Public lecture – Professor Toyin Falola (University of Texas)

The Academy and the Idea of Decolonisation

Date: 10 December 2018
Time: 14:00-17:00, followed by drinks
Venue: Amsterdam, University Library (Doelenzaal), Singel 425
Open to: general public
Registration
The Doelenzaal has a limited number of seats, so we kindly ask you to register if you wish to attend the lecture.

It has been argued that the academic system of knowledge production—as we have known it since the Age of Imperialism/the Enlightenment—is fundamentally Western, wherein the west assumes the status of the “universal”. Although many former colonies around the world (Asia, Africa and Latin America) received political freedom in the second half of the twentieth century, the dominant mode of knowledge production and critical thinking within the academy was, and  still is, largely determined by a western white male perception. Although universities worldwide are able to flourish to some extent, it remains difficult to truly escape from a normative western hegemony on the system of knowledge production and academic research.

The dominance of these thought-patterns originating in the west was never completely unchallenged and gained momentum from the second half of the twentieth century onwards through anticolonial and postcolonial critique, feminist discourse and the emergence of global intellectual history. The new tide of such critical thinking questioned Eurocentric approaches in history, philosophy and anthropology, among others, and argued in favour of a decolonisation of (academic) knowledge production. As a result the humanities have been enriched by crucial debates regarding the place of ‘Europe’ within Academic research as a whole.

This lecture will reflect on the state of the (historical) academy regarding the ‘Idea of Decolonisation’ and raise the question what it means to attempt a ‘Decolonisation of Knowledge’. Is there one Decolonisation or multiple Decolonisations? Is Decolonisation within the academy a monolithic concept or are there multiple layers within this broader academic issue? Most importantly, has knowledge been decolonised at all or is a culture of recolonisation replacing older thought patterns? Through the lecture and the input by local respondents we hope to be able to create an atmosphere in which there will be space for both conceptual in-depth questions and more practical concerns regarding the ‘Idea of Decolonisation’.

Toyin Falola

Prof. Falola (1953) is a Nigerian historian of Africa who currently holds the Jacob and Frances Sanger Mossiker Chair Professor in the Humanities and a Distinguished Teaching Professor at the University of Texas at Austin. Falola, who took his PhD-degree at the university of Ile-Ife in Nigeria, is a prolific scholar on African history from the 19th century onwards. He has written both local histories, focusing on Yoruba history in Nigeria, and more globally oriented accounts on the histories of Africa as a whole. Moreover, he has taught and written extensively on African intellectual history and the emergence of the field of African and Black studies, focusing on its pedagogies, methodologies and epistemologies.

Workshop – Cultural Associations in the Long 19th Century: Agents of Transnational (Ex)change

Date: 21 November 2018
Time: 10:00-17:00
Venue: University of Amsterdam, Bushuis, Kloveniersburgwal 48 (VOC-zaal)
Open to: scholars, PhD students, (R)MA students
Credits: none
Coordination: Dr Krisztina Lajosi (University of Amsterdam)
Maximum participants in this event: 25
Registration (before 15 October 2018)

The workshop will address the political relevance and social importance of cultural and historical societies. Most of these societies were formed in the course of the 19th century and became hubs for intellectual and political networks. Their aim was to promote knowledge, research, and education in a certain field, foster open debate, and in some cases to bolster the importance of a particular nation or region. By combining a cultural and a political agenda, these societies were important agents for social and political movements. Their activities consisted of organizing regular meetings, publishing and disseminating books and periodicals, and giving advice to local or national governments. Such associations helped to shape public opinion and strengthen the sense of collective identity, and had a major impact on the development of linguistic and artistic standards and the preservation of cultural heritage.

Some societies had a strong local influence on shaping the urban public sphere, like the many societies founded in Berlin; others, like the Historical and Literary Society founded by Polish émigrés in Paris in the 1830s, or the Spanish Tertulias in Argentina, became transnational platforms and outposts of political aspirations. Some, like the Maatschappij tot Nut van ‘t Algemeen (Society for Public Welfare) in the Netherlands, became driving forces of civil engagement and democratic reform through knowledge dissemination, while others, like the Slavic Maticas, served as bedrocks of nation-building movements. In this workshop particular attention will be paid to issues such as the dynamics among regional, national and transnational identities, the relevance of societies for the formation of collective identities, and the problem of archiving the collections of such societies in a digital age.

