Self-funded candidates and their research

Information about the self-funded PhD candidates and their research, in alphabetical order.

Aarts, S.A.J.J.

Motte-and-bailey castles in Brabant: their expanding role and significance, and the growth of the Duchy (1000 – 1250)

supervisor: Prof. Dr. H.L. Janssen

The research will inventorise past and present motte-and-bailey castles in the old Duchy of Brabant, covering four present day provinces and the capital region of Brussels. These motte-and-bailey castles will be examined against the backdrop of castle studies’ archaeological and historical knowledge on the construction methods of the motte-and-bailey castle as a type of castle. Research will concentrate on Western Europe and on the Netherlands and Belgium in particular. Closer examination into the rise and expansion of the Duchy of Brabant – including the integration of ‘North Brabant’- creates the historical framework in which these early baileys and their noble families are set. Previous published studies in this area are available on:

Baart, J.M.

Portuguese faience 1600-1660

supervisor: Prof. dr. T.M. Eliëns

Portuguese faience claims an important place in the development and spread of faience in Europe. The technique of faience spread from Italy, the birthplace of faience, across Europe in the 16th century. It was introduced to Portugal from Spain at the end of the 16th century. This research covers the period 1600-1660, which is viewed as the period in which Portuguese faience flourished and was exported internationally. An inventory will be made of the collections in museums in Portugal as well as in Europe and beyond for examination. 

Excavations over the last decades have revealed several new pieces of Portuguese faience that provide complimentary information to museum collections. Excavations in the Netherlands, and in Amsterdam in particular, have been significant.

A third component of the research will identify the Portuguese pieces that were used in church architecture in Portugal.


Brakel, E.F.E. van

Statue of rider, Windhoek, Namibia

Statue of rider, Windhoek, Namibia

Die Darstellung kultureller Identität in zeitgenössischer postkolonialer Literatur

supervisor: Prof. dr. A. Visser


Gibt es eine deutschsprachige postkoloniale Literatur? Gewiss! Vorausgesetzt, man beschränkt den Begriff "postkolonial" nicht auf den kleinsten Nenner: das deutsche Kolonialreich mag es im Gegensatz zum britischen Empire nicht lange gegeben haben, es hat aber die Identität derer, die es betraf, auf Dauer geprägt. Am deutlichsten zeigt sich das dadurch, dass Deutschland sich seines kulturellen und historischen Kolonialerbes allmählich mehr bewusst wird. Aus diesem Grund lässt sich der durchschlaggebende Erfolg der Publikation "Moderne Imperialisten. Das Kaiserreich im Spiegel seiner Kolonien" von Birthe Kundrus in 2003 erklären.

Die kulturelle Identität eines Volkes und seiner Individuen entsteht per definitionem auf dem Weg der Ethnogenese: sie bildet sich mehr oder wenig im Zusammenwachsen unterschiedlicher kultureller Einflüsse. Im diesem Prozess kam und kommt es in der (post)kolonialen Gesellschaft manchmal zu großen Reibungen. Denken Sie an den Genozid an den Namas und Hereros und das Gedenken dessen in 2004. Über diesen Prozess gibt es auch Erfreulicheres zu berichten: Jedes Jahr schreibt Die Allgemeine Zeitung, die älteste Zeitung Namibias, über den Karneval in Windhuk. Ist das deutsch oder namibisch? Die literarische Wiedergabe in den Werken von u.a. Michael Roes, Hans C. Buch, Alex Capus, Daniel Mepin en Patrice Nganang ist Gegenstand meiner Untersuchung.


The depiction of the cultural identity in contemporary post-colonial literature

Does German language post-colonial literature exist? It certainly does! At least if one does not define ‘post-colonial’ too rigidly. While the German colonial era did not last that long, compared to the British Empire for example, it has nevertheless shaped the identity of those that it affected. Even more so, Germany is becoming increasingly aware of its cultural and historical ties with its former colonies. This accounts for the resounding success of Birthe Kundrus' publication "Moderne Imperialisten. Das Kaiserreich im Spiegel seiner Kolonien"  in 2003.

The cultural identity of a people and individuals by definition evolves along an ethnogenetic path: it is moulded, to a greater or lesser extent, by the melding of different cultural influences. This process was, and still is, subject to great friction in colonial and post-colonial society. A case in point is Germany’s recognition in 2004 of the genocide of the Namaqua and Herero. But this process does have its more cheerful sides: “Die Allgemeine Zeitung”, Namibia’s oldest newspaper, mentions the carnival in Windhoek every year. Is this German or is it Namibian? The recent literary commentary in the works of authors such as Michael Roes, Hans C. Buch, Alex Capus, Daniel Mepin and Patrice Nganang is the subject of my research.

Website: Emile van Brakel

Brus, A.B.

Visual Arts & Literature in Equatorial Guinea

supervisor: Prof.dr. L.M.L. Rodríguez

This study will explore the role that (neo)colonialism, migration and exile play in the artistic production of writers and visual artists from Equatorial Guinea. Equatorial Guinea is a West African country formerly colonized by Spain and home to various ethnic groups. It gained independence in 1968. A large number of its writers and visual artists lives, for political reasons, in exile, and the country has experienced two dictatorial regimes since independence. One key question of my research will be to assess to what extent these writers and artists developed a ‘hybrid identity’ under the influences of these ethnic, (neo)colonial and migratory experiences and how this identity is expressed and reflected in their works. The study will also take into account the agency that foreign cultural centres and institutions established in Equatorial Guinea have, and the influence they exercise, in shaping the literary and artistic education, and agendas, of the country’s writers and artists, who depend largely on these centres and institutions for their artistic promotion or survival.


Carriero, D.M.

Studies on the Old English Phoenix

supervisor: Prof. dr. R.H. Bremmer

Legends refer to the phoenix as a bird with a colourful plumage which, near the end of its life, burns fiercely together with its nest and is reduced to ashes, from which a new, young phoenix arises, reborn anew to live again. The phoenix's ability to be reborn from its own ashes can be easily interpreted as a symbol of resurrection; the pagan emblem of the sun-god becomes a symbol of Christ. This imagery is echoed in the Old English Phoenix, a poem found in the Exeter Book, a late tenth-century manuscript preserved in the library of the Exeter Cathedral.
 My research focuses on the subject of the Old English poem starting from its descriptions, its characteristics and its legends, most of which are connected with the pagan traditions. After this descriptive chapter, the sources of the poem will be analysed and an explanation for their choice will be offered. Next, the problem of authorship will be discussed, starting from the debate which involves Cynewulf, to end with the problem of its dating. The last chapter will be centred on the themes of the Phoenix, giving special attention to the secondary themes which have so far not been taken into account by the scholarly critics.


Chiu, K.

The Soundscaple of Metal: The Jouissance of Chthonic and its Ambivalence 

supervisor: Prof. dr. F.W.A. Korsten

The relationship between music and ideology has always been an intriguing topic, with both mutually shaping each other in terms not only in style, form, composition, lyrics, but even at the level of performance and voice/sound. While Rock n’ Roll serves as an example of the revolutionary and anti-authority aura in the 1960s, its heavier offspring Metal often functions as reflection upon or sharp critique on the post-industrial era despite of its apolitical posture. 

In addition to the extreme low riff and bombast drums, the highly complex techniques and virtuosity, the manipulation of voice/sound perhaps best characterize Metal. These seemingly musically generic features, however, often transmit ideologies from the variety of Metal. In the case Gothic Metal on which my MA thesis Voice! That Voice!: A Psychoanalytic Theory of the Gothic and Contemporary Gothic Metal focuses, the manipulation of voice/sound amounts to a Goth sentiment that can be characterized as narcissistic in the sense that Goths internalize the differences of the Other and take the social/political/cultural antagonisms and conflicts upon themselves as unshakable responsibility. From my study in Gothic Metal, a musical genre that profoundly inherits the literary and aesthetic heritage of the Gothic, I have come to understand that other genres of Metal such as Symphonic, Black, Death, Industrial, Folk, Doom, etc. resort to manipulation of voice/sound as a medium of ideologies, instead of the pursuit of simple powerful pleasure as Metal Studies commonly understand. In a deeper sense, the manipulation of voice/sound should be interpreted as pursuit of jouissance, pleasure in pain or extreme pleasure that exceeds the Freudian pleasure principle. Metal’s obsession with voice/sound, therefore, can also be regarded as its own conceptualizations of the contemporary, mostly in case of conflicts between classes and ethnics, and to a certain extension the religious and political upheavals following deindustrialization, industrialization, and globalization. 

The Taiwanese Symphonic Black band Chthonic, now internationally well known as a progressive Taiwan independence and human right advocator, will be my future focus, especially in terms of the band’s usage of Taiwanese folk tales, mythologies, and histories that involve traditional oriental music instruments and compositions with the intention to present an “Orient Metal,” as the band prefers to term themselves. What lies behind the concept of Orient Metal, however, is much more than a sense of the authentic Taiwan and Taiwaneseness that the band claim to explore. Beneath the authenticity is rather an ambiguous nationalism that results from post-colonial regimes that has shaped Taiwan as a hybridity of cultures that is both fascinated with but fears for the West, and in a deeper and more recent tide, the raising self-identification of Taiwanese who are in between the West and the currently rising and increasingly progressive China. Under the paradoxical commercial sugarcoat of the non-commercial hardcore Metal who speaks out for the minority and human rights, therefore, lurks an extreme externalization of the Other while failing to come to terms with its own liminial nature, fuming self-otherization and self-orientalization. Paradoxically, the manipulation of oriental voice/sound bespeaks a ghostly and haunted Taiwan which requires further examination.
 My research on the one hand intends to approach Metal from a psychoanalytical perspective inspired by Jacques Lacan, especially his theorization of objet petit a, with hope to make sense with the “affective power” of the voice/sound; on the other hand, my research delves into the expansion and localization of Metal, in this case Chthonic, so as to understand Metal’s libidinal economics when it comes to the radical Other. As Metal Studies yet has a solid theoretical framework, this research may provide a new viewpoint to examine the bestial music that refuses to die.


