Category Archives: Other events

The Matter of Touching: Interpreting Signs of Wear in Late Medieval Manuscripts

Professor Kathryn Rudy (St. Andrews)

Monday 18th June, 16:00-18:00, A2 Academy Building  

Kathryn Rudy’s research concentrates on the reception and original function of manuscripts, especially those manufactured in the Low Countries, and she has pioneered the use of the densitometer to measure the grime that original readers deposited in their books. She is currently developing ways to track and measure user response of late medieval manuscripts.

Professor Rudy is the author of five books, including Rubrics, Images and Indulgences in Late Medieval Netherlandish Manuscripts (Leiden: Brill, 2017); Piety in Pieces: How medieval readers customized their manuscripts (Open Book Publishers, 2016); and Postcards on Parchment: The Social Lives of Medieval Books (Yale University Press, 2015).  She currently (2017-18) holds a Paul Mellon Senior Fellowship to write a book about physical interactions with the manuscript in late Medieval England. In 2018-19 she will be a fellow at the Netherlands Institute for Advanced Study in Amsterdam to complete a book about manuscript production in Delft. From 2019-22 she will hold a Leverhulme Major Research Grant for a study titled ‘Measuring medieval users’ responses to manuscripts: New technological approaches’.


Comments Off on The Matter of Touching: Interpreting Signs of Wear in Late Medieval Manuscripts

Filed under Other events

The Dedicated Spiritual Life of Upper Rhine Noble Women by Anneke B. Mulder-Bakker

28 May, 16:00-18:00, Arts Faculty, Room 0316

Deze is gewijd aan haar recent verschenen boek: The Dedicated Spiritual Life of Upper Rhine Noble Women. A Study and Translation of a Fourteenth-Century Spiritual Biography of Gertrude Rickeldey of Ortenberg and Heilke of Staufenberg (Turnhout: Brepols, 2017).

Mulder-Bakker doceerde Middeleeuwse Geschiedenis en Mediëvistiek aan de Rijksuniversiteit Groningen. Zij stelt nieuwe vragen en demonstreert eigen benaderingen in het onderzoek naar religieuze ontwikkelingen in de late middeleeuwen.

The seminar will be in Dutch.

Comments Off on The Dedicated Spiritual Life of Upper Rhine Noble Women by Anneke B. Mulder-Bakker

Filed under Agricola Lectures, Other events

Lectures: Medieval Missals | Theology & Art

Research Colloquium: 7 February 2017, Oude Boteringestraat 34, room 002, from 5 to 7 p.m.


Politics and Mass Media: Medieval Missals in the Beneventan Zone

Andrew J.M. Irving

“To restore an edifice,” wrote Viollet-le-Duc “is not to maintain it, nor to repair it, nor remake it, but to re-establish it in a complete state in which it may never have existed at any given moment.” This paper re-examines the evidence of design features of mass books produced at the Abbey of Montecassino in the early Middle Ages. A deliberate, “restorationist” initiative in mass book production on the part of the abbot is identified and set in relief against the broader context of the production of missals at the Abbey and elsewhere in Southern Italy, and its causes and implications are explored.

Andrew Irving (PhD, Medieval Institute, University of Notre Dame, 2012) is Assistant Professor of Religion and Cultural Heritage at the University of Groningen. After completing his dissertation on gospel book manuscripts of Montecassino, he has contributed articles on manuscript studies, medical, and liturgical history to Scriptorium, Archiv für Liturgiewissenschaft, Bibliografia dei Manoscritti in Scrittura Beneventana, and Worship, and he has recently submitted chapters describing urban processions in early twelfth-century Benevento, and on fourteenth- and fifteenth-century priests’ manuals. In 2012-2013 he was post-doctoral research associate at Yale’s Institute of Sacred Music, and in 2015-2016 was a post-doctoral research assistant for a Notre Dame project on the Distichs of Cato, based at the Cologne Centre for eHumanities.


Material Religion and ‘Monumental Theology’ – Since When do Theologians Care for Art?

