Research MA Media & Performance
The Research MA programme in Media and Performance Studies focuses on the cultural construction of old and new media, both diachronically (‘emerging media’) and synchronically (‘comparative media studies’). From ancient theatre to cinema, from interactive television to You Tube, from multi-media dance performances to computer games, media shape, and are shaped by, various historical and contemporary audiences and contexts (‘media cultures’). Media are the means by and through which identity, culture, meaning and memory are constructed and performed; they cater to our desires, give space to our imagination and show us reality by producing it. In this programme, media thus are also studied in relation to performance, understood both as practice and as a perspective. This approach stands in contrast to, on the one hand, definitions of media studies based solely upon a supposition of the technological, semiotic or aesthetic specificity of individual media, and, on the other hand, to abstract conceptions of media neglecting their formal and cultural concreteness.
In its decision dated 18 Feb, 2010 the NVAO (Dutch-Flemisch Accreditation Organisation) has re-accredited our RMA program under its new name “Media and Performance Studies” (the previous one was “Media Studies”). The evaluation by the committee was on all points positive. The program coordinator would take like to take this opportunity to thank all students and alumni for their input and positive contribution to this achievement.
The faculty combines a strong interest in historical research in local and regional media practices (in the Netherlands and in the global context) with theoretical interests in intermediality, embodiment and visuality. Media and Performance Studies in Utrecht is also known for research into recent developments in the field of audiovisual and digital media and their impact on the arts, culture and society. Students are invited to participate in these research activities.
The Research Master in Media and Performance Studies is aimed at excellent students with a strong background in the history and theory of stage/screen media (theatre, dance, film, television, digital media). We welcome students with an interest in theoretical and historical research in media and performance, their cultural construction and institutional embedding, their impact on citizenship, cultural identity, old and new forms of (popular) representation, entertainment and cultural participation.
Please note that this programme does not offer courses in fields such as media production or journalism.
The MA programme in Media and Performance Studies is made up of three components:
Interdisciplinary training and introduction to the field of research (15 ECTS).
Academic specialisation (75 ECTS).
MA thesis (30 ECTS).
Students may start their MA programme in Media and Performance Studies twice during the academic year: on September 1 and on February 1. The year is divided into two semesters, running from September till January and February till June. A semester is divided into two course periods. Normally students will take two courses of 7.5 ECTS each per period. For students enrolled from September 1 thesis submission deadline is June 14.
As part of the programme students can choose from a number of tutorials. The ones planned for the upcoming academic year 2010-2011 are these:
Emerging Media: Cinema (Prof. Frank Kessler)
The tutorial will be linked with the ongoing research project “The Nation and Its Other” and look more in particular at representations of “Dutch-ness” and “Asian-ness” in non-fiction films from the period up to the First World War. In order to do so we will also draw on comparable research done with regard to representations of other nationalities or ethnicities. In addition readings will include texts on the formal and discursive characteristics of early non-fiction film.
Richard Abel et al. (ed.), Early Cinema and the “National”. New Barnett: John Libbey, 2008.
Giorgio Bertellini, Italy in Early American Cinema. Race, Landscape, and the Picturesque. Bloomington, Indianapolis: University of Indiana Press, 2010.
Daan Hertogs, Nico de Klerk (ed.), Nonfiction from the Teens. Amsterdam: Nederlands Filmmueum, 1994.
Daan Hertogs, Nico de Klerk (ed.), Uncharted Territory. Essays on Early Nonfiction Film. Amsterdam: Nederlands Filmmuseum, 1997.
Jeffrey Ruoff (ed.), Cinema and Travel. Durham, London: Duke University Press, 2006.
