Dean's Master Class: research theme 'The City'

February 13 (Monday) 2017

Event information

Type: Master Class

Date: February 13 (Monday) 2017

Time: 12.15 - 17.00

Location: EUR Woudestein campus Rotterdam (directions and campus map), Van der Goot Building, room M3-05 (Praag)

Enrolment: exclusively for PhD candidates of the Graduate School

Contact: Menno Verbeek (enrolment-related questions)

Telephone: +31 (0)10 40 82607

The upcoming edition of the Dean's Master Class will focus on the research theme 'The City'. Graduate School Dean Professor Liesbet van Zoonen has again chosen a theme which cuts across disciplines and asked four distinguished scholars, from four academic fields, to present their research on the theme. The speakers and their respective disciplines are:

  • Professor Jack Burgers (Sociology)
  • Assistant Professor Helen Hintjens and researcher Anila Noor (Development Studies)
  • Associate Professor Erik Hitters (Media and Communication)
  • Associate Professor Henk Oosterling (Philosophy)

The master class is a highly interactive event, consisting of a combination of presentations, discussions and assignments. During the afternoon, PhD candidates will work in groups towards presenting a draft research proposal on 'The City'. The best proposal will be awarded 'The Dame'; the Dean’s Award for Multidisciplinary Excellence.

The Dean’s Award for Multidisciplinary Excellence was awarded to Taslim Alade (Institute for Housing and Urban Development Studies), Ewald de Bruijn (Public Administration) and Muhammad Irfani (Institute for Housing and Urban Development Studies).


  • 12.15 – 12.45 walk-in lunch
  • 12.45 – 13.00 opening
  • 13.00 – 14.00 presentations
  • 14.00 – 15.00 speeddating with the speakers
    Q&A session in groups
  • 15.00 – 16.30 ideas factory
    Participants, (first individually, then in groups) work on ideas for a research proposal
  • 16.30 – 17.00 presentations research proposals
    Two members of each group presents the proposal to be reviewed by the speakers. The best proposals will be awarded the 'Dean's Award for Multidisciplinary Excellence' (DAME).
  • > 17.00 drinks

Read the retrospective of the first master class for a further impression of the afternoon’s set-up.


Dean's Master Class: research theme 'The City'

Professor Jack Burgers

Department of Public Administration and Sociology (DPAS)

Jack Burgers is a sociologist and professor of urban studies at Erasmus University in Rotterdam. He lectured at the universities of Tilburg and Utrecht, and was Visiting Professor at the Institute of Human Sciences in Vienna. He has published numerous books and articles on urban inequality, urban leisure and entertainment, migration and integration, the use and meaning of public space, urban renewal and housing policy.

Ttitle presentation: "Local consequences of globalization"
In the past decades, globalization is one of the most debated topics in the field of urban studies. The central analytical and empirical problem in research in this respect, is the disentanglement of various potential explanatory variables that either have to be controlled or taken aboard in the research design in order to grasp the effects of globalization on local developments and phenomena. In the presentation a few illustrations will be given of how one can deal with this problem.

Required reading:
Waal, J. van der, Burgers, J (2009). Unravelling the Global City Debate on Social Inequality: A Firm-level Analysis of Wage Inequality in Amsterdam and Rotterdam. In Urban Studies 46.13 (1-15)
Available online

Associate Professor Erik Hitters

Erasmus School of History, Culture and Communication (ESHCC)

Erik Hitters is Associate Professor at the Erasmus School of History, Culture and Communication of Erasmus University Rotterdam. He has founded and is managing director of ERMeCC, the Erasmus Research Centre for Media, Communication and Culture. He lectures for the MA in Media Studies and IBCoM. Erik’s research interests lie in the broad field of transformations in the media and cultural Industries. He is project leader of the NWO funded Creative Industries Strategic Research Project “Cultures of Innovation in the Creative Industries”.

Title presentation: "Creative hubs and cultural production in the creative city"
Cities have always been the ‘hotbeds of creativity’ and meeting places for creative people. Although many argue that geography no longer matters in a digital and globalized world, proximity still appears to be valuable in case of the creative industries. A body of theory acknowledges the importance of geographical proximity and urban co-location and the general assumption is that spatial agglomeration generates a variety of synergetic and innovative effects. Drawing on our own research in the creative industries, we aim to create some order in the theory and research on the phenomenon of creative hubs by first explaining how they emerge. Second, we will explore the added value of spatial agglomeration for the creative industries.

