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The Research School for Medieval Studies will reconvene its annual medieval studies day, a day on which all members of the research school have the opportunity to meet each other in an informal setting, to exchange ideas, and to catch up with each other. This day will be organized at the University of Amsterdam. The organizing committee consists of Dr Machtelt Brüggen Israëls, Dr Mario Damen, Prof. Dr Serena Ferente, Dr Jelle Koopmans, and Prof. Dr Hugo van der Velden.

Event details of Reflection
Date 17 December 2021
Time 10:00 -17:00
Location Oudemanhuispoort


The law of reflection states that the angle of incidence equals the angle of reflection. This simple law implies that reflection is determined by the positions of the source of light and of the reflecting surface. For our reflection on the world, a similar rule seems to apply, for it, too, depends on our place in the world vis-à-vis the object of our contemplation: how does a person hold her mirror, or her pen on the page? How upright does she stand, how crooked is her world? How does she dance with death, how fickle is her spirit?


Whenever reflection has materialized in a tract, a poem, a painting, a piece of music or a landscape, the historian who investigates it will not only have to imagine the original relative positions that inspired her source but will also have to take heed of the way in which she relates to it. The determination of the first positions is part and parcel of the historian’s core business, but what about the second relation, that of the historian to her source?


As scholars, we try to fixate our position by means of good method and buttress it through sound reasoning, but is that even possible? How personal is our reflection on the past? How explicit are we about our personal stake, how much of it should we share with others?


During our medieval studies day we will engage with the theme of Reflection, in all its variety: contributions about reflection in historical sources are as welcome as contributions about reflection on historical sources and how we use them. We would like to emphasize that this broadly conceived theme is meant to encourage everyone to participate in this event, either as speaker or in the audience. In the end, the contributions will give substance to the theme, not the other way around.

Key note speakers

The theme will be introduced by two keynote speakers: art historian Prof. Dr. Barbara Baert, KU Leuven, will speak on “De verbeelding omtrent het universum” (“The imagination of the universe”); and historian Prof. Dr. Serena Ferente, UvA, on “A mirror of emotions. On late medieval treatises on government”.

Call for Papers

We invite proposals for other contributions. Papers will be 20 minutes, followed by time for discussion; contributions can be delivered in Dutch or English. Proposals of 150 words max. can be submitted by email to the organizing committee, per address Prof. Dr. Hugo van der Velden, Proposals can be submitted until November 18. PhD students and early career scholars are encouraged to participate: all your contributions are welcome, please regard the theme as an encouragement, not as an obstacle.


For practical purposes, we kindly invite you to register before November 26, 2021, for this event, by sending an email to the following address:


Oudemanhuispoort 4-6
1012 CN Amsterdam