Speakers

  • Prof. Jan Hein Furnée (Radboud University Nijmegen)
  • Dr Maartje Janse (Leiden University) (to be confirmed)
  • Dr Andreas Stynen (KU Leuven)
  • Dr Krisztina Lajosi (Universiteit van Amsterdam)

This workshop is designed as a “prelude” to the International KVNM Symposium to be held in the Paushuize in Utrecht from 22-24 November 2018 on the topic of Musicological Societies as Intermediaries between Society, Musical Life and Academia. For more information see: http://jubileum.kvnm.nl/en/symposia/kvnm-symposium/ .

The aim of the workshop is to situate musical societies in a broader cultural and historical context, and to foster interdisciplinary awareness among PhD and Research Master students interested in sociability and cultural heritage.

Program

  • 9:45 – Welcome & registration
  • 10:00 – Prof. Jan Hein Furneé: Leisure, Societies, and the Emergence of a Public Urban Culture
  • 11:00 – Dr Maartje Janse: Transnational Abolitionist Associations
  • 12:00 – Lunch break
  • 13:00 – Dr Andreas Stynen: Archiving Collective Memory
  • 14:00 – Dr Krisztina Lajosi: Transnational Societies and the Study of “Gypsies”
  • 15:00 – Coffee break
  • 15:20 – Roundtable discussions
  • 16:20 – Final remarks & conclusions
  • 16:30 – Drinks

Recommended readings

  • Stefan Ludwig Hoffmann, Civil society, Basingstoke: Palgrave, 2006.
  • Civil society, associations, and urban places: class, nation, and culture in nineteenth-century Europe, eds. Graeme Morton, Boudien de Vries and R.J. Morris, Aldershot: Ashgate, 2006.

PhD Conference Autumn 2018

Date: October 16 & 17, 2018
Venue: Hoorneboeg, Hilversum
Open to: PhD candidates, exclusive for Huizinga members
ECTS: 3 (with presentation), 1 (auditor)
Registration

At this conference third-year PhD candidates from all over the country who are member of the Huizinga Institute got the chance to give a presentation on (a part of) their research. Their talks will be discussed by coreferents (who have been invited by the candidates themselves), and the audience. Huizinga staff members and PhD candidates who are in their first, second or fourth year are more than welcome to join this conference.

Workshop – Professor Clive Webb (University of Sussex)

Voices Unheard. Intersections of Race in Transnational and Postcolonial Research

Date: 8 November 2018
Time: 10:00-18:00
Venue: Amsterdam, VU Amsterdam (exact venua TBA)
Open to: scholars, PhD students, (R)MA students
Credits: 1 ECTS (available upon request)
Coordination: Dr Dienke Hondius (VU Amsterdam), Lonneke Geerlings (VU Amsterdam)
Maximum participants in this event: 15 (Huizinga members will have first access)
Registration (before 10 October 2018)

This workshop focuses on hidden and forgotten stories at historical crossroads, with a special focus on the African diaspora and discourses on race. Intersections of historical narratives have become increasingly important for historians. We saw this – just to name a few – in research on W.E.B. Du Bois who examined the impact of the Holocaust in Warsaw (Michael Rothberg 2001); on African students in Soviet Russia (Maxim Matusevich 2012); or in the popular novel and movie on the role of Black women in the American space race (Margot Lee Shetterly 2016). The combining of historical narratives often reveal the impact of discourses of race, both on a global scale as well on an individual level.

During this 1-day workshop, researchers are encouraged to look for marginalized or unheard voices in their own materials and to examine their own blind spots. Professor Clive Webb (University of Sussex) will comment on presentations and will also give a guest lecture on how the Holocaust helped shape the American Civil Rights Movement. This workshop may be of interest to PhD students and (research) MA students working on (early) modern history, (post)colonial history, memory studies, comparative and transnational history, and researchers working on gender, race and class.

The masterclass is followed by a VU Graduate School guest lecture of Clive Webb on ‘The Holocaust and The African-American Freedom Struggle’ and is co-organized by the VU Graduate School of Humanities and VU’s CLUE+ Research Institute for Culture, History and Heritage.

Speaker

Clive Webb is Professor of Modern American History at the University of Sussex in Brighton (United Kingdom). He is specialized in the history of race and ethnicity in Britain and the United States. His first book, Fight Against Fear, focused on the reaction of the small Jewish minority in the American South to the black civil rights struggle. A second book, Rabble Rousers, looked at white extremists who used violence to resist civil rights reform. Most recently, he co-wrote with William Carrigan of Rowan University in New Jersey Forgotten Dead, a book that assesses mob violence against Mexicans in the United States. His current research focuses on the historical relationship between Britain and the United States including such issues as race, politics and culture. For more details see http://www.sussex.ac.uk/profiles/109349.

