Conference Considering Women in the Early Modern Low Countries

The conference “Considering Women in the Early Modern Low Countries” will be held on April 24-25 2015 at the Rubenianum in Antwerp, Belgium. This international event brings together twenty-six eminent scholars of history, art history, and literature, and it will be the first conference to focus on women and gender in both the Protestant Dutch Republic and the Catholic Southern Netherlands. Featured keynote speakers are Martha Howell, Miriam Champion Professor of History at Columbia University, and Diane Wolfthal, David and Caroline Minter Endowed Chair in the Humanities and Professor of Art History at Rice University. The full conference program, registration procedures, and further information is available at

Questions may be directed to Dr. Amanda Pipkin at or Dr. Sarah Moran at

Literature and Historiography: A Conference in Honour of Frank Ankersmit

On March 6, GEMS hosts a conference on literature and historiography in honour of Frank Ankersmit (University of Groningen, doctor honoris causa Ghent University). The keynote lecture by Frank Ankersmit will be preceded by papers from colleagues of our Faculty (Anton Froeyman, Berber Bevernage and Sarah Pardon) and followed by papers from members of a research group of the University of Portsmouth (Julian Wolfreys, Páraic Finnerty and Christine Berberich). The conference will take place in the Royal Academy for Dutch Linguistics and Literature (Koningstraat 18, 9000 Ghent) and starts at 8.30 am. Please find the programme here.

We cordially invite interested PhD-students to attend this closed meeting. Please confirm your attendance by sending an e-mail to by March 4.

2 PhD Positions — Imagineering Violence: Techniques of Early Modern Performativity in the Northern and Southern Netherlands (1640-1690)

The research foundations of Flanders and the Netherlands (FWO, NWO) have awarded a research grant to Karel Vanhaesebrouck (THEA, Free University of Brussels), Kornee van der Haven (GEMS, Ghent University), Inger Leemans (VU Amsterdam) and Frans-Willem Korsten (Leiden University), for the project Imagineering Violence – Techniques of Early Modern Performativity in the Northern and Southern Netherlands (1640-1690) (ITEMP-violence). The project grant includes funding for two PhD students.

Cruelties in a village. Romeyn De Hooghe, 1672. Rijksmuseum Amsterdam.

Cruelties in a village. Romeyn De Hooghe, 1672. Rijksmuseum Amsterdam.

The project investigates interconnections between violence, technique, emotions and physicality in 17th century theatre and public spectacles (1640-1690). The ambition is to realize the first systematic study of the theatrical representation of violence in both the Northern and the Southern Netherlands. Imagineering Violence will put to the test the historiographical assumption that a divergent theatrical culture developed in the Southern and Northern culture during this period, the first then being ‘baroque’ or ‘spectacular’, whereas the latter would be characterized by a gradual but steady classicization of theatre practice itself.

The two PhD students will analyse through which ‘techniques’ or performative strategies cultural imagination shaped and represented violence on the early modern stage, and how theatrical representation itself made early modern violence imaginable. Hence: ‘imagineering’. It is our aim to gain systematic insight not only in the actual technical means used in this particular period, but also in the rhetorical and performative strategies aimed at shaping or questioning violent behaviour. The set-up of the project is an explicitly comparative one, as the results of the PhD-projects will be systematically evaluated in the light of one another. Moreover, in the final phase our research results will be evaluated within the framework of an artistic laboratory, which will be set up in collaboration with artistic researchers from RITS.

One PhD student will be located in Brussels (THEA research group) and in Ghent (Group for Early Modern Studies), and one student will work in Amsterdam and Leiden. Full project descriptions are available via Prof. dr. Karel Vanhaesebrouck ( or Prof. dr. Kornee van der Haven ( For more information about the vacancy in Brussels (deadline 20 February 2015) and the selection procedure, click here: Vacaturetekst_VUB. For more information about the vacancy in Amsterdam/Leiden click here.

New International Research Network: PASSIONS OF WAR

Passions of War is the name of a new international research network, funded by the British Arts & Humanities Research Council (AHRC). The Network brings together EU and international participants, representing a range of academic disciplines and professional backgrounds, to investigate the influence of war, from the early modern period to the end of the Second World War, on constructions of gender and sexual practices, and how these constructions and practices have, in turn, conditioned the ways in which wars are waged, mediated, felt and understood.

