CANCELLED – Lecture Michael Moriarty – Pascal, Diversion, and the Quest for Happiness

Unfortunately, the lecture by Michael Moriarty has been cancelled.

moriarty

Michael Moriarty is Drapers Professor of French at the University of Cambridge, professorial fellow of Peterhouse. He works chiefly on the literature and thought of the early modern period. His publications include a book on Roland Barthes (Cambridge: Politiy, 1992), Taste and Ideology in Seventeenth-Century France (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1988, reprinted 2009Early Modern French Thought: The Age of Suspicion (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2003); Fallen Nature, Fallen Selves: Early Modern French Thought II (OUP, 2006), and Disguised Vices: Theories of Virtue in Early Modern French Thought (OUP, 2011). He has also translated Descartes’s Meditations on First Philosophy (Oxford World’s Classics, 2008). He was formerly Centenary Professor of French Literature and Thought at Queen Mary, University of London. He is a Fellow of the British Academy and a Chevalier dans l’Ordre des Palmes Académiques.

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GEMS in portraits: Thomas Donald Jacobs

GEMS in portraits Thomas Donald JacobsLast week, I had a pleasant and interesting meeting with Thomas Donald Jacobs from the History Department at Ghent University. Thomas is a doctoral student and a teaching and research assistant. He specializes in Early Modern European discourses about the Americas, as well as the politics and diplomacy of that era. His particular interests lie in border-crossing, the negotiation and representation of Jewish and Native American identity, Charles V’s policies towards New Christians, and Anglo-Hispanic relations during the mid-seventeenth century. In April, he co-organized the 39th American Indian Workshop “Arrows of Time: Narrating the Past and Present” together with GEMS member Michael Limberger, and Fien Lauwaerts. The conference was a success and caused “just the right amount of controversy”.

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GEMS Research Day, Thursday 31 May

Man bij studeervertrek, Jan Luyken, 1689 (Rijksmuseum Amsterdam)

On 31 May, GEMS will organize its first Research Day in cooperation with RELICS. During that day, we will discuss together some topical questions concerning the state of scholarly research today, especially in regard to issues that concern younger scholars, like the current state of PhD and postdoc research, publishing strategies and more in general about what actually motivates us in doing research and which role research plays in our lives.

Anyone who is interested in these issues is invited to take part in the morning and/or afternoon programme of this research day, with a workshop about PhD research in the morning and a panel discussion and interview with Kate Belsey in the afternoon, about publication strategies and the state of scholarship in 2018.

 

PLEASE REGISTER for this research day by conforming your attendance to: gems_ugent@yahoo.com Please indicate in your message if you would like to take part in the morning programme, the afternoon programme, or both.

 

PROGRAMME – Location: Plateau-building, Plateaustraat 22, Ghent

Simon Stevin Room (Plateau building)

10:30-13:00: Workshop about PhD research in 2018: three colleagues who are now in the final stage of their PhD projects will tell about how their research developed over time, what decisions they made in their research, also in regard to their academic network, attendance of conferences and publication of papers and how they see their scholarly future after taking their PhD. Presentations by: Delphine Calle, Michiel Van Dam (both UGent) and Frederik Knegtel (University of Leiden)

13:00-14:00: Lunch

Jozef Plateau Room (Plateau building)

14:00-15:30: Publish or publish? Panel discussion with: Neil Badmington (Cardiff University, author and journal editor Barthes Studies), Tiffany Bousard (journal editor Early Modern Low Countries), Erika Gaffney (publisher Amsterdam University Press) and Teodoro Katinis (UGent, author).

The panel will discuss, from different perspectives (authors, journal editors, academic publishers), different issues that determine the current publication culture in humanities scholarship. How do publishers go about in their selection of books and edited collections? Which advice can they give to young scholars new to the scene? How do publishers and journal editors deal with peer-review processes, with electronic publications, with Open Access requirements, with the bibliometric ‘imperative’,…? What advice can experienced scholars, who have published internationally, give to younger scholars in the field, with respect to article submissions and/or book proposals?

15.30-16.00: Coffee break

Jozef Plateau Room (Plateau building)

16.00-17.30: What Do We Mean by Research? (And why do we do it?)