Stefanie Lenk

Religious Studies and Theology, then as now, struggle to make art and material culture a focus of their disciplines, despite religious institutions using and producing images, objects and buildings throughout the centuries. Luther’s dictum of the true experience of God being non-visual and best mediated by words was perpetuated by Protestant aesthetics like those of Kant and Hegel, and seems to influence academic thinking still. Publisher of the series ‘Iconography of Religions’ and the yearbook ‘Visible Religion’, the Faculty of Theology and Religious Studies of Groningen has taken since the 1970’s another trajectory, trying to reconcile religion and the visual. This talk traces the occupation of theologians with art back to 19th century Germany. It shows that theologians took material religion seriously enough to set up a now forgotten research discipline called ‘Monumental Theology’. It further argues that it was, perhaps surprisingly, the Protestant theologian Schleiermacher whose concept of ‘Anschauung’ (‘contemplation through looking’) set this process in motion.

Stefanie Lenk is a curator at the British Museum, London, working with the Empires of Faith research project (University of Oxford) on late antique religious art from a cross-cultural perspective. In her PhD she asks why pre-Christian imagery was used to decorate baptisteries of the 5th and 6th century Western Mediterranean. Stefanie is currently curating the Empires of Faith exhibition (Ashmolean Museum, Oxford, 19 October 2017-19 February 2018). The exhibition looks at the creation of religious imagery from India to Ireland in the first millennium AD which has formed our understanding of Hinduism, Buddhism, Islam, Christianity and Judaism. With four EoF colleagues, she co-authored the volume Images of Mithra that examines the formation of the iconography of the deity Mithra across different religious traditions (OUP, 2017).

Comments Off on Lectures: Medieval Missals | Theology & Art

Filed under Other events

Johann Christoph Sturm (1635-1703) and the secularization of early modern science

Lecture hosted by the Centrum voor Universiteits- en Wetenschapsgeschiedenis

Speaker: Dr. Andrea Sangiacomo (NWO/Faculteit Wijsbegeerte.

Time: 25 October at 17.30. Venue: Collegezaal in the University Library.

Eighteenth-century science is seemingly characterized by a progressive ‘secularization’, in sofar as theological and metaphysical concerns tend to drop out of the scientific agenda. This process is difficult to understand if compared with seventeenth-century science, in which God and divine action in nature played a crucial role. In this paper, Andrea Sangiacomo will focus on the German philosopher Johann Christoph Sturm’s account of passive forms as a case study to better understand the conceptual changes that affected the secularization of early modern science. He will argue that Sturm’s account leads to dissociate the explanans of natural phenomena from considerations about the causal power(s) needed to bring about these phenomena. While Sturm maintains that God is the only true cause bringing about natural effects, he also claims that the specificity of natural effects must be empirically investigated by inquiring into natural forms. Forms no longer have any ‘active’ role in the causal process but still account for its specific features. The speaker will argue that this account of passive forms reveals how theological and metaphysical considerations about God’s involvement in nature can be progressively bracketed, by leading to an apparently theology-free science.


Comments Off on Johann Christoph Sturm (1635-1703) and the secularization of early modern science

Filed under Other events

RUG Conference: The Politics of Paper in the Early Modern World

Groningen, 9-10 June 2016

This two-day conference seeks to bring together scholars and paper experts working across a range of disciplines and geographic areas who are interested in the ways in which paper supported, shaped, or otherwise influenced practices of politics and political communications in the period ca.1350-ca.1800. It aims to sketch a more integral picture of the ways in which paper permitted early modern politics and political communications to unfold.

Keynote speakers include: Prof. Lothar Muller, Prof. Andrew Pettegree, Prof. Jonathan Bloom, and Prof. Jacob Soll.


Comments Off on RUG Conference: The Politics of Paper in the Early Modern World

Filed under Other events

Marking Books, Mutilating Books

Centre for Historical Studies Lecture

February 8th, 16:00 in Academy Building A3

Speaker: Gabriele Müller-Oberhäuser is professor of book studies at the University of Münster. She recently published Book Gifts and Cultural Networks from the Fourteenth to the Sixteenth Century (2015) with co-editor Kerstin Meyer-Bialk.
Marking Books

Leave a comment

Filed under Other events, Uncategorized

Call for Papers: “The Politics of Paper in the Early Modern World”

Groningen, The Netherlands, 9-10 June 2016

Paper is today so ubiquitous that we often overlook it. Yet paper was once a brand-new communications technology and political tool that fundamentally influenced early modern political life in myriad ways. Paper arrived in Europe via China and the Muslim Mediterranean by the twelfth century. By the late fifteenth and early sixteenth centuries, as papermaking spread across Europe, the revolutionary effects of paper on European politics and political communications were becoming strikingly visible.

