For more updated information and upcoming events, please check www.miekebal.org
Mieke Bal is Professor of Theory of Literature and a founding director of the Amsterdam School for Cultural Analysis (ASCA).
Koninklijke Nederlandse Akademie van Wetenschappen
(Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts and Sciences)
Professor Bal (1946) has been awarded an Academy Professorship for her original contributions to narratology and to her application of the principles of literary theoryto the visualarts. A prime example of her contributions in the field of narratology is her trilogy on the bible from a feminist perspective. Her application of the principles of literary theory to the visual arts is highly innovative, bold and imaginative. In the broad field of cultural analysis Professor Bal is both widely respected and highly admired.
Click the link below to directly access Mieke Bal's work in
the Digital Academic Repository at the University of
N.B. full-text coming soon
cultural analysis; critical semiotics; feminist theory; relations between verbal and visual arts; transcultural theory; anthropology; narratology; psychoanalysis; methodology of interdisciplinary approaches; museology
contemporary literature; French and English nineteenth-century literature; Hebrew Bible; seventeenth-century art (Rembrandt); popular culture; language and science
From previous projects, four strands remain active:
- Narratology Between the Disciplines
My ongoing interest in the revision of the nature, modes, functions and forms of narrativity incontemporary culture led to the thoroughlyrevised andexpanded version of my handbook Narratology (1997; or. Dutch 1979, Eng. 1987). However, I am not satisfied that the book as it now stands can remain valid for much longer. I envisage a completely new version, perhaps as a follow-up book, perhapsas a replacement. The intentionwill be tofully integrate the interdisciplinary perspective that I have developed over the past decade.
- Travelling Concepts
This project results from my intense involvement with PhD training, both in the context of the ASCA Theory Seminar and in a large number of individual PhD projects. Through these pedagogical activities - traditionally and oddly credited as "research", not asteaching, in the Netherlands - I have developed insight into the indispensable contribution that can be expected to be made from reflecting on and deploying concepts in interdisciplinary cultural analysis. I am currently writing a book, contracted with the University of Toronto Press (the publisher of my previous pedagogically oriented work), which consists of an argument in favour of this view. Four case studies demonstrate the consequences of replacing paradigm- and discipline-based methodologies with an open re-examination of concepts that have a history of "travelling" between disciplines, historical periods and contexts,and even cultures.
- In Time: Between Performance and Performativity
Performance is not; it occurs. It happens and takes time; it has a past and a future, and hence, a present. From linguistics and the philosophy of language, we take the notion that utterances do something: they perform an act that produces an event. From theatre, we borrow the notion of role-playing, which can be extended to include social role-playing, then restrict it to that aspect of playing that is effective in that it affects the viewer. From anthropology, we take the idea that the performative speech actin the extended sense requires the participation, in the productionof meaning, of the ethnographer's partner, that is, of the people belonging to the culture studied. In art, this entails the indispensable participation of the visitor to the museum or the viewer of the work, without whom the artwork is simply nothing, just adead object.In thisproject, then,due to this triple allegiance, the notion of "performance" must be taken in all its ambiguity. The term encompasses "performativity" as opposed to being distinct from it. I have tentatively worked with this cluster of aspects of the two terms in several recent articles on contemporary art not bound to specific traditional media. I would like to turn this into a book project, grounding it theoretically and using literary terms.
- Preposterous History
This term was central to one of my recent books, but I am not satisfied I have fully grounded or exploited the underlying idea. Under the heading "indispensable anachronism" (Damisch), others have elaborated it differently. I am interested in joining this inquiry with current concerns about tradition, both cultural and academic, and with methodological issues of distance and proximity (Phillips), the place of the archive and museum presentations.