Upcoming event: “Inspired by…” presentations

For the “Inspired by…” event, GEMS has invited students to reflect on what or who inspires them in their research for their master’s thesis. The event will take place on the 25th of April, starting at 2pm, in the “Loveling” library lab of the Faculty Library (Rozier 44). Students will give twenty-minute presentations, after which there will be time for questions. This will be followed by a reception, starting around 5pm.

Here’s an overview of the presenters and their abstracts:

Cato Rooryck –  Questions of Reconciliation and Indigeneity in Contemporary Australian Adaptations of Macbeth and The Tempest            Responding to recent debates about the contemporary relevance of Shakespeare’s plays, as well as concerns about decolonizing the Western canon more broadly, my thesis will look at how contemporary Indigenous theatre practitioners in Australia engage with Macbeth and The Tempest. In doing so, it builds on the work of scholars such as Elizabeth Schafer (2003) and Emma Cox (2004, 2011), who have pointed to convergences between Shakespeare and Indigeneity in Australia – a phenomenon which international scholarship has failed to pay due attention to. More specifically, I will look at the role of the witches in Macbeth and Caliban and Ariel in The Tempest – which both pose a challenge for contemporary directors – in the negotiations of Indigenous identities in recent Australian adaptations. In my presentation, I will reflect on some insights and passages by Indigenous(-Australian) scholars and writers that have inspired me to combine my interest in Shakespeare, which goes back to my bachelor paper, with my interest in Indigenous studies, philosophies, and cultures. I will consider how my introduction to Aboriginal literature and scholarship by authors such as Kim Scott has challenged me to further my thinking about Shakespearean drama (and its role as the showpiece of the Western literary tradition – and its long history of exclusion) and its contemporary relevance. In particular, I will also discuss Kylie Bracknell’s Hecate (2020) – “the first adaptation of a complete Shakespearean work presented entirely in one Aboriginal language of Australia” (Bracknell et al. 2021), which was the first Aboriginal Shakespeare adaptation I encountered and is central to my thesis. 

Amber Kempynck – Warning: Complex Female Protagonist. Redefining Unlikability and Passivity as Feminist Resistance and Female Agency in Millennial Women’s Writing       In contemporary women’s writing, there is an influx of complex, “unlikable” female protagonists. This gives rise to two discourses: one about the genre these novels have established, namely “millennial fiction”, and another about the feminist thought they convey, called dissociative feminism. These discourses maintain that the female protagonists are unjustifiably passive and that their behavior is “damaging to the entire feminist movement” (Peyser). This thesis examines these discourses and shows through the analysis of four contemporary novels – Sally Rooney’s Conversations with Friends (2017), Ottessa Moshfegh’s My Year of Rest and Relaxation (2018), Eliza Clark’s Boy Parts (2020), and Lisa Taddeo’s Animal (2021) – that the female protagonists do have reasons for their nihilistic attitudes and are not passive but act with agency. In addition, the novels send a feminist message, as they resist normative femininity, highlight the female experience, and discuss taboo subjects related to womanhood. 

Elisabeth Goemaere – Postcolonial Studies and Medieval Anglo-Irish Literature      ““Do They Not Still Acknowledge That Submission?”: Figurations of the Irish ‘Other’ in Early-Colonial British Literature. My MA thesis explores the use of ethnic and gendered stereotypes in English literature during two significant periods of Ireland’s early history as a colony: the arrival of the Normans (c. 1169) and the Elizabethan Conquest (c. 1534-1603). The thesis examines how British writers used stereotypes to justify the Anglo-Norman civilising mission, and to metaphorically express both Anglo-Norman and Irish colonisation-related distress. Gender anxieties are prevalent in these texts, and sexual differences occur as a metaphor for political, ethnic, and religious distinctions. The thesis uses medieval accounts of Ireland to explore how Irish inhabitants were demonised through tropes of savagery, monstrosity, and sexual deviance. My study aims to contribute to our understanding of conquest, identity, and societal change in the Middle Ages and suggests that questioning medieval figurations of the Irish Other leads to a more accurate portrayal of one of Britain’s first colonies. Inspiration: postcolonial studies. Overall, my analysis focuses on rhetorical devices that reflected upon and actively shaped medieval Britain, such as debasing the other, (re)negotiating one’s own identity, and affirming or adopting the white man’s burden. These mechanisms have often been considered in postcolonial studies, which is my main framework. The Anglo-Irish contact can be regarded in colonial terms, and the resulting tensions can hence be understood through concepts as Homi Bhabha’s mimicry and hybridity, Franz Fanon’s take on alienation, and Achille Mbembe’s necropolitics. Mainly this study field has prompted me to rethink my own (limited) knowledge of medieval Britain and its reflection in contemporary literature.”