Research forms a substantial component of an academic’s duties and takes up the majority of a PhD student’s time. It is easy to take this for granted. But what do we mean by research and why do we allot it a major role in our lives?

In an informal discussion chaired by Prof. Catherine Belsey, questions might include the following. What motivates research? Curiosity, fame, promotion, changing the world? Does research in the humanities make a difference? If no further research took place in our field, would it matter? If so, why?

Does research influence teaching? Does teaching influence research? Or are the two skills independent of one another? Since they compete for attention, are they in conflict?

Where does a research project start? From a puzzle, a hypothesis, desire for a fuller picture, discontent with existing views? What defines good research?

17.30-….: Wine and Beer Reception

Studying Past and Present Performances

On May 17th and 18th, professor Philip Auslander (Georgia Institute of Technology) was invited as a lecturer at the Doctoral Schools specialist course Studying Past and Present Performances. Find more information about it here. The course was organised and moderated by GEMS-member Kornee van der Haven and Katharina Pewny (THALIA), in cooperation with Tessa Vannieuwenhuyze (UGent/VUB), Sarah Adams (UGent) and Yannice De Bruyn (UGent). The participants to the course formed a very diverse group, whose research interests ranged from performance and theatre studies to conflict and development. At the initiative of Eun Kyoung Shin (UGent), the course was concluded with a group picture, that we are happy to share here. From left to right on the upper row: Kornee van der Haven, Katharina Pewny, Antia Díaz Otero (ULB), Lucas Trouillard (ULB), Kelsey Onderdijk (UGent), Sophie van den Berg (UGent), Sarah Adams, Jeroen Billiet (HoGent), Renée Vulto (UGent), Sreya Dutt (UGent), Tan Tan (Sun Weiwei) (UGent), Julian Kuttig (UGent). From left to right on the lower row: Eun Kyoung Shin, Caterina Mora (A.PASS), Yannice De Bruyn, Philip Auslander, Lieze Roels (UAntwerpen), Tessa Vannieuwenhuyze.

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GEMS Research Day 31 May: save the date!

On Thursday 31 May, GEMS will organise a research day. In the morning we will have a workshop for PhD students. In the afternoon there will be an interview with Kate Belsey about the state of scholarship in 2018, and a panel debate about publishing strategies.

More information will follow soon!

The Fame: Performance Art and Celebrity Culture. Lecture by Philip Auslander on May 16th

Because the number of seats is limited, we ask people who want to attend the lecture to register on the following email address: gems_ugent@yahoo.com.

GEMS, THALIA and the Doctoral School of Arts will be organizing a lecture with professor Dr. Philip Auslander, a renowned scholar in the field of media and performance studies. He will discuss performance art and its interconnection with the current surge of celebrity culture. Recent years have seen the incursion of the culture of celebrity into performance art, both in the sense that celebrities from other fields such as music and film are undertaking performance works, and in the sense that performance art has become a platform for the development of a celebrity identity, as in the case of Serbian artist Marina Abramović. In his lecture, professor Auslander will discuss the role of museums in promulgating celebrity and the antagonism toward them from art critics, as well as the structural similarities between the respective relationships between celebrities and their public, and performance artists and their audiences. These similarities can be organized around concepts of representation, originality and narrative, among others.

The lecture will take place on Wednesday 16th of May 2018 at 7pm.

Jozef Plateauzaal, entrance Plateaustraat 22, 9000 Ghent.

BIOGRAPHY

Professor Dr. Philip Auslander teaches at the school of Literature, Media and Communication Georgia Institute of Technology where he has been a professor since 1999. In the last decennia, he has published extensively in the field of performance studies, including two of his most influential books Performing Glam Rock: Gender and Theatricality in Popular Music (2006) and Liveness: Performance in a Mediatized Culture (2008). Currently he is preparing a new book that will be published in 2018 Reactivations: Essays on Performance and its Documentation.

