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Barend van Heusden appointed Professor of Culture and Cognition

11 March 2010

Last month, Dr. Barend van Heusden was appointed Professor of 'Culture and Cognition', with special reference to the Arts'. This new chair was established in the d epartment of Arts, Culture and Media of the Arts Faculty of the University of Groningen. Van Heusden has been a faculty member of the department since its foundation in September 2003. Before that date, van Heusden worked in the department of Comparative Literature.

Cultural Dynamics

Cultural dynamics, or the evolution of arts and culture, is one of the main topics of Van Heusden’s research. His work is in the field of semiotics, which he considers to be the interface between the humanities and the cognitive sciences. The rapprochement between these two science areas has been going on internationally for some time and gets more attention now in the Netherlands as well. A point in case is the 4-year (2008-2012) research project 'Culture in the Mirror: toward a curriculum for culture education', supervised by Barend van Heusden. In the project, culture education is approached from a cognitive-semiotic perspective. The question driving the project is: (How) can the cultural (self-)consciousness of children and adolescents be developed and strengthened?

The theoretical insights on cultural cognition Van Heusden developed are translated to fit the everyday practice of primary and secondary culture education. A framework will be developed that allows schools and teachers to develop a curriculum that is tailored to the pupils' development and connects to the changes in contemporary youth and school culture. End of March a first book about the project will be published.

Curriculum vitae

Barend van Heusden (1957) studied Dutch Language and Literature as well as Comparative Literature at the University of Groningen. In the context of his doctoral research he received a scholarship from the Italian Government, which allowed him to study Semiotics at the Università degli Studi in Bologna. In 1994 he successfully defended his PhD-thesis, entitled ‘Why literature? An inquiry into the nature of literary semiosis’ (Stauffenburg Verlag, 1997). After his studies Van Heusden worked as assistant professor at the Universities of Utrecht and Groningen, and he was research assistant at the University of Amsterdam. He was also involved, as a postdoctoral researcher, in the 'Castor'-project of the Faculty of Economics and Business in Groningen . He published in the fields of literary and culture theory, semiotics and cognition. He lectures in the department of Arts, Culture and Media, and for the research master Literary and Cultural Studies.

More information

Prof. B.P. van Heusden

Last modified:04 July 2014 9.19 p.m.

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