Cock, M.P.

The linguistics of surprise in Classical Greek

supervisor: Prof. dr. I. Sluiter

Surprise is a core human emotion that arises in cases of incoherence between knowledge or expectation and new observation. Surprise plays various roles in a language; my research into the linguistics of surprise in Classical Greek will examine three of these. First, how this important human emotion is conceptualised. How do people talk about surprise? The second is surprise in dialogue, for example what linguistic resources do speakers use to let it be known that they are surprised or expect their conversational partners to be surprised. This could be the use of interjections and exclamations, particles, use of aspects, word order and so on. The third and last part of my research is about surprise in narrative texts. It asks the question what is the influence of incoherence of surprise on the coherence of a text. What linguistic resources do authors use to convey surprise to the reader.


Couvée, P.

Toppled Cupola's: The Theme of Soviet Antireligious Agitation in post-Stalinist Poetry

supervisor: Prof. dr. J. Schaeken (LUCL)

During the seventy years of its existence the Soviet regime pursued a militant antireligious policy. The holy (vertical) symbols of Orthodox Russia (church, cross, cupola) were desecrated, razed down and replaced by the Soviet symbolism of the masses.

The disappearance of the tangible Orthodox heritage in the Russian (urban and rural) landscape - a visual manifestation of culture - is the starting point of my research, which focuses on Russian poetry (official and unofficial) in the post-Stalinist period. The poetical texts are thematically selected from the works of poets that lived the Khrushchev's church demolitions in the late fifties and early sixties, the spiritual vacuum of the Brezhnev years and, anticipating the 1988 millennial festivities, saw the beginning of the reconstruction of the Orthodox monuments.  

My research focuses on the question how this fact is internalized in the poetic texture: how the post-Stalinist poets, following the mnemonic traces to the waste land, the dilapidated or travestied church ruins, have reconstructed the Orthodox heritage into poetic images, at the same time continuing the discourse, started by their God-seeking predecessors of the Silver Age, on the essence of Christian and cultural identity, sacredness and sacrilege, Jewishness and Russian Orthodoxy, and memory and repentance.


Dijk, J.M.M. van

Reading Sound: A Theoretical Exploration and Practical Application in relation to Cultural Heritage

supervisor: Prof. dr. F.W.A. Korsten, co-supervisor: Dr. E. Peeren (UvA)

This research aims to fill up a theoretical gap related to the most important act within literary studies in particular and the humanities in general: the act of reading. This gap concerns the role of sound within the process of reading and interpreting texts. On a theoretical level this research will provide a conceptual basis and an operational model for the reading and meaning of sound within text. On a practical level this model will be utilized in analyses of drama texts by Joost van den Vondel (1587-1679). These analyses function both as exemplary case studies for the practice of reading sound within literature and as practical guides for currant and future translators of these texts. The sound structure of the text forms a historical grounding of literary heritage. As a consequence, awareness of the role of sound within the production of meaning of a text will lead to translations that are historically more adequate. Translation has a twofold meaning here: in terms of different languages it concerns translation for an international audience; in terms of historical differences it concerns translation for a national public.


Doeselaar, F.P. van

Moving prose
Literature’s historical experience and cinematic potential

supervisor: Prof. dr. F.W.A. Korsten

Contemporary historical experience takes centre stage in my research. To further explore the specificity of contemporary ‘historic experience’ and ultimately define it, I will choose a clear case study as my point of departure: the oeuvre of the author Thomas Rosenboom, and in particular his novel “Gewassen vlees”. Thomas Rosenboom’s novels are all acclaimed and are read as texts that conjure historic experience. I will use Rosenboom’s historical novels to inform my research on whether there are any specific classifications in contemporary historical experience.

In examining the historical experience, Rosenboom’s novels have a filmic, a ‘cinematographic’, effect. The images they create are not static; instead they move and they move us as readers. This can only happen because Rosenboom’s language, in all its forms, plays an essential role in this process. Style is thus crucial. Style – in the broadest sense of the word – makes the ‘images’ tangible and touchable so that they affect us and, even more so, are ‘experienced’ by us.

The hypothesis is thus that in our time, the cinematographic potential of language – both floating freely and arranged in a linear fashion – acts as a portal to the past. This can only develop successfully by a style that charges the language with emotion. Applied to my research case, this means that Thomas Rosenboom’s novel, “Gewassen vlees”, stimulates a historical experience particular to our contemporary time, through his style’s imagery and cinematographic capacities.


Durys, K.M.

Ancient Rome and Renaissance Florentine - Memory and Meaning in Funerary Monuments in Practice and Theory. Theoretical Comparative Study of Selected Funerary Monuments in Fourth Century Rome and Renaissance Florence

supervisor: Prof. dr. C.A. van Eck

This thesis will analyze selected funerary monuments of Ancient Rome and Renaissance Florence, which, although separated in time, show important iconographical parallels. A return to the Classic knowledge and art marked the whole age of the Italian Renaissance: Renaissance artists made and furbished their work with iconographical motifs found and used in Antiquity. Roman funerary art aroused considerable enthusiasm, e.g. the Cortona sarcophagus of 160 AD, which vividly depicts the battle of Bacchus and Retinue with Indians and Amazons. Such sarcophagi were not products of major individual artists, but rather of artistic ateliers - these mass products suited the contemporary funerary market. In the Middle Ages they were re-used as tombs, fountains troughs, as holy water basins or simply for ornamental purposes. During the Renaissance they were displayed in Italian cities in public or in major private collections - in Florence they were publically displayed at the Baptistery. It was their sheer ubiquity that made them the most accessible examples of Classical art, inspiring contemporary artists. Classical altars, as well as the Meleager and Labours of Hercules sarcophagi, were all part of prestigious private collections. Some even served as objects legitimating pretentions to ancient ancestry. The Renaissance was shaped by classical influence - this was clearly manifested in funerary symbolism, where mythological and ritual forms from the classical antiquity were adopted and incorporated.

This thesis will interpret the parallels as well as the differences found in these iconographical developments of both Ancient Rome and Florentine Renaissance as reflected in their funerary monuments in terms of the theory of Cultural Memory (Assmann, 1995, 1997). The aim of this thesis is not only to decipher the cultural and social meanings symbolically represented in the funerary monuments, but also to visually and ichnographically  analyze how exactly these monuments helped shape Cultural Memory by serving the remembrance of given individual persons or events in the eyes of contemporaries. Aristotle’s work on Memoria, Jan Assmann’s Cultural Theory of Art and Gell’s Anthropological Theory of Art will serve as a theoretical framework - by them the function and use of the funerary monuments will be analyzed in their respective contemporary settings.

The thesis will analyse two funerary monuments from Ancient Rome, viz. one of the sarcophagus of Helena (the mother of emperor Constantine)  and the tomb of Constantina, daughter of Constantine. From the Florentine Renaissance period a group of Medici funerary monuments will be examined, viz. those of Giovanni  and Piccarda de Medici, Piero and Giovanni  de Medici, and the Medici Dukes, Cosimo II, Ferdinand I, as well as the tomb of the humanist Leonardo Bruni.


Geus, J.E. de

Trans Action: Breaking Through a Vicious Cycle?

supervisor: Prof. dr. E.J. van Alphen

This project proposes to study the intertwinement of transgender subjectivity as expressed in various autobiographical writings and the medical discourse. The so-called 'transsexual plot' that the medical world employs to understand the transgender phenomena has been criticitized by both academics and members of the transgender community since the nineties. In particular, its positing of a 'true' gender identity that could be in conflict with an assigned gender identity has been undermined to such a degree that some theorists and academics already speak of a paradigm shift in the thinking about transgender identity. Yet the relationship between transgender individuals and the medical community remains complicated. Individuals who opt for surgery must be diagnosed with ‘gender dysphoria’ in order to be eligible. In order to receive such a diagnosis, the stories they tell about themselves to medical professionals need to cite key elements from the ‘transsexual plot.’ This has resulted in a vicious circle in which transgender life narratives confirm the medical world’s mode of employment. Yet outside the medical sphere – in books, on websites and discussion forums – widely diverging narratives are disseminated. My project proposes to study these narratives. My main research questions are:

1) How are metaphors, ideas and plotlines derived from the medical discourse employed in recent autobiographical texts?
2) Which (new) ideas about gender identity emerge in these autobiographical texts? and
3) How do these ideas relate to earlier understandings of transgender identity in both the medical world and among transgender activists?

To answer these questions I will analyze four different types of autobiographical narratives: published autobiographies, informal narratives found on the internet aimed at a general public, informal narratives found on the internet focused on the peer community and transgender fiction written by transgender authors. A critical narratological reading of these narratives will be used to evaluate the scope of the changes that have been made in re-conceptualizing transgender phenomena, using concepts and methodologies derived from literary studies and transgender studies.


Gommers, M.A.

Studies of the life and work of Willem de Vreese

supervisor: Prof. dr. W. van Anrooij

The Flemish philologist and codicologist, Prof. Willem Lodewijk de Vreese (1869-1938), was an important academic. He is best known for his “Bibliotheca Neerlandica Manuscripta”, a personal documentation apparatus that contains about 11,000 descriptions of Middle Dutch manuscripts. The apparatus has been kept in Leiden University’s library since 1939. In the 1990s, a start was made to digitise its wealth of material. The correspondence to and from De Vreese is a virtually untapped mine of research. There is no systematic review of the more than 20,000 letters that have survived. The first phase of the research will therefore fully concentrate on opening and familiarising with the entire legacy of letters and creating a finding aid.
The finding aid will be the foundation for the second phase of research: a number of studies into the life and work of De Vreese in which relevant letters will be annotated and published. Among the subjects that I will examine are the following.
• What research programme determined the scientific activities of De Vreese over the years?
• How did De Vreese’s contacts in the academic world proceed and what scientific networks was he affiliated to?
• What was De Vreese’s significance in the study of Middle Dutch literature?
• Can De Vreese be seen as a pioneer of the New Philology?
The finding aid and the studies of Willem de Vreese’s life and work are intended to be the foundation for a future biography about this scholar.


