Masterclass ‘The Sciences of Sexual Desire’ by Dr Jacob Stegenga (University of Cambridge) – 18 September 2020 – 1 ECTS

Masterclass ‘The Sciences of Sexual Desire’ by Dr Jacob Stegenga (University of Cambridge)
Organised by the working group History, Health and Healing, under the auspices of the Huizinga Instituut

Date & time: Friday 18 September 2020 – Masterclass in the morning, lecture and discussion in the afternoon (specific time schedule below)
Venue: online
Masterclass open to: Research MA students and PhD candidates who are a member of a Dutch national research school
Credits: 1 ECTS. The Huizinga Instituut issues certificates after successful participation
Maximum no. of participants: 15
Language: English
Costs: None
Coordination: Prof. dr. Frank Huisman (Maastricht University/UMC Utrecht)
Registration: register here or contact the Huizinga Instituut (

This is a Masterclass by Dr Jacob Stegenga (University of Cambridge, Department of History and Philosophy of Science). It is part of a full day programme organised by the working group History, Health and Healing under the motto of ‘History of Medicine meets…’. This time, History of Medicine will meet Philosophy of Medicine. Attending the full programme is part of the masterclass.

Description masterclass

The sciences of sexual desire range from anthropology to zoology, and include genetics, immunology, physiology, sociology, statistics, economics, psychology, psychiatry, and evolutionary biology. Many disciplines deploy many methods to pursue many research questions to illuminate many theories. A central question that has animated scientists, philosophers, and cultural commentators is: is there nature to our sexual desires? Some say no: our sexual desires, on this view, are a result of social and cultural factors. Others say yes: our sexual desires, on this second view, are a result, at least in part, of our biological constitution, as shaped by our evolutionary history. The first position we call constructivism, the second nativism. Other argue for a middle position.

Philosophy of science can offer a lens through which messy, complex, and contested details of science can be brought into focus to give us a clear image of the world around us and, indeed, of this fundamental aspect of our selves. This seminar will take as a starting point foundational works in the modern sciences of sexual desire, and will focus on philosophical assessments of, and interventions in, those sciences.

Literature & preparation

The seminar is organised around four sets of texts (PDFs will be provided):

1. Key works in the scientific study of sexual desire,
2. Philosophical criticisms of some sciences of sexual desire,
3. The concept of sexual desire,
4. Further reading.

You are expected to familiarise yourself with the main methods, arguments, and conclusions of the readings of set 1. Set 2 will be the focus of the seminar: it is comprised of assessments of the scientific study of sex and sexual desire from the perspective of philosophy of science. Set 3 provides some philosophical background, while set 4 includes additional reading to pursue your own interests.

Lecture and Forum discussion

The afternoon programme is open and consists of a lecture by Dr Stegenga about his book Medical Nihilism (Oxford University Press, 2018), followed by a Forum discussion with Dr Stegenga and Dutch medical historians and philosophers of medicine. More information about this part of the programme will follow soon.

Provisional programme:

9.00-12.00        Masterclass ‘The Sciences of Sexual Desire’ by Dr Jacob Stegenga
13.00-14.00      Lecture by Dr Jacob Stegenga about his recent publication Medical Nihilism
14.30-15.30       Forum discussion (participants TBA)

The Huizinga ReMa/PhD-council is looking for a new RMA member

Dear all,

We have to announce the sad fact that one of the ReMa-representatives is leaving the ReMa/PhD-council. David van Oeveren will leave after years of service, to make place for a next generation of ReMa representatives. We are therefore looking for at least one new ReMa-members for the Huizinga ReMa/PhD-council.


The council represents all Huizinga PhDs and ReMA students and forms both an official and unofficial link between the program team and the board of directors on the one hand and the PhD/ReMA community on the other. Tasks of the PhD/ReMA-representatives include, but are not restricted to: attending the program team meetings where the yearly curriculum is designed and decided upon, giving advice on future courses, conducting a yearly survey, organizing our own events, and keeping an eye on the communication between the Huizinga Institute and the PhD/ReMA-candidates.


If you are interested or have questions about the function, please drop us an e-mail (, so we can inform you of the procedure. Let us know if you are interested before the 26th of August, so we can select new candidates before the 1st of September.


Best regards,

The Huizinga ReMA-PhD-council

RMA Thematic course ‘Popular Culture and History’ (5 ECTS)

Dates & time: April/May 2021
Venue: Utrecht University
Open to: RMa Students who are a member of a Dutch Graduate Research School (onderzoekschool) and PhD candidates. RMa Students who are members of the Huizinga Institute will have first access until 1 December 2020.
Credits: 5 ECTS
Coordinator: Rachel Gillett (UU), Jochen Hung (UU)
Registrations will open early September. Maximum number of participants in this event: 25

Popular Culture and History

Popular culture is one of the defining features of human experience in the late nineteenth and early twentieth century. This seminar presents rich and challenging popular culture resources and is open to students from a variety of disciplines. The seminar focuses on Europe and North America although it invites students and guest scholars to consider European developments in transnational perspective and acknowledge the globalizing force of popular culture.