Milan Francis – Decolonizing colonial history: The Túpac Amaru Revolution and the Silencing of indigenous culture      A recent restoration of a Christ painting “El Señor de los Temblores” revealed its original content: an indigenous noblewoman proudly dressed in traditional Incaic dress. The painting dates to the late 18th century and was overpainted in the aftermath of the Túpac Amaru Revolution (1780-83), the largest indigenous revolution in Andean colonial history, hiding its ‘potentially subversive’ message. The original content, its erasure, and its recent restoration tell the story of power and production of colonial history. This story also represents the process of Silencing that has characterized historiography on the Atlantic Age of Revolutions since its inception. Inspired by Michel-Rolph Trouillot’s now classic study on the Haitian Revolution, which demonstrated how the Silencing of this other non-European revolution did not reflect its unimportance or irrelevance, but rather, a denial of its radical implications. Likewise, the Silencing of of the Túpac Amaru Revolution is no coincidence, and can be traced back to the cultural genocide imposed on indigenous people after it was defeated: prohibiting indigenous clothing, language, traditions and art. If this prohibition tells us anything, it is the importance of material and visual culture in the study of this indigenous revolution, and indigenous culture more broadly. By incorporating decolonial theory, this thesis will attempt to study this indigenous revolution on its own terms: by complementing written sources with a focus on visual culture and public spectacle. By integrating indigenous forms of knowledge, this project will explore the possibility of (anti-)colonial history beyond its Silencing of indigenous culture. 

Henri Pirenne Institute – Digital lecture Giulia Torello-Hill & Andrew Turner, ‘Commentary and Illustration in the Lyon Terence’

Link to original post: https://www.ugent.be/pirenne/en/news-events/events/turner-torellohill-lecture

Digital lecture by Giulia Torello-Hill (University of New England, AUS) & Andrew Turner (University of Melbourne, AUS) on Judocus Badius’ (1462-1535) Lyon Terence


The Lyon Terence, edited by the Fleming Jodocus Badius Ascensius in 1493, was the first printed edition of the plays of Terence to include a full cycle of woodcut illustrations. Illustrated manuscripts of Terence from the Middle Ages are well known and have been studied extensively, but the Lyon Terence has been unjustly overlooked.

This paper builds on the recently published The Lyon Terence: Its Tradition and Legacy (Brill 2020) to look closely at the interplay between woodcut illustrations and commentary. Although the identity of the artist who oversaw the design of the Lyon Terence’s iconographic plan is unknown, close correspondences between the commentary and the illustrations suggest a symbiotic dialogue between artist and editor.

Badius was already an authority on Terence—in 1491 he published an innovative edition of Terence and his late-antique commentator Donatus. Donatus’ brief notes on delivery of specific lines are usually taken as pedagogical advice on diction. Instead, this paper contends that, under the supervision of Badius, the artist of the Lyon Terence visually interpreted Donatus’ prescriptions as encompassing gestures, gaze orientation and bodily movement, following the consolidated tradition of Quintilian.

Arguably, the Lyon Terence could elicit in the Renaissance reader a different level of engagement, providing a detailed linguistic and cultural explanation of Terence’s text to the learned audience, while in turn offering a pictorial narrative to the leisured reader, who could see the plot unfolding before his very eyes.