Harvey, P.J.

Georges Bataille and the practice of Art History

supervisor: Prof. dr. J.L. Goedegebuure

The proposed research will seek to explore the role of Georges Bataille’s critical reception in the development of revisionist, critical Art History between circa 1970 and 2010. It will also propose a new reading of the corpus of texts through which Bataille expresses his approach to art, in order to be able to understand the significance of his approach for the practice of Art History today.  

Research for my MA thesis, entitled Georges Bataille and Antonin Artaud. On the limits of representation, revealed that the majority of existing art historical analysis of Bataille concentrates on his articles in Documents (1929-1930) and the context of early Surrealism. This selective reception will be questioned, analysed and where possible supplemented. My analysis will focus on the development of art historical practice, informed by theory, and how Bataille was written into Art History.  

To be able to understand the significance of the reception of Bataille’s writings for the development of critical Art History, a comparative analysis of major interpretations will be offered. From this perspective, Georges Didi-Huberman’s concept of the anti-visual non-savoir (1970), Denis Hollier’s anti-Hegelian aesthetics (1974), Rosalind Krauss’ anti-modernist concept of formless (1997) and Dawn Ades’ interpretation of dissident surrealism (2006) will be looked at closely. These different interpretations of Bataille, all based on close readings of Documents, have so far not been compared or cross referenced in the context of art historical practice.


Herwijnen, H.F. van

Willem Fabri as a representative of decorative arts in the Netherlands between 1870-1920

supervisor: Prof. dr. T.M. Eliëns

The works of Willem Fabri (1853-1925) is the recurring theme of my thesis in which his working life is described in detail and which includes a catalogue of his oeuvre. I show his work by sketching the development of the decorative art in the Netherlands in the period 1870-1920 from a historical and international perspective. Furniture makers played an important role in the development of the decorative arts, for example by establishing painters’ ateliers. The Rotterdam furniture maker, C.H. Eckhart, served as an illustration in my research, in conjunction with what was happening at the same time at furniture makers in The Hague such as Mutters and Pander. The same applies to architects who often commissioned decorators to decorate their buildings.

Fabri worked in several areas of the decorative arts including the ornamentation of houses, theatres, palaces, churches, ships, government buildings. His oeuvre will thus be treated comparatively as far as possible. Each chapter will deal with competitors. A separate chapter is dedicated to Jacob Smits who felt that his development as an artist was hindered by Fabri, who was a decorative painter throughout his life. Many artists once started as decorative artists, or practiced decorative art ‘on the side’. Attention will be given to this in the chapter on Smits.


Hollander, Y.

Middle Dutch dialogue in verse up to 1400. Content, form and function.

supervisor: Prof. dr. W. van Anrooij

The doctoral research examines rhyming dialogue in Dutch literature up to 1400, paying particular attention to how the form and function of this type of prose developed. Both the textual aspects of the dialogue as well as the historical context of literature and culture will be examined too.
Research into dialogue has up to now primarily focused on the role division in dialogue without much emphasis being place on the form and function of the prose. The result is a fairly one-sided image: in the Middle Ages, dialogue is only a simple learning conversation. It is only with the rise of humanism that the genre acquires intellectual depth. The situation, however, is more subtle than imagined. The most convincing evidence is the dialogues of Maerlant. He, with his “Martijngedichten”, is at the forefront of the Middle Dutch dialogue tradition. Three 14th century authors succeed him by using his strophic form and referring to him immediately. Apart from the dialogues directly attributed to Maerlant, countless other 14th century dialogues have survived. The stamp of ‘learning conversation’ does not do justice to the ingenious texts: while the educational tradition that automatically used standard question-answer conversations between pupil and master have survived, certainly not all dialogue texts from the Middle Ages can be labelled as simple learning conversation. With Maerlant leading the way, the genre develops through the centuries and evolves into a true literary form in the 14th century in particular. Keywords for authors seem to be variety and inventiveness, given the rich tradition of the text’s popularity with their audience.
Further research leads to both a better understanding of the way in which the dialogues relate to each other in terms of the history of literature as well as the learning conversations handed down and battle poems with which they share a common background in education. In order to obtain a more nuanced understanding, it is important to examine the textual qualities of different dialogues and learning conversations such as thematic qualities, structure, wording and the presentation. The text culture of the Middle Ages is largely recognisable as an oral culture. Texts in the form of dialogue bear an intentional performance that is related to its intended purpose.
Furthermore, the historic cultural context is important and interesting given the popularity and functionality of dialogue as a text form. In written Latin, knowledge is systematically made accessible, in particular in the 14th century, by authors in local languages. To what extent can the didactic nature and the intentional performance of the dialogue be related to the rising need for knowledge in local languages?


Homer, N.H.

Copyright: Cultura RM / Alamy

Copyright: Cultura RM / Alamy

Global imagined communities in a network society: An analysis of communication and community in international fiction

supervisor: Prof. dr. E.J. van Alphen

My research is focused on global communities and their representation in the imagination, as it is depicted in contemporary international fiction. This is a topical area of research, given the recent popularity in the media and political rhetoric of the idea of the "global community", which is defined in the Collins Dictionaries as "the people or nations of the world, considered as being closely connected by modern telecommunications". This project takes as a starting point Benedict Anderson’s concept of the nation as an "imagined community" in order to investigate if and how this kind of community is formed in a network society on a global scale. The network society relates to the social, political and cultural changes that are associated with a networked information society and communications technologies. Specifically, this research project will analyse the temporal and spatial conventions that underlie the representation of imagined communities by focusing on the subjective processes of memory and communication in a corpus of postmodern novels. This analysis will be supported by theories from international studies and the social sciences, in order to position the subject within the context of globalisation and postcolonialism.  


Hoof, E.J.M.A. van



Campbell, Myth, and Postmodernism: the Rise and Influence of Heroic Myths in Contemporary Postmodern Literature

supervisor: Prof. dr. P.T.M.G. Liebregts

Joseph Campbell’s anthropological work is often vilified by critics, but is seen as valuable by both readers and directors. But how influential actually was his work and is it still influential? And what does this mean for the postmodernism which is said to have thrown ‘the big stories’ overboard? This research examines the interplay between mythology (classical) and postmodernism and also goes in to the concept, definition, birth and evolution of postmodernism. Writers such as Salman Rushdie and Neil Gaiman will be examined, as will the work of George Lucas and the American comic. These works will be correlated within the framework of a literary critique of Joseph Campbell’s work.


Hui, T.

The Performative Force of Accented Speech: Language, Body, and Violence  

supervisor: Prof. dr. E.J. van Alphen

In the contemporary globalized world, the accent marks a distinction between insiders and outsiders, and can sometimes lead to hostility and bodily attack. Such violence typically performs a gesture of othering based on the conflation of ethnicity and language, and further raises the question of how to undo the violence with a speech that remains accented and is therefore, always already in the locus of that violence. Through an analysis of theoretical, philosophical, and literary texts that dramatize or reflect on the implications of speaking with an accent, this project aims to 1) investigate the socio-political and cultural dynamics that take place when accented speech resounds publicly, and map the different modes of speaking that are available to accented speakers 2) theorize the intertwined relation between language and body. By highlighting the bodily dimension of accented speech, this project intervenes in debates on language and racialization in postcolonial studies, and seeks to contribute to a critique of the ideology of ethnolinguistic nationalism that naturalizes reified conceptions of ‘native speakers’ and ‘mother tongue.’

The accent, often considered as a problematic utterance of an alien body, is situated at the intersection of the cultural and the physical: it is where languages and the speaking body meet, where various cultures leave imprints on the body. This project contends that social and cultural ‘scenes’ of accented speech dramatize the ‘imposed’ monolingual status of the postcolonial subject, who often experiences language as “the prosthesis of the origin” (Derrida 1998), and as a double disfigurement of his/her racialized body. By adopting this perspective, this project hopes to shift the discussion of monolingualism and ethnolinguistic discrimination from a model that emphasizes hegemony and discourse to one is attentive to the constitutive force of language itself. In the very performativity of language, I contend, resides the possibility of linguistic survival of accented speakers. 


Hulst, H.D.

Unwanted childlessness in Antiquity

supervisor: Prof. dr. H.F.J. Horstmanshoff

Unwanted childlessness, an invisible loss. In our era, childlessness is described as a type of mourning. Fertility issues often give rise to emotions which cannot be discussed easily in a social environment in which people get pregnant and bear children. One of six couples has fertility issues of which 10-13% will ultimately remain childless.

Unwanted childlessness in Antiquity was seen as a divine punishment for a crime. The most important criteria for judging women in Antiquity were her children. Women who bore legitimate children within marriage fulfilled their duties towards the household gods, ensured the continuation of the family line and used their gender to provide descendants. The other side of the coin is that childlessness was a cross to be born, especially for women. A woman without children was worthless and without providing descendants, a reason for a man to reject her.
My research, provisionally entitled “Childlessness in the Greco-Roman world” will primarily take a medical slant. I will analyse various medical texts from the time such as descriptions in the Hippocratic works, for example, and other texts that discuss these issues. Secondly, I will examine the socio-economic and legal position of women. In short, how did women who were unwanted childless in Antiquity experience their daily lives.


Isiko, A.P.