 This seminar takes an innovative pedagogical approach using guided discussions with scholarly experts to demonstrate how to analyze the most dominant popular culture media and genres of the twentieth century. Students will join Dr Hung and Dr Gillett along with guest scholars including Prof. Dr Marjet Derks, Prof Laurent Dubois, Dr Rebecca Harrison, and Dr Dan Hassler-Forest in a masterclass format. We engage with key works by these scholars and then meet with them to discuss the theories and methods central to the study of popular culture. The class will therefore examine the theoretical and methodological challenges associated with mass consumption, agency, intention and reception that resonate across very distinct genres and subfields in the study of popular culture.

Credits & Certificate

Certificates of participation and credits will be issued after the event. The event coordinators will decide whether the participant has fulfilled all requirements for the ECTS. Note: the certificate itself is not valid as ECTS, you need to validate it yourself at your local Graduate School.

RMA Thematic course ‘Heritage and Memory Theory Seminar’ (5 ECTS)

Dates and time: 30 April, 7 May, 12 May [note: a Wednesday], 21 May, 28 May (14:00-18:00) & 4 June 2021 (13:00-20:00)
Venue: University of Amsterdam (room TBA)
Open to: RMa Students who are a member of a Dutch Graduate Research School (onderzoekschool). RMa Students who are members of the Huizinga Institute will have first access until 1 December 2020. PhD Candidates are allowed to register, however RMa Students will have first access.
Credits: 5 ECTS
Coordination: Prof. dr Ihab Saloul (University of Amsterdam)
Registrations will open early September. Maximum participants in this event: 20 


Description, Themes & Objectives

The analytical study of heritage and memory studies poses particular problems of method for all, from beginners to very experienced scholars. Due to its fundamental interdisciplinary, transnational and comparative nature, this seminar devises a specific format that explicitly addresses the methodological ins and outs of heritage and memory studies. We will critically examine the dynamics of the past from the perspective of tangible and intangible remnants, spaces and traces as well as the politics of forgetting and heritage appropriations, significations, musealizations and mediatization in the present. How key sites of heritage and memory in Europe and beyond are presented, interpreted, and renegotiated? And how do memory discourses operate as vehicles of local, national, continental and global identity building? Key topics will address the multidirectionality of heritage and memory as well as the theoretical implications identity and trauma, mourning and reconciliation, nationalism and ethnicity, diaspora and intergenerational memories, landscapes and mass violence, heritage preservation and commemorations, experience and authenticity, (dark) tourism, diaspora and postcolonial memory, and performative reenactments and the art of absence and forgetting. The objectives are to:

  • Introduce researchers to central concepts in the field of heritage and memory studies
  • Provide training with samples from advanced theoretical texts (reading, understanding, discussing and integrating literature in the researchers’ own projects)
Organization & Programme

The intellectual engagement with heritage and memory concepts and the ideas they develop is both necessary and often, quite problematic. In this 6-day seminar the collective effort to deal with this issue is as important as the acquisition of knowledge. The conceptual premise underlying this analytical approach is that interdisciplinary lacks the traditional paradigms that used to provide obvious methodological tools. Concepts offer a substitute; a methodology that is flexible, yet responsible and accountable. The aim is to open up an academic space where a common ground can be found without sacrificing specific and precious disciplinary knowledge.

The program will be announced in advance but the general format is a 3-hour seminar session with an introductory lecture, presentations and a class discussion. In preparation students will be given some theoretical texts to read; a full list of literature will be provided in advance. All participants are expected to:

  • Attend all sessions and read the texts seriously
  • During each session teams of two or three participants will present an object/case study of their own choice on which they bring to bear the texts and concepts
  • Write a 2000-word report with a special focus on a theme of choice.
Credits & Certificate

Certificates of participation and credits are available upon request after the event. Event coordinators will decide whether the participant has fulfilled all requirements for the ECTS. Note: the certificate itself is not valid as ECTS, you need to validate it yourself at your local Graduate School.

RMA Thematic course ‘Key Concepts in Cultural History’ (5 ECTS)

Dates: Wednesdays 11, 18, 25 November & 2, 9, 16 December
Time: 13:15-17:00 h
Venue: Utrecht University or online
Open to: RMa Students who are a member of a Dutch Graduate Research School (onderzoekschool) and PhD candidates. RMa Students who are members of the Huizinga Institute will have first access until 1 October 2020.
Credits: 5 ECTS
Coordinator: Willemijn Ruberg (UU)
Register here. Maximum number of participants in this event: 25

Key Concepts in Cultural History

This course is meant to help (post)graduate students grasp the position of cultural history as a field in the humanities/social sciences. The course will offer an overview of the main concepts and theoretical approaches used in cultural history. Taking the approach of philosophy of science, it also includes attention to the application of several important theoretical perspectives, e.g. historical anthropology, postmodernism, postcolonialism, and Science and Technology Studies. Thus it underlines the importance of the cultural, linguistic, performative, bodily and material turns in (cultural) history. We will read theoretical texts and articles in which these theories are applied to themes from cultural history.

