Intention & Intervention

Intention & Intervention

Authorial strategies against exclusionary discourses


A research project by Dr Leila Essa, funded through the NWO Talent Scheme

What decisions do authors from marginalised communities take inside and around their fiction when facing exclusionary creative industries and societies?

How do they individually and collectively intervene in public discourses through artistic and activist work? How do they set out to reach or even teach wide audiences?

And what consequences do these dynamics have for conceptions of authorial intention in literary criticism?

My methodology for tackling these questions is comparative: Following lines of existing networks, influences and overlaps, I conduct case studies from the German and British scene that also always point beyond these two contexts. And it is collaborative: This research centres exchange with and between the writers whose intentions are at stake.

Thanks to a Veni grant by the Dutch Research Council (NWO), the project will run from 2022 to 2025. It is hosted by the Institute for Cultural Inquiry at Utrecht University, where I am an Assistant Professor in Comparative Literature (more on my teaching, writing and previous research on my profile page).

Here you can follow the latest developments of Intention & Intervention:

  • A fourth of 2024

    A fourth of 2024

    Since the last update on the Peter-Weiss-Prize in my previous post, my research into the false reporting around Artists for Palestine UK has been picked up by journalist Sonja Zekri, who spoke to me for her report in the national newspaper Süddeutsche Zeitung. And much else has happened in this first quarter of 2024, too:…

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  • Bochum Update

    Bochum Update

    As there has been considerable public interest in the letter that I sent to representatives of the Green party, the CDU and the SPD in Bochum last week, I also want to post a quick update on the reply I have received today. My letter had outlined the need to publicly acknowledge that the politicians…

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  • Sent / to read / attend

    Sent / to read / attend

    A very quick January update on a letter sent, a special issue to read, and an event to attend. In my previous blog post, I had pointed out factual inaccuracies at the basis of the controversy around the Peter-Weiss-Preis, which were then also reproduced in the official statement by the Bochum politicians Barbara Jessel (Die…

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