Category Archives: RUG English News

News about the English department and from the university.

GUTS Performance, ‘Confusions’

Groningen University Theatre Society (GUTS) presents Confusions, 13-15 Feb. 2014 in the USVA.
Alan Ayckbourn‘s hilarious short play Confusions consists of five (even shorter) interlinked one-act plays about frustrated, sad, and lonely people. Over twenty different characters are involved in comical, tragic, and absurd situations that explore romantic relationships, human anxieties, and loneliness, while remaining witty and most entertaining.
The style of the plays ranges from over-the-top farce to bordering-on-the-absurd, all filled with Ayckbourn’s cleverly constructed dialogue. The number of characters allows the cast to showcase their multitude of talents, guaranteeing a laugh out of every member of the audience.

Hendrik Engelbrecht
Samantha Haitsma
Bobby Makariev
Femke Nagelhout
Daan Wesselink
Directed by Noa Nikolsky

GUTS has been performing plays in English since 1968
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Literature Online (LION) Makeover

Penguin Classics Modern Edition - Shelf
Penguin Classics (Crossett Library Bennington College)

Before Christmas the LION database (available online with your library password) had a makeover and its interface has improved. LION now contains the full texts of many books from the Penguin Classics series (including their introductions). These frequently appear on reading lists and are good editions to use in your research.

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Cinema & philosophy lectures at RUG

Full Program:
30 January (6-8pm): Patricia Pisters (University of Amsterdam).
Powers of Affect: The Neuro-Image in Digital Screen Culture
Respondent: Barend van Heusden. NB: see full details of this talk below.
27 February (6-8pm): Martin Seel (Goethe University Frankfurt).
The Ethos of Cinema
Respondent: Judith Vega
27 March (6-8pm): Josef Früchtl (University of Amsterdam).
The Art of Gesture: Returning Narrative and Movement to Images
Respondents: René Boomkens & Annie van den Oever
1 May (6-8pm): Murray Smith (University of Kent).
From Reflex to Reflection: Thinking and Feeling in the Cinema
Respondent: Julian Hanich
22 May (6-8pm): Gregory Currie (University of York).
Can Film Be Philosophy?
Respondent: Miklós Kiss

Location for all lectures:

Faculty of Arts, Harmony building, Marie Lokezaal
Oude Kijk in ’t Jatstraat 26, Groningen.
Patricia Pisters (University of Amsterdam).
Powers of Affect: The Neuro-Image in Digital Screen Culture
Cinema in the digital age has become a brain cinema. In today’s

Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind
Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

cinema we move through character’s brain worlds rather than following their actions or looking through their eyes. In films such as Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind (Michel Gondry, 2004), Inception (Christopher Nolan, 2010), and Source Code (Duncan Jones, 2010) we see characters hooked up to a kind of brain scanning machine to mark the entering of brain worlds. However, also when it is not so literally emphasized contemporary cinema has become a ‘brain cinema’ that runs in parallel to recent discoveries in neuroscience and which differs in major ways from previous dominant modes of filming. In the tradition of Deleuze’s movement-image and time-image, I propose to call this new mode of cinema ‘the neuro-image’. The brain-worlds of the neuro-image are full of senses, gestures and affective forms of resistance. This lecture will focus on the primacy of affect in contemporary culture with a focus on ‘neurothrills’ (that are before or beyond narrative suspense) and affects of surveillance in Red Road (Andrea Arnold, 2004) and Evidence Locker (Jill Magid, 2004).

Patricia Pisters is professor of  film studies at the department of Media Studies of the University of Amsterdam.  She is one of the founding editors of  Necsus: European Journal of Media Studies (  Publications include The Matrix of Visual Culture: Working with Deleuze in Film Theory (Stanford University Press, 2003) and Mind the Screen (ed. with Jaap Kooijman and Wanda Strauven, Amsterdam University Press, 2008). Her latest book is The Neuro-Image: A Deleuzian Film-Philosophy of Digital Screen Culture (Stanford University Press, 2012). See also

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Researchers from the University of Groningen in The Netherlands have developed an online language game in which you can test how well you understand a related language. By playing the game you both help with research on communication in Europe and have a chance to win one of a selection of great prizes (tablet, iPod etc.). 2,000 participants are required. Everybody can play the game – it doesn’t matter how old you are, which languages you speak, or what educational background you have. You can participate by clicking on this link:

Have fun!

If you are interested you can find further details about the project and the project team at: . It’s not necessary to read this background to play the game.

Lecture: ‘Films and Existential Feelings: The Case of Depression’

Time and venue: April 18, 6pm to 8pm, Van der Leeuwzaal.

Speaker: Jens Eder teaches media and communication studies at the University of Mannheim, Germany. His current research interests centre on audiovisual narratives, their cultural influence and their recent developments on the web.

Abstract: Watching a film can change the viewers’ experience of the world – maybe only momentarily, but often profoundly. Jens Eder’s presentation will explore this world-changing quality of films as ‘qualia-machines’ by introducing Matthew Ratcliffe’s philosophical concept of “ feelings of being” or “existential feelings” into film and media studies. This concept captures an important category of affect in film reception, which is hard to grasp theoretically and has been largely neglected by film theory. It refers to a group of affective phenomena that escape not only most cognitivist but also most phenomenological theories of feeling in film. Starting from this assumption, the presentation will deal with the following questions: How can this kind of feeling be integrated into a more complete theory of film and feeling/affect/emotion? What is the relation between existential feelings of characters (represented feelings) and of real viewers (elicited feelings)? What are the specific aesthetic possibilities of film and its forms in evoking, simulating or influencing existential feelings in the viewers?

Focusing on examples from European and North American films dealing with depression (e.g., Il deserto rosso, Taxi Driver, Fight Club, Adaptation, Helen, Deine besten Jahre as well as series like Six Feet Under or In Treatment), Eder’s paper will suggest some tentative answers to those questions by connecting the philosophical concept of ‘existential feelings’ to approaches from psychology (e.g., accounts of depression) and film studies (among others, Plantinga’s ‘synaesthetic affects’, Fahlenbrach’s ‘audiovisual metaphors’, and my own work on characters, emotions, and ‘mental perspective’). In doing this, the paper will also try to shed some light on how depression – the most common meFight Club (film)ntal disorder in postindustrial societies – is represented in film and what kinds of feelings such representations are supposed to elicit in the viewers. An answer to that question should be informative not only for theories of film and emotion, but also for theories of culture and representation.


Film Lecture

Tilo Hartmann from the Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam will talk about “Peak experiences: Exploring users’ sad and meaningful experiences during film exposure.” The lecture will take place on Thursday, March 28, from 6-8pm in the Van der Leeuwzaal (Academy Building).