Dr. Giulia Torello-Hill is a Lecturer in Italian at the University of New England in Armidale, Australia. She specialises in the reception of classical drama in the Renaissance. Her research explores the interplay between exegesis of ancient texts, iconographic tradition and performance practice in Renaissance Italy. She has held fellowships from Villa I Tatti the Harvard University Centre for Italian Renaissance Studies in Florence (2015-16) and the Renaissance Society of America and Kress Foundation (2018). She has recently co-authored with Andrew Turner The Lyon Terence: Its Tradition and Legacy (Brill, 2020) and has embarked on a new collaborative project on drama, music and orality in Renaissance Ferrara.

Dr. Andrew Turner is a researcher at the University of Melbourne, where he lectures on Latin literature. His research focuses on the transmission of Latin texts in the Middle Ages, and in 2011-12 he was a visiting fellow at the Flemish Academic Centre in Brussels, where he undertook a study of classical literary scholarship in mediaeval Flanders. His most recent research has focused the commentary traditions on the classical dramatists Terence and Seneca; besides his extensive work with Giulia Torello-Hill, he currently is part of a major research project on the first mediaeval commentary on Seneca’s dramas by Nicholas Trevet.


This digital lecture is organised by the Henri Pirenne Institute for Medieval Studies (HPIMS) and the Group for Early Modern Studies (GEMS) at Ghent University (BE). It open to all, but for digital security reasons we do ask registration with email by October 6th 2021 at the latest. For registration and info, simply get in touch with Dr. Stefan Meysman.



Workshop: Revisiting Revenge. New Perspectives for the Study of Revenge Tragedies (late 16th–early 18th century)

Ghent University (Belgium), 16-17 September 2021

Keynote speaker: Prof. Russ Leo (Princeton University)

In the early modern period, revenge tragedies and related Senecan plays dealing with revenge flooded the European theatres, especially in England (The Spanish Tragedy, Titus Andronicus, The Revenger’s Tragedy, Hamlet), but also in the Dutch Republic (Wraeckgierigers treur-spel, Aran en Titus, De veinzende Torquatus, Medea) and Germany (Ermordete Majestät, Rache zu Gibeon, Cleopatra). Because of the plays’ abundant display of horror, audiences flocked to them in large numbers, rendering the revenge tragedy the most popular dramatic genre of its time. Yet, revenge tragedies have for a long time only reluctantly been allowed to join the established canon of classical works, since they were considered gross, decadent, gratuitous, sensationalist and markedly commerce-oriented plays. Only in the past few decades, literary scholars have attempted to adjust this one-sided image of the genre by suggesting that revenge plays informed (aspects of) the cultural-historical force field that helped shape them.

Bearing this suggestion in mind, we would like to invite scholars working on the subject to submit case studies exploring the ways in which European revenge plays participate in contemporary political, religious, philosophical, legal, economic and gender discourses, in order to make clear the genre’s broader cultural relevance – both in terms of its historical moment and of our analysis of that moment. Possible topics include, but are not limited to:

  • The relationship between revenge plays and the Christian (Catholic/Protestant) discourse on revenge. How do revenge tragedies interrogate the biblical message not to take revenge yourself, but to leave it to the Lord? And more generally, how do these plays interrogate divine providence as such?
  • The political topicality of early modern revenge drama: how did English revenge plays help shape the discourse concerning e.g. the unstable dynastic position of the Tudors? How did Dutch ‘wraaktragedies’ participate in the fierce discussions about the position of the stadtholder in the Dutch Republic? And how do German revenge plays relate to Ferdinand II’s attempt to impose imperial absolutism?
  • The relationship between revenge plays and gender. Early modern revenge plays feature both male and female stage avengers. Are there substantial differences in how female stage revengers avenge themselves compared to their male counterparts? And how do these differences inform our understanding of early modern gender roles?
  • Revenge plays and their relation to the system of legal justice in early modern Europe. With most stage revengers taking recourse to ‘a kind of wild justice’ (Francis Bacon), in what way does revenge drama provide an interrogation of the legal system of its time?
  • The dramatic representation of revenge itself. How is revenge depicted in the early modern revenge play? And how does dramatic revenge relate to other depictions of revenge in related art forms, like the opera seria?

