GEMS in portraits: Stijn Bussels

schrieck Our next interviewee is Stijn Bussels. After obtaining his MA in theatre studies at Ghent University, Stijn wrote a PhD that he reworked and published as The Antwerp Entry of Prince Philip in 1549. Rhetoric, Performance and Power (Rodolpi, 2012). His postdoctoral research resulted in The Animated Image. Roman Theory on Naturalism, Vividness and Divine Power (Akademie Verlag/LUP, 2012). Stijn is currently affiliated to the University of Leiden as an assistant professor, and is also leading the ERC project Elevated Minds. The sublime in the public arts in seventeenth-century Paris and Amsterdam. He has published widely on theatre and spectacle in the early modern Netherlands.

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Seminar (Atelier) November 16th – Frederik Buylaert and Anne Laure Van Bruaene

Wednesday November 16th, 2016. Faculty Library Arts & Philosohpy, Magnel-wing, Room “Freddy Mortier”

Non-members who wish to attend can sign-up with Kornee van der Haven: GEMS-members don’t have to register.

Frederik Buylaert: Lordship and the Rise of States in Western Europe, 1300-1600

This project pursues a new interpretation of state formation in Western Europe between 1300 and 1600. This period is considered as the key phase in the genesis of the modern state, as various polities now centralized fiscal and military resources under their command. While there is debate whether this was primarily a top-down process carried by princes, or a bottom-up process carried by popular representation, scholars agree that state building was exclusively a process of centralization. This assumption must be questioned, as recent studies have raised awkward questions that cannot be answered by the current paradigm. The research hypothesis is that the emerging states of Western Europe could only acquire sufficient support among established elites if they also decentralized much of their legal authority through a process in which princes created a growing number of privately owned seigneuries as “states-within-states” for the benefit of elites who in return contributed to state building. This project will study the interplay between states and seigneurial elites in five regions – Flanders, Guelders, Normandy, Languedoc and Warwickshire – to test whether fiscal and military centralization was facilitated by a progressively confederal organization of government. Together, the case studies cover four key variables that shaped the relations between princes and power elites in different combinations all over Europe. It concerns different trajectories in 1) state formation, 2) urbanization, 3) the socio-economic organization of rural society and 4) ideological dissent. As a result, the comparisons between the case studies will yield an analytical framework to chart and to explain path-dependency. Inversely, this research project is also interested in exploring the social context of this process, through a focused study of what lordship meant to contemporaries. For this purpose, special attention is paid to literary sources in which lordship figures large in issues of self-representation.


Anne-Laure Van Bruaene: Golden Ages. City and Society in the Low Countries, 1100-1600

Between 1100 and 1600 the Low Countries were amongst the most urbanized regions of Europe. Amsterdam, Antwerp, Bruges, Brussels, Tournai, Ghent and many other cities developed into vibrant economic and cultural centers. The urban “middling groups” played a central role: these small producers and shopkeepers, organized in craft guilds, turned the Low Countries into a unique region. The new synthesis “Golden Ages”, written by a number of Belgian specialists and based on more than 25 years of intensive research, analyzes the characteristics of this urban society from different perspectives: economy, social life, politics, civic religion, urban space, material culture and knowledge. The focus is not on one city but on the whole network of large cities and small towns.

Seminar (Atelier) October 12th – Samuel Mareel and Alexander Roose

Samuel Mareel and Alexander Roose will be the first speakers in Ateliers, a new initiative by GEMS in which members or guests present their research projects, recent publications or ideas for future projects.  The Ateliers take place on Wednesdays (check the schedule here) from 14-16h. Non-members who wish to attend can sign-up with Kornee van der Haven:

Samuel Mareel: Roep om rechtvaardigheid

Van 23 maart tot en met 24 juni 2018 organiseren Musea & Erfgoed Mechelen en het Koninklijk Museum voor Schone Kunsten Antwerpen de tentoonstelling Roep om rechtvaardigheid. Kunst en rechtspraak in de Bourgondische Nederlanden. Deze tentoonstelling onderzoekt de rol van kunst in het spreken van recht en het nadenken over recht en rechtvaardigheid tijdens de ‘lange’ Bourgondische periode (midden vijftiende tot midden zeventiende eeuw). In deze presentatie vertelt Samuel Mareel iets over de inhoudelijke en praktische uitwerking van de tentoonstelling, van de ontwikkeling van het concept en de keuze van de werken tot het organiseren van de bruiklenen, het opzetten van een scenografie en het maken van een catalogus.

Alexander Roose: Montaigne op de bühne, Montaigne in een nieuw boek.

