EGS3H’s Academic Culture Group first seminar: Academic Culture under siege

The first seminar of the Academic Culture Group will take place on March 27th at the Woudestein campus, T03-06 and will focus on our present academic culture, our desired academic life and your academic future with the title: 'Academic Culture under Siege?'



Academic Culture Group Seminar



27 March 2013


Mark van Ostaijen


15:00-18:00 hours



Erasmus University Rotterdam, Woudestein campus, T03-06


+31 10 4082119


When the authority of science in Europe and the United States came under serious scrutiny more than 40 years ago its initiators were not people from outside the scholarly world, but students and academics themselves. A crisis from within, so to say. Today science and the institutionalized world of academics experience pressure from the world outside of our ivory towers. The democratization of knowledge, professionalization of science and an increasing market logic impinge upon the moral order of our beloved academia. Especially the position of the social sciences and liberal arts is no longer uncontested or self-evident. Are we as future academics facing a crisis of our institution, has that always been the case or is something else happening, something good maybe?

The topic of this first seminar is not solely determined by our goal to create a thriving academic culture on the campus. A lot of the themes brought forward by you during the first seminar touched somehow upon the crisis of science as well. Ranging from questions about valorisation and communication with media and the general public, as well as some critical notes on the current trend of professionalization within our universities. These questions and remarks are obviously related to the changing position of the academic world in general. Maybe science is always on a move, but particular of this time is how universities in general, but especially our Erasmus University Rotterdam is part of a society of which its citizens are better educated than ever, and therefore inclined to be more critical. Societal sentiments of egalitarianism, populism and anti-intellectualism gives plenty of food to evaluate our own position as well. Is it just about time that engaging in popular debate should become our top-priority? 

Speak your mind! 

We want your opinion on the future of academic life in relation to your own future in the academia. What are your expectations based on your own experiences in the academia? What do these developments mean for an academic culture you treasure? Should changing ideas about the position of the academic be experienced as a dangerous development or healthy correction? Or do you disagree with all of the above? If you would like to actively participate in the discussion, we like to ask you to write a short notice about your own ideas on this topic concerning the questions: 

  • Which developments in academic culture do you see?,
  • Is there a problem?,
  • How do you envision your own future within this prospect? 

and sent your contribution to (  so we can have a more specific indication about the volume of our discussion. 


Prof. dr. Aafke Komter is Head of the Department of Social Science at University College, Utrecht, the Honor's College of Utrecht University, where she is occupying the chair 'Comparative Studies of Social Solidarity'.  In 1986 she was an Associate Member of Balliol College, Oxford. During 1991-92 she was a Visiting Professor at the Graduate School of Social Science, University of Amsterdam. She wrote her Ph-D-thesis on Gender and Power Relationships (1985). Her recent research is focused on family solidarity.

Prof. dr. Chris Lorenz is professor of philosophy of history and of historiography at the VU University of Amsterdam in the Netherlands. He did his MA and Ph.D. at the University of Amsterdam and held a chair in philosophy of history in Leiden between 1989 and 2004. He published predominantly on philosophy of history, modern German historiography, comparative historiography and on higher education.

Dr. Gijs van Oenen is associate professor in practical philosophy at the Faculty of Philosophy, Erasmus University Rotterdam. Van Oenen studied political science at the University of Amsterdam and obtained his Masters degree in 1986. He received his PhD from the University of Amsterdam in 1994, with a dissertation on legal philosophy.


15:00- 15:05         Welcome

15:05- 15:25         Keynote prof. dr. Chris Lorenz         (History, Free University Amsterdam)

15:25- 15:45         Keynote prof. dr. Aafke Komter      (Sociology, Utrecht University)

15:45- 16:05         Keynote dr. Gijs van Oenen              (Philosophy, Erasmus University Rotterdam)

16:10- 17:00         Contributions by Graduate School PhD's

17:15- 18:00         Keynote commentary and discussion 

18:00                    Drinks