RMeS Winter School | RMa Day

When? 30 January 2020
Time? TBA
Where? Utrecht University
Organized by? Professor Frank Kessler (UU) and RMeS
Open to? 2nd-year RMA students who are a member of RMeS

THE WINTER SCHOOL IS FULLY BOOKEDplease send an e-mail to rmes-fgw@uva.nl with your name, university and research school. We will put you on our waiting list.

This year we will organise a special RMa Day on the second day of our RMeS Winter School & Graduate Symposium. This will include the following programme components: 1) parallel sessions to present work to peers, 2) lectures by RMeS staff members, and 3) a workshop on Research Valorisation and Fundraising Schemes.

The parallel sessions during the RMA Day of the RMeS Winter School will be primarily intended for 2nd-year RMA students, so that they can present their thesis proposals and receive constructive feedback from peers. The RMa students that wish to take part will have to contribute the following:

  1. A brief thesis proposal (1-2 A4) that will be collected prior to the event and circulated among fellow RMa Students and Winter School teachers.
  2. An 8-10-minute presentation on the day itself, which should include an introduction to the subject matter, the method/approach, expected outcomes, and the significance of the research for the field.
  3. A written response to a peer (participants will serve as respondents to each other’s presentations), of 3-5-minutes, that presents questions, notes, and constructive feedback.

The overall exercise is intended to provide RMa students with the opportunity to present work and respond to an Q&A like they would in a symposium or conference, and also to receive feedback on their research proposals.

Keynote speakers

  • TBA

Sign up for the Winter School

If you are interested in participating and earning credit (1 EC) please

  • Register for the Winter School before December 16, 2019 via our website. You will receive a confirmation email from the RMeS office.
  • Please submit a brief thesis proposal (1-2 A4) for individual presentations before January 14, 2020. This proposal should include a short introduction to the subject matter, method/approach, expected outcomes, and the significance of the research for the field into this proposal (which you will expand on in the presentation). On the basis of your submissions, we assign reviewers and organize responses. We will distribute the proposals to all participants and assign the tasks of writing a response, including a set of questions (1-2 pages long). Each of you will have to write one peer review.
  • Presentations: During the Winter School, each participant will give a presentation about their thesis proposal of 8-10 minutes. The peer assigned to be respondent will then provide a prepared peer review (as an oral summary during the session, and then in writing on the same day). All session members engage in general discussion and feedback.

The [urban interfaces] graduate seminar 2019-2020

Urban Ecologies

Dates: February 11 and 25, and March 10, 2020
Time and Venue: 13.00-17.00 @ MCW Lab, Muntstraat 2A, 3512 EV Utrecht
Credits: 3 ECTS (for RMa Studentes and PhD Candidates only, MA students who want to obtain ECTS can contact Dr Nanna Verhoeff for more information)
The seminar series is open to (R)Ma students and PhD candidates
Register via RMeS website

Organized by: http://urbaninterfaces.sites.uu.nl
More information: Dr Nanna Verhoeff – N.Verhoeff[at]uu.nl

Life in our cities pose huge challenges for today as well as the (near) future. Perhaps the most urgent challenges we face deal with the implications of the present for the  (near) future, specifically for the livability and sustainability of the complex and dynamic urban ecologies that we share, shape and design. In this seminar series, we propose to address the possibility of imagining alternative futures for urban life as we know it today  as an ‘interfacing’ challenge. Conceptually, interfaces are understood to establish relations between two or more separate entities, while at the same time (re)defining them. This relationaly and (literal) productivity we see at the heart of design and media, art, and performance practices and how, as urban interfaces, they address, respond to, and co-shape the current challenges for sustainable futures for urban ecologies.

In three sessions, we read and discuss a number of seminal and programmatic texts that address issues around livable and sustainable urban ecologies, the role of critical imaginaries and design in shaping futures for our cities, and perspectives for more-than-human cities:

  • Tuesday February 11: Transformative Cities
  • Tuesday February 25: Resilient Cities
  • Tuesday March 10: More-Than-Human Cities

Requirements: attendance and three blog reports on the reading and discussion.


Promotie: Rik Spanjers – Comics Realism and the Maus Event: Comics and the Dynamics of World War II Remembrance

De herinnering aan de Tweede Wereldoorlog in strips

Van stripverhalen werd lange tijd gedacht dat die niet geschikt zijn om de geschiedenis op een ‘juiste’ manier te verbeelden. De strip ‘Maus’ van Art Spiegelman bracht daar verandering in. In Maus toont Spiegelman zijn vaders ooggetuigenverslag van Auschwitz en de verlammende last van dit verleden op vader en zoon. Rik Spanjers kijkt naar de oorzaken en gevolgen van het succes van Maus en analyseert drie andere stripverhalen over de Tweede Wereldoorlog: Peter Pontiacs Kraut, Shigeru Mizuki’s Onward Toward Our Noble Deaths, en Magneto: Testament van Grek Pak en Carmine Di Giandomenico.

Op zoek naar een proefschrift? Kijk dan hier.

