Prof. Frans-Willem Korsten PhD

Biographical note

Currently I am working both at the department of Film- and Literary Studies at the University of Leiden, and at the Erasmus School of History, Culture and Communication in Rotterdam. Here I hold the Chair by special appointment for Literature and Society since May 2007, on behalf 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). The book was used at several universities in the Netherlands since 2005 and I have currently reworked it in an interactive way. In my research, my studies focused on how art deals with the problem of the political, with sovereignty, of how art and literature function at the limits of the law; and how art and literature help us to read and experience the urban environments that we are in.

I am involved in several ways with the way in which literature is taught at high schools and at gymnasia, and with the way in which teachers are trained to become good teachers. I was a member of several Editorial Boards, of juries, of assessment committees in national research organisations, I acted as Chairman of the section of Letters in the national Council of Culture (Raad voor Cultuur), 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, also as a part time lector now at the PZI. I have recently become a member of the Supervisory Board of BAK-Utrecht. When there is time (and there always is) I love to make music with my band Zimihc.

Fields of Interest

  • Rhetoric (classical and modern)
  • Literature and Politics
  • Literature and Law
  • Politico-cultural organization of Europe
  • Theatricality and Dramatization
  • (Pre-)history of Capitalism
  • Reading the urban environment
  • Close reading

Prizes and Awards

  • Three time nominee for best teacher of the University of Leiden
  • Best supervisor of the Netherlands 2015

Curriculum Vitae

  • At Utrecht University I studied Dutch Arts and Letters first, and then Comparative Literature and Literary Theory, from 1977 to 1984.
  • I wrote my PhD thesis at the University of Amsterdam, with Mieke Bal and Frans van Eemeren as supervisors.
  • Since 2007 I hold the chair by special appointment in Literature and Society at the Erasmus University Rotterdam (Erasmus School of History, Culture and Communication).
  • Since 2013 I am part-time lector at the Willem de Kooning Academy in Rotterdam, in particular at the Piet Zwart Institute.
  • I have been working mainly as senior lecturer at the department of Film- and Literary Studies of Leiden University since 1998.
  • From January 2010 to September 2013 I was Director of Education of LUCAS, the Leiden University Centre for the Arts in Society.
  • I was responsible for the NWO internationalisation program Post/autonomia and precarity – the global heritage (2010-2014), and with Kornee van der Haven, Inger Leemans, Karel Vanhaesebrouck, I was happy to see ITEMP being funded by NWO: Imagineering techniques in the Early Modern period (2015-2019).
  • I worked for the Dutch national Council for Culture as chairman for the section Letters, and was a member of the Rotterdam Council for Culture. I was a several time member of assessment committees for the Norwegian Research Council and for The Netherlands Organization for Scientific Research, NWO.
  • I was a member of an editorial board (Boom-The Hague Publishers) that was concerned with a new series of introductions into the philosophy of science (and edited four volumes in that series). For a couple of years I was member of the editorial board of the open access Journal of Dutch Literature (AUP).
  • At the moment I am focusing on teaching and writing and my PhD community and the only committee I am still a member of is the Annie Romein-Verschoor committee which organizes a Leiden University lecture each year on International Women’s day.