Transnational Literary Projects and the European Identity


Naam project: Transnational Literary Projects and the European Identity
Looptijd: december 2014 – augustus 2018
Status (lopend of afgerond): lopend
Kenniscentrum: Leren en Innoveren
Lectoraat: Normatieve Professionalisering
Betrokken lector: Prof. dr. C. Bakker
Betrokken onderzoekers: Drs. Anouk Zuurmond
Betrokken opleidingen: teacher training Dutch language & literature, minor Teacher in Europe
Url website project:


As financial and political crises make issues of a shared European identity more pressing, the question of what binds us together is currently discussed with an increased sense of urgency. To facilitate such reflections on a shared identity, different transnational projects have been instigated by cultural organizations, promoted by and mostly with financial support from EU-programs and institutes. Four of these cross-border initiatives, deployed since 2000, will serve as case studies to ask what the strategies and effects have been of these projects. The main question at the heart of the proposed research is: what are the strategies and effects of these transnational literary projects? All of these transnational projects are based on a shared strategy to produce a similar effect, namely to engage intellectuals in the debate on a European identity from a literary perspective. These initiatives thus offer an opportunity to research this strategy by analyzing the intentions held by the organizers of these projects and asking why literature is deemed a valuable contribution to this debate. The effects will be assessed by looking at the outcome of these projects: both the cultural artefacts resulting from these projects and the role of these projects in light of the public debate on a European identity.

Scientific relevance

Issues of the single market, immigration, solidarity, and expansions increasingly provoke a discussion beyond a technocratic perspective, namely that of a shared European identity. The questions of what binds Europeans together is addressed with a growing sense of urgency, both in academic publications and mainstream media. This research brings, firstly, theoretical knowledge to the fore on an issue that is a shared concern within this research group, namely that of identity. This research works from the idea that the concept of identity is not a stable core or an essence, but rather constructed, contested and re-constructed within social and discursive practices (Hall & Du Gay, 1996). This analysis is furthermore embedded in current research on the changing role of intellectuals in the public sphere (Posner 2004; Heynders 2009; Vaessens 2009). 

Practical relevance

The different theoretical perspectives and the case-studies have provided valuable input for the curriculum for teacher training (Archimedes Institute), in the form of a module on being a 'Teacher in Europe' (bachelor, minor Internationalize your Classroom), a module on literary theory with a focus on the topic of 'identity', and the yearly student conference Teacher in Europe. One of the case studies has been translated into lesson materials for secondary education & internationalization.


University of Amsterdam


Thesis (monograph)

Normative Professionalization

Moral Dimension Of Teachers’ Professional Development

About the Research Group