We also invite participants to reflect in their presentations more explicitly on the arbitrariness of the classification of the revenge tragedy as a genre as such. We look forward to receiving your abstracts, and to a productive meeting in September.


  • The workshop will take place in Ghent on 16 and 17 September 2021 (precise location TBA).
  • Proposals for a twenty-minute presentation (given in English) are expected by March 1st, 2021 and should be sent to tom.laureys@ugent.be. Proposals should include your name, academic affiliation and a brief curriculum vitae.
  • Submissions are expected as Word documents (max. 300 words).
  • Notification of acceptance will be provided by April 1st, 2021.
  • The programme will be finalized by May 1st, 2021.
  • A selection of contributions will be published in a peer-reviewed volume to be submitted to an international publisher.
  • We hope that you will support our efforts by notifying your colleagues and students about the conference. You are most welcome to contact the organisers for further details.
  • All this information can also be found on our website: www.revisitingrevenge.ugent.be (which will soon be online).

This conference is an initiative of the research groups GEMS (https://gemsugent.wordpress.com/) and THALIA (https://aogthalia.wordpress.com/), and is part of the BOF-funded research project Radical Revenge? Revenge tragedy and providential thinking in the Dutch Republic 1638-1678.

Organising committee:

Tom Laureys, PhD candidate (tom.laureys@ugent.be)

Prof. dr. Kornee van der Haven (cornelis.vanderhaven@ugent.be)

Prof. dr. Jürgen Pieters (jurgen.pieters@ugent.be)

Scientific committee:

Prof. dr. Ton Hoenselaars (Universiteit Utrecht)

Prof. dr. Karel Vanhaesebrouck (Université Libre de Bruxelles)

Prof. dr. Andrew Bricker (Ghent University)

Prof. dr. Inge Arteel (Vrije Universiteit Brussel)

Prof. dr. Bram Van Oostveldt (Universiteit Gent)

Dr. Laurens De Vos (Universiteit van Amsterdam)

POSTPONED: Ghent-Lille Research Colloquium in Early Modern Studies: Emotions, Passions and Cultures of Feeling


Friday, March 13th, 9AM-5PMVendredi 13 mars, 9h-17h

Gand-Lille Colloque de recherche en études de l’époque moderne: Émotions, passions et cultures du sentiment

Ghent University, meeting room “Simon Stevin” , Rozier-Plateau building (entrance Plateaustraat 22, Gent – left corridor).

Université de Gand, salle “Simon Stevin”. Bâtiment Rozier-Plateau (entrée Plateaustraat 22, Gand – couloir gauche).

This colloquium is a collaboration between researchers from the Université de Lille and Ghent University. Together they investigate (early) modern conceptions of emotions, the representation of passions and the relationship between these representation and (early) modern cultures of emotions.

Ce colloque est une collaboration entre des chercheurs de l’Université de Lille et de l’Université de Gand. Dans leurs contributions, ils discutent les conceptions des émotions, la représentation des passions et la relation entre la représentation et es cultures des émotions du XVIe à la première moitié du XIXe siècle.

Registration before Monday March 9th (not necessary for speakers and chairs): https://webappsx.ugent.be/eventManager/events/lillegent

L’inscription est obligatoire avant le lundi 9 mars (excepte les conférenciers et les présidents): https://webappsx.ugent.be/eventManager/events/lillegent

Session 1: Chair / président: Fiona McIntosh-Varjabédian (Université de Lille)

9:30     Frédéric Briot (Université de Lille): Passion et complexe du tout dans Sémélé, tragédie lyrique de Marin Marais (1709)

10:00   Delphine Calle (UGent): Racine ou la dramaturgie de l’amour

10:30   Questions & discussion

11:00   Break / Pause

Session 2: Chair / président: Cornelis van der Haven (UGent)

11:30   Tom Laureys (UGent): Rational revenge? The navigation of the passions in a

            Dutch Medea tragedy (1667)
12:00   Timothy Vergeer (Universiteit Leiden): ‘Vengeance is mine’. Revenge, Honour,

and Spanish Drama in the Low Countries (1617-1672)

