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Dutch Wednesday 2015

Programma 2015

Doel van Dutch Wednesday is verdieping en uitwisseling van kennis, stimulering van academische samenwerking. De doelgroep zijn Russische en buitenlandse studenten, docenten en alumni. Vaak leiden de bijeenkomsten tot nieuwe contacten en gezamenlijke samenwerkingsinitiatieven.

Voorgaande lezingen

2 December: Jan Nijman, Professor of Urban Studies, University of Amsterdam

Urban revolutions

The global history of cities revolves around key moments of innovation in technology, science, philosophy, and economic and social organisation. This lecture singles out five such moments, or revolutions: the first cities of the neolithic age, the ancient republican city, the early modern bourgeois city, the industrial city, and the information city. It is argued that the main achievement and challenge of cities lies in the management of ever-growing social complexity.

 Jan Nijman is Professor of Urban Studies and he was the founding Director of the Centre for Urban Studies at the University of Amsterdam. His expertise is in comparative urbanism and urban/regional development. He is the author of more than a hundred scholarly articles and five books including the award winning Miami, Mistress of the Americas (U of Pennsylvania Press, 2011) and Regions, a widely used introductory Geography text in North America. Nijman lived and worked in the United States for two decades and he has more than 15 years of fieldwork experience in urban India. He is a former Guggenheim Fellow.

28 October: Philipp Pattberg, Transnational Environmental Governance, VU University Amsterdam

20 Years of International Climate Change Politics: what has been achieved, what has gone wrong and what might happen next

In this lecture Philipp Pattberg will critically discuss more than 20 years of international climate change diplomacy, from the successful negotiation of the 1992 United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), to the 1997 Kyoto Protocol, its entering into force in 2005 after Russian ratification, the failure of the 2009 Copenhagen summit and recent attempts to reach an agreement on a new global climate treaty, to be negotiated in Paris in December this year. Dr Pattberg will reflect on major changes that have happened since 1992, including substantial changes to world order (the emergence of the BRICS countries, in particular the rise of China), the increasing popularity of new market-based instruments (such as emissions trading, the CDM and REDD+) and the unprecedented rise of non-state actors participating in climate change politics (from NGOS to global corporations, city networks and the Pope). Finally, Dr Pattberg will discuss the chances for and the possible outlines of a new climate agreement currently negotiated among the 193 countries of the UNFCCC.

Philipp Pattberg is professor of transnational environmental governance and policy at VU University Amsterdam, The Netherlands. He specializes in the study of global environmental politics, with a focus on climate change governance, biodiversity, forest and fisheries governance, transnational relations, public-private partnerships, network theory and institutional analysis. Pattberg’s current research scrutinizes institutional complexity, functional overlaps and fragmentation across environmental domains ( http://fragmentation.eu/).

At VU University Amsterdam, Pattberg heads the Department of Environmental Policy Analysis, a team of more than 20 researchers that was evaluated in a 2014 international review as ‘world leading’ and as being ‘one of the highest profile academic research groups involved with sustainability governance from around the world’. Philipp is the Chair of the Board of the Global Environmental Change Section of the German Political Science Association ( http://www.ak-umwelt.de/) and a senior research fellow of the international Earth System Governance Project  http://www.earthsystemgovernance.org/). Within the Netherlands Research School for Socio-Economic and Natural Sciences of the Environment (SENSE), Philipp co-coordinates the research cluster on global environmental governance and politics. From 2006-2011, Pattberg was the deputy-director of the Global Governance Project, a joint research program of 12 European institutes with about 40 affiliated researchers ( www.glogov.org).

Pattberg has won several scholarships, grants and awards, including the 2009 Science Prize of the German Political Science Association (DVPW), a Innovational Research Incentives Scheme Grant (VIDI) from the Netherlands Scientific Organization (NWO), and a PhD research grant from the German Federal Environment Foundation. Pattberg holds a PhD summa cum laude from Freie Universität Berlin (2006), a master’s degrees in political science (University of Bonn, 2000) and a post-graduate diploma in International Relations from the John Hopkins University, School of Advanced International Studies (SAIS, 2001).

7 October: Jan Luiten van Zanden,  Professor of Economic and Social History, Utrecht University

 Democracy and economic development – a perspective from economic history.

Economic history is focused on the wealth and poverty of nations: why some parts of the world have achieved sustained economic growth and why did other parts of the world stay behind. Thanks to the work by a.o. Angus Maddison it is now possible to measure long-term economic change in the world economy over the past 500 to sometimes 1000 years. But what is driving the ‘great divergence’ between nations?  To what extent do different institutions and cultures play a role? One school of thought argues that institutions that constrain the power of the executive are important for long-term economic performance. The rise and decline of European parliaments is interpreted from this perspective, and the relationship between the length of tenure of the executive and economic performance is also analysed. Both studies are inclined to conclude that there is indeed a positive link between growth and democratization. 