Historical Journal of Film, Radio and Television 22, 3, 2002 (“Visible Evidence – But of What? Reassessing Early Non-fiction Cinema”)
1895 no. 18 (“Images du réel. La non-fiction en France (1890-1930)”)
Thinking In and Out of Step (Prof. Maaike Bleeker)
This course takes the intersection of dance, gender and philosophy as a perspective on questions of identity, performance, corporeality, movement and matter in current attempts at installing the body in theory and philosophy. Derrida, Nietzsche, Bergson, Deleuze and Badiou, among others, all at some point evoke dance in their philosophical writings or engage philosophically with the practice of dance. Philosophy on the other hand appears to be an important source of inspiration for dance theorists and practitioners. Foucault, Barthes, Merleau-Ponty, Butler and again Deleuze and Derrida, among others, feature prominently in the discourse surrounding contemporary dance. “Whilst dance might appear to satisfy theories of ‘the body’ by virtue of its corporeal remit, thinking through a body in movement is not so easy” observes Philipa Rothfield (’Philosophy and the Bodily Arts’). The problem, she observes, is not (or not in the first place) the fact that the dancing body is in a constant state of becoming, but rather that our very means of understanding tend towards stasis.
This course aims to contribute towards a destabilization of such stasis by means of a queering of the choreography of thinking. Starting from the question: ‘What is it that makes dance/philosophy so appealing?’ this course traces the meaning of dance in the writings of philosophers and, vice versa, the use of philosophy in the discourse surrounding dance. We will focus especially on (1) the meaning of movement and its potential for our understanding of subjectivity, agency, performativity, corporeality and thinking, and (2) the gender perspective implied within various ways in which dance meets philosophy.
making of/how to (Dr. Ann-Sophie Lehmann)
During this tutorial, material aspects of visual artifacts and media - ranging from painting and photography to animation and digital media - will be discussed in relation to genres concerned with the representation of production, e.g. the making-of and the how-to. Theories of creative practice, literacy, self-reflexivity, materiality, and agency will be discussed from a historical and cross-media perspective.
Deleuze and the Arts (Dr. Rick Dolphijn)
Between 1953 and 1993, Gilles Deleuze wrote about 20 books in which he talks of many different issues. Although the early part of his career was he mainly focusing on rewriting the History of Philosophy (with books on Bergson, Spinoza, Nietzsche and Hume) the more and more infused his philosophy with aesthetics. Starting with Proust (of which the first version was published in French in 1964) he continued this interest in books on Kafka (with Guattari), on Sacher-Masoch, on Lewis Carroll and on Francis Bacon. Famous are of course his two books on cinema and his increasing fascination with especially Anglo-American literature (for instance in Essays Critical and Clinical). After his death in 1995, the importance of Deleuze’s thinking has been recognized throughout academia and especially within the humanities he is at the moment probably the most cited author. In this tutorial we will try to get some insight in this fast growing interest in the work of Gilles Deleuze by reading some of his texts and some of those inspired by him.
Some of the literature to be discussed:
Deleuze, Gilles. The Logic of Sense. Trans. Mark Lester, Charles Stivale. Ed. Constantin Boundas. New York: Columbia UP, 1990.
—. Francis Bacon: the Logic of Sensation. Trans. Daniel W. Smith. London & New York: Continuum, 2003.
—. Cinema 1: The Movement Image. Trans. Hugh Tomlinson and Barbara Habberjam. London: the Athlone Press, 1986.
— Cinema 2: The Time Image. Trans. Hugh Tominson and Robert Galeta. London: The Athlone Press, 1989.
Deleuze, Gilles and Félix Guattari. What is Philosophy? Trans. Hugh Tomlinson and Graham Burcell. New York: Columbia University Press. 1994.
Massumi, Brian. A Shock to Thought: Expression after Deleuze and Guattari. London, New York: Routledge, 2002.