A trip to Cock’s Heath, 1778 by W. Humphrey.  © The Trustees of the British Museum

A trip to Cock’s Heath, 1778 by W. Humphrey.
© The Trustees of the British Museum

Passions of War will explore cross-disciplinary perspectives on gender, sexuality and conflict between 1550 and 1945. A distinguishing feature of the Network will be the re-examination of standard accounts of war, gender and sexuality in the light of alternative, emergent and marginalised histories, with particular emphasis on histories of emotions. Four workshops will take place between June 2015 and October 2116, focussing on ‘Identities’ (Ghent), ‘Intimacies’ and ‘Spaces’ (Leicester) and ‘Resistances’ (London).

Research findings from the four workshops will be discussed with museum practitioners from the Dr. Guislain Museum and the National Army Museum. It is one of the project’s objectives to engage and inform non-academic audiences through input into museum displays, as well as through a weekly blog and educational resources.

The Network is a co-operation between the English Department of Leicester University, the Group for Early Modern Studies at Ghent University, the National Army Museum in London and the Museum Dr. Guislain (Ghent). The AHRC awarded the network grant to Prof. Philip Shaw (Principal Investigator, University of Leicester) and Dr. Cornelis van der Haven (Co-Investigator, Ghent University).

For further information about the network please contact Prof. Philip Shaw:

December 18th: Dissertation Defence

Adam Hall will publicly defend his PhD-thesis entitled “Renaissance Metonymy and Shakespeare’s Hamlet”.

When: December 18 at 3pm
Where: Jozef Plateauzaal, Plateaustraat 22, 9000 Gent

The supervising team consists of: Prof. dr. Jürgen Pieters, Prof. dr. Sandro Jung, Prof. dr. Frans-Willem Korsten (Universiteit Leiden)

December 4: book launch

huygensOn December 4, Jürgen Pieters’ new book will be launched at KANTL, Koningstraat 18 in Ghent. The book is entitled Op zoek naar Huygens. Italiaanse leesnotities and is published by Poëziecentrum and KANTL ( and The book will be launched by Flemish author Pol Hoste. The event begins at 8 pm and is followed by a reception. Those wishing to attend are kindly requested to register at

26 October 2014: SHAC event on print and alchemy in Antwerp

A meeting sponsored by the Society for the History of Alchemy and Chemistry, ‘The Royal Typographer and the Alchemist: Willem Sylvius and John Dee’, will take place on 26 October at the Plantin-Moretus Museum in Antwerp. Coinciding with the 450th Anniversary of the publication of John Dee’s Monas Hieroglyphica, this colloquium will bring together specialists on John Dee and specialists on late sixteenth-century print culture and humanistic activities in Antwerp. The aim of the colloquium is to investigate the links between Antwerp’s vibrant print culture and its relationship to alchemy and the occult philosophy in the late sixteenth century.

Registration fee: 20 Euros.
To register please email Stephen Clucas:

See website for more information:

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Invitation GEMS lecture

It is our pleasure to invite you to the next GEMS-lecture that will be given on Friday, 10 October by Prof. Dr. Hans Kellner (North Carolina State University). Prof. Kellner will talk about “Reading and the Practical Past”. The lecture will be take place in Room Mortier (Faculty Library) from 2 to 4 pm.

Prof. Kellner is currently Professor of English at North Carolina State University in Raleigh, North Carolina. He has published extensively on the subject of rhetoric and historical discourse. His current interests are, amongst others, philosophy of history and historiography, rhetorical and cultural theory and European intellectual history.

We most cordially invite you to attend his lecture. Please confirm your attendance before Friday, 26 September by sending an e-mail to or

GEM: What made me want to write

In Sweden, where I was forced to speak a language that was foreign to me, I understood that I could inhabit my language, with its sudden, particular physiognomy, as the most secret but the most secure residence in that place without place that is the foreign country in which one finds oneself. Finally, the only real homeland, the only soil on which we can walk, the only house where we can stop and take shelter, is language, the one we learned from infancy. For me it was a question of reanimating that language, of constructing for myself a kind of small house of language where I would be the master and whose nooks and crannies I was familiar with. I think that’s what made me want to write.

Foucault is speaking here. It is a passage from an interview that was conducted by Claude Bonnefoy in 1968. The interview was never broadcast, but a typed manuscript stored in the archives of Foucault, was published in 2011, together with an introduction by Philippe Artières, under the title Le beau danger. In 2013, an English translation was published as Speech Begins after Death.

In the interview, Foucault seems to be surprisingly open about himself. He talks about the time he has spent in Sweden, about the loneliness that he experienced there; he even talks about his father, that is to say, about what shaped him – ‘I am the son of a surgeon’, as he confesses. Continue reading