Last 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”.
The 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.
For our autumn interview, GEMS had the chance to talk with Youri Desplenter. Although in fact a medievalist, he is closely involved with GEMS because of the intricate connection between the two periods. Youri’s specialty is Middle Dutch religious and moral-didactic literature, and the relation between vernacular and Latin literature in the Middle Ages. After finishing his dissertation on the translations of Latin hymns and sequences, he did a postdoctoral research on the translations of the Psalms, and on the writings of Jan van Leeuwen († 1378). As a professor of Dutch medieval literature, Youri is also a popular teacher.
We close the summer of 2017 with a portrait of Thomas Van der Goten, who recently received his PhD with a thesis on the eighteenth-century English ode. His dissertation offered a revisionist and genre-theoretical study of a large body of odes, providing a nuanced account of the range and variety of the genre, its engagement with literary tradition, and its place in the proliferating market for printed poetry. His interests range from classical as well as early modern and Romantic literature, over lyric poetry, to print culture, material culture, book history, and the history of reading. As a passionate dix-huitiemist, he is currently working on a postdoc application on the poetry of occasions in eighteenth-century Britain. GEMS wishes him the best of luck!
This spring, GEMS was more than happy to welcome Jonathan Regier as a new member. We seized the opportunity to ask him who inspires him and what drives him in his research. Jonathan did his PhD in history and philosophy of science at Université Paris Diderot, with a thesis titled Cause in Kepler’s Natural Philosophy. Afterwards, he joined Hong Kong University of Science and Technology as a post-doctoral fellow at their Institute for Advanced Study. In early 2017, he came to UGent with a BOF fellowship. He will begin an FWO fellowship in October 2017 at UGent, in the department of philosophy and moral sciences. His academic interests revolve around the mathematisation of natural philosophy in the sixteenth century.
In our March issue we sketch a portrait of our newest GEMS-member Teodoro Katinis. Teodoro holds a PhD in Italian (Johns Hopkins University) and philosophy (Università degli Studi Roma Tre), and is now a research professor of Italian Literature at Ghent University, where he aims to study vernacular medical texts of the 16th and 17th centuries. Teodoro has widely published on Renaissance culture and philosophy, the early modern dialogue, medical history and literature. He published his first monograph Medicina e filosofia in Marsilio Ficino: il Consilio contro la pestilentia in 2007 and is currently finishing a second book on the rebirth of sophistry in the Italian Renaissance.
To kick off a whole new year of GEMS in portraits we sat down with Astrid Van Assche, doctoral researcher at the department of French Literature. Astrid’s PhD focusses on the early seventeenth-century salon culture and studies the gallant letters circulating in the Parisian Hôtel de Rambouillet. This subject is a continuation of research she conducted in her bachelor’s and master’s dissertations. After graduating in 2013 as a Master of Linguistics and Literature (French-Dutch), Astrid continued studying at Ghent University to obtain her teacher training degree. In 2014 her PhD proposal was accredited with a BOF scholarship.
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.
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.
The 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.