Issue 4 (February 2016)

Breaking the Rules: Textual Reflections on Transgression

To begin to understand the human experience, the study of explicit and implicit political, religious, and aesthetic boundaries must be complemented by analyses of the diverse ways in which these rules are contested, broken, and rebuilt.

Five of the best conference papers of 2015’s LUCAS Graduate Conference, titled ‘Breaking the Rules! Cultural Reflections on Political, Religious and Aesthetic Transgressions’ are presented as articles in this fourth issue of the Journal of the LUCAS Graduate Conference. Each of these articles, written by international early-career scholars from various research backgrounds, explores a transgressive scenario – and reactions to it – in a particular historical period, religious or philosophical framework, and social context. Although reaching from Antiquity to the early modern era, they are linked by another common thread: all five deal with transgressions that are recorded in texts.

Discussions of an ambitious Carolingian archbishop, a witness-bearing Samaritan woman, (in)appropriately repentant Catholics and Protestants, diabolically dancing Christians, and an awe-struck Epicurean philosopher all illustrate the significance of rule-breaking as a cultural process.


Series Editor and Editorial Board

A third-term member of the Journal and editor-in-chief of Issue 3Jenneka Janzen returns to the editorial board as series editor. She brings a broad interdisciplinary background in material, cultural, and social histories of northwestern Europe from the early Middle Ages through the early Renaissance. An alum of the Centre for Medieval Studies (Toronto), she is currently preparing her dissertation, Written Culture at Ter Duinen: Cistercian Monks and Their Books, c.1140-c.1250 as part of the project Turning Over a New Leaf: Manuscript Innovation in the Twelfth-Century Renaissance. Her PhD research combines traditional codicological and palaeographical expertise with new technology-aided methods to uncover how these monks organized, interpreted, and transmitted knowledge, and how, cooperating within their own community and within their broader monastic network, they participated in contemporary intellectual movements.


Fleur Praal joins the fourth issue of the Journal as an editor-in-chief. Fleur graduated the MA Book & Digital Media Studies (Leiden University) cum laude in 2012, and is currently writing a dissertation on scholarly communication and publication practices in the Humanities. Academic publishing has evolved in the print domain over centuries, but is now uprooted by the digital medium and the new possibilities for communication it brings. Fleur is fascinated by academics’ communication habits, such as authors’ choices between formal and informal outlets, complementing monographs with articles, blogs, and even tweets, as well as readers’ selection strategies to cope with an ever-growing information load. She brings her experienced outlook on new technologies for text processing and publication to the Journal. Alongside her PhD, she is a lecturer at the Book & Digital Media Studies department. 


Working alongside Fleur as an editor-in-chief, Karine Laporte  brings a strong background in the Classics to the editorial board. She completed a joint MA programme in Classics from Université Laval and Université de Strasbourg in 2014, and her current FRQSC-funded doctoral research focuses on theHistory of the Roman Emperors, written in the 3rdcentury CE by Greek historian Herodian. She is especially interested in how the writing strategies Herodian uses – far from stemming from a lack of talent or a personal, merely aesthetic fancy – contribute to framing his History in a coherent and meaningful structure. Beyond factual accuracy, Herodian’s method of selective composition is closely tied to his political understanding of the contemporary events, often even on a universal level.


As a co-organizer of the third LUCAS Graduate Conference, ‘Breaking the Rules!’ on which this issue is based, Thijs Porck continues to contribute as a member of the editorial board. He holds an MPhil in Medieval History and an MA in English Language and Culture (both Leiden University). His PhD research Old Age in Anglo-Saxon England focuses on the conceptualization of old age in early medieval England, based on a lexicological analysis of words for old age in Old English and an analysis of texts of a diverse nature (ex: homilies, saints’ lives, epic poetry). Alongside his PhD, he is lecturer in Old and Middle English language and culture as well as the History of the English Language at the Department of English. Thijs has published several articles about late medieval historiography, J.R.R. Tolkien, Beowulf and the Old English language.


Specializing in Early Modern art in northern Europe, Haohao Lu brings a background in Early Modern art and history to the editorial board. She conducts her dissertation research at Leiden University as a Kress Institutional Fellow. Her project, The Paradox of Delight: Image and Imagination of Eros at the Burgundian-Habsburg Court, investigates the relationship between imagery and desire in sixteenth-century Netherlandish visual culture. The paradoxical intertwining of unavailability and desire has long been prominent in discourses on the erotic, from late-medieval courtly poetry to what is now often called “playing hard to get.” Drawing on a range of primary sources and important artistic monuments, she examines that intertwining, and traces the outlooks of erotic interest in Burgundian courts in the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries.


Lieke Smits brings an interdisciplinary background to the editorial board; she received a BA in Art History from Leiden University and an MA in Medieval Studies from Utrecht University. She is currently working on her PhD as part of the LUCAS Graduate Programme. Her research examines the importance of the material image in medieval spirituality in relation to the imagery inspired by the Song of Songs. She studies both texts and visual images and focuses on the image of the mystical kiss of the mouth, which shows how one of the most sensual images could be used to describe the highest state of mystical union with God. In addition to being an editor for the Journal, Lieke is in the organizing committee for the next LUCAS Graduate Conference in 2017.


Agnieszka Anna Wołodźko holds an MA in Philosophy from the University of Warmia and Mazury in Olsztyn (Poland) and an MA in The Philosophy of Art History from Leiden University. Her PhD research investigates ways in which art, by using living bodies as its medium, reveals overall cultural, social, and political significance of affect in the contemporary understanding of manipulated bodies. In particular she is interested in how art presents ethical concerns and responsibilities within its creative practice. Agnieszka brings a unique perspective on the intersection of philosophy and the arts to the fourth issue’s editorial board.


Tessa de Zeeuw is a PhD researcher in the ‘Arts in Society’ graduate program at LUCAS. She brings a diverse Humanities background to her current work, with a BA in liberal arts and sciences, a BA in law, and an MA (cum laude) in literary studies. Tessa’s dissertation concerns the theatricality of law. It explores the common understanding that 'the law must be seen to be done', and that this implies a spatial manifestation. She is interested in legal cases that problematize or exceed the capacities of existing legal mechanisms, and, through art and literature, explores the kind of dramatic and theatrical spaces these cases demand.


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Last Modified: 21-12-2016