Exhibition Call for Justice, Art and Law in the Netherlands (1540-1650)

For the past few years, GEMS member Samuel Mareel has taken on the role of curator for the exhibition Call for Justice, Art and Law in the Netherlands (1540-1650). He worked together with Manfred Sellink and Elsje Janssen. The expo is held in the new museum Hof van Busleyden in Mechelen, a sixteenth-century Burgundian palace thScreen Shot 2018-04-19 at 12.35.35.pngat was restored recently for this purpose. Call for Justice is open from 23 March until 26 June 2018.

The exhibition highlights the rich and fascinating interaction between art, law and justice in the Netherlands from the 15th to the 17th century. In turbulent political and religious times, central institutions such as the Great Council of Mechelen gradually came to exercise more control over the legal process. While the administration of justice became more professional, it also became more unwieldy and less accessible. So it is no coincidence that justice and its administration feature as one of the most prominent themes in the art of the Low Countries in this period.

The exhibition builds on three central themes: justice, jurisprudence and injustice. You will discover prestigious masterpieces by artists such as Quentin Massys, Maarten van Heemskerck, Peter Brueghel the Elder, Maarten de Vos, Peter Paul Rubens, Antoon van Dyck and Philippe de Champaigne. Call for Justice examines the legal, historical and cultural context in which these works were created, gradually revealing one of the most universal human desires, namely the pursuit of justice and the complexity when it comes face-to-face with reality.

Some of the most prestigious museums in the world have loaned works for this exhibition. They include the Prado and the Patrimonio Nacional in Madrid, the Gemäldegalerie in Berlin, the Ashmolean Museum in Oxford as well as national and international private collections. Call for Justice is the closing event of the OP.RECHT.MECHELEN city festival.

https://www.oprechtmechelen.be/en/programma/call-justice
https://www.hofvanbusleyden.be/

GEMS Seminar: MA students inspired by…

Wednesday, April 18th, 2018 (1.30-6 PM): Inspired by, with presentations by master students

Faculty of Library Arts & Philosophy, Blandijn building, Grote Vergaderzaal Engels

In April we will have a special session of our GEMS Seminar Inspired by… with Master students, who will present the first outcomes of their master thesis, reflecting also on those thinkers by whom they are inspired.

PROGRAMME

13:30: Kobe Gordts inspired by… Sarah Schechner

14:30: Lies Verbaere inspired by… Piero Floriani

15:30 Break

16:00: Jorn Hubo inspired by… Northrop Frye

17:00: Tom Laureys inspired by… Alan Sinfield

18:00: Reception

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Kobe Gordts – Inspired by Sarah Schechner

Historical research on cometary science has received modest attention in the past twenty years, due to the excellent case studies it provides for research in the history of science and religion. One of the people who launched comets as objects of historical research is Sarah Schechner. She showed us how early modern scientists like Isaac Newton and Edmond Haley did not deny the divine character of these celestial objects, but in fact incorporated them in their own cosmological theories. Inspired by her work I will present my findings concerning the comet of 1652 as it has been described and interpreted by Arise Evans, William Lilly and Richard Fitzsmith. I put forward the thesis that comets can be perceived as a ‘liminal object’, flexible enough to mean different things within the same text but robust enough so it remains essentially the same object representing those different identities.

 

Lies Verbaere inspired by… Piero Floriani

This thesis discusses Torquato Tasso’s use of historiography in his epic poem the Gerusalemme liberata (1581), which describes the Christian army’s conquest of Jerusalem during the First Crusade (1095-1099). The army, under the guidance of Godfrey of Bouillon (1060-1100), is aided by Heaven and opposed by Saracens and demons.

Through a thorough reading of William of Tyre’s Historia Ierosolimitana (1184), Tasso’s principal source of the First Crusade, and the Liberata itself, my dissertation tries to ascertain whether something new can be said about Tasso’s modus operandi or whether new interpretations of his poem are possible. Instead of considering ‘random’ episodes that demonstrate William’s chronicle’s influence, the thesis tackles three themes: Christian and Muslim leadership, Pagan magic and Christian meraviglioso (marvellous), and conflict management.

My work attempts to find some motives of Tasso’s modus operandi through a coherent thematic narrative and through the examination of Tasso’s concrete choices. The finding of these motives is not only achieved by considering where Tasso follows William’s chronicle, but also by discerning his originality. In considering this originality, my thesis was inspired by Piero Floriani’s article, “Per una Gerusalemme commentata. Esercizio su cinque (sei…) ottave del poema tassiano” (2003). Both Tasso’s rewriting history and his originality constitute, after all, his poetical working method.

