PhD Researchers

Kim Smeenk | Making it personal. A digital humanities analysis of how subjectivity shapes the news

Kim Smeenk | Rijksuniversiteit Groningen, Journalism and Media Studies |
My project conceptualizes personal journalism and its epistemological underpinnings by analysing its forms and underlying practices between 1945 and 2018 in Dutch newspapers through a multi-method digital humanities approach. Personal journalism, in which journalists are transparent about how stories are shaped by the reporter’s subjectivity, has been gaining prominence. By foregrounding reporters’ subjectivity, personal journalism overtly shows how a story is grounded in their experiences and beliefs

Jeroen Boom | Cinematic Cartographies of Urban Peripheries in Contemporary Europe

Jeroen Boom | Radboud University Nijmegen
European cities have been privileged sites for thematizations of modernity, progress, and national identity. What happens at the margins of these cities tends to acquire less attention. This research aims to map the production of urban peripheries in contemporary cinema from a trans-European perspective in order to understand the political, aesthetic and affective dimensions of marginality across and amidst local expressions of urban deprivation. Europe’s urban outskirts have long been seen as either a violent spectacle or a placeless wasteland in the shadows of the city-center.

Zexu Guan | Cashing in online fame in China: beauty blogger and Internet celebrity economy

PhD Project

Zexu Guan | Leiden University
Chinese beauty bloggers are social media users, mainly women, who produce makeup tutorials regularly and attract plenty of followers successfully. In China, they are called wanghong (网红, Internet celebrity). With the online fame, this group creates pop-cultural trends on social media platforms and boost the e-commerce business. By cashing in their online fame, they transfer their usage of social media into business, shaping the new type of employment and economy in the age of social media in China.

Bjorn Beijnon | Schizophrenia and the Construction of Reality: Experiencing Subjectivities through Virtual Reality

Bjorn Beijnon | University of Amsterdam
This research examines the exploration of virtual realities in the Virtual Reality Head-Mounted-Display (VR-HMD) as a way of studying the cognitive process of people with schizophrenia (PSZ). By taking a medical humanities approach, this research will, on the one hand, investigate the construction of reality and experience of subjectivity for PSZ in a virtual environment.

Carmen Longas Luque | Race/Ethnicity discourses in sports media. How racist is Spanish televised football?

Carmen Longas Luque | Race/Ethnicity discourses in sports media. How racist is Spanish televised football?

Carmen Longas Luque | Erasmus University Rotterdam
Sports media is able to attract large audiences and in Europe, this is particularly the case with televised football. Despite journalism’s strive for objectivity, discourses in live coverages or post-match highlights may convey ideas that help produce and reproduce common stereotypes about race and ethnicity. While in other countries a difference in how football players are portrayed based on race/ethnicity has already been reported, it is still unknown whether this also applies to Spanish televised football.

Arne van Lienden | Televising Difference: Race and Ethnicity in Polish Televised Football

Arne van Lienden | Erasmus University Rotterdam (ERMeCC)
This research focuses on the ways in which hegemonic and stereotypical racialized discourses get reproduced in the domain of professional mediatized sports. It does so by focusing on the interplay between the content, the production process, and the audience reception of televised football in Poland and is part of the NWO-funded research project How racist is televised football and do audiences react? where the same is done in three other European countries.

Lucie Chateau | Finding Political Empowerment in the Digital Public Sphere: Affects, Affordances and Aesthetics

Lucie Chateau | Tilburg University
This project concerns the deliberative potential of digital public spheres and the possibility of finding a space for a critique of capitalism online, and the forms this critique might embody. To this, I will need to address the obstacles standing in the way of formulating a critique of ideology online.

Tim de Winkel | Fringe platforms: Researching the role of the contesting alternatives to the mainstream social media platforms

Since 2016 the administrative (European Commission, 2018) – and public – incentive for more moderation caused several of the major social media, such as YouTube, Facebook and Twitter, to take measures against hate speech (Fioretti, 2018), resulting in the removal of content and banning of users. Predominantly focusing on the alt-right communities, several alternative services have manifested (Zannettou, 2018, p. 1), that allow the speech that was banned on their mainstream equivalent.

