Frank J. Hakemulder

PhD, Liberal Arts

  • PhD, Liberal Arts, National Graduate School for Literary Studies (Onderzoekschool Literatuurwetenschap)
  • M.A., Liberal Arts, Utrecht University


Frank J. Hakemulder
PhD, Liberal Arts

Frank Hakemulder has a background in literary theory and comparative literature. He did his Ph.D. in Liberal Arts from National Graduate School for Literary Studies (Onderzoekschool Literatuurwetenschap). He specializes in the psychology of literature, focusing on the effects of reading literary texts on outgroup attitudes and moral self-concept (e.g., The moral laboratory, 2000). He supervises two national research projects in the Netherlands: one pertaining to the experience of being absorbed in fictional worlds (Narrative Absorption, 2017), and the other on how such experiences affect social perception and self concepts (see He is affiliated full professor at the Reading Center (Stavanger). He teaches Media Psychology and Communication at Utrecht University.

Teaching Experience

University Lecturer (Sept. 1997 – present) at:
1. Theater, Film, and Television Studies, Utrecht University (current position);
2. Department of Literary Studies, Free University of Amsterdam;
3. National Graduate School for Literary Studies, Leiden;
4. Federal University of Rio de Janeiro;
5. Ludwig-Maximilian University of Munich;
6. Department of Literary Studies, University of Groningen;
7. Department of Liberal Arts, Utrecht University;
8. Department of Literary Studies, Utrecht University.
Tasks: developing courses; teaching (seminars and lectures); coordination of courses;
supervising students’ individual research projects, group research projects (Lord of the
Rings Research Project), MA-theses, and internships; tutorial guidance for college
freshmen; public relations; organizing extra-curricular seminars on ‘The City in Literature’
(1998-1999), ‘Literature and Lust’ (1999-2000), and Literary Highlights (2001). Basic
Teaching Qualifications (BKO) in 2003.


Theoretical and empirical

• MA-Reception research. Qualitative methodologies for Film & Television Studies (1)1
• Methods and Techniques of Audience Research. Practical training in designing
empirical research for communication, theater, film, and television studies (1,4)
• Philosophy of Science for Media Studies (1)
• Comparative study of representation (1)
• Psychological and Theoretical-Empirical Approaches to Theater-, Film-, and
Television Studies (1)
• Modern Film and Television Theory (1)
• Literature and Ethics (2)
• Narrative Analyses. An introduction to narratology. (2)
• Forms of Classification in Literary Studies. On problems concerning categories such
as genre, period, high and low culture, etc. (2)
• Publishing Companies’ Lists. Theory and research, analyzing publishers’ policies. (8)
• Interdisciplinary Research. On psychology and literary studies (3)
• Methodologies; The Relation Text-Reader. From reception-aesthetics to experimental
psychology (6)
• Introduction to Literary Studies (8)
• Literary Theory I. From Russian-Formalism to Psycho-Analysis (8)
• Literary Theory II. From Marxism to Deconstructivism (8)
• Psychology of the Reader. On emotion research in literary studies (8)
• Research Methods of Literary Studies. Methods of research in (historical) receptionaesthetics
and psychology of literature (2)

Comparative Literature

• Tragedy in Western Literature. On the function and context of the genre, considered
from several theoretical and philosophical perspectives (8)
• Evil in Literature. A thematic approach to representation of evil in literature (2)
• Key Works 1: Literature and the Representation of Reality (8)
• Key Works 2: Classic Tragedy as a Model in Western Literature. From Sophocles to
Brecht (8)


• Intercultural Communication: Reading (5)
• Introduction to Research Methods in Literature. Philosophy of science, general
methods of investigation, practical training in formal aspects of reporting (7)
• Literature and Emotion. Training in developing and evaluating research designs (5)
• Literature and Ethics. Developing and evaluating research designs (5)

Research Experience


Project leader (09/2010-09/2014)

Varieties of Absorption in Narrative, and Aesthetic Experiences. A Comparative Study of
Responses to Literature and Film (Funding by Netherlands Organisation for Scientific
Research, co-applicant and -supervisor is Prof. dr. E. Tan, University of Amsterdam).

Freelance-researcher (09/2007)

Consulting for the BBC Multi-Media Award, organised and funded by the BBC, the
Society Netherlands-England, and KPN (Dutch Telecom).

Freelance-researcher (02/2007)

A field study concerning the effects of Forum Theatre on attitudes and beliefs; a project
of the International Labour Organization, Colombo, Sri Lanka.