Jorn Hubo – Inspired by Northrop Frye

“Þe best boke of romaunce”, Sir Gawain and The Green Knight’s nuanced image of chivalry has made it a favourite for critical study. Yet, the poem is not only nuanced, it is also highly ambiguous. If read as a ‘classical romance’ in the tradition of Chrétien de Troyes and his disciples, the text presents us with many problematic elements; we encounter many ambiguities in form and content which in their turn lead to ambiguities in interpretation. Since simply stating SGGK is a romance appears to create a host of problems, it is the object of this study to problematize just exactly what sort of text the poem is. This generic exercise is especially relevant to SGGK since its author himself seems highly aware of the qualities and expectations certain kinds of texts, such as romances, bring with them and he appears to use these expectations as strategies to construct an intelligent text that engages with its audience.

This approach places my research squarely in the field of genre studies, a field which was not created but severely influenced by Canadian critic Northrop Frye. With Anatomy of Criticism (1957), he was the first to construct a nuanced system for engaging with the concept of literary genre. While by today’s standard, Frye would be – and has been – criticised for being too prescriptive, his thoughts on genre still influence and inspire many researchers, amongst which myself. Therefore, I will try to shed light on what exactly it is that makes Frye’s approach to genre so seminal.

Tom Laureys – Inspired by Alan Sinfield

In the first part of my presentation, I will shed some light on the scholarly importance of Alan Sinfield, a British literary critic who is listed as one of the standard-bearers of Cultural Materialism, a critical practice which is closely related to New Historicism. In the second part of my presentation I will focus on the research I am doing in my MA thesis, for which Sinfield’s book Faultlines (1992) serves as a huge source of inspiration. In the Anglo-Saxon world, New Historicism and Cultural Materialism have lost most of their newness and have become what Raymond Williams would call ‘residual’. In Dutch Renaissance studies however, these reading practices still do not seem to find entrance or even acceptance. The critical practice which still prevails in Dutch literary criticism is what Greenblatt would define as ‘Old Historicism’. In 2011, professor Pieters wrote an inspiring book in which he investigates which methodological assumptions have to change in order to be able to talk of a ‘Dutch New Historicism’. My research is in line with that of Pieters, since it is my aim to take the first tentative steps towards a concrete elaboration of a ‘Dutch Cultural Materialism’. To that purpose, I take the genre of the early modern Dutch revenge tragedy as my research object.

GEMS in portraits: Nele De Raedt

Untitled-1-page-001The first GEMS in portraits of 2018 is with Nele De Raedt, assistant and doctoral researcher at the Department of Architecture and Urban Planning. Nele is now in the final phase of her PhD, writing a dissertation on palace architecture in fifteenth-century Italy under the supervision of Maarten Delbeke and Anne-Françoise Morel. More specifically, the focus of her project concerns practices of violence (defilement, confiscation, destruction) of these palaces, as well as the possible interactions between this culture of violence against buildings and contemporary architectural theory. From January 2015 to June 2016, Nele worked as a research fellow at the Kunsthistorisches Institut in Florenz – Max-Planck-Institut in the research group on Ethics and Architecture. At Ghent University, she enjoys the combination of research and teaching. Recently, she also taught a course in art history as a guest teacher at the KASK School of Fine Arts.

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GEMS Doctoral School Seminar 2018: Histories and Theories of Reading

GEMS is proud to present the programme of this year’s Histories and Theories of Reading Seminar. The Seminar is funded by Ghent University’s Doctoral School-programme (Humanities and Law) and is open (and exclusively so) to PhD-students. Those of you who want to participate, please get in touch with jurgen.pieters@ugent.be. Students will earn a credit by participating in (at least) three out of six sessions. Below are the details of the programme (the dates for the spring semester have been finalised) and a description of the format.