12:30   Questions & discussion

13:00   Lunch / déjeuner

Session 3: Chair / président: Alison Boulanger (Université de Lille)

14:00   Emilie Picherot (Université de Lille): La passion arabicante de Nicolas Clénard

de Louvain à Fez (1495-1542)

14:30   Steven Vanden Broecke (UGent): Astrological management of the

passions and Catholic spirituality in 17th-century France: Jean-Baptiste Morin’s Astrologia Gallica (1661)

15:00   Questions & discussion

15:30   Break / pause

Session 4: Chair / président: Jürgen Pieters (UGent)

16:00   Fiona McIntosh-Varjabédian (Université de Lille): Consolate, disconsolate: of

harrowing experiences in 19th Century Novels

16:30   Caroline Grapa (Université de Lille): LEssai sur Sénèque: éthique et politique du sujet

16:30   Questions & discussion

17:00   Discussion about future cooperation / projects

            Discussion sur la coopération / projets futures

17:30   Closure / fin

This colloquium is made possible through funding from the Joint Call Ghent and Lille / Hauts-de-France 2019 project: ‘LIVES’

Dante Workshop (UGent, 13-14 May 2019)

Location: UGent, Campus Boekentoren (Blandijnberg 2, 9000 – Ghent, Belgium)

Free entrance

Organizers: prof. Teodoro Katinis (UGent; SDA Gent), prof. Wim Verbaal (UGent), prof. Bart van den Bossche (KU Leuven), prof. Andrea Robiglio (KU Leuven).

Research groups: GEMS (Group for Early Modern Studies), HPIMS (Henri Pirenne Institute for Medieval Studies).

Participants: prof. Paolo Borsa (University of Milan), prof. Valerio Cappozzo (University of Mississipi), prof. Teodoro Katinis (UGent, SDA Gent), prof. Wim Verbaal (UGent), prof. Bart van den Bossche (KU Leuven), prof. Andrea Robiglio (KU Leuven), colleagues of the GEMS and the HPIMS, PhD students, students of the course LKV.

Reading materials available here



13/5: Room 120.036

h15-17: Dante Alighieri between Latin and the Vernacular, in English.

Moderators: Wim Verbaal and Andrea Robiglio.

Prof. Paolo Borsa and prof. Valerio Cappozzo will circulate in advance their materials to feed the discussion: published articles and current projects with specific regards to Dante’s poetry, the Stilnovo, and the interpretation of dreams in the Middle Ages.

h17: coffee break and networking.

h18:30: dinner.

h20-22: prof. Valerio Cappozzo, L’interpretazione dei sogni da Dante ad oggi, in Italian for the Società Dante Alighieri – Gent (for a broad public).


14/5: Room 120.012

Morning: informal meetings with PhD students and colleagues to discuss future research opportunities (feel free to contact us if you are interested in meeting the speakers).

h16-19: Dante tra latino e volgare, in Italian.

Moderator: Teodoro Katinis.

Prof. Paolo Borsa e prof. Valerio Cappozzo, for the students of LKV. Articles and handouts will circulate in advance. External participants are welcome to join also this part of the workshop.

h20: dinner


Image reference: Luca Signorelli, Portrait of Dante (1500-1504 ca.). Fresco. Orvieto Cathedral, Chapel of St Britius.

Workshop Performance Historiography: Examining Past Performances from a Present-day Perspective (12-13 September 2019)

The application deadline has passed and a selection of participants has been made. For any inquiries, please contact renee.vulto@ugent.be.

With Henry Turner (Rutgers University) and Morag Josephine Grant (University of Edinburgh) (keynote speakers), Jane Hwang Degenhardt (University of Massachusetts Amherst), and Cornelis van der Haven (Ghent University).

DS specialist course for early career researchers on the theme of performance historiography,  organised by the interdisciplinary research groups THALIA (Ghent University and Free University of Brussels) and GEMS (Ghent University). The workshop aims to approach this theme from an interdisciplinary perspective, and to facilitate dialogue between young researchers and experts.

