O.M. Heynders - LITERATURE AS SOCIAL KNOWLEDGE
My research project addresses the transformation of literature in the current digitalised and mediatised public sphere. This transformation encloses the blurring of text genres (autobiography, essay, novel) and discourses (fictional, realist, historical, journalist, political), the changing roles and performances of authors and readers (fans), and the expanding marketing of literature as well as new forms of publishing.
I currently work on two book projects:
Rethinking Reflexivity, Spirituality and Privacy – Female Public Intellectuals
This is a follow up of the book project published in 2016 at Palgrave Macmillan: Writers as Public Intellectuals. The focus in the new project is on women thinkers, activists and artists and their critical intervention in democratic societies.
Experiences of Migration: Literature as Social Knowledge.
This project combines literary studies and social policies on migration, it takes literature as a specific form of knowledge that can be relevant in societal discussion on migration. Various concepts and metaphors of the journey, route, trajectory, itinerary or path way are discussed in connection to the works of several literary authors, from Gazmend Kapllani to Viet Thanh Nguyen and Jenny Erpenbeck, from Tayeb Salih to Moshin Hamid and others. The hypothesis is that literary descriptions of the experiences (Raymond Williams) of migration and (dis)connection can be used in the new development of social policies on migration and urban planning.
Odile Heynders is Professor of Comparative Literature, and head of the Department of Culture Studies at Tilburg University. She was a fellow at NIAS (Netherlands Institute for the Advanced Study in the Humanities) in 1998/99, and 2004/05. She has published books (in Dutch) on modernist strategies of reading, European poetry, the Dutch intellectual Paul Rodenko, and the history of literature studies in the Netherlands. She published the book Writers as Public Intellectuals, Literature, Democracy, Celebrity at Palgrave Macmillan (2016). Her current research is on experiences of migration in literature, and on female thinkers and activists.