Gender Relations in Traditional Healing Practices in Uganda

supervisor: Prof. dr. E.J. van Alphen

The crucial role of traditional healing has been the focus of many previous scholars. The same scholars have greatly dwelt on the crucial theme of integration of traditional medicine with modern medical practices. Previous research on traditional healing have also greatly underscored the fact that over 80% of people in the developing world use traditional medicine, but no cognizance have been made to the fact that gender relations in traditional healing practices may be working against either men or women. And therefore issues to do with the position of women and men before and after western influences on traditional medicine have been lacking in previous research on traditional medicine. Thus issues related to gender relations in access, utilization, participation and roles of men and women in traditional medicine have not been of any attention to researchers. Indeed available literature and research on traditional healing not only just illuminates a part of this subject but is the beginning of a wider re-examination and new understanding of different dimensions which encompass the complex world of traditional healing. This study therefore comes in the way to look at a much neglected dimension of ‘gender relations’ in traditional healing. This particular research focuses interest on how traditional healing and its results have affected the position of women in their societies. The Research focuses as well on how colonialism and other such European influences affected women’s roles and their position in traditional healing. Analysis is on understanding women icons and their roles in traditional healing. Further interest is on identifying gendered patterns of access to traditional healing and how women and men may better access traditional healing. In all these a culturally relevant gender based analysis will be central which has been lacking in previous scholarship on traditional healing.


Josserand, C.M.H.

La Rhétorique de Brunet Latin: Théorie, Practique et Réception

supervisor: Prof. dr. P.J. Smith

Le Livres dou Tresor de Brunet Latin forme, avec d’autres ouvrages à vocation didactique datant pour la plupart du XIIIe siècle, ce que la tradition critique définit comme encyclopédie médiévale. Ces oeuvres se présentent comme des sommes compilées de savoir. Lue jusqu’au XXe siècle, le Tresor est une œuvre remarquable à plus d’un titre, qui apparait comme l’expression du savoir préhumaniste.

Il existe une tradition critique qui s’intéresse principalement à deux aspects de l’œuvre de Brunet Latin : la politique et la rhétorique. La place prépondérante du Tresor et de son auteur dans la vie politique à Florence au XIIIe siècle fait l’objet de nombreuses études. La pensée, l’influence des œuvres et l’engagement dans la politique dans son temps, font de Brunet Latin un précurseur, premier humaniste avant la Renaissance pour certains, émergence ponctuelle sans suite pour d’autres. A sa rhétorique sont consacrés de nombreux travaux. On peut distinguer deux traditions critiques. La première s’attache à démontrer l’insertion de la rhétorique dans le Tresor comme une composante essentielle de la politique, et considère la rhétorique de Brunet Latin comme la traduction du De Inventione de Cicéron. La seconde  considère que l’originalité de la rhétorique de Brunet Latin réside dans le fait qu’il inclue l’ars dictaminis. Ces pistes apportent un éclairage intéressant à la définition de cette rhétorique particulière. Cependant,elles ne permettent pas de saisir l’originalité du projet de Brunet Latin, première expression en langue vulgaire d’une rhétorique, bien avant les premiers traités en français. Elles  ne permettent pas non plus d’envisager en quoi son oeuvre est fondatrice d’un lexique rhétorique et d’une pratique.

Notre projet de thèse a donc comme ambition de mesurer la portée de cette rhétorique, à la fois dans ses sources, son expression et sa réception. Elle répondra à la triple interrogation suscitée par la rhétorique de Brunet Latin : quelle est son acception théorique, comment s’écrit-elle et quelle est sa portée dans le temps. Cette réflexion s’inscrit dans une problématique contemporaine à la fois sur l’encyclopédisme médiéval, et sur la rhétorique médiévale, deux sujets dont les champs d’exploration sont en pleine expansion. L’intérêt de ce travail est avant tout de poser une réflexion sur l’établissement d’un lexique rhétorique, réflexion qui s’apparente trop souvent à un relevé descriptif des couleurs de la rhétorique. En outre, il permettra de mettre en évidence l’élaboration d’une théorie précoce de la rhétorique, théorie qui s’inspire du modèle cicéronien pour mieux s’en détacher. De même, l’analyse de la mise en pratique dans les textes mêmes de Brunet Latin donnera toute son extension à cette théorie. Enfin, une étude de la réception de l’œuvre du Florentin en évaluera la portée. Il s’agit là d’un projet original, qui revient en définitive à déterminer les premiers fondements d’une rhétorique en langue vulgaire et en français, en référence à un modèle cicéronien.


König, J.G.M.

Grèce et la castration / Greece and castration

supervisor: Prof. dr. H.F.J. Horstmanshoff

In 1980, historian Peter Guyot noted that castrated slaves made their appearance in Greek households in about 300 B.C. This implies that castration in itself must have been new for the Greek slave market. I will first assess whether this is the case or not. If it appears, from remaining ancient sources, that this may be the case, I will then examine if the omissions in the corpus of sources have given us an accurate picture. If it still appears to be the case, I will examine why the peak of this phenomenon took place after 300 B.C. in the Greco-Roman world. Did this lie on the Greek culture? Was the culture prior to this time not a fertile ‘habitat’ for the phenomenon as slave castration? While the castration of slaves may have been the most widely practiced form of castration, human history shows other significant occurrences of castration. These include in surgery, in spiritual life, as a punishment and in people’s private lives. We also find castration in other animal species. Given this framework, mutatis mutandis, I will examine the same questions as in the case of the castration of slaves. In order to place the history of castration in Greece in a cultural and historical context, I will not only examine ancient Greek history, but will look in particular at the prehistory and history of areas outside Greece that exerted influence on Greece and on Greek prehistory. At the same time, I will examine the Greek mentality in the areas of private life, medicine, economy, religion and law to see if this mentality created ‘habitats’ in which castration and other phenomenon could flourish.


Korte, H.J.J.

Proust and the visual arts

supervisor: Prof. dr. E.J. van Alphen 

Through art – particularly music and painting – the French writer Marcel Proust (1871-1922) largely lifted or reduced the boundaries between art and literature. Johannes Vermeer’s “View of Delft” gave him a special model which he could imitate. He saw a technique in this painting where, for the first time, something is placed in light – a ‘mise en lumière’. It took a long time before he found a substitute for the stylistic and structural elements in his own literature. It became a literary style that is a form of painting, visual and layered. A style that is able to record the ‘impermanence of light’ as Claude Monet says about time. In his literary style, Proust makes the reality behind the reality visible and in so doing transcends time. He calls it ‘extra temporalisation’, or ‘extra intransience’. He places something outside of time, withdraws from the inexorable transitoriness of time and creates eternity, perpetuity. He lets us experience light and time again. The novelist Proust is in fact a literary painter. With his view of the View of Delft he is served his first gift ...


Kroon, A.

The influence of Dutch freemasons on trade relations with Asia and the ensuing material culture (1756-1853)

supervisor: Prof. dr. C.J.A. Jörg

This art history research examines the influence of Dutch freemasons on trade relations with Asia and the ensuing material culture between 1756 and 1853. The purpose of the research is two-fold. One, the sketching of a summarised history of the freemasons’ lodges on the route via the Cape of Good Hope to former trade posts in India, Ceylon and the Dutch East Indies. At the time the freemasons’ lodges were an important socio-economic network for travellers such as staff of the V.O.C. (Dutch East India Company). Two, to understand the unusual material culture of the freemasons, i.e. the lodge buildings, interiors, ritual and decorative items, regalia, functional items and so on, as recorded in archives and estate inventories of lodges in Batavia. The study will also look at the production and export of Japanese lacquer and Chinese porcelain with masonic decoration. This decoration is borrowed from the complex symbolic and iconography of 18th and 19th century freemasons’ rituals.


Lambert, E.M.L.

Dat liden ende die passie ons heren Jhesu Christi

supervisor: Prof. dr. W. van Anrooij

The study of the letterpress printed vernacular books of the suffering and the Passion of Jesus Christ, probably published as early as 1477 - Dat liden ende die passie ons heren Jhesu Christi - is of considerable interest. The chief reason is that within a period of twenty years a total of 28 incunabula appeared from nine different printers. The art of early letterpress printing, shortly after the first publication of the Old Testament in Middle Dutch (March 10, 1477), developed very rapidly. In this way spiritual literature was not only handed down but demonstrated the need for each printer to establish the interests of a potential reading public.

The main fields of research in this project include those of analytical bibliography, ranging from the scholarly investigation of 'layouts', i.e. the distinct variability in text and pictorial design, to that of the development of distinctive variations of letterprint techniques. In this way the important research of Wytze and Lotte Hellinga and their experiences in the area of analytical bibliography will be shown to be an integral part of this project.


Die Lektüre der bereits seit 1477 erschienenen Druckversion über die Leidensgeschichte des Herrn in der Mittelniederländischen Volkssprache - Dat liden ende die passie ons heren Jhesu Christi - weckt Interesse, zumal es davon weitere 28 Druckexemplare von 9 verschiedenen Druckern gibt, die diese Inkunabeln in einer Zeitspanne von 20 Jahren herausgaben. Diese rasche Entwicklung in der Buchdrukkunst, kurz nach der Veröffentlichung der ersten, alttestamentarischen Bibelausgabe in der Mittelniederländischen Volkssprache in Delft (10. März 1477), überliefert uns nicht nur geistliche Literatur, sondern sie zeigt die Notwendigkeit, die für alle Drucker besteht, das Interesse einer möglichen Leserschaft zu erkunden.

Zentrale Themenfelder dieses Projektes schließen, von der Untersuchung des 'Layouts', d.h. die, von der ausgeprägten Variabilität in der Textgestaltung (und von der Bildgestaltung), bis zur Entwicklung abweichender Variationen von Setztechniken, wesentliche Bereiche der analytischen Bibliographie mit ein. Damit ist eine Brücke zu den Untersuchungen von Wytze und Lotte Hellinga geschlagen, die mit diesem Projekt aufgegriffen werden.

Landewé, W.