 

Histories and Theories of Reading: Fourth Series (2018)

The specialist course consists of a series of seminars that cover a period from January 2018 to December 2018. As in the previous three successful series, each seminar focuses on the work of one of six eminent international literary scholars who play a leading role in the disciplines of literary and cultural theory and literary and cultural history and have made important theoretical and conceptual contributions to their respective disciplines and to the historiography of both the central object of study (literary writing) and the disciplinary attempts at writing its history. Each of the scholars central to the seminar are, first and foremost, experts in their disciplines and specialists of a particular literary historical moment (ranging from the early modernity to the twentieth century). We aim for a good mixture of senior and more junior scholars: some of our guests are internationally renowned leading figures (Belsey, Korsten, Schiffman) while others have the potential to rise to that fame (Badmington, Galvez, Marno, Parvini).

The aim of the seminar is to provide both an in-depth discussion of the past research and work in progress of the particular scholar as well as a reflection on emerging concepts, theories and approaches in the disciplines of literary and cultural theory and literary and cultural history. In addition to the thematic interests of the invited scholars, we will also draw on the conceptual approach of each individual scholar. In this way, the specialist course is not only of added value to PhD students specialized in the particular discipline or historical moment of the invited scholar, but also to any PhD student dealing with (literary) texts or concepts in his or her research.

The specialist course is divided into six seminars with the international specialists that we have invited. Each seminars consists of two sessions: in a first session (3 contact hours) the selected texts by the invited speaker will be discussed under the guidance of one of GEMS professorial or postdoctoral staff. These texts are chosen by the invited scholar in consultation with the organisers of the specialist course and will run up to a maximum of 150 pages per seminar (our guests are asked to select five ‘texts’). The texts will be circulated among the participants a few weeks prior to the first session. The goal of this introductory discussion (supervised by one or more of the GEMS-co-ordinators) in the first session is to prepare the participating PhD students for the conversation and discussion with the invited scholar in the second session. Additionally, at the end of this first session each participant is asked to prepare and formulate one major question regarding the research of the invited scholar in relation to the participant’s own PhD research. These questions will be further formulated in writing in the days of the session and will be circulated among the participants before the session with the invited scholar. They will help structure the conversation in the second session.

During this second session (3 contact hours), which takes place approximately a week after the first, the invited scholar will give a short introductory presentation on his past, current and envisioned work. This presentation or talk will form the basis for a thorough exchange between the scholar and the participants. During the exchange the participants will have ample of opportunity to pose their prepared questions and discuss further questions that rise up during the conversation. This method of operation allows the participating PhD students not only to develop and deepen their expertise in the research field but also to practice asking and formulating critical questions and participating in scholarly debates. These skills will undoubtedly prove valuable in their research career at scholarly symposia, roundtable discussions and conferences. As the seminars are conducted in English, the specialist course also offers an occasion to practise their language proficiency in ‘academic English’.

 

Programme

Spring term:

  • Session 1: Neema Parvini (University of Surrey)

Theme: The future of historicism – ‘beyond’ the New Historicism.
Preparatory session: Thursday, March 22 2018 (9.30-12.30)
Session with our guest: Thursday, March 29, 2018 (9.30-12.30)

  • Session 2: David Marno (University of California, Berkeley)

Theme: early-modern poetry and its relations to religious history – the genealogy of aesthetic criticism.
Preparatory session: Tuesday, May 8, 2018 (9.30-12.30)
Session with our guest: Tuesday, May 15, 2018 (9.30-12.30)

  • Session 3: Catherine Belsey (Derby University) / Neil Badmington (Cardiff University)

Theme: the heritage of post-structuralism and the future of literary and cultural studies – what is the value of criticism today?
Preparatory session: Friday, May 25, 2018 (9.30-12.30)
Session with our guests: Friday, June 1, 2018 (9.30-12.30)

Fall term:

  • September/October [date to be specified]: Zachary Schiffman (Northeastern Illinois University)

Theme: the topic of his book The Birth of the Past: the genealogy of Western concepts and modes of historical thinking – Reading historical anachronism vs. reading ‘the past’ in early modern Europe

  • Early November [date to be specified]: Marisa Galvez (Stanford University)

Theme: the genealogy of poetry before it became ‘modern’

  • December [date to be specified]: Frans Willem Korsten (Leiden University)

Theme: towards a new form of cultural history – specific case: the Dutch Golden Age.