Interview with the Visiting Professor Koen Stapelbroek
1. Please provide a brief outline of your training and scientific activity.
I first studied (and completed Master degrees in) Economics and Philosophy in Rotterdam. When I went on an Erasmus exchange to Turin at the end of my studies, I became more and more interested in history of economic and political thought and ended up doing another Master’s degree and a PhD in History at the University of Cambridge. I have been an Associate Professor in Rotterdam for a number of years now, teaching history of political theory and international politics. I have also done a lot of research in Helsinki through funding by the Academy of Finland. So I really like the full European experience, you can say.
2. Please state your reasons for choosing Venice and the Department for your research and teaching stay.
I am always happy to be working together with Italian colleagues and to work on Italian history, which I think is fascinating and relatively understudied. Not that there aren’t many fantastic Italian scholars, but there is so much wonderful material in published writings and in all sorts of archives! Venice is a good example: there are wonderful archives here with manuscript collections that contain stories that need to be reconstructed and told! The Department is quite like my Department in Rotterdam and also my teaching in Helsinki: although I teach history and want students to learn to think historically and ask historical questions, really, they (and that goes for me too) are interested in the relevance of historical insights for present international political and economic issues.
3. Have you ever had a research collaboration with the teaching staff of Department of Linguistics and Comparative Cultural Studies in the past?
Yes, with Prof. Antonio Trampus we have organised a number of academic seminars and I have taught a number of lectures over the years to students both at Bachelor and Master level. It has always been a great pleasure and I enjoy teaching students in the Department. My colleagues in the Netherlands have good reason to be jealous!
4. What are your expectations regarding our University in general and our Department in particular?
I hope the students will be as open-minded and ambitious as I have come to know them. I also hope they will be interested in discussing with me during the lectures. Really, the oldfashioned model of a Professor who dictates the truth to students does not work and is not very motivating either. It is much more interesting if students bring their ideas to the lectures and provide their own input. That is what academic teaching should be like in my opinion and I want to encourage that as much as possible. I am really looking forward to it!
Department of Linguistics and Comparative Cultural Studies