Medieval castles as bearers of meaning

supervisor: Prof. dr. H.L. Janssen

Medieval castles appeal to the imagination. They are mighty monuments that not only teach us a lot about the lives of the medieval elite, but also about the common man who worked and lived in and around those very same castles. Apart from their military and economic roles, castles in the Middle Ages also had social and symbolic roles. These roles have drawn the attention of castle studies, in particular in surrounding countries. Castles are increasingly seen as symbolic: castles express the power and status of noble families and should be seen as a sign of the social status and political influence of their owners. This message was well understood by medieval people. But it was not only the real castles that were used as a communication tool to bring across a particular message to a receptive audience, but imaginary castles too were used. These castles were the figment of the imagination of writers and artists and fulfilled this role too.

Various social groups – the clergy, nobility and commoners – claimed castles, with their structures and associated feelings and ideas, in medieval times as a means to communicate certain norms and values to others. Authors and artists used castles for their own reasons and the way in which they used castles as a conveyor of meaning in their literary works or in illuminated manuscripts or hanging tapestries conveyed information about their own norms, values, ideals and intentions, or about the norms and values of their patrons. I am particularly interested in the question of how castles in the Middle Ages functioned as a bearer of meaning in conveying messages related to the relationship between men and women in late medieval society (1300-1550). What role do castles play in literary works, moral-didactic treatises, illuminated manuscripts or on tapestries in terms of the relationship between men and women, love and sexuality? What can this teach us about the meaning of castles for medieval people and the place of castles in medieval society?
By answering these questions, I will contribute to Dutch castle studies. These are primarily people studying Dutch medieval castles and include construction historians and archaeologists, and to a very limited extent, historians. They have mostly structure related, construction historical and archaeological questions that are often related to the reconstruction of medieval castles in their material forms. Questions about the function of medieval castles are not the norm in these studies. This study thus crosses the boundaries between historical questions related to the political, military and economic functions of castles, and questions that lie in other areas such as the history of ideas and gender studies.


Loots, G.M.P.

Medicine, poetry and philosophy in a 17th century book about tears: Pierre Petit’s De lacrymis (1661)

supervisor: Prof. dr. H.F.J. Horstmanshoff

The project concerns the content and the scientific and social context of De lacrymis libri tres by the French author Pierre Petit (Petrus Petitus).   Petit was born in 1617 in Paris and died in the same city in 1687. Petit was a doctor of medicine, but he did not practise  as a physician. Instead he was active as a Neo-Latin  poet and as the author of an impressive number of books on philosophical, philological and, to a much lesser extent, medical subjects. De lacrymis is especially interesting because it combines several topics of interest. For one thing, it gives information about the reception of ancient philosophy and ancient medicine by Petit and by  a number of 16th and 17th century authors he regards as examples. In his time Petit was renowned for his staunch defence of Aristotle and his opposition to the ideas of Descartes . Secondly, Petit cites widely from ancient literature, especially from poetic works, to support his claims. His use (and occasional misuse) of ancient literary texts is another interesting field of study. Thirdly, Petit’s place in the History of emotion is worthy of interest. His work does not reflect the neo-stoicism popular at the time. His views about the moral and health value of emotions form another worthwhile subject. A final question to consider is Petit’s scientific social context. For the major part of his life he was dependent on the support of patrons who themselves were influential figures in French literary circles and important members of literary saloons. Interesting questions present themselves about the influence of his patrons on Petit’s literary output and the importance of his own national and international contacts.
Pierre Petit, De lacrymis libri tres (Parijs: Claudius Cramoisy, 1661). This book is present in the Leiden University Library. It is also accessible via the internet via Digital Special Collections.


Mais, C.

Political Publishing Houses in Greece: The case of Istorikes Ekdoseis

supervisor: Prof. dr. A.H. van der Weel 

My aim is to investigate the development of political publishing in Greece as a distinctive publishing field (according to Bourdieuʼs notion of the field and especially as it was elaborated by J. B. Thompson) during the 60s and the 70s.

I am especially interested in those publishing houses that can be described as leftists, radical, revolutionary, anarchist, subversive, clandestine, underground etc. The reason for this is that I find their whole publishing schemes intriguing since, in general, they do not follow the norms of the average trade publishing house. I am also interested in similar publishing activity in other countries, especially, during the same period. Although the socio-economical and political conditions varied from country to country and thus the respective publishing activity, I find comparative research to provide insights that are almost impossible to obtain otherwise.

I have also been using oral history since the amateurish and spontaneous nature of such attempts often left no material traces behind, apart from some copies of the published material and even that is not always the case. So by oral history I am trying not only to cover the gaps left by the lack of archival resources but also in order to get a better understanding of the mechanisms of these attempts, the motives of the individuals and the collectives behind them and last but certainly not least, the viewpoint of the readers.  

Blog about my PhD:

Mark, T.J. van der

Godefroy of Hierusalem verlost: Joost van den Vondel’s translation of Torquato Tasso’s Gerusalemme Liberata

supervisor: Prof. dr. W. van Anrooij/co-supervisor: Dr. K.J.S. Bostoen

In the spring of 1910, the Flemish scholar Willem de Vreese discovered a comprehensive “Vondelhandschrift” (Joost van den Vondel manuscript) in the Imperial Public Library of St. Petersburg. It appeared to be a complete prose translation of one of the most important poems of Italian literature, that is Torquato Tasso’s heroic poem Gerusalemme Liberata. The “Vondelhandschrift” was burned during the Warsaw uprising in 1944 and was never published in full. Fortunately photos, made entirely coincidentally, still exist of the large manuscript (120 pages). These photos were the source of a complete transcript of the manuscript.
In the dissertation, the exciting fate of the Vondel autograph is reconstructed as far as possible. It seeks to answer questions such as how is it possible that nobody knew of the existence of this large body of work? How did it get to St. Petersburg and later to Warsaw? As the “Vondelhandschrift” is a handwritten compendium full of strikethroughs, corrections and notes in the margins, we feel as if we are looking over Vondel’s shoulder, watching the translation process. Vondel’s method of translation, his knowledge of Italian and the quality of the translation are open for discussion. Finally, the dissertation looks at a 17th century duplicate of Vondel’s translation kept in Oxford that contains corrections and improvements.


Molt, E.A.

English in the Dutch engineering and maritime world: A matter of soundly based education or practice makes perfect?

supervisor: Prof. dr. A.H. van der Weel

Nowadays, in the 21st century, English is everywhere and commonly used in the Netherlands as the foreign language. Already taught in Dutch schools and at universities, its strong position is even more strenghtened by the increasing internationalisation of the Dutch education system, also due to developments in the European Union. This ranges from first, basic lessons of English at primary school to bilingual programmes at some secondary schools to complete courses given in English at universities. However, this has not always been the case. The English language only started to spread more extensively in the Netherlands as from the second half of the nineteenth century. 

In view of my experiences as a lecturer of (technical and professional) English, I am particularly interested in the fact that the increase of English usage started first of all in the Dutch technical and maritime world and industry. By and by English entered Dutch education, industry, trade and shipping and it became its lingua franca. An important role in this was played by the introduction of the steam engine, and subsequently steam ships, not to mention the dominance of the British Empire in the 1800s. How did the Dutch engineer or sailor/seaman learn (his first) English in the 19th century and the first half of the 20th century? Did he learn it at his technical or nautical school (vocational education), if any, or did he learn it on the spot in his workshop or on board? Or both ways? Moreover, this is also an important issue and an interesting fact in view of the ongoing discussion in the Netherlands about the progress and pace of the Industrial Revolution in our country. With this PhD thesis I will add an extra element to this discussion: I will show that the importance of English as a foreign language is already acknowledged in specific contexts in the Netherlands quite early in the 19th century.

So my PhD research focuses on the role of the English language in the industrial history i.e. the pace of industrialisation in the Netherlands in the 19th and early 20th century, both in the industry as well as in schools for professional education. Furthermore, I am also interested in finding text books and dictionaries on technical and maritime English that were used at schools for professional education.


Moriconi, G.

An Italian mass book market: the reasons of an incomplete revolution and its role in the country's democratization process

supervisor: Prof. dr. A.H. van der Weel

The aim of my research is to investigate a crucial occurrence in the history of Italian publishing: the opening up of the print market to the masses. In Europe, the evolution of the mass market in the nineteenth and twentieth century was crucial for the process of democratization of culture, emancipation of classes and groups so far excluded from culture and education, and their participation in the construction of an Italian society.
Data suggest that Italy did not develop a mass book market comparable to other European countries between the nineteenth and twentieth century. This phenomenon has been noted, but never directly addressed and analysed. Indeed this lack has never been linked, as a piece of a bigger puzzle, to the broader issue of the role of print in the process of democratization and social integration in the Italian society. Analysing the reasons of an actual absence of a mass book market and identifying its socio-cultural role will be the main focus of my work.
The starting hypothesis to analyse is that failure to develop an early mass market of popular publications in the nineteenth century caused Italy to miss a short ‘window of opportunity’for the development of a mass readership and a mass market of books, before the advent of the competing new media in the twentieth century. The investigation will then focus on how this missed-out opportunity had long-term consequences on the following century for the publishing industry and, in a broader perspective, for Italian society and its democratization process.
In order to bring the Italian case into sharper relief, a comparison with other European countries will be made. Especially the UK, whose popular production and mass book market in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries have been better studied and documented than most, will provide the first basis for comparison. 


Nederveen, T.

Jacob Israel de Haan and his "Parresiastic Significa": a better language, a better understanding?A discourse theoretical analysis of the oeuvre of J.I. De Haan (1881-1924), from the perspective of his scientific work (his dissertation) Rechtskundige Significa (Legal Semiotics) (1916) in relation to his homosexual novel Pathologieën (Pathologies) (1908)

supervisor: Prof. dr. F.W.A. Korsten

The thread running through De Haan's work is his fascination for truth: "telling the truth, and nothing but the truth, so help me God" (In Russian Prisons) (1913), and his fascination for language. As a true parresiastes, he seeks for the truth, no matter what the consequences will be. His seeking for truth in language, for the purity of language as such, however, is problematized by the complexity of his personhood: as a jurist, he fights for the purging of (legal) language, and the exclusion of arbitrariness; as a writer and poet, he embraced ambiguity. By means of a discourse theoretical analysis of his work I like to investigate and compare the different discourses involved; as there are: the literary discourse, the juridical discourse, the political discourse and finally his personal discourse. In order words: what kinds of discourses could be traced in his work and how do they relate or clash with one another? From what perspective De Haan is using the topic of truth in those discourses? And how is he using language in order to express truth?