The workshop departs from the following: the existing body of literature on historical performance (1600-1900) is rather anecdotal and tends to focus on written sources rather than examining past performances as experiences, or as events that had a bodily or an emotional impact. In the workshop, we intend to explore how contemporary theory can help us accessing past performances, and understand their function in their historical time and space. Examples of such performances are theatrical performances, music performances, rituals, religious processions, or political demonstrations, but also broader notions performance are welcome to be discussed.

During the two days, Henry Turner and Morag Josephine Grant will each give a lecture in which they discuss performance historiography from their area of expertise. The rest of the time is designated for research presentations by the participants and discussion.

Preliminary programme
Thursday, 12 September
09:00 – 09:30 welcome and coffee
09:30 – 11:30 session 1: masterclass Henry Turner
11:30 – 13:00 session 2: discussion
13:00 – 14:00 lunch
14:00 – 16:00 session 3: presentations by participants
16:00 – 16:30 coffee
16:30 – 18:30 session 4: presentations by participants

Friday, 13 September
09:00 – 09:30 coffee
09:30 – 11:30 session 5: masterclass Morag Josephine Grant
11:30 – 13:00 session 6: discussion
13:00 – 14:00 lunch
14:00 – 16:00 session 7: presentations by participants
16:00 – 16:30 coffee
16:30 – 18:30 session 8: presentations by participants †

GEMS feedback session on FWO PhD proposals


Place: Blandijnberg 2, Grote Vergaderzaal (3rd floor)

Date: 6 February 2019, 14:00-16:00


​On Wednesday, February 6th, there will be a feedback session between 2 and 4 PM for students who are preparing an application of a FWO PhD fellowship. The session will take place in the Grote Vergaderzaal (Blandijnberg 2, 3rd floor).

Students who may be interested to get feedback from GEMS members on their proposal should send their drafts to: Cornelis.vanderHaven@UGent.be, before February 1st.


Image reference: Schrijvende boer, Cornelis Dusart, 1670 – 1704. Holding institution: Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam.

Workshop theatre historiography

GEMS and THALIA would like to inform you of the following workshop, which is organised by members Kornee van der Haven, Sarah Adams and Yannice De Bruyn:

On 13 October 2017 we organize a workshop on theatre historiography in Amsterdam (UvA). Our primary aim is to offer PhD students working on historical theatre and performance a platform to discuss methodological difficulties they encounter in their research. It is a perfect occasion for peer discussion and feedback from more experienced scholars and dramaturgs. By means of introduction, Imre Bésanger (Theater Kwast) will outline his approach to methodology in his work with historical theatre texts. Kornee van der Haven (UGent) will moderate a discussion of Erika Fischer-Lichte’s views on theatre historiography.

Please find the (Dutch) program hereSarah Adams can provide you with more information and/or register your participation.

The image is a 3D visualisation of the Tapissiers theatre in Antwerp (1711) © Timothy De Paepe, 2007-2017.


Workshop Techniques of Theatre and: Theatre as a Technique


On March 22nd, 2017 THALIA, GEMS, and the research group ITEMP organise the workshop  ‘Techniques of Theatre and: Theatre as a Technique’. It is intended for pre-docs, PhD’s and post-docs, especially in the field of theatre studies and theatre history.

The full-day programme consists of two parts. During the morning session we will focus on methodological issues brought forth by theatrical case studies. How to interpret primary sources and how to deal with lacunas in our research about theatre and/or theatrical events in history? The afternoon session will concentrate on theatre as a technique for knowledge production. Which techniques are used by the theatre to engender insight, from early modernity until the present? The entire programme can be consulted here: workshop-techniques-of-theatre-and-theatre-as-a-technique.

The teachers are Jan Lazardzig (UvA, Netherlands), Kurt Vanhoutte (University of Antwerp) and Karel Vanhaesebrouck (VUB/ULB/RITCS, Brussels). The workshop will take place in the ‘Library Lab’ of the Faculty Library Arts & Philosophy at Ghent University. Registration is still open, interested researchers can contact Yannice De Bruyn (Yannice.DeBruyn@ugent.be) for more information.