Personal pages

Frans-Willem Korsten, PhD



Biographical note

Currently I am working both at the department of Literary Studies at the University of Leiden, and at the Erasmus School of History, Culture and Communication at the Erasmus University Rotterdam. Here I hold the Chair for Literature and Society since May 2007 in the name of Stichting Letteren en samenleving Rotterdam.

I was trained as a PhD between 1993 and 1998 at the University of Amsterdam by Mieke Bal and Frans van Eemeren. In my thesis, The Wisdom Brokers: Narrative's Interaction with Arguments in Cultural Critical Texts, I used a new kind of rhetorical analysis, combining narratology and argumentation theory. My objects of analysis already indicated my major fascination since then: the entanglement of aesthetics and politics in different kinds of texts.

In 1998 I got a job at the University of Leiden. I had to give classes to students from different disciplines and could not find an introduction into Literary Studies that really worked. So I wrote one: Lessen in literatuur (Lessons in Literature, 2002, 2005, 2008). Thirteen theoretical concepts orchestrate twelve chapters in which history, approach and analysis are being dealt with. The book is used at several universities in the Netherlands since 2005.

I am involved in several ways with the way in which literature is taught at highschools and at gymnasia, and with the way in which teachers are trained to become good teachers. I try to help people to become more interdisciplinary. I am a member of the Editorial Board of Boom-Onderwijs Amsterdam and as such responsible for a new series about the philosophy of science in different disciplines. I am also a member of the Editorial Board for the Humanities with Amsterdam University Press.

Since 2006 I am Chairman of the section of Letters in the national Council of Culture (Raad voor Cultuur) and was chairman of the evaluation committee of Kosmopolis in 2009. I was a tutor at the Piet Zwart Institute in Rotterdam from 2003-2008, which I where I started to love to work with artists. I still work with them, though not in an institutional context. When there is time (and there always is) I love to make music with my band Zimihc. I am living in Utrecht with my partner and three sons.

Fields of Interest

Rhetoric (classical and modern); Literature and Politics; Literature and Law; Socio-cultural organization of European societies; Theatre; Ways of Reading the Urban Environment