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”.
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!
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.
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.
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: http://www.mijnedlet.nl/mdnl/?p=1174
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.
We start off with Alexander Roose, professor of French Literature at Ghent University. Alexander is the author of La curiosité de Montaigne, which was published very recently (Champion 2015). Another book on Montaigne is already in the making: Alexander’s De vrolijke wijsheid. Zoeken, denken, en leven met Montaigne comes out this winter (Polis). Also, from January 2016 on, the monologue ‘Montaigne’ that Alexander has written, will be staged in theatres throughout Belgium and the Netherlands.