Bogue, Ronald. Deleuze on Music Painting and the Arts. London, New York: Routlege: 2003
Bogue, Ronald. Deleuze on Literature. London, New York: Routledge, 2003
Bogue, Ronald. Deleuze on Cinema. London, New York: Routledge, 2003
Game studies: Serious/game/Play (Prof. Joost Raessens)
The aim of Game Studies: Serious/Game/Play is threefold: A. To investigate if, and if so, to what extent and in what way, digital gaming technologies are transforming the construction of personal and cultural identity. B. To investigate to what extent and in what way game design can be called upon to improve the learning results of entertainment and serious games. C. To investigate to what extent and in what way the notion of play can be used as a conceptual framework for the analysis of media use.
Representations of evil (Dr. Rob Leurs)
In the relationship between media and ethics I am especially interested in the media representations of those people who are associated with ‘the evil’. Discourse analyses of historical and contemporary case material leads to interventions in debates on media theory (particularly cultural studies), news and current affairs programmes and the construction of public opinion.
A wide range of research subjects can be aligned to this field of interest. Below I describe my own research. But as a research subject for a tutorial one can, for instance, think of mediated terrorism, the representation of the GDR (the communist East Germany) in Western media, press coverage of the Palestinian/Israeli conflict etc. I’m open to a broad range of research subjects.
(My current project is titled: “Covering genocide trials. Journalists, victims and perpetrators and the ‘social circulation of meaning’ in the production of news on genocide trials – the media/trial of Frans van Anraat.” Most research on journalism adopts a classical approach towards the industrial apparatus of journalism. In contrast to these traditional perspectives this research proposes a cultural studies approach towards the ‘social circulation of meaning’ of news production. I shall focus on the production of news of the ‘Frans van Anraat genocide trial’: the construction of media discourses of attempts to prosecute atrocities in Iraqi Kurdistan that form a ‘mediapolis’ (Silverstone 2007) which demonstrate the rhetoric on (the limitations of) being human.)
Emerging Media: Transforming Television (Dr. Judith Keilbach)
In the last 15 years television underwent a profound transformation: Deregulation policies and new technologies led to radical changes which affected television production, distribution and reception as well as its theoretical conceptualization. Key concepts such as flow, scheduling, broadcasting and domesticity seem no longer adequate to describe what was once known as television. Given today’s »multifaceted technologies and uses of television« (Lotz) that DVR, Video-On-Demand, ›Home Theater‹, Internet TV and portable devices provide it is no longer sure if television is still a distinct medium. Some critics proclaimed therefore the ›end of television‹ whereas others prefer to describe it as a »matrix medium« (Curtin/Shattuc).
This tutorial addresses the issue of television’s transformations. Depending on students’ interest we can focus on current changes (production, distribution reception, aesthetics) and discuss new theoretical conceptions (Katz/Scannell, Lotz, Olsson/Spigel, Turner/Tay etc.), or the presumption of the medium’s former stability and homogeneity can be challenged from a historical point of view by asking if it had ever a stable identity.
Curtin, Michael, and Jane Shattuc. 2009. The American Television Industry. New York: Palgrave Macmillan.
Katz, Elihu, and Paddy Scannell, eds. 2009. The End of Television? Its Impact on the World (so Far). (= The Annals of The American Academy of Political and Social Science 625). Thousand Oaks, Calif: Sage.
Lotz, Amanda. 2007. The Television Will be Revolutionized. New York: New York Univ. Press.
Olsson, Jan, and Lynn Spigel, eds. 2004. Television after TV. Essays on a Medium in Transition. Durham/London: Duke Univ. Press.
Turner, Graeme, and Jinna Tay, eds. 2009. Television Studies After TV: Understanding Television in the Post- Broadcast Era. London: Routledge.
Find more currently offered courses here.
Research: diversity and international atmosphere
The programme welcomes students with a vast range of interests. Current students explore a number of fields, such as critical theory, performance art, participatory culture, body, affect, computer games, gender studies, intermediality, digital worlds, mappping, gothic & vampire identities, puppet theatre, museum studies, memory, augmented branding, appropriation, performativity, urban screens, theatricality, etc.