This two-day conference seeks to bring together scholars and paper experts working across a range of disciplines and geographic areas who are interested in the ways in which paper supported, shaped, or otherwise influenced practices of politics and political communications in the period ca.1350-ca.1800. It aims to sketch a more integral picture of paper as a material artifact and political communications technology around which coherent historical practices developed. To do so, it traces the ‘life-cycle’ of early modern ‘political’ paper across four

I. Paper as politically-desired manufacture, trade commodity and circulating material artifact. Early modern political actors were voracious consumers of paper. While a rich technical literature exists on paper’s manufacture, the early modern rag- and paper trades remain largely unexamined, despite their economic and political importance. What material possibilities, constraints, and constellations emerge in early modern political practices when we focus on paper as commodity and circulating material artifact?

II. Paper in the emergence of epistolary cultures, postal services, and the news. With the spread of affordable paper across Europe by about 1460, new opportunities and methods opened for acquiring, accessing, and transmitting political information. How did paper affect emerging early modern cultures and practices of political letter-writing? What role did paper play in the early modern development of postal services and postal infrastructures? How did paper influence forms, functions, and practices of transmitting the news, or of news-cultures?

III. Paper as a tool of governance, diplomacy, and political information management. The often daily paper-borne correspondence between European rulers and their officials inundated chancelleries and swamped rulers, most famously in the case of ‘el rey papelero’ Philip II of Spain. How did the coming of paper (re-)shape practices of political representation, diplomacy, politics and governance? In what ways did paper alter routines of political decision making, record-keeping and information management?

IV. Paper as impulse for new forms of archiving and new archival practices. The early modern era saw heavy investment in archives and archival spaces across Europe, as well as wide-ranging innovation in archiving practices — in part to manage the burgeoning spate of paper. How did the rise of paper as medium for political record-keeping and governance affect early modern archives and archival practices? What practices and discourses developed around the archiving of political paper(s), and with what consequences for their use?

Each theme will be explored through a set of parallel panels and a plenary lecture. Confirmed keynote speakers include:
– Lothar Müller (Humboldt-Universität/Süddeutsche Zeitung);
– Jonathan Bloom (Boston College/Virginia Commonwealth University);
– Andrew Pettegree (University of St Andrews); and
– Jacob Soll (University of Southern California).
The language of the conference is English. A peer-reviewed publication is planned.

Submissions Guidelines
We welcome proposals for 20-minute, English-language papers related to one or more of the conference’s four themes. Submissions with a comparative or theoretical-historical bent are also welcomed, as are submissions from scholars working on paper in political life outside of Europe. Such topics might include paper in societies where it was present in political life for far longer (e.g., China and South Asia; the (Islamic) Middle East) or the role of paper in colonial politics and societies. Proposals should include a preliminary title for your paper; an abstract of 250-300 words; a CV of no more than 1 page; contact information, including any institutional affiliation. Submit your proposals to by Friday, 29 January 2016. Successful applicants will be notified by email in mid-February.

Participants are expected to organize and cover the costs for their own travel and accommodations, and are advised of a registration fee of €120 (€75 for students). The fee covers lunches and coffees during the conference, as well as the conference dinner on 10 June and an excursion to a paper mill (est. 1692) on 11 June. The conference organizers have applied for additional funding with which they hope to be able to reduce the fees. For questions please contact the conference organizers at, or visit the conference website, or the conference Facebook page,

Conference Organizers
This conference is organized by Dr. Megan K. Williams (University of Groningen) in conjunction with her research project ‘Paper Princes: Paper in Early Modern Diplomacy and Statecraft’, which is funded by the Netherlands Organisation for Scientific Research (NWO). Read more about the project at The organizational team also includes Frank Birkenholz, MA (University of Groningen); Jeroen Claassens, MA-student (University of Groningen); Johanna Feenstra, MA-student (University of Groningen); and Quinten Somsen, MA-student (University of Leiden). The conference organizers are grateful for financial and material support from the NWO and the University of Groningen.

Leave a comment

Filed under Other events

Symposium for Justin Kroesen

Justin is moving from the Faculty of Theology and Religious Studies to a position in Bergen (Norway) in 2016.

Time: Friday 18 December 2015, 10.00-13.00. Lunch at 13:00.