Researcher (12/2001 – present)

Permanent position as assistant professor at the Department for Media and Culture
Studies (Utrecht University). Research interests: style and the effects of style, e.g.,
foregrounding in literary texts and movies, response to different styles of (film)
adaptation; effects of humour; effects of different styles in representation of death on
attitudes; the uses of narratives in (moral) education.

Post-doc researcher (11/1998 – 12/2001)

Participating in a national project of The Netherlands’ Organization for Scientific
Research (NWO), The Multicultural and Multiform Society (Multiculturele en Pluriforme Samenleving). Research focused on the influence of cultural canons and cultural
competence on inter-group relations. Inspired by literary theories, an attempt was made to determine those aspects of literary communication (text features as well as reading style) that may be responsible for the effects of reading on social perception. Among others, it was examined what the persuasive effects of narrative are as compared to other forms of information.

Freelance-researcher (09/1997 – 12/1997)

For the National Foundation for the Promotion of Reading (Stichting Lezen): an inventory
of all reading research conducted in The Netherlands. Publication of the results, and
presentation at annual State of the Arts conference.

PhD student 09/1993 – 09/1997; PhD 23/10/1998

At the Research Institute for History and Culture (Onderzoeksinstituut voor Geschiedenis
en Cultuur). Utrecht University & University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. Supervised
by Prof. dr. D.W. Fokkema, Prof. dr. W. van Peer, and Prof. dr. R. Wyer. The research
project, entitled The Moral Laboratory; Literature and Ethical Awareness comprised the
following components: overview of theories concerning the social and ethical effects of
reading literary texts; a review of the relevant experimental research in this area;
construction of a psychological model based on previous research; experiments testing
the model.

Other Professional Experience

President (01/2012 – 12/2016)

Internationale Gesellschaft für Empirische Literaturwissenschaft (IGEL), or the
International Society for the Empirical Studies of Literature and Media.

Coordinator contract activities (9/2010 – )

Organising and facilitating activities of researchers at the Department of Media and
Culture Studies (Utrecht University) aimed at disseminating knowledge to non-academic
businesses and non-profit organisations.

Co-Supervisor (2010 – )

Supervising four PhD projects, at Utrecht University (Moniek Kuijpers, Absorption in Literature, Thijs Vroegh, Absorption in Music, Willemien Sanders (Ethics in Documentary 4 Making), at Erasmus University Rotterdam (Emy Koopman, Reading Suffering. An Empirical Enquiry into Emotional, Intellectual and Ethical Responses to Narratives of Mental and Physical Pain.), of one postdoc project (Katalin Balint, Medium specific aspects of absorption in literature and film).

Associate editor (04/2011 – )

For the international peer-reviewed journal The Scientific Study of Literature (SSOL)

Reviewer (09/2009 – )

For book series Linguistic Approaches to Literature with John Benjamins Publishing. From 09/2010 Editor of this series. Occasionally for Poetics and Discourse Processes.

Vice president (07/2008 – 07/2010)

Organising IGEL’s biannual international conference of 2010 at Utrecht University.

Member of Academic Committee

10th Symposium in Empirical Studies in Language and Literature; Appraisals and perspectives: mapping empirical studies in the Humanities. Rio de Janeiro, 18-19 September 2009.

Coordinator Education Program (09/2005 – 09/2010)

Department of Communication Studies, Utrecht University.

Secretary Examination Board (09/2002 – 09/2007)

Department of Communication Studies, Utrecht University.

Member of Education Committee (09/2004 – 08/2005)

Department of Theatre, Film, and Television Studies.

Founder and project leader of REDES (09/2002 – 10/2005)

Research and Development in Empirical Studies (REDES), a cooperation between several universities promoting the scientific study of culture from a multi-cultural perspective. Active participation, training and guidance of students in The Netherlands and abroad.

Editor IGEL Newsletter (08/2002 – 07/2008)

International Society for the Empirical Studies of Literature and Media.

Internet designer (09/1999 – 12/1999)

Internet project for the Department for Art Policy and Management, designing Web
support for The Structure of Cultural Life in the Netherlands, a course on Dutch
governmental policy concerning the arts.

Organizing academic conferences and symposia

(i) The promotion of reading in a multicultural society. Conference for scholars and workers in the field of literacy. Utrecht University & National Reading Foundation; Utrecht, 02/2000. (ii) Effects of literature: three symposia at the IGEL conference, Toronto, 08/2000. (iii) Symposium on empirical approach to gender in literature, at IGEL conference, Pécs, Hungary, 08/2002. (iv) Language and emotion symposium at the International Society for Research on Emotion. (v) IGEL Conference 7- 11 July 2010, Utrecht University.

