Famke Veenstra portret
Famke Veenstra portret

Jury 'blown away': Famke Veenstra wins Daniel Heinsius prize for best master's thesis in political science

The Daniel Heinsius Prize is the annual prize for the best master's thesis in the Netherlands and Belgium, awarded on behalf of the Netherlands Political Science Circle NKWP and the Flemish Political Science Association VPW. At the Annual Political Science Workshops of the Low Countries in Maastricht last week, it was announced that this prize was awarded ex aequo to Ine Goovaerts (Antwerp) and our own student Famke Veenstra.

This is the first time since 1995 and the second time ever that this prize has gone to a political theory thesis; and the first time since 2001 that a Nijmegen thesis has won.

We quote the jury report:

Famke Veenstra, Radboud University Nijmegen, who discussed how to deal with harmful artistic expressions. Should they be forbidden/cancelled to prevent people from being harmed, or should they be accepted, because of the freedom of expression? Based on the political theory of critical republicanism she argues ingenuously that artistic expressions should not be censored. But to prevent certain people from being dominated, she proposed that people should be able to give counterweight, “antipower” against dominating artistic expressions.

According to one jury member, Famke deserved the Heinsius Thesis Prize 2024:

'The thesis by Famke Veenstra was just mesmerizing. “I was blown from my chair”, said another member. Famke had been able to write a crystal-clear argumentation, asophisticated yet easily accessible read, also for outsiders, by the effective use of examples from daily life. She elaborated and applied a smart distinction between two types of harm, with no single aspect left undiscussed. She literally wrote a master piece.

Congratulations to Famke Veenstra and her supervisor Marcel Wissenburg of Radboud Universiteit Nijmegen.

Famke Veenstra's thesis is available at Radboud Repository:  Art, Domination, and Antipower: A critical republican perspective on art’s capacity to harm (and to liberate).

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