Venue: Zittingzaal, Faculty of Theology, Oude Boteringestraat 38

10.00-10.30 Inloop met koffie/thee
10.30-10.40 Opening door Dr. Sipco Vellenga
10.40-11.10 Dr. Kees van der Ploeg, Het beeld op eigen kracht? Van Joachim de Fiore tot The Wizard of Oz
11.10-11.25 koffie/thee
11.25-11.55 Dr. Jan Luth, Van oordeel naar troost. Het Requiem en Lutherse begrafenismuziek
11.55-12.25 Prof. Dr. Sible de Blaauw, Wierook rond de kansel in de Gouden Eeuw
Herinneringen aan het katholieke verleden van de Nieuwe Kerk in Amsterdam
12.25-12.30 korte pauze
12.30-13.00 Toespraken van prof. dr. Christoph Jedan, Dhr. Peter Breukink, Mw. Arianne Anker

Opgave voor 11 december bij:
Info bij: Dr. Mathilde van Dijk,

Leave a comment

Filed under Other events

Centre of the Americas Lecture: The Penntrification of the Delaware Valley, ca. 1670-1750

‘Great Capitalists’ vs. ‘Ancient Settlers’: The Penntrification of the Delaware Valley, ca. 1670-1750

Dr Mark Thomson, Department of American Studies

Wed. 18 March, 16:00-18:00. Room: 1315. 0037.

This paper considers how one set of “ancient settlers” negotiated the transformation of the Delaware Valley into an English colonial space. Commonly known as “the Swedish nation,” they were Finns and Swedes who had lived along the river since the mid-seventeenth century or they were these settlers’ relatives or descendants. They had built farms on both sides of the Delaware River, and they owned land that the strangers coveted. These latter-day Finns and Swedes responded in varied ways to the English settlers and their Quaker-led governments. In the early years they provided the newcomers with much-needed assistance, not least by selling their land at low rates to settlers and to their officials, including William Penn. They soon regretted their deference and, in time, organized themselves to protect what they still possessed. Under pressure from provincial officials and “great capitalists” who wanted to “usurp” their lands, they drafted spokesmen from the Swedish clergy, made alliances with legislators, and even tried to take their protests directly to the Crown of Sweden. These efforts met with mixed results, and Pennsylvania’s officials responded by identifying “those called the Swedes” as “Insolent” and “rebellious.” In fact, these “ancient Settlers and Owners of Land” had learned to play the game of property and politics, and in doing so, they demonstrated their Britishness. The paper frames these events by illustrating how folk memories of these bitter struggles with Penn, Quakers, and anglicization lasted well into the eighteenth century.

Leave a comment

Filed under Other events

RUG Conference: Early Modern Women on Metaphysics, Religion and Science

Early Modern Women on Metaphysics, Religion and Science
Conference on 21-23 March 2016, University of Groningen

During the early modern period (c. 1600-1800) women were involved in many debates that tangled together metaphysics, religion and science. The women included figures such as Margaret Cavendish, Emilie Du Châtelet, Princess Elisabeth of Bohemia, and Damaris Cudworth Masham. The debates surrounded issues such as atomism, determinism, motion, mind-body causation, mechanism, space, and natural laws.

The last twenty years have seen an increasing interest in women philosophers that have been neglected by the history of their discipline. A substantial body of work now exists on early modern women philosophers, much of it concerning ethics and political philosophy. This conference will focus on metaphysics, religion and science, and in doing so provide a fresh perspective from which to view the work of early modern women, throwing light on areas that are relatively underexplored.

The conference will be held from 21-23 March 2016, at the Faculty of Theology and Religious Studies at the University of Groningen. The program will be comprised of both invited speakers and speakers drawn from an open call for papers; please see below for details. Subject to peer review, conference papers will be published as part of a collection.
Confirmed Invited Speakers

Sarah Hutton (Aberystwyth, UK)
Jacqueline Broad (Monash, Australia)
Susan James (Birkbeck, UK)
Andrew Janiak (Duke, USA)
Karen Detlefsen (University of Pennsylvania, USA)
David Cunning (University of Iowa, USA)
Deborah Boyle (College of Charleston, USA)
Tom Stoneham (York, UK)
Ruth Hagengruber (Universität Paderborn)

Call for Papers

Submissions are invited from any discipline, and from researchers of all levels (including PhD students). Submissions are welcome on any aspect of the conference theme. To illustrate, submissions may deal with early modern women in relation to metaphysics or religion or science; or in relation to all three areas.

To submit for the conference, please email an abstract – maximum 800 words – to Emily Thomas []. The abstract should be anonymised for blind review, and the email should contain the author’s details (name, position, affiliation, contact details). The deadline for abstract submission is 20th October 2015.


Leave a comment

Filed under Other events