This course is primarily aimed at RMA students, but PhD candidates are welcome too. Each week one theoretical approach will be discussed, including essential concepts and criticism. Students will apply these theories and concepts to their own research projects if possible. Each session will last three hours: in the first part we will critically discuss the texts and the second part of the class will be devoted to exploring how students can work with these theories in their own research.

Credits & Certificate

Certificates of participation and credits will be issued after the event. The event coordinator will decide whether the participant has fulfilled all requirements for the ECTS. Note: the certificate itself is not valid as ECTS, you need to validate it yourself at your local Graduate School.

The Huizinga Institute launches new PhD and RMA curriculum

After over a year of hard work from our Programme Team and the PhD/ReMa Council, we are proud to present our new curriculum for PhD candidates and RMA students beginning in 2020-2021.

The new programme offers a coherent set of courses designed to meet the needs of our PhDs and RMAs, representing a wider range of cultural historical competences. New elements include the Cultural Historian’s Toolbox for PhDs, consisting of hands-on seminars on location, and Key Concepts in Cultural History for RMA students.

The new curriculum of the Huizinga Institute will become effective in the academic year 2020-2021. Read all about the PhD programme here and the RMA programme here. An overview of our courses and activities for 2020-2021 can be found here.

Call for proposals: Organise your own Huizinga Institute Masterclass, Workshop, Atelier or Seminar (ReMa/PhD level)

Application procedure: fill out our application form and send it to

Application deadline: 1 September 2020.

The Huizinga Institute offers Research Master students and PhD candidates , as well as senior members, the opportunity to organise a masterclass, workshop, Atelier or Seminar about a subject of their choosing within the field of cultural history. The proposed activities may take different forms, such as a research seminar with (international) experts or a more practice-oriented workshop in the (work)field, and may be aimed at any subdiscipline in the broad cultural historical field. For examples, see our page on workshops and masterclasses.

We are able to support several applications in this call and are looking for activities ranging from half a day to two days, preferably taking place in the academic year 2020-2021. Student organizers will receive ECTS credits for their activities as organisers.

To submit your proposal, please fill out the application form and send it to coordinator Annelien Krul ( She is also available to discuss options and answer any questions. Proposals will be reviewed by the Huizinga Institute’s Programme Team. Applicants will receive a response before 1 October 2020.

Huizinga/NICA Workshop: ‘Museums and the circulation of knowledge’ – 28 September 2020

Museums and the circulation of knowledge

28 September 2020, 10.00 – 17.00

Venue: Rijksmuseum
Open to: PhD candidates and RMA students who are a member of the Huizinga Institute or NICA
Credits: 1 ECTS
Coordination: Eve Kalyva (UvA)
Maximum no. of participants: 12
Language: English
Registration: Unfortunately this event is fully booked. Email for a spot on the waiting list.

How is knowledge accessed, structured and circulated in a museum setting? While cultural artefacts enable us discuss ideologies, political and financial power structures, gender roles and social hierarchies, we must also consider: What frameworks of interpretation become available in museums, and how are these juxtaposed and utilised in understanding different cultures?

Using the 17th century collection of the Rijksmuseum as a case study, this workshop encourages you to reflect on and evaluate how cultural objects are displayed and how different viewpoints become organised, affecting both the object and the method of study. Through on site interaction and practical exercises, we will consider:

  • How are narratives experienced in a museum setting?
  • What relationships develop across viewers, cultural objects and historical subjects; and how do cultural objects participate in their interpretation?
  • What tools can we use to extrapolate concepts and ideas from object-based study?
  • Can multiple perspectives be supported or do these always converge in relation to where we stand?

This workshop gives you the opportunity to put ideas about museums, heritage, curating and cultural analysis to the test; and engage with how institutional practices are experienced in an existing setting. It enriches your research skills with practical knowledge; and introduces you to Visible Thinking pedagogies, which support critical thinking through social interaction, direct experience and collaborative learning.