Jan Luiten van Zanden is professor of economic and social history at Utrecht University and senior researcher at the International Institute for Social History Amsterdam. He received the Spinoza prize in 2003 for bringing the entire economic history of the Netherlands to international prominence and for his exceptional leadership of such research projects. 

6 May: Pascal Gielen, Director of the Research Center Arts in Society, Groningen University

No Culture, No Europe 

Over the past decade, the European Union has been experiencing a drawn-out crisis, politically as well as economically. From the debate about this crisis an important element is missing: culture. Faith in politics is first and foremost a cultural issue; democracy is a matter of political culture. Culture as a shared frame of reference and as something as that lends meaning to people's lives, is not the superstructure but the very foundation of all societies

In his last book ‘No Culture, No Europe. On the Foundations of Politics’ (2014) Pascal Gielen analyses theoretical models and provides straightforward examples that clarify the central proposition of this work: culture is the basic source to give meaning and form to societies. Culture is the essential, binding fabric of investigating and assessing identity, human activities and political awareness, enabling us to act politically. The European project will never succeed if it does not recognize culture as its main raison d’être. 

Pascal Gielen is director of the Research Center Arts in Society at Groningen University where he is professor sociology of art. He leads also the research group and book series ‘Arts in Society’ (Fontys School for Fine and Performing Arts, Tilburg).  Gielen has written several books on contemporary art, cultural heritage and cultural politics. 

11 maart: Jan Rath, Professor of Urban Sociology, University of Amsterdam

Neighbourhood Transformation in the Netherlands: Ethnic Teahouses vs Hipster Coffee Bars

The urban economic transformations that took place in the closing decades of the twentieth century worked out unfavourably for many low-skilled immigrants. The Amsterdam economy, with its strong emphasis on high-skilled services, has grown rapidly, but against this backdrop the low participation rate of low-skilled immigrants still catches the eye. In an otherwise thriving city, the spatial concentration in inner-city working-class neighbourhoods is perceived as a sign of socioeconomic deprivation and failing social-cultural integration - or, what is worse, of immigrants' unwillingness to become part of the mainstream and contribute to it.

As usual in the Netherlands, the central and local governments in collaboration with social institutions have embarked on a plethora of social engineering interventions, and the private sector - housing associations, in particular --- has been assigned a key role in the revitalization of the city and its neighbourhoods. Large sums of (public and semi-public) money have been allocated to substantially improve the built environment. Furthermore, (native Dutch) middle class people have been encouraged to move to these working-class areas and to mist with the (immigrant) working class. Finally, investments have been made to improve the local economy, among other things by promoting "high quality" shopping streets. A number of immigrants have indeed set up shop, but politicians and professionals are often sceptical about their entrepreneurial qualities. "Traditional" ethnic entrepreneurs at the lower end of the market are seen as obstacles for the social and commercial gentrification that the government and housing associations have in mind. Only ethnic entrepreneurs who manage to play their game and are able to cater to a middle-class clientele are seen as legitimate participants in this restructuring process and, consequently, eligible for support.

This presentation will discuss this complex and paradoxical situation by examining the changing retail landscape in a number of Amsterdam neighbourhoods.

Jan Rath: Professor of Urban Sociology, Chair of the Department of Sociology and Anthropology, Associate of the Institute for Migration and Ethnic Studies (IMES) and the Center for Urban Studies in the Amsterdam Institute for Social Science Research (AISSR) and Coordinator of the Erasmus Mundus Master Program in Migration and Social Cohesion (MISOCO) at the University of Amsterdam (UvA), the European Chair of International Metropolis, Member of the IMISCOE Research Network and the World Economic Forum.  

1 April: René ten Bos, Professor of Philosophy and Organizational Theory, Radboud University

Water. A geophilosophical history  

The Dutch philosopher René ten Bos will speak about the philosophical tradition of the concept of water and our relation to water from a philosophical perspective.

A long time ago, Greek-European philosophy started with the idea that water was the over-arching principle of reality. This idea, which is generally attributed to Thales of Milete, gave place for a theory that different elements (such as fire or air) might have a function of this arch-principle. Then, for Plato, it could only be reason (logos) that should guide us through the universe. With him, philosophy distances itself from water as a philosophical concept.

The intellectual and political consequences of this philosophical shift has been enormous. The sea was described as danger and hell, as 'the place of no return', according the Greek philosophers. This indifference and hatred of water and, more specifically, the sea is part and parcel of the history of Western philosophy.  René ten Bos will discuss this thalassophobia at length and will also provide an explanation for the rather paradoxical fact that mankind in spite of this phobia and hatred actually did venture to sail the seven seas.

René ten Bos is a professor of philosophy at Radboud University, The Netherlands and honorary philosopher at The University of St. Andrews, United Kingdom. Ten Bos is the author of numerous articles and books, covering a broad area of subjects (ranging from man-animal relations and organizational ethics ot bureaucracy theory and ecosophy). His latest book is 'Water. A geophilosophical history' (2014) of which an English translation is forthcoming. This book was nominated for the Socrates Award, a prize for the best philosophical publication of the year in the Netherlands.