Dhr. R. Spanjers: Comics Realism and the Maus Event: Comics and the Dynamics of World War II Remembrance. Promotoren zijn prof. dr. T.L. Vaessens en prof. dr. Y. van Dijk. Copromotor is dr. D.A. Hassler-Forest.

Lees het persbericht


PhD Defence: Stephanie de Smale – Utrecht University

Stephanie de Smale | Ludic Memory Networks: Following Translations and Circulations of War Memory in Digital Popular Culture | PhD supervisor(s); Prof. J.F.F. Raessens, Prof. J.T. Jeuring, Prof. J. Demmers

On 27 September Stephanie de Smale defended her PhD thesis Ludic Memory Networks: Following Translations and Circulations of War Memory in Digital Popular Culture in the University Hall.

In a globalized world, popular culture plays an important role in conveying images and stories about war – also known as cultural war memory. Games are one of the most popular contemporary media in which we play with the past. An example is the game This War of Mine (11 bit studios, 2014), a game inspired by the Yugoslav war and the occupation of Sarajevo. The engagement around games with historical references displays this type of memory practice. Yet scientific research into the role of game culture in the management of cultural war memory is marginal.

Cultural war memory

In her dissertation De Smale investigates the role of digital game culture in translating cultural war memories by investigating the culture of This War of Mine. History, iconic images and stories are a source of inspiration for historical war games. These forms of cultural memory are translated into a gaming experience. However, these translations are subject to the actions and intentions of individual players. Moreover, sharing game content is a central part of this digital culture. This raises the question how cultural war memory is translated and distributed. Cultural war memories are spread worldwide, but content and meaning change as a result of their circulation on different digital platforms. De Smale describes how globalized representations in This War of Mine relate to national remembrance cultures about the Yugoslav war. For example, how war memory in game culture plays a role in the image and identification of post-war stakeholders, for whom the past is a controversial topic to this day.


Cultural war memory in popular digital culture is subject to the dynamics of translation and circulation. Game developers and players both shape the historical war games in their own way. The first translation can be seen when cultural war memories are translated into a game environment, where working conditions and personal backgrounds influence the end product. National perspectives on Yugoslav war remembrance are subject to exchange, because the game must be for a global audience. The second translation takes place when players subordinate the historical content of the game to self-presentation and creating entertaining content for the YouTube audience. Although cultural references remain in the content, they are not picked up by the players. A final translation takes place when the game is played by Bosnian youth. Here, post-war youths relate the global historical references in the game and the war experiences of game characters, stripped of explicit national references, to their own background and knowledge of the war.


In addition, the circulation of cultural war memories in game culture is stimulated by the principle of connectedness. This stimulates social interactions between users and creates players who share their gaming experiences on digital media platforms – around these experiences collectives arise that form spontaneous, informal memory groups. A second consequence of the connection between digital media platforms is that the distance between developers and players is reduced. The dynamics of translations and circulation in ludic remembrance networks is what makes the Yugoslav war a shared memory. Digital platforms become informal memory sites. In other words: networks in which we play with the past.

Datafied Society Seminar: Perspectives

Dates: September 30th, October 14th, October 28th, November 11th, November 25th, December 9th,
Time: 14:00 – 17:00
Venue: Utrecht University, Drift 13, room 0.05
Open to: PhD candidates, (R)MA students, RMeS members, NOG members (Maximum participants 12)
Credits: 3,5 ECTS
Organization: Maranke Wieringa, Gerwin van Schie and Tim de Winkel
Registration: Please send an email to G.A.vanschie@uu.nl to register
Register before: September 23rd

About the course

This reading seminar brings together perspectives on and approaches to research into various practices, systems and structures dealing with data and algorithms. We will bring together perspectives from critical data studies, gender studies,  new materialism and STS in order to think through concepts such as bias, algorithms, data, platforms, knowledge and accountability.

Participants who want to take the course for ECTS, are required to 1) actively participate during the whole course (10%), and 2) write a research proposal (90%). In this research proposal, participants are required to demonstrate how the texts we’ve discussed in the previous weeks could be applied to a research project. The research itself does not have to be executed. Instead, students will produce a proposal, which includes a case, research question(s), and propose an adequate method(ology)/theoretical framework.


3,5 ECTS (of 28 hours each), equates to 98 hours of study load. The study load is distributed as follows:

  • 6 seminars of 3 hours each = 18 hour;
  • Preparation of seminars 5 x 12 hours (thoroughly reading the texts and formulating questions) = 60 hours;
  • Writing a 2500 word research proposal = 20 hours.
About Datafied Society

The Datafied Society research platform addresses societal challenges emerging from novel data practices in public governance and management, (public) media and public space and seizes opportunities for using data practices to foster citizenship, civic participation and creative production. For the coming years, our focus areas are: Government and governmentalities, Social justice and public values, and tool criticism. As part of these focus areas, the Datafied Society will regularly offer rMA students, PhD candidates and other RMeS members a themed course in we will engage in a close-reading and discussion of selected texts.


