It is tomorrow: 22nd Dutch-Flemish Medieval Studies Day: Readjusting the Middle Age

When:                  11 November 2016 from 10:30 till c. 18:00

Where:                 Utrecht, Drift 13 and 25, Museum Het Catharijneconvent, Lange Nieuwstraat 38 (from 16.15 to 18:00) and the Sint-Catharinakathedraal, Lange Nieuwstraat 36 (from 17:00)

Language:           English (with the exception of the lecture in Museum Het Catharijneconvent, which will be in Dutch)

Please register by sending an e-mail to, mentioning ‘Medieval Studies Day 2016’. Please also mention in your registration message whether you will attend the afternoon lecture in Museum Het Catharijneconvent, as seating is limited. You are requested to pay your contribution of €10 for coffee, tea, and lunch upon arrival on 11 November.


            At Drift 13:

10:30     Registration (with coffee/tea)

10:50     Welcome (Marco Mostert, Universiteit Utrecht)

11:00     Catrien Santing (Director of the Dutch Research School for Medieval Studies): Challenges and Opportunities for the Study of the Middle Ages

11.30     Christoph Weber (Technische Universität Braunschweig): Elevations and Test Flights: Moving through the Air in the Middle Ages

12.30     Lunch

At Drift 25:

13.30     First round of PhD student presentations in parallel sessions (see below)

14.30     Break (with coffee/tea)

14.45     Second round of PhD presentations in parallel sessions

15.45     Break; walk to Museum Het Catharijneconvent (approx. 15 mins.)

You will have three options at Het Catharijneconvent. The start of the lecture by Rob Meens and the concert will start exactly at the stated times. Visiting the exhibition may be done after the lecture, before the concert, or indeed during the lecture or concert. The reception will start at c. 17.15, and will continue until the last listeners to the concert have been able to quench their thirst.

At Lange Nieuwstraat 38:

                               In the auditorium:

16.15     Rob Meens (Universiteit Utrecht): Geweld bij het graf van Sint-Maarten (in Dutch)

In the museum:

16.15     Opportunity of visiting the exhibition Heilige schrift: Tenach, Bijbel, Koran (Holy Scripture: Tenach, Bible, Koran)

In the foyer:

17.15     Reception offered by the Dutch Research School for Medieval Studies

At Lange Nieuwstraat 36:

17.00     Gregorian musical traditions of Saint Martin. Concert by Utrechts Gregoriaans Koor, Gregoriana Amsterdam en Schola Hilversum.

Readjusting the Middle Ages

For as long as we can remember, the idea of the ‘Middle Ages’ has been under review. As medievalists we have accepted, if only for practical purposes, the periodisation of European history in Antiquity, the Middle Ages, and the (Pre-) Modern Age. In doing so, we have unwittingly allowed negative connotations of the ‘Middle Ages’ to persist in education, politics, and the received ideas of the public at large. Yet, through our research we have come to a set of rather different views. We no longer hold to the established periodisation of Western civilisation. Indeed, we are coming to question the very notion of ‘the West’, and are slowly beginning to react in our research and in our teaching to the study of the western Middle Ages in isolation. Neither do we see the story of our continent as one of unfettered progress from the ‘cradle’ of the Middle Ages to the blessings of contemporary modernity. Nor do we see the Middle Ages as a thousand-year-long hiccup in the advance of civilisation from Greek and Roman Antiquity to our own age. We have come to realise that in the panoply of developments taking place during the Middle Ages there were some we might be tempted to applaud, whereas there were others that we have reservations about – as with developments in any other period of history, including our own. And we are keenly aware that we have to understand both the developments and our judgement of them.

These are some of the considerations that inform the continuing readjustment of the study of the Middle Ages, and, as a result, of the Middle Ages themselves. What are the Middles Ages? When did they take place? Where did they take place? And: how do they relate to the periods that went before and followed? One thing is certain: the Middle Ages, no matter how we wish to define them, were no Dark Ages.

At the Mediëvistendag of 11 November 2016, we will address some of these problems. During the morning’s general session,  prominent medievalists will reflect on key issues in medieval developments and their continuation later on. During the afternoon’s sessions, we have a chance to hear about research currently carried out, which will in time help further adjustments of the Middle Ages. We will then move to Museum het Catharijneconvent for a lecture on St Martin and a visit to the exhibition ‘Heilige Schrift – Tanach – Bijbel – Koran’. There will also be an opportunity to hear some of the Gregorian music for St. Martin. The Mediëvistendag will end with drinks.

All lectures and papers will be presented in English (with the exception of the lecture in Museum Het Catharijneconvent, which will be in Dutch), to allow all scholars, PhD students and Research MA students, irrespective of their linguistic abilities, to take part.

 PhD Students’ Presentations

At the Medieval Studies Day, PhD students in any field of Medieval Studies present short papers on their research topic in parallel sessions. Speaking time for presentations will be c. 15-20 minutes, followed by discussion.

Session I – Approaches to the Later Middle Ages I

Where: Drift 25, 3.02

When: 13.30

Pragmatic Literacy in the Countryside: The Bailiwick of ‘s-Hertogenbosch (1250-1550)

Mark Vermeer (Utrecht)

Territorium in Late Medieval Brabant
Joey Spijkers (Amsterdam)

Session II – Approaches to the Later Middle Ages II

Where: Drift 25, 3.02

When: 14.45

Town Halls, Courtrooms and Society in the Low Countries, c.1300-1500

Nathan van der Kleij (Amsterdam)

Riches and power? Princely Widows in the Late Middle Ages: The Case of Margaret of Burgundy (1374 – 1441)

Margreet Brandsma (Leiden)

Sessie III – Writing and Reading I

Where: Drift 25, 3.01

When: 13.30

The Manuscript Tradition of Jacob van Maerlant’s Rijmbijbel

Matanja Hutter (Amsterdam)

Reading, Writing, Collecting: Miscellanies and Private Libraries

Johanneke Uphoff (Groningen)

Session IV – Writing and Reading II

Where: Drift 25, 3.02

When: 14.45

Texts in Action: Performative Religious Reading in the Long Fifteenth Century

Joanka van der Laan (Groningen)

Woodcuts as Reading Aids: Illustrations and Knowledge Transfer in Printed Books in Dutch on the Natural World, c. 1480 – c. 1550

Andrea van Leerdam (Utrecht)

Session V – Religious History and Spirituality I

Where: Drift 25, 2.03

When: 13.30

The Mystical Kiss of the Mouth: The Engaging Imagery of the Song of Songs (1100-1500)

Lieke Smits (Leiden)

‘To see with the eyes of the mind’: Hildegard of Bingen’s Allegorical Visions as Cognitive Structures

Dinah Wouters (Gent)

Session VI – Religious History and Spirituality II

               Where: Drift 25, 2.03

When: 14.45

Appraising the Medieval ‘Home:’ Homesickness and Homelessness between Cradle and Grave in Monastic Communication

Theo Lap (Groningen)

Readjusting an Age-Old Tradition: The collatio and the Brothers of the Common Life

Pieter Boonstra (Groningen)

Sessie VII – Of Genres and their Uses

Where: Drift 23, 1.03

When: 13.30

The Annales Laureshamenses: Origin, Transmission and Reception

Bart van Hees (Utrecht)

Joyful Summonses: Typologies and Trends in a Literary Genre (France / Low Countries, 13th-17th century)

Rozanne Versendaal (Utrecht)

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