Program

  • 10:00
    Welcome
  • 10:15
    Screening documentary (TBA)
  • 11:30
    Creative writing exercises
  • 12:30
    Lunch break (at own expense / bring-your-own)
  • 13:30
    Presentations by contributors, followed by discussion and feedback from Clive Webb
  • 14:45
    Short break
  • 15:00
    Presentations + discussion (part 2)
  • 16:15
    Coffee & tea break
  • 16:30
    VU Graduate School Guest lecture with Clive Webb: ‘The Holocaust and The African-American Freedom Struggle’
  • 17:30
    Drinks

Preparation

All participants are asked to write an essay (max. 2 pages) on their own research, connecting their research with the proposed readings. In addition, they should also prepare a short presentation. Non-participants should read the supporting texts in advance and prepare comments or questions arising from the readings. Participants who want to receive 1 ECTS are expected to complete the following assignments. Please send the essay and PowerPoint presentation to the organizers one week before the workshop.

1: Writing exercise (all participants)

Please bring pen and paper (preferably) – or a laptop. Through creative writing exercises all participants and attendants will practice their writing skills. This is a perfect exercise if you need to overcome your writer’s block.

2: Essay (only for participants wanting to receive credits)

Describe in an essay of approximately two pages how you use, or could use, intersections in history to reveal hidden, forgotten or marginalized histories. What voices remain unheard in the historical sources that you use for your project? Would a comparative, transnational or postcolonial approach be a valuable addition to your research?

3: PowerPoint presentation (only for participants wanting to receive credits)

Prepare a PowerPoint presentation (4 to 5 minutes) about your essay. This will be followed by 5 minutes for comments and discussion. These presentations are a showcase of your research: there is ample time to discuss your research further during the breaks and drinks afterwards.

Readings

Please read the following articles/chapters (these will be shared with you after signing up):

  • Clive Webb, Fight Against Fear. Southern Jews and Black Civil Rights. University of Georgia Press, 2001. Chapter 4, pages 69-87.
  • Michael Rothberg, Multidirectional Memory: Remembering the Holocaust in the Age of Decolonization. Stanford University Press, 2009. Introduction, pages 1-29.

Credits and certificate

Interested students and researchers can participate in two ways: as an active auditor or as a contributor. Contributors are expected to submit a short paper (max 2 pages, may be sent to Huizinga-fgw@uva.nl one week before the workshop) and give a presentation, which are both required for earning 1 ECTS. These papers, together with the proposed literature from the speakers, will be distributed to all participants in advance, and will be a starting point for the discussion.

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. Please direct your request to Huizinga-fgw@uva.nl and include the postal address you want the certificate to be sent to. Note: the certificate itself is not valid as ECTS; you need to validate it yourself at your local Graduate School.

Masterclass – Professor Toyin Falola (University of Texas)

The Academy and the Idea of Decolonisation

Date: 10 December 2018
Time: 10:00-12:30 (masterclass) & 14:00-17:00 (keynote lecture and discussion)
Venue: Amsterdam, Bushuis (VOC-zaal) & University Library (Doelenzaal)
Open to: scholars, PhD students, (R)MA students
Credits: 1 ECTS (for PhD and RMa students only)
Coordination: Larissa Schulte Nordholt (Leiden University) and Marleen Reichgelt (Radboud University Nijmegen)
Maximum participants in this event: 20
Registration (before 1 November 2018)

It has been argued that the academic system of knowledge production—as we have known it since the Age of Imperialism/the Enlightenment—is fundamentally Western, wherein the west assumes the status of the “universal”. Although many former colonies around the world (Asia, Africa and Latin America) received political freedom in the second half of the twentieth century, the dominant mode of knowledge production and critical thinking within the academy was, and  still is, largely determined by a western white male perception. Although universities worldwide are able to flourish to some extent, it remains difficult to truly escape from a normative western hegemony on the system of knowledge production and academic research.

The dominance of these thought-patterns originating in the west was never completely unchallenged and gained momentum from the second half of the twentieth century onwards through anticolonial and postcolonial critique, feminist discourse and the emergence of global intellectual history. The new tide of such critical thinking questioned Eurocentric approaches in history, philosophy and anthropology, among others, and argued in favour of a decolonisation of (academic) knowledge production. As a result the humanities have been enriched by crucial debates regarding the place of ‘Europe’ within Academic research as a whole.

To apply the insights from these debates to one’s research, however, can be a challenging feat – both on a theoretical and a practical level. This masterclass aims to revisit the state of the art on theories of decolonisation of academic research. Junior researchers will be given the chance to engage with questions concerning mental decolonization as they pertain to their own research projects. The goal is to inform students and researchers of cultural history about ongoing debates on Decolonisation and knowledge production from a global intellectual perspective.