References (texts will be provided)

  • John Berger, Ways of Seeing (Penguin Books, 1972)
  • Michael Baxandall, “The Period Eye”, Painting and Experience in Fifteenth-Century Italy: A Primer in the Social History of Pictorial Style, 29–41 (Oxford University Press, 1972)
  • Roland Barthes, “Rhetoric of the Image” [1964], Image–Music–Text, pp. 32–51. Trans. Stephen Heath (Fontana, 1977)
  • Raymond Williams, “Introduction” and selected terms, Keywords: A Vocabulary of Culture and Society (Croom Helm, 1976)


10.00 – 11.30 Introductory discussion

11.30 – 13.30 Practical part 1

13.30 – 14.30 Lunch break

14.30 – 16.00 Practical part 2

16.00 – 17.00 Round table discussion

Face-to-face educational activities Huizinga Institute suspended

Dear all,

In response to the government’s call responding to the outbreak of the coronavirus, Dutch universities are currently suspending face-to-face teaching until the summer in order to help curb the spread of the virus.

In line with these measures, the Huizinga Institute has also suspended all face-to-face educational activities until this date. We are closely monitoring the situation regarding courses beyond July and will keep all participants informed.

Should you have any questions in the meantime, please do not hesitate to consult the Huizinga office.

We hope for your understanding and wish you all good health.

With all best,

Arnoud Visser, director Huizinga Institute
Annelien Krul, coordinator Huizinga Institute

Huizinga/KNIR/Hertziana course ‘Cultures of Science and Art in Rome, 1400-1900’ (13-23 May 2021) – Deadline for applications: 22 January 2021

Apple before 22 January 2021 via the KNIR website.

Course Content
As city of the pope, Rome has been an important religious and artistic center since the Middle Ages. It is less well known that Rome has also been a center of scientific research and the visualization thereof. This fact has been undervalued because of the traditional, but by now outdated, opposition between religion and science. Religion and science were by no means mutually exclusive, as the scientific activities of the Jesuits show. Therefore, this course will introduce Rome as a city of knowledge in its European and global contexts from 1400 until 1900. By looking specifically at the visual culture of science participants will learn about the networks that brought together artists, collectors, and intellectuals, and how these actors and their ideas influenced the practice of science and its visualization.

On the basis of case studies and interdisciplinary approaches – e.g. historical, art historical, digital humanities – participants will delve into this understudied aspect of cultural history. During the course we will visit a variety of sites in Rome (archives, libraries, churches, and museums) and analyze many different sources (manuscripts, printed books, prints, paintings, sculptures, photographs, architecture, and film) in order to analyzes and understand the city from the perspective of science and art.

dr. Matthijs Jonker (KNIR) and dr. Sietske Fransen (BHR)

Target group and admission
The course is open to 7 RMA and PhD students who are a member of a Dutch National Research School (members of the Huizinga Institute have first access) and 7 international RMA and PhD students. The selection of RMA students is based on grades, the positioning of the course in the student’s curriculum, and a letter of motivation. The selection of PhD students is based on the letter of motivation and curriculum vitae. Students can apply via the link below; include in your application:
• a letter of motivation (max. 1 A4)
• a CV
• for RMA students: a recent list of courses followed and grades provided by your university

Course format and assignments
Preparatory assignment, group assignment in Rome, individual presentation in Rome, final essay.

Credits and assessment
The study load is the equivalent of 5 ECTS (140 hours).

Tuition and lodging at the KNIR for selected participants is covered by the Huizinga Instituut (for students from Dutch universities) and by the Bibliotheca Hertziana (for international students). Personal expenses, including meals, are not included. Students can request a € 175,00 reimbursement of their expenses for travelling to Rome after submission of their final essay. Students of Dutch universities can do this at the Huizinga Instituut, international students at the Bibliotheca Hertziana.

Facilities in Rome
All participants will be housed at the Royal Netherlands Institute in Rome’s Villa Borghese Park. From there, it is only a short walk to the historical center of Rome. The KNIR accommodation consists of shared bedrooms and bathrooms, and includes a living and dining space, a large kitchen, washing machine and wireless internet.* All residents have 24/7 access to the library and gardens of the Royal Netherlands Institute.

* The KNIR accommodations comply with Italian national safety and health requirements, also in light of  COVID-19.

Apply before

22 January 2021 via this link, submitting a motivation letter, a recent CV and an updated overview of study results.

More info

Phone: (+39)063269621

Share your plans: organize a masterclass, workshop or other Huizinga-activity

Our goal is to give you the best education opportunities possible. That requires a demand-driven programme, for which we need your help. Do you miss anything in the Huizinga Institute’s programme? And do you have ideas for a ReMa-PhD Masterclass, Workshop, Atelier or course? Or an activity focused on community/platform building? For examples, see our page on workshops and masterclasses.

We greatly welcome initiatives from ReMa-students, PhD candidates and Senior researchers, and have budget available to support several activities each year. Organizers may receive ECTS credits for their efforts. To submit your proposal, please fill out the application form and send it to coordinator Annelien Krul ( She is also available to discuss the possibilities and to answer any questions.

We look forward to hearing from you!