Ommen, K. van

New Arks for Learning. The Oriental Legacy of Scaliger in Leiden and beyond

supervisor: Prof. dr. H. Beukers, co-supervisor: dr. A.J.M. Vrolijk

The bequest of oriental books by Josephus Justus Scaliger (born at Agen, France in 1540; died in Leiden 1609), donated to Leiden University Library in 1609, has played a major part in the constitution of the collections but also in the self-representation of the University library as of its early years. Dispersed in later centuries, this original collection is both well known (by its name and a general idea of its contents) and insufficiently explored. A seed for the “Special Collections”, the bequest initiated a modern definition for a library, being the availability of knowledge, but the closed doors of the Arca, as represented on the Woudanus engraving, remain enigmatic: even if we can draw the catalogue of its contents, the question is still unanswered regarding the significance of the separation of the Legatum Scaligeri from the other stacks.
My research, with the provisional title New Arks for Learning is focused on the reconstruction of the (oriental) library of Scaliger and is aiming to describe the world of scholarly communication, networks of (book)trade and printers, the Republic of letters and the history of collections, collectors and libraries in connection with the bequest of Scaliger.
Moreover, investigating the various but continuous receptions of this legacy during the centuries would draw the history of an inspiration within the library: with catalogues, descriptions, acquisitions, scholars and librarians have continued, increased, transformed an initial collection.
Although several lists of the legacy of Scaliger do exist, none give a complete representation of the bequest of Scaliger in its transformations and permanencies. This project aims at reconstructing the history and evolution of its reception. No one has ever looked at the bequest of printed books owned by Scaliger before in this way. We know there 114 volumes listed in the 1674 catalogue and 113 in the 1716 catalogue, but how many titles are there actually and are they all from the library of Scaliger? Which criteria were used before applying the label Ex Legato Scaligeri? What were the former call numbers? How was the emplacement and what type of books are there? Who were the former owners of the books and manuscripts? And what of the other collections, particularly the of books from Vulcanius’ library, added to the University Library in the same years as Scaliger’s? Was the Legatum Warnerianum included, catalogued and treated on a similar model

Thus, the Legatum Scaligeri cannot be understood as a random addition of books but, as the faithfulness to the name of Scaliger and the allocation of call numbers demonstrates, was perceived as an organic unity. A working library, it came to the collection as such and acquired the status of a “public” or semi-public miniature library, known for its rarity, its relevance and its scientific quality.

The PhD will give insight into the cultural background of Scaliger’s legacy, other early modern collections of Oriental books, the Republic of letters, the academic arena and early modern libraries as a whole.


Poel, R.H.M. van der

Patronage, Journeys and Visual Economy of 19th Century Chinese 'Export' Paintings in Dutch Collections

supervisor: Prof. dr. C.J.M. Zijlmans

Evidence of the appeal of Chinese export paintings to foreign powers active in China in the late eighteenth to the mid-nineteenth century is to be found in museums and private collections around the world today. These works of art became emblematic of both trade and China. Also in the Netherlands of this period, amongst other collectibles, paintings from China found a ready market.

To understand the origins of the joint collections, this project outlines some thoughts on research possibilities on studying trajectories of these export paintings brought back from China by Dutch private merchant-entrepreneurs in that era. While recognizing the necessarily porous nature of the national boundaries we place around sociocultural traditions, a focus on the Netherlands is justified in this case by several (historical) considerations, including the maritime trade relations between China and the Netherlands, dating back to the seventeenth century and the hitherto dearth of interest in the Netherlands for this topic. Furthermore, the number of paintings, found in the joint collections of Chinese export paintings in Dutch museums, turned out to be far more extensive and historically valuable than anyone had expected.

While previous scholarship on Chinese export painting has emphasized stylistic aspects, cultural and aesthetic differences, dating and iconographical issues, or technical analyses regarding conservation of pigments and paper, this research draws attention to the fact that this art grew out of commerce. Merchants and seamen, more so than connoisseurs, were always on the look out for a bargain for both parties. This trade was ordered and, as such, can be seen as a form of dialogue between two aesthetic value systems. In turn, these paintings can be treated as media in a visual trade culture. Moreover, this research shows awareness of the fact that once an image lost its contextual mooring, it often functioned as an open invitation to an abstraction and misrepresentation of its situated meaning. From an interdisciplinary perspective along cross-cultural lines of production, distribution, function and reception, this research argues that these hybrid art works are active players in a network relating material goods, human practices and current ideas and concepts. By using the provenance of these Chinese export paintings in this meaningful way we can give a different perspective on this phenomenon and generate a new outlook that could not be presented previously.


Putter, J.M. de

Studies on the “Reynaert” tradition

supervisors: Prof. dr. F.P. van Oostrom (Universiteit Utrecht) and Prof. dr. W. van Anrooij 

An important part of the success of the Middle Dutch “Reynaert” can be explained by the obvious literary qualities of the work. Probably equally important is that the text mirrored humans. The animals are exactly like people, with the same desires and idiosyncrasies. An animal story says something about the world of humans. Part of the story’s success must have lain in the recognition and the applicability of one’s own situation. Interpretation of the law, notions about courtliness, about honour and shame are the fabric that binds literature and life in the “Reynaert” stories. It goes without saying that these can also be found in contemporary literature and in historical sources. These parallels with non-literary reality are continuously adapted to current times, different circumstances and a changing audience in order to keep the story current and relevant to society.
The objective of this research is to highlight and explain – using the literature of the time and historical context – the notable differences among the various versions of the story. This will create a clearer image of the relationship between literature and society.


Reyes Elizondo A.E.

The Reading Spaces model: reconstructing the reading possibilities in a society

supervisor: Prof. dr. P.G. Hoftijzer

Reading is a complex subject due to its close relationship to knowledge, information, education, and power. Studying it as a cultural practice and its effects on society has been carried out from different perspectives—from the manners and forms of reading to its reciprocal influence with religion and politics.
Studying the readers from the past is a laborious undertaking. For a long time, the study was centred around the well-to-do owing to the ample sources left by these groups. In the last fifty years, researchers have focused on the history of ordinary readers by using both primary and secondary sources. The results of both approaches are often too fragmentary to outline the place of reading in a society as a whole. Understandably, groups of which there are few-to-no direct documentary traces have been left out from the history of reading altogether. The conundrum of how many people read in a given historical period remains unanswered—at least in a quantifiable manner. 
This research project aims at reconstructing the reading possibilities, or 'reading spaces', in a society by analysing the wider context of this activity for different groups. The methodology proposed, the Reading Spaces model, goes beyond the basic divide of the literate and the illiterate by considering the influences that can affect reading. The model outlines the reading spaces of various social groups in specific historical periods and places. 
I developed this approach during my master's research on reading possibilities in seventeenth-century New Spain (Mexico). My doctoral research will expand on this methodology by applying it to four distinct places during the eighteenth century: Indonesia, Mexico, the Netherlands, and Spain. The contrast between contexts will allow me to refine the Reading Spaces model as a tool for reading research and to provide further insights of the activity in these societies.


Schaeps, J.M.P.

The frontispiece in the printed book in the Netherlands c. 1480-1580

supervisor: Prof. dr. P.G. Hoftijzer

Just a few decades after the invention of the printing press, the title page as we know it today was developed and can still be found in books. It did not take long before it was decorated with woodcuts that, if the whole page was used, grew into a frontispiece. Some frontispieces are purely decorative while others are narrative or allegorical. The questions central to this research are: which books were given a frontispiece; how did this tradition arise; what are the developments in the 16th century; what is the relationship to other art forms (print, tapestry, painting); what iconography was used; what is the function of the frontispiece; and, is there a specific Dutch form? A number of case studies should answer some of these questions about this genre such as the narrative frontispiece in the chapbooks, the iconography of frontispieces in Erasmus’ oeuvre, and the development of ornamentation in book decoration.


Sewgobind, P.

Bollywood Dynamics of the Hindustani Veil: Heritage, Affect, and Resignification    

supervisor: Prof. dr. E.J. van Alphen

This PhD-project aims to analyse the affective dynamics of Bollywood popular culture informing veiling embodied by Hindustani women in the Netherlands. Exploring the veil as an object within the field of the applied arts of material culture, the projects seeks to elucidate the specific ways the Bollywood entertainment industry  influences contemporary modes through which the veil is used especially by young Hindustani women. These modes coincide with, yet depart from traditional discursive and material manifestations of the Hindustani veil. The  project seeks to clarify how exactly the veil as a cultural object within Bollywood culture - in film, social media, and social events such as dance parties -  is being manifested, authenticated, and (re)mediated to inform novel and contemporary Hindustani dynamics of belonging and cultural heritage. Seeking to clarify these new significations of the veil, a discourse analysis will be made of media, music and dance culture, as well as interviews to be conducted with Hindustani women wearing the veil. These significations will be scrutinised by taking into account historical, transnational, and transgenerational aspects of diasporic Hindustani culture to highlight novel configurations of cultural memory and heritage.  


Somers, J.A.

Women and the Written Word: Gender and Textual Culture in the Twelfth-Century Renaissance.  

supervisor: Prof. dr. R.H. Bremmer

This study aims to identify women’s participation in the manuscript culture of the “Twelfth-Century Renaissance” (c.1075 – c.1225). Historically considered to be a period dominated by men, this study will argue that women actively participated in book culture. By paying particular attention to the books that women owned, commissioned and copied, this study will assess the female experience as reader, scribe and patron. Unique to this proposal is the examination of gender in relation to manuscript studies, specifically codicology (the study of books as physical objects) and paleography (the study and deciphering of ancient forms of writing). Can we discern the influences of a distinctly female reading culture through a close examination of their books?