Program advisor (04/1998 – 10/1999)

Bureau of the Faculty of Arts, Utrecht University: evaluation of faculty policy to improve the quality of education; evaluation of the faculty’s PhD system; organizing two faculty conferences on innovation in education.

Chairman (12/1996 – 09/1997)

Of the PhD students committee of the National Graduate School for Literary Studies: inventory of interests of PhD students; advising the education committee.

Program assistant (08/1991 – 03/1993)

Dutch Organization for Career Advisory Officers. Informing members through several periodicals about general trends in the labour market and providing assistance in drawing 5 up policy programs for target groups (alternative military service).

Publishing assistant (05/1989 – 11/1989)

Coutinho Publishing Co., internship, Utrecht University. Acquisition of manuscripts about
art management; editing; promotion.

Journal editor (06/1990 – 09/1993)

Frame, journal for literary studies. Editing; acquisition of copy; writing articles;
fundraising; national promotion campaign.

Music critic (09/1992 – 08/1993)

Writing CD reviews for Nopapers / Classical Music, digital magazine.

Student-assistant (09/1989 - 12/1991)

Department of Literary Studies, Utrecht University. Translating articles (English to Dutch);
educational and research assistance; editing and translating department publications.



  • Van Rees, K., Ganzeboom, H., Hakemulder, J., Vermeij, L. (Eds.) (in press). Art between cultures. School and culture in a multi-ethnic society. Amsterdam: Aksant.*2
  • Van Peer, W. Hakemulder, J. & Zyngier, S. (Eds.) (2012). Science and Humanities: New research methods. Amsterdam: Benjamins
  • Hakemulder. J. (Ed.) (2011). De stralende lezer. Wetenschappelijk onderzoek naar de invloed van het lezen. The radiant reader; scientific studies of the influence of reading. Delft: Eburon.
  • Van Peer, W., Hakemulder, F. & Zyngier (2012). Scientific Studies for the Humanities. Amsterdam: John Bejamins.
  • Van Peer, W., Hakemulder, J. & Zyngier, S. (2007). Muses and measures: Empirical research methods for the Humanities. Cambridge: Cambridge Scholars Press.
  • Hakemulder, J. (2000). The moral laboratory: Experiments examining the effects of reading literature on social perception and moral self-knowledge. Amsterdam: Benjamins.
  • Schram, D., Raukema, A., Hakemulder, J. (Eds.) (2000). Reading and the promotion of reading in a multicultural society. Delft: Eburon.*
  • Hakemulder, J. (1997). Kaleidoscope of reading research 1998. Amsterdam: Stichting Lezen.*
  • Jansen, Th., Ruiter, F. & Hakemulder, J. (Eds.). The reader as citizen: On literature and ethics. Kampen: Kok Agora, 1994.*


Peer reviewed publications

  • (2011). Ways to engage readers: Relevance in the scientific study of literature. Scientific Study of Literature, 1, 144-153.
  • Hakemulder, J. and Koopman, E. (2010) Readers closing in on immoral characters’ consciousness. Effects of free indirect discourse on response to literary narratives. Journal for Literary Theory, 4.1, 41-62.
  • Zyngier, S., Hakemulder, J. and Van Peer, W. (2007). Complexity and foregrounding. In the eye of the beholder? Poetics Today, 28 (4), 653 – 682.
  • (2007). Tracing foregrounding in responses to film. Language and Literature, 16, 125- 139.
  • Van Peer, W., Hakemulder, J., & Zyngier, S. (2007). Lines on feeling: Foregrounding, aesthetics, and meaning. Language and Literature, 16, 197-213.
  • Hakemulder, J. & Ten Velde, A. (2006). Was the book better than the movie? Expectations, disappointments, and interpretations in responses to The Return of the King. Journal for Communication Studies (Tijdschrift voor communicatiewetenschappen), 34(1), 48-68.*
  • (2004) Foregrounding and its effects on readers’ perception. Discourse Processes, 38(2), 193-218.

