Here are some examples for recent prestigious projects in which members of the chair group are involved:

Cartoons in Court: Towards a Forensic Analysis of Visual Humor. A research project funded with the NETIAS Constructive Advanced Thinking Grant.

Converging Horizons: Production, Mediation, Reception and Effects of Representations of Marginality . An international research network funded by the Chilean National Research Funding Agency ANID.

Cultures of the Crisis. Corona and beyond. An online lecture series in which members of the chair group present their research on cultural effects of the Covid-19 pandemic; all lectures are accessible by the public.

Humor and Free Speech Jurisprudence: Co-Creating Guidelines for Judicial Practice. An NWO Impact Explorer grant, 2023-2024.

Humour in Court (ForHum). A five-year research project funded with a prestigious NWO Vidi Grant, 2022-2027.

InnovationLab: Transform your teaching with the Digital Advisor Toolkit for Higher Education. An Erasmus+ project funded by the European Commission.

Other Transitions: Remembering the 1980-90s Crises and Reimagining Sociality in Russia and South Africa. A research fellowship project at the Netherlands Institute for Advanced Study in the Humanities and Social Sciences (NIAS).

Protecting European Values – A proactive approach to strengthening and building European democracy. A Citizens, Equality, Rights and Values Programme (CERV) Project, funded by the European Commission, coordinated by the Jan Nowak-JezioraƄski College of Eastern Europe.

Reconstituting Publics through Remembering Transitions: Facilitating Critical Engagement with the 1980-90s on Local and Transnational Scales, supported by a NETIAS grant (2021-2024).

rEUnify: A Comparative Study of National Perceptions regarding German Reunification . A European Remembrance project funded by the European Commission’s Europe for Citizens programme.

Multinnova Educational Innovation Group Universidad de Murcia: ‘Aprendizaje Híbrido Cooperativo y Procesos Simulativos en las Competencias Profesionales’ [Cooperative Blended Learning and Simulative Processes in Professional Competences]. Funded by University of Murcia (Spain).

Can an AI-enabled system help us understand how cultural narratives are configured and how they prime social mobilization? A machine learning model for automatic detection of the regime(s) of Conceptual Metaphor. Funded by MINCIENCIAS (Colombia).

Metaphora: Metaphor as a component of Cultural Rhetoric. Rhetorical, literary, social, ecocritical and cultural aspects and foundations of metaphorical devices. Funded by the European Commission and the Spanish National Agency of Science.

Personalized Teaching and Learning: An algorithm for AI-enabled feedback for students and lecturers. Funded by the University of Groningen.

Recent Awards and Prizes in the Chair group

For all awards and prizes received by members of the chair group, see the CVs on the individual profile pages (links in the table below). Here are some recent examples:

Winner PIEoneer Award 2022: Best public/private partnership, Laspau (affiliated with Harvard University) Program Innovation in Teaching, Professor Pablo Valdivia (Laspau fellow in University Innovation)

Runner-up prize OSL Awards, category ‘Best PhD Thesis’, awarded by The Netherlands Research School for Literary Studies, Dr Judith Jansma

Winner Faculty of Arts – Lecturer of the Year 2018/19, Professor Pablo Valdivia

Finalist & Public’s Choice Winner Faculty of Arts – Lecturer of the Year 2017/18, Dr. Alberto Godioli

Research and Teaching Staff in the Chair group

Main languages

Chair and Full Professor (Hoogleraar) for European Culture & Literature; Academic Director Netherlands Research School for Literary Studies (OSL); Coordinator Research Group “Data Science, Culture and Social Change” at the Research Centre for the Study of Democratic Cultures and Politics (DemCP, University of Groningen); Associate in Applied Physics Harvard Paulson School of Engineering and Applied Sciences (Harvard University); Expert Evaluator for the European Commission Research Programs and Associated National Research Agencies; Expert Scientific Advisor Netherlands Institute for Advanced Studies in the Humanities and Social Sciences and Netherlands Royal Academy of Arts and Sciences (NIAS-KNAW); “Pablo Valdivia” Chair in Communication, Humanities and Technology in Austral University Chile and University of La Frontera (Chile)

Humanities Multidisciplinary Research; Qualitative Data Analysis and Methodologies; Cultural Analytics; Computational Literary Studies; Artificial Intelligence; University Innovation; Data Science; Educational Science; Applied Physics; Social Sciences; Cognitive Sciences; Cultural Narratives; Conceptual Metaphors; Crisis Studies; Blended Active Learning and Technology.

English, Spanish, French, Catalan, Dutch

Vice Chair and Associate Professor; Profile Coordinator European Culture and Literature; Director of the Research Centre for the Study of Democratic Cultures and Politics; Expert Evaluator for the European Commission (MSCA-IF)

European Crises; Cultural Self-Reflection; Cultural Notions of Sameness and Normalcy; Migration and Contemporary Culture; Surveillance; Literary Theory; Documentary Film; Film Theory; Discourse Theory and Analysis (Foucault, CDA); Systems Theory; Reception Research; European and German Literature; 20th- and 21st-century Literature

English, German, Dutch

Dr. Vera Alexander

Senior Assistant Professor

English and Anglophone literatures and cultures; Environmental Humanities; Ecocriticism; Posthumanism; Travel and mobility; Life writing; Bildungsroman; Children’s writing; Heterotopia; Diaspora; Transculturality