Required reading:
Zarlenga, M. I., Ulldemolins, J. R., & Morató, A. R. (2016). Cultural clusters and social interaction dynamics: The case of Barcelona. European Urban and Regional Studies, 23(3), 422-440.
Available online

Associate Professor Henk Oosterling

Faculty of Philosophy

Henk Oosterling (1952) is Associate Professor of Philosophy. His research unfolds within the triangle of philosophy, arts and politics, emphasising the need of ecosophical analysis for urban policies aimed at the transition to a more sustainable economy. As initiator and former director of Rotterdam Skillcity he has established a productive interaction between academic research and societal intervention, implementing curricula for ‘sustainable craftsmanship’ within the educational column from primary school via preparatory, middle and higher vocational education up to the university. For his work Oosterling received the Laurens coin (2008), the Van Praag Award (2013), the Enlightened Society Award of Tibetan Shambhala Buddhists (2015) and the Lof der Zotheid coin (2016).

Title presentation: "Educating 21st century schizoid man. Media- and eco literacy as civic skills"
21st century Western individuals are torn apart between living their hypercomfortable lives and facing climate change. According to the UNESCO scale of 21st century skills, next to a life long learning and the four c’s – collaboration, communication, critical thinking and creative innovation – media literacy and ecological awareness are needed as civic skills for a transition to an ecosocial sustainable society. Based on its research of the past four decades on philosophy of difference – Foucault, Derrida, Deleuze and Guattari - and interculturality Oosterling has used an ecophilosophical discourse strategy to provide educational managers and local policy makers with new scenarios for urban revitalisation. Since 2007 Rotterdam Skillcity, initiated in 2004, is implementing an integrated curriculum - judo, cooking, gardening, technics and philosophy – on four primary schools, a vmbo and mbo in the South of Rotterdam in order to enhance pupils with these skills. See:

Required reading:
Henk Oosterling, (2015), ‘Mesopolitical Interests: Rotterdam Skillcity as Rhizomatic, Ecosophical, Reflactive Event ‘ in This Deleuzian Century. Art, Activism, Life, in Rosi Braidotti & Rick Dolphijn (eds.), Brill/Rodopi, Leiden/Boston  (ISBN: 9789042039162)
Soft copy will be forwarded

Assistant Professor Helen Hintjens & academic researcher Anilia Noor

International Institute of Social Studies

Dr. Helen Hintjens is Assistant Professor in Development and Social Justice at the International Institute of Social Studies in The Hague. For more than 30 years she has studied the comparative asylum policies of EU member states in the context of broader post-colonial relationships and ideas. Her particular interests are in pro-asylum advocacy networks and activists, the politics of selective urban surveillance of undocumented rejected asylum seekers, and networks of 'cities of sanctuary', as well as resistance to deterrence-based measures of destitution, detention and forced deportation. She will talk about the Gated City and trends in urban surveillance towards pre-emptive exclusion of fleeing bodies.

Anila Noor is a refugee researcher, who graduated from the ISS in 2013. She is now based with her family in Zoetermeer. Her Masters research was on Iranian diasporic women's views on home and women's status in Iran and abroad. Noor's current research is about Receiving Refugees in Urban Settings: Narratives from the Netherlands. She is also interested in strategies that are undertaken to counter Islamophobia, which she is interested in exploring at doctoral level in the next few years. She will talk about her research into Citizens Welcoming Refugees in The Netherlands, and the importance of recognising the high skills level that refugees often bring, and the current policy of obliging them to work in manual labour, or lose welfare rights, irrespective of having a relevant Masters or even PhD. 

Title presentation: "Between Walls and a Warm Welcome: Urban responses to People in Flight"
This talk will involve two of us discussing, in the form of a debate, how scholars are thinking about where European cities are headed. Are we returning to the walled cities of the mediaeval era?  Or are popular civic openness and a warm welcome winning out against the view that people in flight are undeserving of protection inside public and private civic spaces?  We consider the growing networks of advocates and self-advocates seeking to accord asylum seekers, refugees and the undocumented the same basic rights as other urban residents.  The discussion is aimed to generate debate about the contrasting faces of EU urban spaces.  Do we extend a warm welcomes to new citizens, or do we exclude them by enclosing safe spaces that they cannot enter?  Do we cushion, or seek to deter, the movement of human beings in flight?  Ultimately, the question is one of our civic rather than our national identities.

Required reading:

  • Hintjens, H.M, Kumar, R, & Pouri, A. (2011). Pro-asylum Advocacy in the EU: Challenging the State of Exception. In ISS Staff Group 2: States, Societies and World Development.
    Available online
  • Hintjens, H. M. 2013. Screening in or out? Selective non-surveillance of unwanted humanity in EU cities. Surveillance & Society 11(1/2): 87-105.
    Available online