JOB Jan 24, 2003

Professor in media theory (Utrecht Univ, NL)

Oliver Grau

Faculty of Arts

Located within one of the Netherlands' oldest and largest universities, Utrecht
University's Faculty of Arts and Letters has nineteen degree programs in the
languages and letters of Europe and the Middle-East, the various arts and
and in history. Research programs are organized into two institutes with
extensive national and international links. Special attention is paid to
interdisciplinary collaboration, the use of new media, and the quality of
teaching. The Faculty is housed in the historic center of the city and enjoys
excellent facilities. The Institute of Media and Re/presentation offers studies
on the BA, MA and PhD level.

The Institute of Media and Re/presentation seeks a:


General Context The media are very much in a state of transition. The printed
word, photography, film, television and audio and communication technologies
each have their own developmental histories and changing patterns of
distribution and consumption. Each has, over the years, developed a range of
distinctive expressive capacities evident in industrial, artistic, and
individual usages. And each has spawned generations of theoretical approaches
and modes of analysis. The introduction of digital technologies has offered yet
another twist, providing both new media forms (e.g. computer games, the
internet, and information technologies) and intervening fundamentally in the
form and function of older media forms (e.g. telephony, digital audio and video
production and distribution). Digitalization has enabled and encouraged media
convergence, evident as much in media ownership patterns, as in systems of
textual production, as in the everyday experiences of audiences. And it has
facilitated the transformation of communication media as well as information
storage, processing, and retrieval systems. The result is a complex fabric of
practices and cultural forms, where local media traditions meet global
influences; where established media technologies encounter new digital
possibilities; and where ways of theorizing and analyzing the media confront
paradigms and disciplinary influences.

The Professor of Media Theory The Institute for Media and Re/Presentation
(Faculty of Arts, Utrecht University) offers an interdisciplinary approach to
this dynamic understanding of the media, one rooted in the traditions of the
humanities. It seeks an exceptional researcher, an inspired teacher, and a
collegial and visionary leader with shared responsibilities for the programs in
Communication and Information Studies as well as Film and Television Studies.
The new professorship assumes a high level of expertise in the domain of media
theory and analysis, ranging from cinema to digital media, complementing an
existing professorship in media history. The professor of media theory will
demonstrate a broad understanding of the theoretical and methodological
of humanistic media studies, as well as a specialized knowledge of selected
theories within the field. Utrecht's tradition of media study is based upon a
contextualized or situated notion of the media text and its experience, whether
in terms of historical or cultural setting, reception context, or the
understanding of the text as a part of a larger signifying system. In this
sense, the theoretical and analytic domains of greatest relevance include such
approaches as narrativity, political economy, cultural and gender studies,
apparatus theory, identity, subjectivity, inclusion and exclusion, and norms
values. Given the fast-changing state of contemporary media, the professor of
media theory must be able to comprehend a variety of media experiences through

particular theoretical lens, while at the same time responding to the dynamic
needs of quickly evolving patterns of media deployment and use. Most
importantly, she or he must demonstrate an ability to operationalize theory,
moving from abstraction to application in the analysis of media forms,
experiences, and developmental trends.

The Institute of Media and Re/Presentation seeks a builder of bridges between
theory and analysis, between media texts and social/cultural contexts, and
between 'old' and 'new' media forms. It is particularly concerned with
developing the connection between the theories and methods traditionally
associated with humanistic media studies and those now being developed in the
area communication and information studies. These latter domains, both because
of their recent digital transformation and integration with older media forms,
and because of their recent inclusion within the analytic framework of the
humanities, remain highly dynamic. The professor of media theory will be
with continuing to develop a program of study and a program of research for
these most recent manifestations of media culture. Such developments as
peer-to-peer networks (Napster), on-line and computer-based gaming, and SMS
telephone messaging communities stand at the juncture of traditional media and
the new possibilities of the ICT sector, and require continued theorization and
analysis. They embody the media practices that the Institute for Media and
Re/presentation embraces, and that the professor of media theory will help to
'bridge' through the strategic deployment and development of humanistic media

The creative opportunities to develop a program of teaching and research within
media studies generally, and specifically within the new field of communication
and information studies, are central to the new professorship. These themes are
related to gender and cultural studies, and culture management and culture
education. Teaching and research take place at the BA, MA (1 and 2 years), and
PhD levels, and are supported by a team of colleagues with expertise in diverse
media and with a broad interdisciplinary orientation. The distinction in three
levels is new in the Dutch university system and there is a need to build
effective links and systematic interconnections between the levels. The
Institute maintains a network of relations with colleagues in other Dutch,
European, and North American universities (exchange programs with University of
California, Santa Barbara and Berkeley; University of Wisconsin, Madison;
Massachusetts Institute of Technology; and so on) as well as with various media
industries, all of which contribute to the resources available for the study of
the ongoing development of media technologies, practices, and culture
Film Festival; V2_Organisation; The National Institute for Image and Sound,

The professor of media theory will draw on the intellectual legacy of
media studies in order to define a research agenda appropriate to the media
challenges facing us. He or she will be responsible for making the most of
existing institutional relationships, while developing both new connections as
well as new research initiatives. Close collaboration with the existing
professors in the Institute as well as with the colleagues in the Research
Institute for History and Culture and the Huizinga Institute (Dutch Cultural
History Research School) will help to create a sense of synergy; but at the
time, ample space is available for leadership and the development of new
projects and perspectives. The new professorship for media theory offers an
opportunity for an exceptional researcher and teacher to play a leading role in
the conceptualization and analysis of a crucial cultural sector, and the
of a generation's understanding of the dynamic media environment that surrounds

For this position we ask for: research experience in the profiled area as
evidenced by a dissertation, scholarly publications, and participation in
academic congresses; experience with developing research proposals and with PhD
advising; teaching experience ranging from large introductory courses to
advanced seminars; experience with administration of research as well as
teaching programs; experience with multi- and interdisciplinary collaboration;
knowledge of the Dutch language and university system is an advantage.

For this position we offer: a permanent, full-time position (an 80% position
discussable); a salary consistent with experience (maximum: EUR 6360 bruto per
month) [professor level A, consistent with the CAO (collective labor agreement)
for Dutch universities]
The Faculty seeks to expand the number of women in professorships. For these
vacancies, all qualified female candidates will be invited for an interview,
in the event of equal competencies, the position will be awarded to the woman.

For more information please contact the chair of the search committee:
Professor dr. mr. P.J. van den Hoven, 030-2538093, .
You can also visit the Institute's website at
The delivery of sample lecture, the submission of a research plan, and a
psychological assessment may constitute part of the application process.

NB: Given the late date, a letter of intention submitted before 31 January 2003
is sufficient to hold a place in the selection process. By that point or
shortly thereafter, we would appreciate a written application (including a
curriculum vitae). Address your correspondence to:
Personnel and Organisation department, drs. M.E.S. Arends
Kromme Nieuwegracht 46
3512 HJ Utrecht The Netherlands, or e-mail
Please refer to vacancy number 68249.

This announcement has already been published in a Dutch newspaper in December
2002. The new deadline only applies to candidates from outside the Netherlands.


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