The twelfth century is often referred to as a ‘renaissance’, a period of cultural and intellectual change that witnessed an increase in literacy and thus, an information revolution (Haskins 1927, Swanson 1999). This flourishing of knowledge and culture occurred over most of Western Europe. This proposal will focus on Germany, France and England in the twelfth century with the aim of mapping a network of women’s participation in textual culture. First, this study examines the types of books owned by both religious and secular women (prayer books, books of hours, poetry) and the types of books they produced (liturgical books, theological works, correspondence). Here, the study will consider questions related to women’s education and literacy, social status and reading patterns. Are there variations in book production due to differences in education or social status of men and women in the twelfth century? Second, it aims to identify specific physical characteristics that are unique to the appearance of medieval manuscripts produced by women and for women, such as reading aids, page layouts and script. How do these physical traits compare to manuscripts produced by men? Most importantly, can these features illustrate the explicit and implicit demands of women for various types and styles of books?


Stamkot, R. (Bert)

Printers to the town in the Republic

supervisor: Prof. dr. P.G. Hoftijzer

In the early days of the Republic, apart from the appointed printers who worked for the States General or the regional states, there were several printers who bore the designation ‘stadsdrukker’, or printer to the town. On the one hand, this was the result of the fact that the government’s need to produce printed information was increasing, even at local level. On the other hand, it was in the printers’ own interest to continue their precarious existence by obtaining regular work. In the 18th century in particular, this type of work led printers across the country and the printers to the town to formalise these relationships in official titles and agreements.
The research will focus on the printers to the town, their rise and formalisation of their profession, and the similarities and differences between cities. It will also examine if and if so the degree to which the title ‘stadsdrukker’ evoked a particular status. The term was, after all, also applied to several title pages that they printed. During this period of mercantilism there were peers who were dissatisfied with the preferential treatment accorded to printers to the town. Their time came in the 19th and even in the 20th centuries with the arrival of the open market economy and free competition. Nevertheless, the printers to the town sector survived for a long time. This aspect of the continuation of tradition will be subject to examination too.


Sun, Y.

Dutch literature in Chinese translation

supervisor: Prof. dr. O.J. Praamstra

This is a detailed study of Dutch language literature in Chinese translation. Up to 2010 there were 102 Dutch language literary works translated into Chinese. This study will give a complete overview and not a random selection of Dutch language literature in Chinese translation.
Central to my research are the questions: which Dutch language books have been translated into Chinese; why were these works selected; and, what happened in China after the translation? Related to these questions, I will also look at the following sub-questions.

(1) When and why did the interest in translating Dutch language books in China start? What were the reasons that it started and what was the situation before and after that period?

(2) Why were those particular books selected? Are there any criteria for their selection? Who was involved in the selection of the books for translation? Who are the authors of the selected books? Why were these authors chosen? Who are the translators? Why did they translate these books? What are their translations like? What position do these books have in the Chinese literary scene? What have Chinese publishers and book sellers done to draw attention to these translated books and to sell them? Who contributed to the promotion of the translated books? What role do the Dutch Studies departments play at Chinese universities? What is the effect of their activities? How many book reviews have appeared on the translations of Dutch literature in China, and how are the translated books judged?

(3) What are the consequences of the fact that many Dutch language literary works are translated from Dutch into Chinese through a third language?
The research is done using a theoretical framework that is based on Pierre Bourdieu’s field theory and  Itamar Even-Zohar’s Polysystem (PST). Bourdieu’s theory is the foundation for the institutional analysis of the cultural and literary fields. My research will also look at the production and consumption of literature, and at the institutes and actors involved in the literary field such as writers, publishers, book sellers, critics and readers.

Even-Zohar’s PST will be used to examine how and when translations from a ‘minor’ language such as Dutch are successful in China. According to Even-Zohar, the success of a translation is dependent on the place that it takes in the PST. Even-Zohar describes the Polysystem as a collection of various systems that partly overlap and cross, and that can be divided into dominant and dominated systems. Dutch literature falls under the dominated system which means that there is a good chance that the translation lands on the periphery. But if the translation introduces new ideas of forms, it can escape marginalisation.


Teunissen-Nijsse, P.M.

Clare Lennart

Clare Lennart

Clare Lennart
“The imagination too flimsy, reality too rigid.” The life and work of Clare Lennart

supervisor: Prof. dr. J.L. Goedegebuure

The work of Clare Lennart, the pseudonym of C.H. van den Boogaard-Klaver (1899-1972), contains several biographical, traceable, even emphatically recognisable, autobiographical elements. Clare’s youth in particular has left its marks on her work. A detailed description of her life will form the basis of my biography of this ‘forgotten’ author. To date, there are only a few articles dedicated to the entire oeuvre of Clare Lennart in Dutch Studies. This is the reason that I will also analyse her novels and collections of short stories for themes, structure and style as sources and possible influences.
Clare Lennart was a multi-facetted author. She wrote novels, short stories, children’s books, columns, informative rapportages and non-fiction on commission. She translated literature, such as by Colette and Truman Capote, but also light reading such as detective novels. She had several roles in the post-war literary field. She worked as a critic, writer for the boekenweekgeschenk (book week gift) and jury member of literary awards. She was befriended by several authors. I will sketch her place in literary the Netherlands in the biography. I will detail the reception of Clare Lennart’s work, both contemporary reception and the current appreciation of her work. She, after all, did not make it to the Dutch canon.
Correspondence with her publishers reveals that Clare Lennart was very business-like. She displayed a deep interest in the profession of books. One of the questions that I hope to answer is: “How did a woman of the pen survive in the pre-war crisis and in the time after the war?” In order to answer this question, I will compare her to other female authors from the period such as Clara Eggink and Harriët Freezer. I will also place Clare Lennart in the context of the sociological type of ‘women authors’ who published for a living.
For her young readers of her children’s books, poetry and contributions to various school books, Clare Lennart had her own identity. And finally, for the protection of Utrecht city centre, Clare Lennart as an ‘activist of the pen’ had a special role. This aspect of her life and work will also be given a place in the biography.


Tilburg, C.R. van

Streets and streams: Aspects of city health and infrastructure in the Graeco-Roman world

supervisor: Prof. dr. H.J.F. Horstmanshoff

Like in our modern times, cities in the Graeco-Roman world needed to function well. Infrastructure was crucial: roads, bridges, aqueducts, streets, city gates and sewers. The government needed to supervise both the quality and the quantity of the traffic flow. 
But it wasn’t just traffic that needed to be steered in the right direction; inhabitants needed food and drinking water and produced waste. In a ‘healthy’ city traffic, food supply and the removal of waste, urine, bodies and excrement experienced little hindrance. However, when a city was not ‘healthy’ its inhabitants suffered inconveniences and decreased quality of life, just like today.
Ancient medical authors had little or no interest in the infrastructure of a city. Civil engineers, non-medical engineers and architects admittedly had some knowledge of medicine, but it was limited to general and mainly metaphysical aspects, while the engineers were primarily concerned with the practical situation. To what extent could the views of the medical and non-medical authors be put to practical use? And what role did the government play in the optimization of both the medical and non-medical infrastructure?


Vailati, T.E.

The invisible and the political in the Brazilian literary historiography of the nineteenth century

supervisor: Prof. dr. L.M.L. Rodríguez

Through a nationalistic programme, the Brazilian literary historians of the nineteenth century established what became the official Brazilian literature, a list of works and authors that persisted as the official canon throughout the decades.
As printing started only in 1808 in Brazil, the literature produced in the country until then was thus printed in Europe or it was still in the form of manuscripts, many of them anonymous, unfinished and/or of dubious origin and authorship. Consequently, the first attempts to lay out and structure a history for Brazilian literature in the nineteenth century were performed through the gathering of these manuscripts, spread all over Brazilian and European archives. Politically speaking, these first historiographical works created not only Brazilian literature as an institution but established through its selections what should and what shouldn’t be visible, thus reorganizing the whole field of literature as an experience, determining what should be said, read and sensed.
Considering the authors and works which were absent from historiography of the period, this research aims to investigate how this absence was impacted by politics and how it modifies the literary horizon of the period.


Veer, C.B. van 't

The colony afloat

supervisor: Prof. dr. O.J. Praamstra

My research covers a description and an analysis of representations in contemporary fiction of the journey by mailboat between 1870 and 1940 between the Netherlands and the Dutch East Indies. Using post-colonial theories about literature, I have developed an analytical method for the fiction about this journey that provides a sound new, empirical foundation for research into colonial fiction in all languages. The post-colonial theories of Edward Said, Elleke Boehmer, Mary Louise Pratt and others clearly show that travel stories played a vital role in the Western construction of the colonial world. Travel stories brought about and confirmed colonial relationships. According to post-colonial theorists, novels and short stories play a defining role in this.

By posing a series of identical questions to 40 primary sources on representations that characterise colonial society, I expose the colonial discourse that lurks in the text. These set questions are about representations of the colonial system; the image of the Dutch East Indies and the Netherlands; the relationships between different social layers, between men and women, family and children, religion, nature and politics. The representations that have to do with the genre characteristics of fiction on the crossing by mailboat will also be examined. These are connected to the journey itself, such as the progress of the journey, the circumstances at sea, and the impressions of the places that the mailboat docked in. Research into the representations in primary texts about the journey by mailboat throws light on the colonial discourse that to date had gone unnoticed. In the period from 1870 to 1940, the journey by mailboat was the most important means of transport between motherland and colony. It was the umbilical cord connecting the Netherlands and the Dutch East Indies.