Vorig jaar ging Montaigne in première. Koen De Sutter zette Montaigne op scène, in een tekst van Alexander Roose. Het stuk werd een succes: het werd bejubeld in De Standaard en De Morgen, het wordt in oktober hernomen in Leuven, Antwerpen, Eindhoven en straks in een Franse versie aan de KVS in Brussel. Hoe zet je een filosoof op scène en waarom voelt een literatuurwetenschapper überhaupt de noodzaak om dat te doen? Wat is verband tussen het stuk Montaigne en De Vrolijke Wetenschap. Zoeken, denken en leven met Michel de Montaigne, het boek dat op 5 oktober bij Polis verschijnt?

Location: Faculteitsbibliotheek, vleugel Magnel, vergaderruimte ‘Mortier’.

GEMS in portraits: Anne-Laure Van Bruaene

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For this first interview of the academic year, we chose to leave for the History Department to talk with professor Anne-Laure van Bruaene. Anne-Laure obtained her PhD in History with a dissertation on the chambers of rhetoric and urban culture in the Southern Netherlands (1400-1650). She now teaches (and has widely published on) early modern and urban history at Ghent University. She is part of the Belgian-Dutch interuniversity network “City and Society in the Low Countries (ca. 1200 – ca. 1850)”, a project which is now reaching its final research phase. In 2006 she was the laureate of the William Nelson Prize (Renaissance Society of America) for the best article in Renaissance Quarterly. One day back from her sabbatical, Anne-Laure sits lively at her desk when we enter to level our questions.

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Academic award for GEMS-member Sarah Adams

Title page Monzongo, of de koningklyke slaaf (Van Winter 1774). Slave Zambiza attacks commander Alvarado.

Title page Monzongo, of de koningklyke slaaf (Van Winter 1774). Slave Zambiza attacks commander Alvarado.

GEMS-member Sarah Adams is awarded the biennial prize of the Maatschappij der Nederlandse Letterkunde (Society of Dutch Literature) for the best master thesis on Dutch literature. Sarah examined the power of antislavery theatre in the Dutch abolitionist discussion around 1800 (supervisor: Kornee van der Haven). With this master dissertation, she graduated in Historical Linguistics and Literature at Ghent University (2015). Sarah is preparing a PhD-proposal on antislavery theatre in the Netherlands in the period of 1775-1825.

For the official notice:


GEMS in portraits: Britt Dams

MapaRIograndeThe third person we want to portray is Britt Dams. In February 2016, Britt obtained her doctoral degree with a dissertation on the description of Dutch Brazil (1624-1654). Currently, she is teaching a course on the history of Brazil at the Catholic University of Leuven. And in Ghent, Britt is still working as a French and Portuguese language instructor at the University Language Centre of Ghent University. Britt is a passionate storyteller, who knows just how to convince people to go travelling throughout Latin America.


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May 2nd & 10th: DS seminar with Rodolphe Gasché

Our sixth guest of the Doctoral Course Histories and Theories of Reading is Rodolphe Gasché (State University of New York at Buffalo).

Central to the seminar will be Gasché’s most recent book: Deconstruction, Its Force, Its Violence (2016).

Time schedule and locations:Gasche

preparatory reading session:
Monday 2 May – 9:30 – 12:00.
Location: Large Meeting Room (Blandijn, third floor)

session with Rodolphe Gasché
Tuesday 10 May – 14:30 – 17:30.
Location: Room “Mortier” (Faculty Library)

Registration for the specialist course is required. See here or here for more information on registration and on the entire course.

April 26th & May 3rd: DS seminar with William Marx

Our fifth guest of the Doctoral Course Histories and Theories of Reading is William Marx (Université de Paris Ouest Nanterre La Défense).

MarxWe will read ‘Du tremblement de terre de Lisbonne à Auschwitz et Adorno: la crise de la poésie’ (2005), ‘Penser les arrière-gardes’ (2004/2008), ‘La véritable catharsis aristotélicienne : pour une lecture philologique et physiologique de la Poétique’ (2011), ‘Est-il possible de parler de la fin de la littérature?’ (2012), and ‘Brève histoire de la forme en littérature’ (2013).

Time schedule and location:

Tuesday, 26 April, 2016, 9:30 am – Faculty of Arts & Philosophy Library ‘Room Mortier’: preparatory session.

Tuesday, 3 May, 2016, 9:30 amLarge Meeting Room (Blandijn, third floor): session with William Marx.

Registration for the specialist course is required. See here or here for more information on registration and on the entire course.