Critical Humanities

This research group proposes to think critically about our methods, labour, and public role as scholars in the Humanities. How can we form compelling rationales for the humanities in neoliberal societies concerned with “real-world” applicability? How can we strengthen ties between the academic and nonacademic worlds? How can our training and toolkits as scholars help us not only problematise urgent social issues, but also help us imagine new futures and possibilities? This research group will focus on these and related questions with the aim to explore how critical analysis can be relevant beyond academic interests.

About every six weeks the group has a lunch meeting where members and affiliate members at Radboud discuss their research. Interested in joining? Send an email to Vincent Meelberg (vincent.meelberg [at] (vincent[dot]meelberg[at]ru[dot]nl)).

Mission statement

This research group was born in 2020 at the start of corona lockdown in the Netherlands. Our mission statement articulates the group's inspirations and ambitions.

Research projects

Astronaut in Tesla car in space

For Future Generations

This research develops a framework to understand the role of digital platforms as shaping actors in our thinking about the environment.

data stream

Actual Fictions

Actual Fictions analyses a series of 5 large scale corpora of Dutch language novels ranging from the 1900s up until the 2010s. The project focuses on the extent to which the Dutch novel has transformed in light of a range of emancipatory movements.

Building with graffiti saying 'you've changed'

Minor Movements: How to Create Space for Personal and Political Change?

This year-long seminar (academic year (2022-2023)) creates a space to become more conscious of how the small movements of body and mind are shaped by intersecting power structures. How does capitalism determine our daily habits? How do online platforms like Google re-orient people’s desire? And how does patriarchy affect the ways we love? At the same time, the seminar thinks through tactics to achieve social and political change: the minor movements to resist power. How do groups like Extinction Rebellion interrupt our burn-out routines? How does MeToo expose a culture of sexual violence? And how does the Left—as a minor movement in populist times—reinvent itself in the face of Big Everything (Big Tech, Big Bank, Big Pharma, Big Oil, etc.)? Our understanding of movement and change is inspired by the 1960s feminist rallying cry “the personal is political.” Resistance starts with consciousness and consciousness start with collective analysis of how we are moved as subjects. We imagine this seminar as a collective living room to think small and indeed personal about the large questions of our times.

We meet eight times between October 2022 and June 2023, mostly in Utrecht (because of its centrality), sometimes in Nijmegen (because of this seminar’s affiliation with the Critical Humanities group at the Radboud Institute for Culture and History). Each of the seminars is structured around the encounter between a cultural object and a number of theoretical texts. The objects range from literary novels to media streams, and from a documentary on the climate crisis to essay films on migration. In dialogue with these objects and the texts (sometimes from seemingly clashing traditions) we will engage the question that stands central that day: How to… ? If this “How to?” questions convokes a self-help discourse, that is exactly the intention. After all the goal is to become more critical subjects.

For the full program in pdf, please send an email to vincent.meelberg [at] (vincent[dot]meelberg[at]ru[dot]nl). For dates and registration, please consult our calendar.


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Contact information


Erasmus building

Erasmusplein 1
6525HT Nijmegen