Research master course – Trending Topics

Research master course – Trending Topics

When? February – March 2013, Friday afternoons from 1 to 5 pm (see dates in program)
Where? University of Amsterdam. All dates: Oudemanhuispoort 4-6 – room C 2.05, Amsterdam, except for April 5, BG 5 Oudezijds Achterburgwal 233-237 – Room 2.29, Amsterdam
For whom?: First and second year RMa students in Media Studies (max 20 participants)
RMeS staff and PhD researchers are welcome to sit in on specific sessions; please send an e-mail to RMeS if you intend to attend one or more seminar sessions:
Offered by? the Reseach School for Media Studies (RMeS), as part of the RMa curriculum
Speakers? A blend of the best faculty teaching Media Studies in The Netherlands
Fee? PhD candidates & RMa students enrolled with RMeS: free
PhD candidates & RMa students enrolled with other research schools: contact us for funding information
Non-members: € 250,00
Credits? 6 ECTS
Registration? Max. number of participants: 15. Possibility of a waitinglist. Enrollment will be on a first-come, first-served basis. We encourage you to register early to secure your place in the seminar.

General description:

Each Spring, the Research School of Media Studies will offer a course where faculty members of all seven participating universities offer workshops on the latest research in their field of interest. If you want to get acquainted with a variety of cutting edge research in The Netherlands with a strong international component while earning credits towards your degree, you may be interested in taking this course. All seven universities accept the credits earned in this module. This is a unique opportunity to get to know students and faculty from all over the country; getting acquainted with a number of top notch researchers in the field will be particularly helpful if you aspire to pursue a career in research or teaching.

Practical matters:

This academic year, in February and March 2013, the course will be taught in Amsterdam, next year it will be Utrecht. RMA students officially enrolled in university programs of seven Dutch universities (UvA, UU, VU, EUR, UM, RUG, RUN) are eligible to enroll free of charge. The course will be offered in February and March on five Friday afternoons from 1 to 5 PM.  Students will be required to prepare for classes by reading the assigned texts and some preparatory assignments. Students can earn up to 6 ECTS by finishing a paper (5,000 words) on one of the “trending topics” listed below. An oral presentation to your fellow students is also part of the requirements. Each week, a “trending topic” will be introduced by a professor; assignments, readings and preparatory work will be supervised by a UvA staff member. One of the trending topics is titled “users and audiences”, a theme that will be fully explored in this year’s summer school in Rotterdam (June 10 through June 14, 2013).

Trending Topics

This year’s course will introduce state-of-the-art research in screen, sound, game, and data cultures. Media Studies is decreasingly tied to specific media types (film, television, or digital media) or practices (e.g. journalism) and crossovers between these specific areas of expertise are both theoretically and methodologically challenging. Larger trends such as digitization and convergence prompt researchers to study the complex interrelation of technological changes and media content, users, and producers.  In each of these four weeks, some major trends are presented by researchers who have just published books and/or articles in their respective areas of expertise: screen and sound culture, software and data culture, audience studies and game cultures. The four themes are:


Friday February 8, 2013: Sound and screen culture:

Dr. Nanna Verhoeff (UU): on mobile screens

Dr. Carolyn Birdsall (UvA): on sound culture in the digital age


Friday, February 22, 2013: Data cultures

Dr. Bernhard Rieder (UvA): Software analysis and data culture

Anne Helmond, MA (UvA): Participation on social platforms


Friday, March 8, 2013: Audience and users

Dr. Stijn Reijnders (EUR): Media tourism: Fans on pilgrimage

Dr. Eggo Müller (UU): Television as participatory culture

Dr. Tamara Witschge (RUG): The changing relationship between journalism and audiences.


Friday March 22, 2013: Game cultures

Prof. dr. Jeroen Jansz (EUR): Are games a good tool to boost civic engagement?

