Rosi Braidotti's microcosm
Rosi Braidotti is the director of the Centre for the Humanities, as well as a Distinguished University Professor. Her office in the city center, she says, “is a microcosm”.
Who are you and what do you do?
My name is Rosi Braidotti. I am a Distinguished University Professor, and I’m also the founding director of the Centre for the Humanities, which is an inter-faculty platform and a critical think-tank for debates on issues of concern to the Humanities today. I’ve been in Utrecht since 1987, when I was appointed as the founding professor in Women’s Studies.
Where is this workplace?
My office is located on a unique street, Achter de Dom. I am so fortunate that through my windows I can see the Dom cathedral and if I walk across my street I can enter the Dom cloister and garden. This is a small, incredibly beautiful oasis of calm and meditation in the middle of the busy city center. On sunny days you are likely to find in this garden: students reading and studying, while others are toasting and celebrating their graduation; locals strolling to look at the flower-beds and tourists from all over the world taking pictures. And yet the cloister garden infuses peace upon them all.
What is special about this workplace or about your research?
The core of my research is on issues of philosophical subjectivity, culture and gender. Looking out to the historical Academiegebouw reminds me of the importance of different historical temporalities. It reflects intergenerational struggles and accomplishments, which is also a very important part of my work. Being an official bell ringer of the City of Utrecht myself, I am especially delighted to be able to hear the cathedral bells from my office.
I am always very moved when hearing the Anna Maria van Schurman bell ring at every special event of the university. That is a new bell, which we cast for the university only a few years ago, and for me it emphasizes not only the historical importance of our university, but also its intimate relationship to the city. Besides, Anna Maria van Schurman was one of the first female students in Europe, which made Utrecht a point of reference for many famous academics and thinkers. My office is a microcosm.