Lectures: Yasco Horsman and Henk Borgdorff

Royal Academy of Art, The Hague (NL)

Only for PhDArts students.



As I was writing my thesis I became increasingly interested in psychoanalytic theory. I therefore chose to move to the USA after graduating from Leiden to become a graduate student at Yale University in New Haven, where I worked with scholars such as Shoshana Felman, Peter Brooks and Geoffrey Hartman – all experts on ‘literature & psychoanalysis'. At Yale, I became involved with the then emerging field of trauma studies, and I worked for the Fortunoff video library of Holocaust testimonies, and as an assistant of the Yale Genocide Studies Center. My PhD dissertation (supervisor Shoshana Felman) studied the role of trials in the process of a national ‘coming to terms’ with the past. I juxtaposed these trials with literary texts of the same period. Before returning to Leiden in September 2004, I taught courses on Contemporary Civilization at Columbia University in New York, and courses on Visual Culture, on Cinema and on Critical Theory at NYU and at the Tisch School of the Arts.


When I studied Comparative Literature at Leiden University in the 1990s, I was mainly interested in gender theory and in the relations between literature and popular culture. My MA thesis (supervisor Ernst van Alphen) was on the construction of masculinity in the 1950s American discourse on the ‘juvenile delinquent’ / ‘teenage rebel’ (i.e. James Dean, Norman Mailer, etc.).


At Leiden, I am very happy to be teaching courses on Intermediality ("Paragone"), Literary Theory ("Basisbegrippen") and on Gender and Sexuality. I am particularly looking forward to the 2006 MA seminar on "De Man, Derrida and Benjamin," in which we will be tackling some of the twentieth century's most challenging writings on literature.



During the seminar we will discuss different aspects of research in the arts, pertaining to the enhancement of knowledge and understanding, to the methods of research, to the documentation and presentation of research, and other aspects. We will examine to what extent 'artistic research' can be seen as a form of academic research, hoe it relates to other academic fields of investigation (i.e. humanities, social science and natural science research), and what the criteria might be for its assessment. These issues are addressed in the book chapter, which therefore will function as a starting point for our discussion. In the first half hour or so, I will say something about the chapter, after which we will have an open discussion on the rationale of artistic research.


Henk Borgdorff is Professor of Research in the Arts at the University of the Arts, The Hague (The Netherlands), and Visiting Professor in Aesthetics at the Faculty of Fine, Applied and Performing Arts at the University of Gothenburg (Sweden). He is editor of the Journal for Artistic Research and – with Michael Schwab – leader of the Artistic Research Catalogue project. Borgdorff is member of the Strategic Working Group on Research of the HBO-raad (Netherlands Association of Universities of Applied Sciences); chair of the working group ‘Validation’ of the SHARE-network (Erasmus/ELIA); chair of the International Quality Advisory Board of the ‘Konstnärliga forskarskolan’ (the national school for artistic research in Sweden); and member of the Advisory Board of the Finnish Doctoral School in Artistic Research.