Toyin Falola

Prof. Falola (1953) is a Nigerian historian of Africa who currently holds the Jacob and Frances Sanger Mossiker Chair Professor in the Humanities and a Distinguished Teaching Professor at the University of Texas at Austin. Falola, who took his PhD-degree at the university of Ile-Ife in Nigeria, is a prolific scholar on African history from the 19th century onwards. He has written both local histories, focusing on Yoruba history in Nigeria, and more globally oriented accounts on the histories of Africa as a whole. Moreover, he has taught and written extensively on African intellectual history and the emergence of the field of African and Black studies, focusing on its pedagogies, methodologies and epistemologies.

Literature and preparation

A list of required readings and information about the assignment will be sent to the admitted participants in the course of November.

Course Oral History and Life Stories

Dates: 10, 17, 24, 31 January & 7 February 2019
Time: 13:30 – 17:00
Venue: University of Amsterdam, Oudemanhuispoort E 1.07 (10, 17, 24, 31 January) / PC Hoofthuis 6.25 (7 February)
Candidates: PhD candidates and advanced RMa students
Credits: 3 ECTS
Fee: (non-members): € 250
Max. number of participants: 15
Coordinator & lecturer: Professor Selma Leydesdorff and selected guest speakers
Registration
Register and send in your motivation letter before: 20 November 2018

The course

Historians and others who interview about the past often talk about memory and how they are informed by memory, while they know memory is a difficult and problematic source of historical knowledge. During this course we shall concentrate on the use of memory in historical research. We will investigate the various efforts to create a more systematic and theoretically grounded approach than ‘just talking about days long gone’. How can we create a research pattern that overcomes the incidental and replace it by acceptance of the changing character of spoken narratives about the past? We shall also compare spoken memories with other ego-documents, bearing in mind the many other existing and valid ways of interviewing about personal experience. We shall analyse the creation of a particular kind of knowledge, which produces alternative and unfamiliar viewpoints. As historical interviews ask a lot of research time, participants in this course will be asked to reflect on questions like: Do I really need interviews, what do I want to know, are there other ways to get this kind of knowledge?

General starting-point for discussion is the study of life stories in oral history as a tradition in the humanities and in the social sciences. In due course, additional attention will be paid to alternative modes of in-depth interviews. Particular issues to be investigated concern the questions of intersubjectivity; (self) reflection; identification with the Other and her/his past; and the interviewer’s role in the process of meaning/knowledge production. What are our responsibilities towards people we interview, do we have particular responsibilities in our research communities? What does it mean to be close to an interviewee, what happens if there is distance or when we don’t like what we hear? Do we have to agree with our interviewees?

Since oral history is part of the digital humanities and a special programme is developed by the Centre for Humanities and Technology special attention will be given to:

  • How to store results of research.
  • How to use existing audio/visual sources for new research.
  • The implications of new ways to do research.
Preparation, literature and assignments

The readings consist of various articles, informing on how to organise a larger interview project, discussing how to analyze interviews. The various stages of such a large project will be followed. The list of literature is updated annually. There are always guest lecturers who explain how they overcome difficulties during their research, while the course also discusses more theoretical approaches. An element becoming more important is the use of websites for the dissemination of narrated accounts and interviewing with the help of a camera.

As usual, advanced researchers who want to refresh their knowledge with recent literature and who want to bring their problems and subjects to the discussion will be welcome. They are asked to accept a status in which they are equal with other participants. Students will be asked to prepare commentaries on the literature.

Details about the reading list and other assignments will be announced in due course.

In order to prepare for the literature and the course, participants are asked to write a short motivation letter.

Motivation letter

Due to the limited amount of places available, aspiring participants will have to write a motivation letter. Selection of candidates will be based on this letter. This letter should contain at least the following elements: 1) a paragraph briefly outlining your current position and current research project; and 2) a brief paragraph outlining why participation in this course is relevant to your own research.

Note: the main criterion for admission is that oral history and/or memory form an integral part of your research project. Therefore, make sure to articulate this clearly in your motivation letter.

Deadline: 20 November 2018. Send to: huizinga-fgw@uva.nl. After the deadline has passed you will be informed as soon as possible about the final decision.

Testing and evaluative criteria

Will be announced in due course.

Schedule

Will be announced in due course.

Credits & certificate

Certificates of participation and credits are available upon request after the event. The event coordinator will decide whether the participant has fulfilled all requirements for the ECTS. Please direct your request to Huizinga-fgw@uav.nl and include the postal address you want the certificate sent to. Note: the certificate itself is not valid as ECTS, you need to validate it yourself at your local Graduate School.