Dr. Kiene Brillenburg Wurth is professor of Literature and Comparative Media at Utrecht University and section head of Comparative Literature at Utrecht University
Kiene has an interdisciplinary focus in Comparative Literature. She was trained in literature and film on the MA level (cum laude), as well as in literature, music, and music philosophy on the PhD level (cum laude) with a focus on Anglophone, French, and German aesthetics. She has since developed research lines in literature, (new) media, comparative philosophy, and creative thinking. She was Head of Humanities at University College Utrecht between 2017-2020, and director of graduate studies for the Department of Languages, Literature, and Communication between 2013- 2017. As of 2021, Kienes has been section head of Comparative Literature, while since 2022, she has been co-leader of the research group Modern and Contemporary Literature (ICON) at Utrecht. Between 2011-2016 she was project leader of the NWO-funded VIDI research project Back to the Book, and visiting scholar at Harvard University in 2010-2011. Kiene is a member of the New Utrecht School (Medical Science), program director of the MSc Medical Humanities, and co-founder of the interdisciplinary platform UPCE, which seeks to empower creativity in primary, secondary, and higher education. She has been a member of the research committee on Literature, Arts and Media (CLAM) of the International Comparative Literature Association since 2018, and a member of the editorial board of the Journal for Possibility Studies and Society since 2022.
Kiene is author of Musically Sublime (New York: Fordham UP, 2009), a study into the idea of the sublime set against practices and philosophies of music in the 18th, 19th, and 20th centuries. Forthcoming is Crazy Literature, a book on literature in the 20th century as a deeply experimental art that creatively challenges the dominance of narrative form, taking its theoretical cue from Zen and Daoist philosophical concepts. She is also co-author of The Life of Texts. An introduction to literary studies (AUP 2019) and, in an earlier edition, of Het leven van teksten. Een Inleiding in de literatuurwetenschap (Amsterdam UP, 2006, 2008). Her inaugural address Het schrijven aan de wand: literatuur in de toekomst (The Writing on the Wall: Literature in the Future) on literature, new media and the future of writing, was held and published in 2015.
Kiene is the editor of two volumes and three special issues. The two books are on literature, book history, and new media technologies: Book Presence in a Digital Age (Bloomsbury 2018) and Between Page and Screen: Remaking Literature Through Cinema and Cyberspace (Fordham/Oxford UP 2012). The three special issues are on creativity and materiality research: a guest-edited special issue on Paradoxes of Creativity for the Journal of Creative Behaviour in 2019 (Wiley), an invited guest-edited special issue on new poetics and new materialities of storytelling entitled Literature and the Material Turn for the journal Comparative Literature (Duke UP) in 2018, and a co-edited one-and-a-half special issue on Mobilizing Creativity in the Humanties for the Minnesota Review of Critical and Creative Writing (Duke UP) in 2023. Since the late 1990s, Kiene has also authored numerous articles in international, peer-reviewed journals and volumes on literature, intermediality, music, satire, aesthetics, and, since more recently, East Asian philosophical perspectives on creativity and experimental writing (see: Publications).
In the early 2000s, Kiene started a long collaboration with the artist duo Heringa/VanKalsbeek, co-authoring the catalog for their solo exhibition in the Amsterdam Stedelijk Museum, Controlled Accidents (2007) as well as for their recent exhibition Spring Tide at the Kunstmuseum The Hague (2023): "Moving like Water" in Area of Impact.
Kiene teaches R/MA courses on literature and comparative media, the RMA research lab, and BA courses on poetic language in Dao and Zen as philosophy, creativity, literary theory and intermediality (literature, film, and music), literature and human rights, and current theories and world literature. She lectures in the Netherlands and abroad on her research and related interests, such as mastering creativity and creative thinking for medical humanities.