Research and Society

Ethics Institute explains moral considerations on climate change and refugees
Bootvluchtelingen © iStockphoto.com/jcarillet

In the new Ethische annotaties publication series (in Dutch), researchers from the Ethics Institute share insights from practical philosophy on current societal issues with a wide audience. Part 1 is about climate change, part 2 deals with accommodating refugees.

Lecture by Beatrice de Graaf on terrorism broadcast on national television
Beatrice de Graaf geeft DWDD University college over terrorisme, 12 maart 2016

At the invitation of the popular Dutch TV show De Wereld Draait Door, historian Prof. Beatrice de Graaf gave a lecture on terrorism which was broadcast on national television on 12 March (DWDD University) and attracted over 1.2 million viewers. In many media appearances, De Graaf stood out for her clear explanations in the public debate on terrorism. For this contribution, Utrecht University awarded her the Publiprijs 2015.

Utrecht students win Facebook Challenge with anti-extremism campaign ‘Dare to be Grey’

A group of 21 enthusiastic and committed students of Utrecht University developed the campaign ‘Dare to be Grey’ in order to counteract polarisation in society. They won first prize in the Facebook Global Digital Challenge, in which student teams designed campaigns against extremism. The Utrecht-based students were the only participating team from the Netherlands in this international contest. ‘Dare to be Grey’ lends a voice to the grey masses in between the small group of black-and-white thinkers who tend to dominate the debate. The campaign spread both online and offline, with - among many other things - video portraits of ‘grey thinkers’, a tour across several Dutch cities, a visit to the American embassy and the development of a school project. The initiative for participation in the Facebook Global Digital Challenge was taken by Dr Jacco Pekelder, Assistant Professor of History of International Relations, who was assisted by Jorrit Steehouder, Master's student of International Relations in Historical Perspective.

Personagebank: a crowdsourced database of Dutch literary characters
Kaart Personagebank: woonplaatsen van romanpersonages

Utrecht-based scholars of Dutch language and literature have launched a crowdsourced database containing literary characters from Dutch novels. Through the Personagebank readers can contribute to research into diversity in literature written in Dutch. The website was developed by Lucas van der Deijl, Research Master's student in Dutch literature. Supervised by Dr Saskia Pieterse, the initiator of this project, Lucas and fellow students Roel Smeets and Marion Prinse recorded diversity among nearly 1,200 literary characters in 170 novels. The first results show, among other things, that female characters are more often lower educated than men, and that most characters in Dutch novels live in Amsterdam.

Karl Kügle leads European research into medieval ideas on ‘music of the past’

An international consortium of musicologists, led by Prof. Karl Kügle, has been awarded a prestigious HERA grant of 1.2 million euros for the project ‘Sound Memories: The Musical Past in Late-Medieval and Early-Modern Europe’ (SoundMe). From 2016 to 2019, the scholars will investigate the genesis and early development of the concept of ‘music of the past’ in 13th-century Paris. They will also trace the deployment of such music in the service of various political and religious agendas across Europe in a series of case studies ranging chronologically from the 14th to the 16th century.

Millions awarded to research into flourishing creativity in the Dutch Golden Age
Judith Leyster, Zelfportret achter ezel, ca. 1630/32. Bron: Wikimedia Commons

The Dutch Golden Age’s paintings, books, ceramics etc. still fascinate millions of people, but how did these creative outbursts emerge? Scholars from Utrecht University join forces with various academic and cultural partners to develop a large-scale research infrastructure to connect existing and new databases to facilitate interdisciplinary research that will unravel the inner dynamics of this creative miracle. The Netherlands Organisation for Scientific Research (NWO) has awarded a subsidy of 3.6 million euros to this project, titled ‘Golden Agents: Creative Industries and the Making of the Dutch Golden Age’.

Exceptional success in NWO funding programmes Free Competition and PhDs in the Humanities
NWO Geesteswetenschappen

Our Faculty has been exceptionally successful in two funding programmes of the Netherlands Organisation for Scientific Research (NWO) this year: in the Free Competition, 4 projects received funding (out of a national total of 10 funded projects). In PhDs in the Humanities, all 5 candidates from Utrecht University were awarded a grant (NWO awarded a total of 20 grants).

Education

200 years of Dutch language and literature

The study programme of Dutch language and literature celebrated its 200th anniversary with a festive event on 8 April 2016, which was attended by nearly 200 alumni and former and current staff members. A special anniversary magazine was presented on this day: Gevoel, vernuft en verbeelding. 200 jaar Utrechtse neerlandistiek by Maurice van Lieshout.

First group of Humanities Honours students receive certificates
Uitreiking certificaten Humanities Honours Programme, 29 juni 2016

Three years ago Utrecht University started the Honours Programme, offering talented first-year students an extra challenge beyond their normal study programme. In-depth disciplinary knowledge, an interdisciplinary outlook, and connections with societal issues are at the core of the Honours Programme. At the Faculty of Humanities, the first group of Honours students - who started in 2014 - received their certificates on 29 June upon completion of the programme.

The students’ final presentations illustrated the broad applicability of the Humanities. The students demonstrated social responsibility, conceptual thinking, engagement in public debates, and awareness of the impact of perception.

Courses with receptive multilingualism
Illustratie: emdé

Starting in the academic year 2016-2017, the Department of Languages, Literature and Communication will offer over 60 so-called ‘receptive multilingualism’ courses. In these courses, the lecturer uses one language while students can participate using another language. For students, receptive multilingualism courses are an enrichment to their study programme. By means of receptive multilingualism, the Department increases the accessibility of the language programmes of Dutch, German, French, Italian, and Spanish.