Dr. Karin Wenz (UM): ‘Gamification’ and the transformation of culture

Prof. dr. Joost Raessens (UU): Homo ludens 2.0. The ludic turn in media theory


Friday April 5, 2013: Presentation day

Each seminar participant offers a 10-15-minute presentation which outlines the thesis, argument and material of the paper he or she intends to write for this class.

Deadline paper: April 22, 2013.


Trending Topics is part of the RMeS curriculum for RMa students. This curriculum continues with two 6 EC RMa tutorials, in April to June 2012, the topics of which are related to Trending Topics.


RMeS Tutorials – Bernhard Rieder & Carolyn Birdsall

RMeS Tutorials

When?  between 2 April – 28 June 2013
Where? University of Amsterdam
For whom? First and second year research master students in Media Studies and related fields
Offered by? the Research School for Media Studies (RMeS), as part of the RMa curriculum
Fee? (non-members): € 250,00
Credits? 6 ECTS
Participants? min. 3, max. 6
Deadline? TBA (ca. 15 March)

Bernhard Rieder: Software as Object of Cultural Analysis (6 EC)

Software is a puzzling object. Written like text but functioning like a machine it differs from other forms of technology/media by the way it is built, distributed, and used. At the same time, software has become ubiquitous: from enterprise management to online environments, from the most critical to the very banal, computer programs are part of a continuously growing part of everyday practices. But how to study these objects, how to conceive them intellectually? This tutorial aims at having a closer look at the emerging field of “software studies” but will also consider literature concerning adjunct subjects that may prove useful for understanding the phenomenon at hand, such as the history and theory of statistics, accounting, and information processing. Our guiding question will be: how does software introduce specific modes of structuring communication, interaction, and cultural production?
Register for this tutorial – THIS EVENT IS FULLY BOOKED

Carolyn Birdsall: Sound Media and Aesthetics  (6 EC)

In recent decades there has been a growing interest in sound, listening and audio culture within the broader field of media studies. In this tutorial, we will initially examine the significance and emergence of modern sound media (from the gramophone and wireless radio to tape technology and digital sound). After engaging with media historical perspectives, we will discuss the aesthetic dimensions to sound practice, its media-specific forms and modes of listening. The tutorial will introduce key concepts for sound analysis (including voice, noise, music, rhythm, acoustic space) and theoretical texts by McLuhan, Kittler, Chion, Altman, and others. Participants will be invited to discuss these texts in relation to contemporary examples, and to develop their own research interest with a specific object of analysis.
Register for this tutorial – THIS EVENT IS FULLY BOOKED

Program and assignments

The tutorials consist of two parts: 2 to 4 group-meetings with the teacher, in which the assigned readings will be discussed, and subsequently intensive individual supervision in writing a paper on a subject related to the theme of the tutorial, over email and/or in person. Readings and assignments will be announced in due time.

These tutorials are part of the RMeS curriculum for RMa students. This curriculum continues with the RMeS Summerschool, June 10 – 14 2012.

Public lecture and master class – Laura Marks (Simon Fraser University – Vancouver)

Public lecture – A Noisy Brush with the Infinite: Noise in Enfolding-Unfolding Aesthetics

Date: Monday, October 15 2012
Time: 20:00 till 21:30
Venue: Art house LUX in Nijmegen

The Centre for New Aesthetics and the Graduate School for the Humanities at Radboud Universiteit Nijmegen, are proud to announce a lecture and a masterclass by Laura Marks.

Laura Marks will give a public lecture about unfolding-enfolding aesthetics, which departs from the observation that Islamic art is parallel to the visual media of the digital age. After all, they are equally based on abstraction, geometric forms or code-generated patterns. Moreover, engaging with Islamic art – like engaging with digital art or conceptual art – gives rise to new perceptions, affections and thoughts, which in the case of a religious person permit a contemplation of divinity. This process is potentially infinite and without end, for God is always beyond grasp. For a nonreligious person, contemplating on the invisible – whether spiritual, historical, social or political – is actually not so different. However, the infinite cannot be perceived as such. It needs to be ‘mediated’ by processes of unfolding and enfolding. Arguing that information or code unfolds from the infinite and that images subsequently unfold from information, Marks explains how images and (digital) information come into the world and roll back into the infinite in a ceaseless flow of unfolding and enfolding. According to her, images are information that is unfolded into perceptible forms of expression. They are traces, effects or documents of the infinite, whereas the infinite itself is inaccessible to perception. It merely appears as noise and our perception selectively unfolds some aspect of it. Showing several short films, Marks will talk about noise in relation to enfolding-unfolding aesthetics.

