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Cultural perceptions of safety. Reflecting on modern and pre-modern feelings of safety in literature, philosophy, art and history

Workshop (1 ECTS)

This one day workshop has the goal to reflect on safety from a cultural perspective and answer the question: How can the concepts of safety and unsafety be used in humanities research? Simultaneously, we will look into the influence of safety and unsafety as concepts in research (even if safety is not the specific topic of a research) via the discussion and analysis of various sources. During the workshop, participants will have the chance to relate their own research interest or topic to the broader concepts of safety and unsafety and reflect on what these concepts and safety perspective can add our understanding of larger societal changes over time.

The workshop will exist of two parts. The first part will consist of a lecture given by prof. dr. Eddo Evink about the meaning of the concept of safety over time and the theoretical and cultural use of this concept. In this he will reflect on the relationship between safety and the notions of securitas and certitudo. This will be followed by a group discussion in which the prepared questions and statements of the students will be used to guideline the session with the goal of reflecting on the use of this concept of safety in research.

The second part of the day will be focused on where these cultural perceptions of safety can be found. This session will begin with a talk by the workshop organizers Gemma Blok and Martje aan de Kerk to showcase examples of how safety and unsafety plays a part in different research fields and which sources can be utilized for research into the perceptions of safety. They will focus on cultural expressions of safety and unsafety in literary works, artworks, architecture, various media and historical sources in order to make students aware of the possibilities of this research concept as well as introducing them to a variety of source types. Afterwards all students will present a sources that they themselves have selected and in teams of two will work with these sources on a deeper level, to get hands on practice with how these cultural perceptions of safety and unsafety can be used in different research projects.

Workshop and conference visit, including writing an short essay (2 ECTS)

Besides just participating in the workshop, students can also choose for a second option. They will then also attend one of the two days of the conference ‘Cultural perceptions of safety. Reflecting on modern and pre-modern feelings of safety in literature, philosophy, art and history’ and afterwards will hand in an essay of 2 to 3 pages. In this essay at least one of the keynote lectures will be used in the participants reflection on: How safety discourses, representations and practices function in societies and how these concepts of safety and unsafety can, should or should not be used in humanities research.


Unfortunately this workshop is fully booked. Please contact the Huizinga office for a spot on the waiting list.

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