Maranke Wieringa | Approaching algorithmic account(-)ability: developing tools to foster formalized and practical transparency in municipal data projects

This research aims to tackles the question: What is the current view on algorithmic accountability within municipalities, (how) do they practice it, and how can this practice be improved? The first part of the investigation will thus sketch a general overview of algorithmic accountability, in collaboration with VNG Realisatie. Aside from this national picture, the project will also look into a concrete case: the algorithmic fraud detection system implemented by several municipalities to screen those who receive benefits (Hijink 2018), which were the topic of recent parliamentary discussion ( 2018).

Veerle Ros | The Subjective Frame: a Cognitive Approach to Authenticity in Documentary Film

Veerle Ros | University of Groningen
The idea that photographic and filmic images contain traces of historical or actual reality has long been thought of as central to documentary’s defining quality as a ‘document’ of historical reality. This paradigm proved untenable in the face of arguments concerning the inherently constructed nature of representations, given additional momentum amidst the current digitization of visual media.

Qian Huang | Digital Vigilantism in China: Mediated Visibility in the Context of Social Change and Social Harm

Qian Huang | Erasmus University Rotterdam
Digital vigilantism is a process where citizens who are facilitated by digital media and technology are collectively offended by other citizens’ activities and use visibility as a weapon to conduct mediated policing and control. In China, DV is featured by the so-called ‘human flesh search engine’ and other forms of citizen-led vigilante activities.

Qiong Gong | Social media usage and its impacts on young adults in China

Qiong Gong | Erasmus University Rotterdam
My project ‘Social media usage and its impacts on young adults in China’ focus on the effects of social media use on the attitudes of young adults (18-40-year-old) towards politics, arts and culture and health related issues. The focus is on the case of China: a country with a state-controlled media system, in which during the past decades a highly diversified media ecology of social media platforms has emerged.

Rashid Gabdulhakov | Digital Vigilantism in Russia: Mediated Visibility in the Context of Social Change and Social Harm

Rashid Gabdulhakov | Erasmus University Rotterdam
As part of an international project, this research examines digital vigilance in the context of the Russian Federation with the aim of a nuanced representation of the phenomenon, including emergence and decay of cases, motives behind participation and its impact on targets, as well as the role of the state agents in mediated citizen-led justice.

Amanda Brouwers: Entrepreneurship at work: analysing practice, labour, and creativity in journalism

Amanda Brouwers | University of Groningen
The overall aim of the larger project, initiated by Tamara Witschge, is to theorise emerging shared understandings, everyday work activities, and material contexts of entrepreneurial journalism, in a time when established legacy media face significant challenges and new forms of journalism are emerging. The aim of the sub-project is to provide detailed observations of everyday activities in entrepreneurial journalism.

Sofie Willemsen: Breaching mobile private life: an experiment with public digital materialities

Sofie Willemsen | University of Groningen
My research takes up an embodied, spatio-temporal perspective on our daily mediated realities. It focuses on the moving trajectories in space and time of people and their media devices. The central question I wish to ask and tentatively explore, is whether and how media materials can help us shape sustainable forms of togetherness.

Frank Weij: Geopolitics of artivism

Frank Weij | Erasmus University Rotterdam
Geopolitics of artivism explores the complex relationship between arts and politics in an increasingly globalized world. In Western democracies artists enjoy a relatively high degree of artistic freedom, meaning that artists are able to incorporate explicit political advocacy in their artworks. However, since most art fields are relatively autonomous from other societal fields, impact of politically engaged art often remains limited.

Advan Navis Zubaidi: The Representation of Disabled People in Indonesia TV Programs

Advan Navis Zubaidi | VU University
There are various representations of disabled people on TV programs. Those representations may affect the way viewers interact with disabled people in daily life. In Indonesia, the disabled were often involved in three different genres; telenovela, talk shows, and reality show. It could be argued that involving the disabled may easily attract viewers’ attention.

Andrea Wagemans: Negotiating different innovation logics in entrepreneurial journalism: looking beyond the perceived naturalness of open innovation

Andrea Wagemans | University of Groningen
Through a detailed study of innovation processes, this research proposal aims to gain insight into how networked ways of working within new journalism initiatives function in day-to-day practice. Based on the idea that innovation thrives in a context where a diversity of actors collaborate (see o.a. Blomqvist and Levy, 2006; Nieto and Santamaria, 2007; Ketchen e.a., 2007), this proposal researches how collaborations and negotiations between partners take place and what they result in.