Contemporary fiction about the boat journey paints a striking picture. The mailboats that plied between the Netherlands and the Dutch East Indies between 1870 and 1940 became a micro-colony, a miniature version of colonial society. Almost all segments of colonial society were represented on board. This heterogeneous group found themselves forcibly confined to a limited space for three to four weeks in various weather conditions. This led to extreme emotions and confrontations. The stops in harbours along the way only offered brief respite.
The Suez Canal was the division: to the west, European relationships reigned; to the east, colonial relationships. Eighteen seventy is chosen as the starting year for my research because of the opening of the Suez Canal in 1869 which reduced the travel time between West Europe and East Asia from a few months to a few weeks. Similarly, 1870 saw the repeal of the Cultivation System and the introduction of the Agrarian Act and the Sugar Act. Private companies were then able to establish themselves in the Dutch East Indies more easily. The resulting stream of individuals making the trip changed the character of the journey.
In 1940, the Netherlands entered WWII. When the war ended, the relationship between the motherland and the colony had changed drastically. From 1945 to 1949, a colonial war resulted in an independent Indonesia. The mailboat transport after the war was largely determined by these events and was therefore clearly different to the pre-1940 journeys. By studying the travel documents in the manner described, fiction will act as a source of knowledge to inform socio-historical understanding. The primary source material comprises about 40 fictional texts (or substantial sections thereof) on the journey between the Netherlands and the Dutch East Indies, and offer a good foundation for the research, both quantitatively and qualitatively. The widest spread in terms of time was chosen for the primary sources. Fiction here is understood to be invented stories with a plot. The fiction about the crossing is realistic. The works for each period will be discussed individually on the above points.
This research is current because several aspects of colonial discourse play a role in a different way on contemporary post-colonial and multicultural society.

Veiga, L.

Recalling Tradition in Southeast Asia: the contemporary artist as maker

supervisor: Prof. dr. C.J.M. Zijlmans

Recalling Tradition aims to procure and identify contemporary artists (and their practices) that bring to the fore procedures identified with notions of heritage and tradition. This thesis will focus on contemporary art works that employ traditional elements in contemporary practices, and in so doing, question the status of inherited classifications especailly in regards to the realm of the canon, art historical discourse and museum practices.

Throughout the 20th century, Western convention has effectively influenced artistic practice in the non-Western world especially in the post-colonial period that parallels globalisation. It was also a valuable period within which artists started employing with surprising ease notions of tradition and craft borne from their local culture. Many practitioners started to question the inherent value(s) of their cultures and its apprehension of post-modern relativism. In times of mobility and change, people return to heritage, reacting against modern universalism and modernism. Contact with other diasporas and the ease of global networking has facilitated a deeper understanding on traditional and (post)modern reception, which is intertwined, complex and many-sided.

In Southeast Asia, art has always been a place to observe the contemporary – while traditional practices speak of continuity within the everyday. By aligning these multiple streams, artists reveal how the ‘new’ exists within the ‘old’, and how contemporary art is linked to the past. The employment of all these elements results in a new model of artistic practice based in ‘different temporalities’. This model appears as difficult to include in Western art institutions, as it contradicts institutionalised sensibilities that perpetuate classifications inherited from the 18th and 19th century cultural explorations.

In this proposal, I argue that a deeper understanding of Asian contexts should be achieved and this deficit/shortage overpassed by working outside of this old-fashioned museology and academism. This study aims to provide a more interconnected model of museum discourse and curatorial practice. The polarisation and division between ‘traditional’ and ‘modern’ is an artifice in the realm of South East Asia (but not exclusively): regardless of imposed art critique, theory or school of thought, artists in these countries continually embrace new methods in their practice, liberating themselves from time-linear discourses, in a syncretic manner.


Vieveen, N.T.J.

Hamlet and the Dutch Hamlet constellations

supervisor: Prof. dr. F.W.A. Korsten

T.S. Eliot called “Hamlet” an ‘artistic failure’, a messily constructed drama with an incomprehensible main character. But it is precisely the unpredictability of the sequence of events and the way that the main character thinks and acts that fascinate both Freud and Lacan to the extent that use they “Hamlet” in their theoretical reflections and try to make the apparent opaqueness of the actions transparent. If examined more closely, the terms ‘opaqueness’ and ‘unpredictability’ are only superficial expressions of the ingenious multi-dimensional constellation that underlies the play. This ingenious multi-dimensional constellation ensures that Shakespeare’s “Hamlet” should not only be seen as an important tragedy, but also as a model that can give clear understanding to the process of defining and describing the phenomena of ‘subject’ and ‘subjectivity’ and that plays with the core structures and processes of the symbolic construction of West European culture. The key role in the “Hamlet” constellation is that of the absent father in this network.

In the second part of the research, I will concentrate on the applicability of the “Hamlet” constellation and look at the histories of three tragic heroes from works by Jacob Katadreuffe, Frits van Egters and Henri Osewoudt in the 20th century canon of Dutch literature. The development of the identities of the main characters and the role of the absent fathers in Bordewijk’s “Karakter”, Reve’s “De avonden” and Herman’s “De donkere kamer van Damokles” are important themes.
In the last chapter I return to “Hamlet”. In “Hamlet versus Hamlet”, the “Hamlet” adaptation produced by Tom Lanoye in 2014, Hamlet faces Hamlet. In “Hamlet versus Hamlet” there are two dead fathers, one of whom intervenes through symbolism – the ghost of Hamlet Senior – and the other through imagination – the ghost of Yorick. This duplication gives shape to the discourse, the process of becoming a subject and signification in an entirely different way.


Westerman, J.

The Onze-Lieve-Vrouw Cathedral of Tournai: a history and symbolism of the building

supervisor: Prof. dr. A.J.J. Mekking

The Cathedral of Tournai is without doubt one of the most prestigious medieval monuments of the former Netherlands. In its current form, the cathedral consists of three parts, each of which is the result of a different building concept. The nave that was built in the first quarter of the 12th century consists of a flat basilica with aisles, a gallery, recesses and clerestory. The transept that was built in the second quarter of the 12th century followed this four part vertical structure. The strong protruding transept was dominated by a group of five towers and has apsidiole closed arms. The towers, the apses of the transept and the four part vertical structure can be found in other important churches in northern France. Finally, the choir was created in the 13th century and is reminiscent in its shape and style to the large cathedral choirs that were built in northern France at the time.
Tournai’s location, on the river separating kingdom and empire, is interesting politically and geographically. The lord of the part on the left bank of Tournai, is the Bishop of Noyon and Tournai, lord of the French king. The part of the city on the right bank, Sint-Brixius, lies in the Bishopric of Kamerijk. But even more powerful than the bishop, who largely stays in Noyon, is the cathedral chapter that consists mostly of local patricians and nobility. The part of the city on the left bank of Tournai, is surrounded by the Tournai glory governed by a viscount who is a vassal of the Flemish count.
During the time that the cathedral was being built, the city and the Diocese of Tournai found themselves in singular historic developments. Up to 1146, the Diocese of Tournai was in a personal union with the French royal diocese of Noyon. In that year, the clergy of the Diocese of Tournai finally managed to convince the Pope to give Tournai its own bishop. Furthermore, in 1188 Tournai became a ‘koninklijke vrijstad’ – royal free city – comparable to the ‘Freie Reichsstadt’ (free imperial city). The communal authorities then falls directly under the French king.
This research encompasses a reconstruction of the building history of the Cathedral and the place of the building in the architecture of the time. It will look at the historical context in which the different architectural ideas visible in the building are received. Thereafter follows an interpretation of the symbolic use of architectural elements of the Cathedral of Tournai based on a formal and in-depth analysis.


Widyalankara, Y.A.

The Dutch Colonial Culture within the Fortified Town as reflected by the Built Environment, Architectonical Structures and Forms and Town Management in Sri Lanka -1640-1796

supervisor: Prof. dr. C.A. van Eck, co-supervisor: Dr. J.G. Roding

The Dutch colonial period from 1640 to 1796 which marked a significant phase in the history of the Island due to their material contribution to the Sri Lankan society, especially their architectural traditions however will be taken into account for this examination. The Walled City will be the focal point of the study and in this context the study mainly focuses three things in relation to the walled city: the built forms (domestic architecture), the built environment (entire inhabitable space) and the city management. It is expected to examine these factors either separately or by joining wherever necessary, in order to understand the Dutch colonial culture spread along the littoral Sri Lanka.

Thematically this research believes that as a manifestation of culture, the built environment and spatial form were seen as integrated into the complex of traits that allowed a group to adapt and maintain itself successfully within their natural environment. In addition to provide shelter against the elements, the particular built environment and built forms themselves were seen to mirror the cultures that produced them or vice versa.

The main objective of the present research is to deepen and widen existing knowledge concerning the socio-cultural aspects of the Dutch in the Island from 1640-1796 by using non-conventional historical approach and evidence such as dwellings, built environment and town management and at the end it is expected to illustrate the ways how they all facilitated to represent the social and cultural practices of the Dutch settlers of the colony. In other words, it tries to explain the establishment of an occidental culture on an oriental soil with less expostulation and in turn the ways of ‘meeting civilizations’ instead of clashing civilizations.


Zwaard, A.M.

Healthcare in Asia in the time of the VOC

supervisor: Prof. dr. H. Beukers

Healthcare under the rule of the VOC (Dutch East Indies Company) related to healthcare on the ships and in the various settlements in Asia, of which Batavia and the region of Ceylon were the most important. In the almost two centuries during which the VOC existed, 1602 to 1795, several major maritime journeys were made on which an estimated 10,000 surgeons were appointed to the vessels.
In contrast to this, little is known about the healthcare in Asia, how it was organised and how many surgeons worked in the various settlements. The assumption is that the provision of medicines to Asia was a major logistical challenge because they had to send them from the Netherlands. While botany in Asia was growing strongly during this period, it is assumed that it could not meet the increasing demand for good quality medicines. This study will attempt to answer these and other questions. A large part of the research will examine original VOC archived documents such as those located in the National Archive in The Hague.


Last Modified: 03-11-2015