Meeting 1: The Politics of “Bias”
Date: 30 September, 2019

Session Leader: Gerwin van Schie

  • Dave, Kinjal. 2019. “Systemic Algorithmic Harms.” Medium. May 31, 2019. https://points.datasociety.net/systemic-algorithmic-harms-e00f99e72c42.
  • Friedman, Batya, and Helen Nissenbaum. 1996. “Bias in Computer Systems.” ACM Transaction on Information Systems 14 (3): 330–47.
  • Harding, Sandra. 1991. Whose Science? Whose Knowledge? Thinking from Women’s Lives. Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press. (Chapter 5. What is Feminist Epistemology? p. 105-137)
  • D’Ignazio, Catherine, and Lauren Klein. 2019. Data Feminism. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press Open. Chapter 1 (https://bookbook.pubpub.org/pub/zrlj0jqb)

Meeting 2: Diffraction and Irreducibility
Date: 14 October, 2019
Session Leader: Iris van der Tuin

  • Barad, K. (2003). “Posthumanist Performativity: Toward an Understanding of How Matter Comes to Matter.” Signs: Journal of Women in Culture and Society 28(3): 801-31
  • Miyazaki, S. (2018). ALGORHYTHMICS: A Diffractive Approach for Understanding Computation. The Routledge Companion to Media Studies and Digital Humanities, edited by Jentery Sayers, 243-249. London and New York: Routledge.
  • Van der Tuin, I. 2019. “Deleuze and Diffraction.” In Posthuman Ecologies: Complexity and Process after Deleuze, edited by Rosi Braidotti and Simone Bignall. London: Rowman and Littlefield International. P. 17–39
  • Verhoeff, N. and I. Van der Tuin. forthcoming. “Irreducibility.” Critical Concepts for the Creative Humanities

Meeting 3: Radical Technologies, Counter Publics, Fringe Platforms
Date: 28 October, 2019
Session Leader: Tim de Winkel

  • Kampourakis, Ioannis. 2016. “Nancy Fraser: Subaltern Counterpublics.” Critical Legal Thinking (blog). November 6, 2016. http://criticallegalthinking.com/2016/11/06/nancy-fraser-subaltern-counterpublics/.
  • Lima, L., J. C. S. Reis, P. Melo, F. Murai, L. Araujo, P. Vikatos, and F. Benevenuto. 2018. “Inside the Right-Leaning Echo Chambers: Characterizing Gab, an Unmoderated Social System.” In 2018 IEEE/ACM International Conference on Advances in Social Networks Analysis and Mining (ASONAM), 515–22. https://doi.org/10.1109/ASONAM.2018.8508809.
  • de Winkel, Tim. forthcoming. “Fringe Platforms”. chapter 1 of unpublished manuscript.

Meeting 4: Constructing Gender and Race in Biometric-Based Algorithm
Date: 11 November, 2019
Session Leader: Christine Quinan

  • Buolamwini, Joy and Gebru, Timnit. 2018. ‘Gender Shades: Intersectional Accuracy Disparities in Commercial Gender Classification.’ Proceedings of Machine Learning Research 81: 1-15.
  • Pugliese, Joseph. 2005. ‘In Silico Race and the Heteronomy of Biometric Proxies: Biometrics in the Context of Civilian Life, Border Security and Counter-Terrorism Laws.’ Australian Feminist Law Journal 23: 1-32.
  • Keyes, OS. 2018. ‘The Misgendering Machines: Trans/HCI Implications of Automatic Gender Recognition.’ Proceedings of the ACM on Human-Computer Interaction 2, No. CSCW, Article 88.

Meeting 5: Algorithms and Art
Date: 25 November, 2019
Session Leader: Rosa Wevers

  • Blas, Z., & Gaboury, J. (2016). Biometrics and Opacity: A Conversation. Camera Obscura: Feminism, Culture, and Media Studies, 31(2 92), 155–165. https://doi.org/10.1215/02705346-3592510
  • Liljefors, M., & Lee-Morrison, L. (2015). Mapped Bodies : Notes on the Use of Biometrics in Geopolitical Contexts. In A. M. and F. Tylstrup (Ed.), Socioaesthetics: Ambience – Imaginary (pp. 53–72). Leiden, Boston: Koninklijke Brill NV.
  • Magnet, S. A. (2011). ‘Representing Biometrics’. In When Biometrics Fail. Gender, Race, and the Technology of Identity. Durham, London: Duke University Press. https://read-dukeupress-edu.proxy.library.uu.nl/books/book/1609/

To watch: Zach Blas, Facial Weaponization Suite. http://www.zachblas.info/works/facial-weaponization-suite/

Meeting 6: Algorithmic Accountability
Date: 9 December, 2019
Session Leader: Maranke Wieringa

Preparation and readings:

Literature will be accessible online or will otherwise be made available to students prior to the start of the course.

Credits & certificate

Certificates of participation and credits are available upon request after the event. Event coordinators will decide whether the participant has fulfilled all requirements for the ECTS. Please direct your request to RMeS-fgw@uav.nl and include the postal address you want the certificate send to. Note: the certificate itself is not valid as ECTS, you  need to validate it yourself at your local Graduate School.