Other publications

  • (in press). Intercultural literature and intercultural sensitivity. The use of reading stories about others and ourselves. In K. Van Rees, H. Ganzeboom, J. Hakemulder, & L. Vermeij (Eds.). Amsterdam: Aksant.
  • (in press). Introduction. De stralende lezer. Wetenschappelijk onderzoek naar de invloed van het lezen. The radiant reader; scientific studies of the influence of reading. Delft: Eburon.
  • Imagining what could happen. Effects of taking the role of a character on social cognition. S. Zyngier (Eds.) (2008). Directions in empirical literary studies. Philadelphia: Benjamins. 139-159.
  • (2008). The more you see, the more you get: How spectators’ use their limited capacity for attention in responses to formal aspects of film. J. Auracher and W. van Peer (eds.) New beginnings in literary studies. Newcastle: Cambridge Scholars Publishing. 332-352.
  • (2008). Literary potential: the unexplored powers of reading. Information Design Journal 16(2): 126 – 132.
  • (2007). Forum theatre. The effects of participatory responses. Research report, ILO, Colombo, Sri Lanka.
  • Van Peer, W., Zyngier, S. & Hakemulder, J. (2007). Foregrounding: Past, present, future. In D. Hoover and S. Lattig (Ed.). Stylistics: Prospect and Retrospect, 1-23. Atlanta: Rodopi.
  • Zyngier, S., W. van Peer & J. Hakemulder. Komplexität und Foregrounding – Im Auge des Betrachters? [Complexity and foregrounding. Is it in the eye of the beholder?]. In K. Eibl, K. Mellmann & R. Zymner (Eds.) Im Rücken der Kulturen. [In the backbone of cultures]. Paderborn: Mentis Verlag, 2007. pp. 343-369.
  • Vijf aspecten van het literaire lezen. [Five aspects of literary reading]. Vooys, Het nieuwe lezen: Literatuurconsumptie in de 21e eeuw. [Vooys magazine, New reading: The consumption of literature in the 21st Century]. pp. 5984-5989.*
  • Van Peer, W. & J. Hakemulder (2006). Foregrounding. In K. Brown (Ed.), Encyclopedia of language and linguistics, pp. 546-551, Vol. 4. 2nd edition. Oxford: Elsevier.
  • (2006). Literature: Empirical studies. In K. Brown (Ed.), Encyclopedia of language and linguistics, pp. 274-280, Vol 7. 2nd edition. Elsevier: Oxford.
  • (2003). Rhetorical effect of narrative. In S. Csabi & J. Zerkowitz (Eds.). Textual secrets: The message of the medium, pp. 140-149. Budapest: Eötvös Lórand University Press.
  • (2002). How to make alle Menschen Brüder. Literature in a multicultural and multiform society. In D. Schram and G. Steen (Eds.). The psychology and sociology of literature, pp. 225-242. Amsterdam: Benjamins.
  • (2000). Functions of reading in a multicultural society. In D. Schram, A. Raukema, & J. Hakemulder (Eds.), Reading and the promotion of reading in a multicultural society, pp. 141 150. Delft: Eburon.*
  • (1999). World citizens through world literature; The effect of unarmed confrontation between cultures. Leesgoed, 26, 216-219.*
  • (1998). Psychological effects of literature; How beauty can be meaningful. Leesgoed, 25, 231-233.*
  • (1997). Effects of literature: A review. In S. Tötösy de Zepetnek and I. Sywenky
  • (Eds.). The systematic and empirical approach to literature and culture as theory and application, pp. 31-50. Edmonton: University of Alberta.
  • Schram, D. and J. Hakemulder. (1994). The ethical effect of narrative fiction. In Th. Jansen, F. Ruiter and J. Hakemulder (Eds.). The reader as citizen; On literature and ethics, pp. 110-123. Kampen: Kok Agora.*
  • (1994). What literature does to society; The effect of a life-style component. G. Rusch (Ed.). Empirical approaches to literature, pp. 214-220. Siegen: Lumis.
  • (1994). Speaking of reading. Book review in Forum der Letteren, 25, 308-311.*
  • (1994). Selective perception and the literary canon. Frame, Journal for Literary Theory and Comparative Literature, 9(1), 26-36.*
  • (1992). “You are what you read.” The ethical nature of literary reading. Frame, 7(2), 76-86.*
  • (1992). Ethical Revival in Poetics. Frame, 7(2), 65-69.*