Sjors Martens: City Games’ City-Game-Cycle: Fitting the Game to the City Challenge

Sjors Martens | Utrecht University
Games addressing citizens are increasing in number. Matching this increase are new and recurring narratives about what the city is. Cities have been called Smart, playful, sustainable, hackable, social – all names that determine the roles of cities and actions of their citizens. In my research I argue that the city games developed to foster these city ideas are initially informed by (sometimes implicit) values about the city.

Arnoud Arps: Remembering Violence: Cultural memory, popular culture and the Indonesian War of Independence

Arnoud Arps | University of Amsterdam
This PhD-project investigates how cultural memories of the violence during the Indonesian War of Independence are produced, constructed and consumed through contemporary Indonesian popular culture. For the past few years, Indonesian popular culture has been structurally and continuously referring to the Indonesian War of Independence, including its atrocities. This project takes Indonesian war-themed popular culture as its object of study

Roel Lutkenhaus: The Entertainment-Education Strategy in the New Media Landscape

Roel Lutkenhaus | Erasmus University Rotterdam, Center for Media & Health, Gouda
The Entertainment-Education (EE) strategy uses popular media to engage with target audiences on health-related topics such as condom use, drug addiction, or hearing loss. Traditionally, health (communication) professionals have collaborated with creative professionals such as script writers, directors, or producers to develop effective and appealing EE interventions for radio and TV. However, the media landscape has saturated and the Internet has afforded target audiences to create and circulate content themselves.

Jiyu Zhang: Global Chinese Cinema: Culture, Identity, and Politics in Chinese Films

Jiyu Zhang | Leiden University
No later than the turn of the century, the notion of Chineseness has entered into a crisis. Many theorists and scholars, including Rey Chow, Ien Ang, and Shu-mei Shih, to just name a few, have called into question the seemingly impeccable notion of Chineseness. For them, “Chineseness” reads like a monolithic, compulsory, and dominant presence that almost immediately suggests suppression and elimination.

Raquel Raj: Game Changer: Participatory Structures in Video Games

Raquel Raj | University of Groningen
All video games grant agency to their players, requiring active participation to move the game and narrative forward. Yet this participation is heavily structured and bounded by game rules and code. The tension between the structures of participation in video games, and the ways in which players negotiate the rules of play has the potential to illustrate not only how games work, and how games can work for us, but also offer insight into structures of participation in the non-virtual world.

Shuangli Guo: Beyond Storytelling: Early Chinese Film History between Attraction and Narration

Shuangli Guo | Utrecht University
My research is about Chinese early film history from 1896 to 1929. Before the 1980s, early films were seen as inferior, primitive because they did not follow the realist model of classical Hollywood film. In 1986, the famous American film historian Tom Gunning published his profound paper, “The cinema of Attraction(s): Early Film, Its Spectator and the Avant-Garde”, which had a great impact on film theory and history. In this article, Tom Gunning emphasized pre-narrative film and experimental film.

Guillén Torres: Everyday Forms of Institutional Resistance to Civic Engagement

Guillén Torres | University of Amsterdam
My research focuses on how activists experience the reluctance of certain governmental institutions to welcome them in decision-making process. I am particularly interested in how institutions handle information requests in ways that prevents citizens from accessing public sector information that would allow them to either hold the government accountable or influence public policy

Esther Hammelburg: Liveness coming to life: the mediatized experience of cultural events

Esther Hammelburg | University of Amsterdam
This research project addresses the question how liveness is constructed within the mediatised experience of cultural events/festivals. Since Daniel Dayan and Elihu Katz have firmly installed the category of media events into media theory these events have been closely connected to the notion of liveness, as they describe, the experience of being there, joining in the event as it takes place (Dayan & Katz, 1992). Many studies on a variety of event types have shown that although immediacy is one of the key aspects of liveness, the concept should not be regarded as the equivalent of live; it is not simply the simultaneity of event, transmission, and viewing (cf. Feuer, 1983; White, 2004; Kumar, 2012; Lunt, 2004; Couldry, 2002).