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Open Programma

The History and Future of Reading

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This course offers you an introduction to (new) media studies, book history and theories of literacy, in order to give you an interdisciplinary and historically inspired framework for interpreting present-day uses of literature and 'the reader' as a modern social/technological/biological phenomenon. It also teaches you how to carry out an individual research project in a field where literacies, communities, media, and textual analysis meet.

From the late eigteenth century onwards, national literatures (in print) played the leading role in bourgeois nation building processes, in the Netherlands as well as in the rest of Europe and the world (Anderson). It facilitated a national readership, based on individual and silent reading, Bildung, pleasure and identification with characters from novels, or their authors. This form of reading was promoted by literary societies, public libraries and formal education (in schools and at universities).

But was it the only form of readership? Which readerships were excluded from the literary centre, such as women, migrants, children and avant-garde groups? And following the 19th- and 20th-century media revolutions and the so-called end of ‘typographic man’ (McLuhan), what new forms of literacy became manifest (Felski)?

By carrying out individual research projects in line with these questions, you explore new possibilities for traditional literary analysis, taking changing readerships and media contexts into account, and challenging linear views of literary history.


Dhr. dr. J.A.T. (Jan) Rock

Faculteit der Geesteswetenschappen

Capaciteitsgroep Nederlandse Letterkunde

Data, tijd, locatie en prijs

  • 8 February - 15 March 2021
  • Monday 15:00-17:00 
  • Online
  • Costs: € 150 (AUV-members: € 135)

For the current study schedule, please always consult the UvA timetable website prior to each lecture. 

Important to know

  • Registration deadline: 24 January 2021
  • Study material: Jan Rock, Gaston Franssen & Femke Essink (eds.), Literatuur in de wereld: handboek moderne letterkunde (Nijmegen: Vantilt 2013). Marente de Moor, The Dutch Maiden (De Nederlandse maagd). Additional materials will be made available at the start of the course.
  • You can only audit an OUC, which means that you may only attend lectures and cannot attend seminars, take part in the examination, or obtain ECTS credits.

Public programme Humanities

This Open UvA course is part of the Faculty of Humanities' public programme. Beside Open UvA courses, the public programme also comprises special lectures and series of courses. The public programme is intended for alumni, employees looking for extra training, and all others who are interested in art, culture, philosophy, language and literature, history and religion.

Feiten & cijfers
Vorm Open UvA-college
Voertaal Engels
Start Februari