Tickets are 5,00 EUR and to be obtained through LUX (either online via or at the box office on the day of the event). Contact: Martijn Stevens (

Master class – Methods for affective analysis

Date: Tuesday, October 16 2012
Time: 10:00 till 12:00
Venue: Radboud University Nijmegen
Registration: Martijn Stevens

in co-operation with the Netherlands Institute for Cultural Analysis and the Research School for Media Studies

In addition to giving a public lecture about unfolding-enfolding aesthetics, Laura Marks will demonstrate her method for affective analysis, which begins with perception and sensory experience, during a seminar for graduate students. It will be an active session with everyone practicing, so the participants are requested to bring a sensory object that they are currently studying (artwork, film clip, sound work, physical object, et cetera). Participants can earn 1 EC credit. The seminar will also require preparation in terms of reading, which will be distributed after registration. Please notice that the number of participants is limited. Contact: Martijn Stevens (

Laura Marks is Dena Wosk University Professor of Art and Culture Studies at Simon Fraser University in Vancouver. Having curated over forty programmes of film, video and experimental media art for venues around the world, the focus of her current work is on contemporary cinema in the Arab world and the Islamic genealogy of new media art. She is the author of Enfoldment and Infinity: An Islamic Genealogy of New Media Art (2010), Touch: Sensuous Theory and Multisensory Media (2002), and The Skin of Film: Intercultural Cinema, Embodiment, and the Senses (2000).


Cross Media Seminar 2012 – 2013

The television team is starting the Cross-Media Seminar this academic year. Organized in collaboration with ASCA, NICA, and RMES, the seminar is open to everyone interested in participating, from Research MA students, to PhD candidates, to academic staff. Graduate students and researchers from other universities are also very welcome.

The theme of the 2012-2013 Cross-Media Seminar is “Cultural Reinvention and Technologies of the Mediated Subject”. Below are details of the meetings in Semester 1. You can also find a more complete description of the seminar here:

Semester 1 seminar meetings (all meetings are from 15.00-17.30)

Friday, September 28
Bungehuis 3.37, Spuistraat 210, Amsterdam

  • Group reading & discussion: “Life After New Media” by Sarah Kember and Joanna Zylinska

Friday, November 9
Universiteitsbibliotheek Vondelzaal, Singel 425, Amsterdam

  • Sebastian Scholz (UvA): “Re-Locating the Televisual: Space – Image – Technology”

Friday, December 14
BG5 2.13, Oudezijds Achterburgwal 233-237, Amsterdam

  • Nick Couldry (Goldsmiths): “Doing Things with Media: The Varieties of Media Practice”

If you are interested in participating in the seminar, please contact Markus Stauff ( We hope to see you there!

Master class – Robert Darnton (Harvard University)

Master class Robert Darnton

Date: 26 September 2012
Venue: Bungehuis room 1.01, Spuistraat 210 Amsterdam
Open to: PhD candidates and advanced RMa students
Fee (non members): € 50.00

Blogging now and then (250 years ago)

Robert Darnton, Carl H. Pforzheimer University Professor en director of the  Harvard University Library, will host a master class on current and past blogging, discussing the methods and concepts of doing that kind of cultural history. More information on theme, preparation and assignments will be given in due course.

This master class is open to PhD students and advanced RMA students in the field of cultural history, book history, but also media studies.

In the evening professor Darnton will present the closing lecture of a SPUI 25 series on the future of the book.