English, Dutch, German, Italian

Dr. Alberto Godioli

Associate Professor, Program Director; Netherlands Research School for Literary Studies (OSL); Director, Forum for Humor and the Law (ForHum)

Humor and satire across media; Law and Humanities; Posthumanism and ecocriticism; Narrative, empathy and cognition; 20th- and 21st-century literature

English, Italian, Dutch
Assistant Professor

Culture and Populism; Contemporary European Literature; Identity Construction; Culture and Power Structures, Gender and Intersectionality

English, Dutch, French, Spanish

Dr. Ester Jiresch

Assistant Professor

Cultural transfer; Swedish Literature and Culture; Gender Studies; Interdisciplinary Research Humanities-Social Sciences

English, Swedish

Dr. Konstantin Mierau

Associate Professor; Director Federation of Graduate Schools in the Social Sciences and Humanities; Programme Director Graduate School for the Humanities

Spanish and Latin American Fiction; Cultural Representation of Marginality; Prison Reading and Empathy; Reception Studies; Early Modern Urban Marginality; Microhistory; Postgraduate Teaching Innovation

English, Spanish

Dr. Ksenia Robbe

Senior Assistant Professor

Postsocialist and postcolonial theory; Memory studies; Regimes of temporality; Gender studies; Transculturality; Contemporary Russian literature, art and culture; South African literatures, art and cultures

English, Russian

Dr. Camilla Sutherland

Assistant Professor

Latin American literature and culture; Gender Studies; Literary and Cultural Theory; Global Modernisms

English, Spanish

Dr. Jeanette den Toonder

Senior Assistant Professor

Contemporary French and francophone Literatures and Cultures; Migrant and Minority Literature; Literary Theory; Comparative Literature; Contemporary Quebec novel; Gender Studies; Representations of Space

English, Dutch, French

Dr. Vera Veldhuizen

Assistant Professor

Children's Literature; Cognitive Narratology; War Literature; Narrative Ethics; Narrative Justice; In- and Outgroup Empathy, Detective Fiction, Audio Dramas

English, Dutch

Prof. dr. Margriet van der Waal

Associate Professor (RuG); Endowed Chair South African Literature, Culture and History (UvA); Director of Studies Erasmus Mundus Master of Arts Euroculture

Relation between arts and politics; Culture and political claim-making; South African literature and culture; Postcolonial Europe

English, Dutch, Afrikaans

Santi Luca Famà, MA


Italian modernist literature; Neo-Formalism; Posthumanism, Ecocriticism, Animal Studies, New Materialism

English, Italian

Lecturer, PhD Candidate

Identity construction; Memory studies; Central and Southeast European cultures, politics and societies


External Researchers, Research Fellows in the Chair group

Name Position Expertise

Dr. Omar Alcántara Islas

Visiting Scholar - Postdoc

Literary and film theory, Literature and film adaptation, the city in modern literature, Bildungsroman, German literature

Jacqueline Fowks

External Researcher (Research Fellow)

Media Studies, Social conflict and extractive industries; Narratives of disinformation; Media and Politics

Dr. Gemma Lopez Canicio

External Researcher (Research Fellow)

Narrative research; Artistic-narrative communication (literature and cinema); Fiction; Story-telling; Representation from a cognitive sciences and interactive narrative research (videogames) perspective

Dr. Javier Muñoz-Basols

External Researcher (Research Fellow)

Dr. Rubén Sánchez

Visiting Scholar - Postdoc

Cultural Science, Religious Studies, Communication and Media Studies, Food Studies

Dr. Hamish Williams

External Researcher (Research Fellow)

Classical reception; Utopian studies; Popular fiction and culture; Spatial studies

PhD Candidates in the Chair group


Gonzalo Albornoz

PhD Candidate

Sociology of law; Social representations of law and fiction in prison environments; Law and cultural narratives; Mass media and law studies

Juan Gallego Benot

PhD Candidate

Project: 'How did rhetorical invention in the Reformation and Counter-Reformation shape a conflicting idea of Modernity? An analysis of the discursive construction of a new European society'

Rosmery-Ann Boegeholz

PhD Candidate

Communication Studies; Social Networks; Cultural Science; Identity Studies; Affective Studies

Teun Joshua Brandt

PhD Candidate

Project: 'Symbiotic Narratives: Contested Agencies in Scientific and Literary Accounts of Human Holobionts'

Paola González

PhD Candidate

Humanities Multidisciplinary Research; Cultural Narratives; Technology; Virtual Reality; Heritage Reconstruction; Historical memory

Klára Kosova

PhD Candidate

Project: ‘The Role of Economic Elites in the Foreign Policy-Making Process: The Case of Bulgaria’

María Isabel Marín

PhD Candidate

Computational Linguistics; Corpus Linguistics; Applied Linguistics; Conceptual Metaphors; Artificial Intelligence; Data Science; Requirements engineering;

Elizabeth Pinilla-Duarte

PhD Candidate

Interdisciplinary social research; Narrative analytics; Discourse analysis; Communication, language and cognition theory; Metaphor theory; Digital narratives

Beer Prakken

PhD Candidate

Project: 'Not Just a Joke: On Humour, Polarisation and Responsibility'

Rose Smith

PhD Candidate

Post-Communist Cultures; Literary & Cultural Theory; Memory Studies; Cultural and Narrative Analysis

Last modified:27 March 2024 11.48 a.m.
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