Medieval and Early Modern Studies (c. 600-1800)
Production, Consumption and Agency
Central to the research of several cluster members are the social function and contexts of the production and consumption of medieval and early modern art, literature and media:
In a variety of ways, a role is played in the cluster’s research by the embedding of arts, literature and media in medieval and early modern society, both with an eye on their production and their consumption. On the production side, researchers focus on patronage and commissions, on exploring scholarly, literary and artistic networks, and understanding the (economics of) book publishing, art trade and literary market place. On the consumption and reception side, focus is on the roles of the audience. Our researchers examine practices of reading, theatre performances, performative experiences, and collecting of arts, also with an eye on gender and class differences. Especially important in this context are the uses of art, books and literature in religious practices. Answering such questions, we also reflect on the applicability, for our period, of modern theories about the literary/artistic field (e.g., Bourdieu). The cluster also fosters a strong tradition in studying the history of collecting (libraries/museums/archives). At the core of art historical research is its anthropological approach (inspired by Geller), in which the notion of agency is central, to understand the way in which art works impact their surroundings.