Mieke Bal

Comparative Literature, Amsterdam
Fellowship: 01.10.2012–30.09.2013


Mieke Bal, a cultural theorist and critic, has been Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts and Sciences Professor. Her interests range from biblical and classical antiquity to 17th century and contemporary art and modern literature, feminism, and migratory culture. When writing on art, she favors dialogue over the application of theory, and anachronism as a magnifying glass over historical reconstruction. Her many books include »Of What One Cannot Speak: Doris Salcedo’s Political Art« (2011), »Loving Yusuf« (2008), »A Mieke Bal Reader« (2006), »Travelling Concepts in the Humanities« (2002) and »Narratology« (3rd edition 2009). She is also a video-artist, making experimental documentaries on migration. Her first fiction feature, »A Long history of Madness,« with Michelle Williams Gamaker, began to be shown publicly in 2011. She is currently working on a series of video installations, later to be turned into a feature film, titled »Madame B,« based on Flaubert’s prophetic masterpiece »Madame Bovary.« Occasionally she acts as an independent curator.

Fields of Research

  • cultural analysis
  • Critical semiotics
  • Feminist theory
  • Relations between verbal and visual arts
  • Transcultural theory
  • Anthropology
  • Narratology
  • Psychoanalysis
  • Methodology of interdisciplinary approaches
  • Museology

Publications (Selection)

  • Fragments of Matter: Jeannette Christensen. Bergen: Bergen National Academy of the Arts 2009.
  • Narrative Theory: Critical Concepts in Literary and Cultural Studies. Vol. I-IV. London, New York: Routledge 2004.
  • Quoting Caravaggio. Contemporary Art, Preposterous History. Chicago u.a.: Univ. of Chicago Press 1999. 
  • Double Exposure: The Practice of Cultural Analysis. New York: Routledge 1996.