Johannes von Engelhardt: Regarding the Pain of Others: Representations and Perceptions of Mediated Distant Suffering (2011-2016)

Johannes von Engelhardt: Regarding the Pain of Others: Representations and Perceptions of Mediated Distant Suffering

01-03-2011 – 29-02-2016
Erasmus University Rotterdam / Erasmus Research Centre for Media, Communication and Culture
Promotor: Prof. Dr. Jeroen Jansz

This project focuses on the mass media in their function of carrying stories and (audio-) visuals of suffering in developing countries into the lives of Western media audiences.

Much of the existing research in this field has focused on the way the media have portrayed human tragedies in times of imminent humanitarian disaster (e.g. the earthquake in Haiti) or long-term, structural large-scale suffering in the developing world (e.g. the HIV/Aids epidemic in Africa). Authors of these media representation studies often implicitly or explicitly assume certain effects of the coverage of suffering on audiences. However, surprisingly little actual empirical investigations can be found into audiences’ responses to and interpretations of mediated large-scale suffering. This project aims to fill part of this significant gap in the literature by looking into the ways in which Western audiences respond to and make sense of mediated human suffering in distant places.


Maarten Michielse: Rearticulating Sounds – Appropriating Popular Music Online (2011-2015)

Maarten Michielse: Rearticulating Sounds – Appropriating Popular Music Online

January 2011- January 2015
Maastricht University
Supervised by: Prof. Dr. Renée van de Vall (promotor), Dr. Karin Wenz

This project looks at how music enthusiasts appropriate popular music online by remixing, covering, and mashing-up popular songs and sharing these self-made products within online communities. The project uses a virtual ethnographic approach to look at how music enthusiasts produce their works, how they deploy, develop, and share all sorts of skills and competences, and how they use different tactics in order to be able to make these songs ‘their own’. While consumers always had the possibility to engage creatively with music, it is only since the last decade that the general availability of creative software and the networked computer has made it possible to produce, distribute, and share musical appropriations on a scale never seen before. Within the academic world, this process has often been framed in overarching theories such as “prosumption”, “participatory culture”,  or “read/write culture”. Although these frameworks help to understand the dynamic relationship between producers and consumers, they also bring along the risk of presenting participation as something that happens almost naturally and automatically. In other words: these theories make it easy to overlook the specific efforts, skills, and techniques consumers deploy in order to actually become producers. To gain a better understanding of these processes, this research project investigates the question: How do music enthusiasts appropriate popular music online and how do they share, develop, and discuss all sorts of musical and creative skills in the process?

Enis Dinç: Images of Atatürk: The Commemoration of the Turkish Past in Audiovisual Media (2012-2016)

Enis Dinç:  Images of Atatürk: The Commemoration of the Turkish Past in Audiovisual Media

1 September 2012- 1 September 2016
ASCA, University of Amsterdam
Promotores: Prof. Frank van Vree and Prof. Esther Peeren

The Turkish State has for decades acted as a gatekeeper to ensure state control over the way the Turkish Republican leader Mustafa Kemal Atatürk is portrayed in public media. The government authorizes only certain narratives, in which Atatürk is represented as a flawless political leader, a godlike father figure, and a secular/modern man. However, in the 1990s, Turkey found itself on the threshold of a shift from a state-controlled to a liberalized political economy, a shift with implications for the country`s cultural industries. The broadcasting system, which had functioned under the strict monopoly of the Turkish Radio and Television Corporation (TRT), was transformed by the rapid explosion of commercial television channels, paving the way for a multi-vocal cultural environment. Because of this process, I will argue, the meta-narrative of official historiography constructed around the heroic image of Atatürk is now being challenged by new films and documentaries that represent him in alternative ways and, at the same time, propose other heroes.

In my research, I will examine the changes in the images of Atatürk and the involvement of visual media in the production of concepts of the “nation” and cultural memory. It is my contention that the transformation and manipulation of Atatürk`s media representation has important effects on the political and cultural life of Turkey, being a crucial element in the construction of national identity and political decision-making. I would argue that it is not only the different trends in Turkish government that modified the image of Atatürk but that this representation has also become an active element defining and framing the development of Turkish politics. Thus, it is my intention to investigate audiovisual images of Atatürk from his lifetime until the present in order to reveal this dialectical function of myth making for the Turkish state and society, and at the same time, to study the dynamics of practices of cultural memory, which may support or counter the official myth-making process.


Rik Smit: Retracing Memory Practices in Digital Spaces (2012-2017)

Rik Smit, M.A.: Retracing Memory Practices in Digital Spaces

October 2012 – September 2017
Groningen Research Institute for the Study of Culture (ICOG is its Dutch acronym)
Rijksuniversiteit Groningen, Department of Media and Journalism Studies
Promotores: Prof. Dr. M.J. Broersma and Dr. Ansgard Heinrich

Description of the project:
How are memory practices changing and which new practices are emerging in our increasingly mediatized and digitized culture? This overarching question guides my research into publicly mediated memory. Memory is a site of constant contestation and reconstruction, an unstable network formed by ideas, objects, people and the technologies of memory we call media. It therefore requires a methodological approach that lays bare these shifting interactions and associations in empirical contexts. This research attempts to do so by examining memory as it is formed on different platforms such as Facebook and through emerging (digital) practices.

Sarah Dellmann: Images of ‘Dutchness’. The Emergence of Modern Popular Imagery and Representations (2010-2014)

Sarah Dellmann: Images of ‘Dutchness’. The Emergence of Modern Popular Imagery and Representations

May 2010-April 2014
Project “The Nation and Its Other”, NWO Program “Cultural Dynamics”:
Utrecht University, Institute for Cultural Inquiry (ICON)
Promotor: Prof. Dr. Frank Kessler, supervisor: Dr. Nanna Verhoeff

In my PhD project, I investigate the role of images in the creation of supposed common knowledge about the Netherlands and the Dutch in the long nineteenth century. To this end, I did archival research and assembled images (> 2.500) which claim to inform about the Netherlands and the Dutch in a realist way. I especially look at images that circulated internationally and at high scale – that is, images in popular visual media such as catchpenny prints, perspective prints, prints of people in local costumes, advertising trade cards, illustrated magazines, travel guides, promotional material for travel and tourism, stereoscopic photographs, magic lantern slides, picture postcards and films of early cinema. The images were used in different fields – geography, anthropology, entertainment, tourism or expressing feelings towards the homeland.

The transmedial and comparative approach enables me to trace the occurrence and change of motifs that were used to communicate information about The Netherlands and the Dutch. My assumption is that supposed common knowledge about the Netherlands and the Dutch is the result of performing the images with textual comment. Rather than searching for a ‘real Dutch identity’ that was represented ‘rightly’ or ‘wrongly’, I investigate how images now associated with the Netherlands or the Dutch came into circulation. When did the cliché of tulips, cows, and windmills emerge? Why did people around 1900 associate the Dutch with baggy-trousered fishermen?