Communication and Exploitation of Knowledge: Launch Conference

June 17th   2016 , Utrecht, Academy Building, Belle van Zuylenzaal, 13:00-17:00
Participation is free, please register with before June 10th
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The Launch Conference is organized by the four new PhD candidates connected to the graduate program Communication and Exploitation of Knowledge in the Middle Ages of the Netherlands Research School for Medieval Studies. This theme lies at the heart of the School’s activities as it demonstrates how the Middle Ages functioned as a breeding ground for the Modern Era. At that time, useful and advantageous information became a widespread phenomenon, enabling new social and ethnic groups to carve out their own niches in existing civilizations. The topic underscores the relevance of Medieval Studies for our understanding of present-day society. Within the program, the four PhD candidates conduct their own individual research related to the overarching theme of the communication and exploitation of knowledge in the Middle Ages.



13:00 Opening
13:15-13:45 Theo Lap: Is the Medium the Message? High Medieval Epistolary Culture and the Art of Party Pooping. A Guide for Homebodies (Respondent: Wim Verbaal)
13:45-14:15 Mark Vermeer: A Handy Approach: the Use of Palaeography as a Method for uncovering Rural Pragmatic Literacy (Respondent: Anna Adamska)
14:15-14:30 Discussion
14:30-15:00 Coffee
15:00-15:30 Pieter Boonstra: Verbo et scripto praedicandi: Between Tekst and Speech in the Modern Devout Collatio (Respondent: Thom Mertens)
15:30-16:00 Nathan van Kleij: The Invited but Undesirable Consumer. To Make a Stand in the Late Medieval Urban Courtroom (Respondent: Peter Hoppenbrouwers)
16:00-16:15 Discussion
16:15-17:00 Bert Roest: …sint magis solliciti ad intelligendum et informationem eorum avidius audiendam: Medieval Reflections on the Nature, the Communication and the Appropriation of Knowledge
17:00 Drinks





Theo Lap obtained his Research Master's degree in Classical, Medieval and Renaissance Studies from the University of Groningen in 2015. The focus of his project Homesick Monks and Reluctant Bishops: Communicating World Renunciation in Twelfth Century Letter Collections lies with the paradoxical nature in which 'world' and 'monastery' are polemically conceptualized by prominent intellectuals of the twelfth century. Letter collections are approached as a separate mode of communication, to be distinguished from the individual letter, in order to reveal important clues about the dislocated worldviews that they appear to disseminate. Were politically engaged ecclesiastics genuinely homesick for the monastery? Or does the monastery function as a personification of a wider sense of nostalgia for earlier times? Such questions reside at the heart of this project. Supervisor: dr. B. Hellemans / prof. C. Santing


Mark Vermeer graduated in 2015 from Utrecht University (Research Master Medieval Studies). His project, Pragmatic Literacy in the Countryside: the case of the Bailiwick of 's-Hertogenbosch (13-16th century) deals with the spread of pragmatic literacy, the scribes and clerks as a social class and the use of written documents in rural areas. By approaching these documents from a palaeographical and diplomatical perspective, it is possible to circumvent the lack of contemporary documentation on this subject. Moreover, the project discusses the link between writing and the development of rural bureaucracy. Supervisor: prof. M. Mostert


Pieter Boonstra graduated from the University of Groningen in 2015, following a bachelor in History and the Research Master ‘Classical, Medieval and Renaissance Studies’. His project “Not in a preaching manner”: lay-religious interaction in the Modern Devout collatio deals with the interaction between Brothers of the Common Life and laypeople during the practice of the collatio, where the Brothers would invite laypeople to their houses and instruct them with vernacular religious texts. By reconstructing a dynamic practice with both textual and oral components, the project aims to bring new insights to the study of the religious life of late-medieval urban laypeople. Supervisor: prof. S. Corbellini


Nathan van Kleij graduated from the University of Amsterdam in 2015 (Research Master in History). His project Communicating Justice: Courtrooms and Society in the Low Countries, c.1300-1500 concerns the study of late medieval courtroom spaces, their shape and appearances, to what extent the urban community had access to these and how courtrooms facilitated (a) medieval public sphere(s). By analyzing a variety of 'media' including judicial administration and material culture, the project aims to reconstruct and understand the operation of courtrooms as platforms for discourse, used by the urban society. Supervisor: prof. G. Geltner