An international group of scholars, representing three continents, and including world-renowned author Ian Buruma, proposes a five-day summer university course for advanced B.A., M.A. and Ph.D. students in fact-based narratives, also known as literary journalism in English language scholarship, reportage in the former Soviet area, or crónica in Latin America. At first glance reading like fiction, the genre seeks however to be informative, to give an account of reality based on epistemologically objective data, mixing the intransigence of facts with the passion of narrative.
The course is valuable, we believe, because we live in an age of multimodal propaganda and misinformation, which scholars have shown is related to political populism and resurgent authoritarianism. Research also suggests that the best way to disrupt the effects of propaganda is through the construction of disruptive narratives that give readers routes towards new understandings of the world, others in the world, and their relation to them.
Participants in the course will be introduced to i) the history, ii) the characteristics, iii) the major topics, and iv) the reality-transforming potential of the genre by surveying some of its groundbreaking representatives and achievements. To do this we will engage with historical and contemporary examples of the genre itself, but also with theoretical and philosophical texts that explore the relationship between (accurate) representation and/of (empirical) reality. The research and the curriculum are interdisciplinary, involving literary studies, political science, journalism and media studies, international relations, and history.
Throughout the course, a variety of engaging and effective teaching and learning methods will be employed. Apart from classroom teaching and learning, several extracurricular activities will be organized that are seen to be integral elements of the whole course.
We invite applications from graduate students (MA, PhD). We also encourage applications from advanced undergraduate students who have adequate prior study or engagement experience on the subject and make a compelling case in their application/statement of interest.
No prior knowledge of the field is required. However, our target audience should have a background in one or more humanities or social sciences disciplines. More advanced studies in international relations, history of civil activism and literary/narrative studies would be a plus.
The language of instruction is English, thus all applicants have to demonstrate a strong command of spoken and written English to be able to participate actively in discussions at seminars and workshops. Some of the shortlisted applicants may be contacted for a telephone interview.
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