An outline of current initiatives and projects taking place within the Media and Performance Studies research group can be found here. See selected key publications from the past years, ranging from early film distribution to Cybergoth music. Prospective students are encouraged to get in touch with the faculty and students for any queries. See contact details below.
The Institute for Research in History and Culture aims for an intellectually stimulating environment and encourages students to participate in academic conferences. A number of students have been awarded with available conference grants. Here are some international conferences where Media and Performance students presented recently. Their scope illustrates the breadth of the programme and the possibilities that open up for the students in Utrecht.
Jacobs, M. & Ioannidou, J. “I am the Internet, and I bid you welcome”: How the Internet Has Embraced and Enhanced Vampire Culture. Paper presented at the International Gothic Association International Conference. Lancaster, United Kingdom, 2009.
Jacobs, M. Take One – or Three – for the Team: Consumerism as Play. Panel Chair and paper presented at the Popular Culture Association/American Culture Association National Conference. New Orleans, Louisiana, USA, 2009.
Jacobs, M. Take One – or Three – for the Team: Consumerism as Play. Paper presented at the Digital Games Research Association International Conference. West London, United Kingdom, 2009.
Schrandt, B. The Art in YouTube. Paper presented at the Popular Culture Association/American Culture Association National Conference. New Orleans, Louisiana, USA, 2009.
Zigelyte, L. Forging Europe in David Černý’s Entropa: Interpreting the Narrative of Falseness. Paper presented at the Centre for Research in the Arts, Social Sciences and Humanities, Cambridge University as part of the international conference Complexities of ‘Europe’: Between Knowledge, Power, Citizenship and Identity. Cambridge, United Kingdom, 2009.
Zigelyte, L. Staging the Real Five Metres Below the Ground. Theatricality in a Soviet Bunker. Paper presented at the City University of New York (CUNY) as part of the graduate student conference (Re)making (Re)presentation organised by the Theatre Students of the Graduate Center of CUNY. New York, USA, 2010.
Some Dutch-speaking students enrolled in the programme get opportunities to assist in undergraduate courses as teaching assistants. A number of students are engaged in various research projects taking place within the Institute for Research in History and Culture.
Media and Performance Studies programme maintains international atmosphere and welcomes students from abroad. In the past few years students from the USA, Romania, Indonesia, Lithuania, Greece, Germany and France made Utrecht their intellectual home. In addition to exceptional academic training they are also encouraged to participate in extra-curricular activities, such as film screenings, festivals, theatre and performance events, etc.
Recent RMA thesis titles
Silvia Alexe (2010) National and European Identity on Public Service Television: the 20th Anniversary of the Fall of the Berlin Wall as a Media Event.
Supervisor: Prof. Dr. Sonja de Leeuw. Second reader: Prof. Vincent Crone
Karin van Es (2010) YouTube: A Changing Notion of Reception
Supervisor: Dr. Nanna Verhoeff. Second reader: Prof. Dr. William Uricchio
Lotte Harmsen (2010) Virtual Space in Computer Games
Supervisor: Dr. Joost Raessens. Second reader: Dr. Jami Weinstein
Melinda Jacobs (2010) Things that go ‘spark’ in the night: The Uncanniness of Electricity and Electronic Media in Ghost Hunting Reality Television
Supervisor: Dr. Isabella van Elferen. Second reader: Dr. Fred Botting, Lancaster University (UK)
Bernadette Schrandt (2010) The Map, The Mobile and the Body. Layar as a Case Study.
Supervisor: Dr. Chiel Kattenbelt. Second reader: Dr. Sybille Lammes
Kandi Aryani Suwito (2010) Narrative on Facebook: Questioning the Agency of the Postcolonial Subjects
Supervisor: Prof. Dr. Frank Kessler. Second reader: Dr. Judith Keilbach
Lina Zigelyte (2010) “Let us be Europeans!” Mis/performance and the Making of European Subjects.
