20e Mediëvistendag / 20th Medieval Studies Day

Onderzoekschool Mediëvistiek / Vlaamse Werkgroep Mediëvistiek

Gouda, Agnietenkapel, Nieuwe Markt 100

24 October 2014


Further information and registration (no later than 10 October 2014): the secretariat of the School, ozsmed@rug.nl 




‘De Ouden zijn de voorouders die we graag gehad zouden hebben, de Middeleeuwers zijn de voorouders met wie we het in feite moeten doen.’

(‘The Ancients are the ancestors we would have liked to have had; the people of the Middle Ages are the ancestors we really have to be satisfied with’)

(Peter Raedts, De ontdekking van de Middeleeuwen. Geschiedenis van een illusie, 363)

‘The visibility of the Middle Ages’ is the device under which we would like to address at the occasion of the Medievalists’ Day 2014 (October 24, Gouda) the uneasiness that – if the signs do not betray us – befalls many people who are involved professionally in medieval studies. ‘Visibility’ might refer to the tangible and public presence of reminiscences of the Middle Ages (e.g. in Gouda, the town in which we meet) but this is not what we mean in the first place. Medievalists are confronted with two parallel observations. In public culture medieval (historical, literary, artistic, intellectual, material) heritage does not play a recognizable role any more. And among academic professionals of medieval studies a clear consensus about the direction we have to take with our discipline is missing: we feel a certain embarrassment to tell a grand story about the Middle Ages, an embarrassment voiced eruditely and eloquently in Peter Raedts’ recent book De ontdekking van de Middeleeuwen. Of course, both observations are interconnected: public history cannot cope without strong nourishment from academic study of the past, and vice versa professionals – even when they follow the inherent logic of their discipline – need the inspiration from as well as the legitimization by societal resonance of their professional efforts.

            In the near future the academic staff available for medieval studies will probably shrink. Meanwhile, colleagues continue to win VENI’s, VIDI’s and other grants. An exhibition such as the one in Leiden on the ‘Golden Middle Ages’ (the Merovingian Period) is attracting the general public. Online media offer modern possibilities – insufficiently used so far – to reach a new public. Medievalists’ Day 2014 is the proper moment for a joint reconsideration of the definition of our field of interest. Where should our priorities be situated anno 2014? Which topics of research have lost something of their relevance, and which ones deserve reinforced attention? Which steps are to be taken in order to come to a fresh definition of the course to be followed in our discipline? Which are the risks we run in this reorientation, but above all: which are the chances and opportunities from which to profit?



10.00-10.30    Registration and Coffee

10.30-10.45    Welcome (Prof. Koen Goudriaan, Chairman/Organizer)

Introduction  (Prof. Catrien Santing, Academic Director Netherlands Research School for Medieval Studies)

10.45-11.30    First keynote: Prof. dr. Peter Raedts (emeritus Radboud University Nijmegen)

11.30-12.15    Second keynote: Prof. dr. Jan Dumolyn (Ghent University), Medieval urban history, city marketing and the heritage industry: the case of Bruges

12.15-12.30    CARMEN (Dr. Jitske Jasperse, University of Amsterdam)

12.30-14.15    Lunch break; optional: visit Goudse Glazen, explanation by Charlotte Dikken, MA)

14.15-16.00    PhD presentations*

16.00-17.00    Dr. Annemarieke Willemsen (Rijksmuseum voor Oudheden, Leiden), Golden

                        Middle Ages: How to sell the ‘difficult’ medieval period to a broad audience

17.00-18.00    Drinks


PhD Presentations

Time schedule for the three sessions:

14.15-14.40    first paper

14.40-15.05    second paper

15.05-15.30    third paper

15.30-15.50    final discussion

15.50-16.00    return to Agnietenkapel


Session I: Devotion

1. Cécile de Morrée (Utrecht University)

The pragmatic functionality of devotional songs. Genesis, organization and function of vernacular devout song manuscripts

2. Ingmar Reesing (University of Amsterdam, Amsterdam School for Culture and


Handy saints. Early sixteenth-century micro-carvings from an unknown workshop in the Northern Netherlands

3. Jelle Visser (Utrecht University)

Approaching transcendence. Textual traditions, material remains, and debates about Willibrord’s Relics (739-1110)


Session II: Material and conceptual structures of society

1. Isabel Kimmelfield (Radboud University Nijmegen)

Constantinople beyond the walls. Exploring the material and conceptual history of Byzantine suburbs

2. Jaap Ligthart (Leiden University

            Demise of the Domain

3. Miet Adriaens (Vrije Universiteit Brussels, Centre for Historical Research into Urban

Transformation Processes)

Shifting grounds? Nobility, lordship and state formation in the sixteenth-century Low Countries (Case studies: Brabant and Flanders)


Session III: Court, city and literature

1. Lisa Demets (Ghent University)

Text and context. The ideology and representation of mythological and historical actors in the “Excellente Cronike van Vlaenderen”’

2. Kim Ragetli (Radboud University Nijmegen / Leiden University)

Oiling the wheels of state: Isabella of Portugal’s role as mediator and the dynamics of court-city relations

3.   Yvonne Vermijn (University of Amsterdam)

                Royalist sentiments in times of political uncertainty: the reception of the Chanson de Bertrand du Guesclin


Plenary meeting and Session I: Agnietenkapel, Nieuwe Markt 100 (town centre, near the well-known Markt and Stadhuis, a 10 minutes’ walk from railway station), Sessions II and III: Oud-katholieke kerk, Hoge Gouwe 107 (town centre)