Conference papers and guest lectures

  • Empirical study of literature. Aims and prospects. Institute for Literary Studies, University of Uppsala, 15 September 2011 (invited speaker).
  • Travel Experiences. A typology of transportation and other absorption states in relation to types of aesthetic responses. Institute for Language and Emotions. Frei Universitat
    Berlin, 29 januari 2011 (invited speaker)
  • Ways of engaging readers. Searching for relevance in the scientific study of literature. Goettingen, 17 December 2010 (invited speaker)
  • Captivating. Medium and Textual Factors in Readers’, Spectators’, and Listeners’ Absorption Experiences. Symposium on Cognitive Aesthetics. Center for Semiotics, Arhus University. 15 Oct. 2010 (invited speaker)
  • Nuances in narrative persuasion: Need for cognition in response to first-person or third person narratives in the context of non-narrative discourse (Jandre, Hakemulder, Zyngier, & Van Peer). 9 July 2010
  • Readers closing in on immoral characters’ consciousness: Effects of free indirect discourse on response to literary narratives (Koopman & Hakemulder) 10 July 2010.
  • If you prick us, do we not bleed? Effects of fictional narratives on assumptions about similarity between ingroup and outgroups. Conference of the Society for Text and Discourse, Rotterdam, 27 July 2009.
  • Imagination in the leading role. The effects of feeling transported into a fictional world on real-world beliefs. Conference of the Poetics and Linguistics Association, Middelburg, 1 August 2009.
  • Losing the ability to laugh about ourselves; Mortality salience and responses to outgroups poking fun at us. Conference of the International Society for Humor Studies. California State University, Long Beach, June 20, 2010.
  • Being a stranger to strangers no more: To what extent does reading stories affect readers’ notion of what it must be like to be someone else? Linguistic University, Kiev, Ukraine.
  • What goes on in strangers’ minds. Effects of reading stories about outgroups on outgroup perception. Literature and the Theory of Mind, Conference at the University of Purdue, Lafayette, USA.
  • Five aspects of literary reading. Conference at Utrecht University, Vooys, ‘New Reading; Consumption of Literature in the 21e Century’. 02/2007 *
  • Between lullaby and wake-up call: A proposal for an intercultural study of the function of religious stories. Conference of the Intercultural Open University (IOU), Jaipur, India, 12/2006.
  • A third culture. The empirical study of literature and the arts. IOU, Jaipur, 02/2006.
  • Effects of external and internal deviation in the reception of film. Chiemsee, BRD, International conference of International Society for the Empirical Study of Literature andMedia (IGEL), 08/2006.
  • Viewers’ criticism and aesthetic responses to adaptation. Chiemsee, BRD, International conference of IGEL, 08/2006.
  • When does form become prominent in viewers’ perception of film? Minneapolis, Society for Text and Discourse (ST&D). (07/2006)
  • Dilemmas in perspective. Influence of narrative perspective on ethical reflection. München, Research and Development of Empirical Studies (REDES). (01/2005).
  • Effects of foregrounding in film: Running into some obstructive or cooperative syuzhets. Edmonton, Alberta, Canada, International Society for the Empirical Study of Literature and Media (IGEL; 08/2004).
  • Play it again Sam. The rescreening paradigm in the psychonarratology of film. München, (REDES). (01/2004).
  • Why we need readers to understand literature: An ardent plea for empirical approaches. Third ECEL Conference Federal University of Rio de Janeiro, 09/2002.
  • Foregrounding and its effect on our perception of the world surrounding. Third ECEL meeting, Federal University Rio de Janeiro, 09/2002.
  • An empirical basis for literariness. Catholic University, Rio de Janeiro, 09/2002.
  • Ways to communicate the immigrant experience. Guest lecture at Promotionsstudiengang Literaturwissenschaft, Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität München, Munich, 07/2002.
  • Is it literature and what does it do? Conference of IGEL. Pécs, Hungary, 08/2002
  • Rhetorical effect of narrative. Poetics and Linguistics Association (PALA). Eötvös Lórand University, Budapest, 08/2001.
  • How literature enters life. Institute for Media Studies, University of Cologne, 06/2001.
  • Aristotle enhancing situational attribution in your perception of story characters. Winter Text Conference of the ST&D, Jackson, Wyoming, 04/2001.
  • Countering the ultimate attribution error. Conference of IGEL, Toronto, 08/2000.
  • Functions of reading in a multicultural society. Conference on ‘The Promotion of Reading in a Multicultural Society’; Utrecht University & National Foundation for the Promotion of Reading; Utrecht, 05/2000.*
  • Aims and methods. National Graduate School for Literary Studies & University College London; Leiden, 06/1998.
  • Gogol’s St. Petersburg.* Lectures on The City in Literature, Utrecht University, 10/1998
  • A psychological model for the study of literature’s effects. Conference of IGEL, Utrecht, 08/1998.
  • Effects of stories on social perception. Conference of the ST&D. Utrecht, 08/1997.
  • Effects of literature. A review. Conference of the International Association for Empirical Aesthetics (IAEA). Prague, 08/1996
  • The effects of literature on self-concept. Guest lecture in the Department of Psychology, University of Alberta. Edmonton, 01/1996.
  • Literature as a moral laboratory. Social Cognition Group, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, 12/1995.
  • What literature does to society. Conference of IGEL, Budapest, 08/1994.

In the above list of courses the numbers between parentheses refer to the institutes mentioned above.

Titles marked with an asterisk were published in Dutch.