Supervisor: Prof. Dr. Maaike Bleeker. Second reader: Dr. Nanna Verhoeff
Anneriken Wehrens (2009) Film and ‘Islamic terrorism’
Supervisor: Dr. Vincent Crone. Second reader: Dr. Nanna Verhoeff
Jasper Aalbers (2008) Subject Positions in Very Early Cinema: A Sonic Perspective
Supervisor: Prof. Dr. Frank Kessler. Second reader: Dr. Jim Hurley
Ilona Helena van de Bildt (2008) Death on the Screen: An Imitation of Life? Life and Death in the Online Environment
Supervisor: Dr. Nanna Verhoeff. Second reader: Dr. Isabella A.M. van Elferen
Joost Broeren (2008) The titles are in Dutch - which makes it quite simple.” Intertitles as an Agent of Appropriation in the Netherlands, 1907-1916
Supervisors: Prof. Dr. Frank Kessler and Nico de Klerk (Netherlands Filmmuseum). Second reader: Dr. Nanna Verhoeff
Joyce Sint Nicolaas (2008) Avant-garde aan de Maas. Filmkunsttheater ‘t Venster bekeken vanuit het perspectief van Pierre Bourdieu 1949-1965
Supervisor: Dr. André van der Velden. Second reader: Prof. Dr. Frank Kessler
Lies van Roessel (2008) Restaging the Epic for Computer Game Literacy Education
Supervisor: Dr. Joost Raessens. Second reader: Dr. Chiel Kattenbelt
Gijs van Wiechen (2008) Who Framed F.W. Murnau’s Faust? Intertextuality, Discourse & the Historical Film on DVD
Supervisor: Prof. Dr. William Uricchio. Second reader: Dr. Nanna Verhoeff
Lizzy van Winsen (2008) McLuhanitis. The Reception of Marshall McLuhan in the Netherlands in the 1960s
Supervisor: Prof. Dr. Frank Kessler. Second reader: Prof. Dr. Dieter Mersch (Potsdam University)
Berber Hagedoorn (2007) Shared Textual Authority in the Found Footage Documentary: A Historical and Theoretical Analysis of The Maelstrom, Grizzly Man and My Architect
Supervisor: Prof. Dr. Frank Kessler. Second reader: Prof. Janet Walker (UC Santa Barbara ). Shortlisted for the 2007–08 Faculty of Humanities Best Graduate Thesis Award.
Koen Leurs (2007) Framing Terrorism: Good versus Evil?
Supervisor: Prof. Dr. Frank Kessler. Second reader: Dr. Ingrid Hoofd
The programme offers students an academic education tailored to their personal interests and ambitions. All students in the programme are assigned a mentor when they begin their studies. The mentor draws up a study plan for the first year in consultation with the student and the programme committee and/or programme coordinator. The mentor is an experienced lecturer-researcher from the relevant discipline.
Across the border
Students are strongly encouraged to complete a substantial part of their second-year coursework outside the Faculty of Humanities, preferably at other universities abroad or in the Netherlands offering specialised research seminars in their field. The OGC has exchange agreements with a large number of prestigious universities .
Bauhaus-Universität Weimar, Université Lumière Lyon 2 and Universiteit Utrecht have developed a unique trinational European Film and Media Studies programme. The programme develops paradigms of film and media that conceive the aesthetic, social and technological changes as processes of culture and cultural meaning in a unifying Europe. Focusing on film studies, EFMS programme treats questions of film history, theory and practice from a European and Anglo-American perspective, with regard to both the object and students’ readings. The programme prepares students to higher level positions in the field of film and media that require advanced, indepth knowledge of the field, a highly developed competence of reflection and elaborate presentation skills. Graduates of this programme will be able to work in areas of: culture and education, knowledge transfer, medial and cultural criticism, editorial work, curating, consulting services, public relations, authoring, academic research and teaching (transition to PhD level).
Students start courses in Lyon, spend their second semester in Weimar and then complete semester three in Utrecht. The last semester, during which students write their Master’s thesis, is spent at the home institution.
Contribution to the programme by the Faculty of Media in Weimar consist of courses about film and media philosophy, European studies and image studies. These contain an elaborate explanation of concepts of mediality and intermediality as reflections on the contradictory context of national identities and (postcolonial) processes of globalisation.
In the Arts de la Scène, de l’image et de l’Ecran department in Lyon students are familiarised with the aesthetic interpretation of media with emphasis on film, in particular documentary film, both in a methodological and practical way. A great deal of attention is devoted to the arts of theatre, dance and music.
The Universiteit Utrecht complements this study cooperation with its emphasis on early film and other emerging media as well as by dealing with different aspects of film studies such as the domain of film and discourse history. Special attention is paid to epistemology and methodology of film studies, embedding them into the field of Media and Culture Studies and the Humanities.
* Research Master Media and Performance Studies in the Netherlands
* Master of Arts in Germany
* Master Humanitiés et Sciences Humaines in France
Interested applicants may apply at all three universities. Further information.
After successfully completing the Media and Performance Studies Research MA programme, graduates are able to formulate a research proposal for a PhD project in the field of media studies and are well equipped to conduct research in publicly or privately funded projects. Recent graduates work on their PhD research at Utrecht University, teach, conduct research for historical television programmes. Utrecht University offers post-graduation grants for graduated MA students.
Prof. Maaike Bleeker
Research interests: visuality, theatricality, new dramaturgy, contemporary dance, intersection of theatre, performance and visual arts
Dr. Rick Dolphijn
Research interests: Gilles Deleuze, philosophy and food, media theory, body, language theory, sensitivity, sensuality, time, space
Dr. Isabella A.M. van Elferen
Research interests: musical transgressions, the uncanny, hauntology in the Gothic, digital musicianship, soundscapes, dance and club culture, digital fan cultures
Dr. Chiel Kattenbelt
Research interests: performativity, intermediality, performing arts
Dr. Judith Keilbach
Research interests: television theory, television history, representation of history in film and television
Prof. Frank Kessler
Research interests: dispositif, early cinema, Georges Méliès
Dr. Sybille Lammes
Research interests: maps in videogames, popular culture, archeologies of the new media
Prof. Sonja de Leeuw
Research interests: television culture in the Netherlands, media and identity
Dr. Ann-Sophie Lehmann
Research interests: image-making in old and new media cultures
Dr. Rob Leurs
Research interests: media theory, cultural studies, discursive constructions of public opinion
Dr. Eggo Müller
Research interests: television, participatory cultures, digital media
Dr. Sandra Ponzanesi
Research interests: postcolonial critique, transnational feminist theories, comparative literature, Italian colonial history, European migration studies, visual culture and postcolonial cinema
Prof. Joost Raessens
Research interests: media theory, new media and digital culture, game studies, digital cinema, participatory television
Dr. Mirko Tobias Schäfer
Research interests: online collaboration, massive user interaction, Actor Network Theory, Science & Technology Studies, dispositif
Dr. Judith Thissen
Research interests: moviegoing in Jewish New York, culture and economy
Dr. Iris van der Tuin
Research interests: third-wave feminist epistemology, new feminist materialism
Prof. William Uricchio
Research interests: media archaeology, early history of television, television in Germany during the Nazi era
Dr. André van der Velden
Research interests: history of cinemagoing in the Netherlands
Dr. Nanna Verhoeff
Research interests: screen media, space, mobility
Dr. Imar de Vries
Research interests: technological imaginary, archaeology of new media,
mobile augmented reality
Dr. Jami Weinstein
Research interests: contemporary French philosophy, technoscience studies, posthuman and animality studies, and feminist/gender/queer theory
See the link here.
See the link here.
Academic enquiries: Prof. Frank Kessler F.E.Kessler[at]uu.nl
Administration: Research Masters Office GW_ResearchmasterOGC[at]uu.nl