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Symposia 2022-2023

  • Symposium 1: Good Governance

What was understoodby good governance in the late-medieval city? And how did city magistrates try to achieve it in practice? What responsibilities were assigned to them? What exactly was expected of them? How could they give substance to themes such as justice, unity,andharmony? And what did correct use of municipal money entail?

This workshop on good governance in the late-medieval city (1200-1600) focuses on these questions, and especially on how to answer them from different disciplinary perspectives. What sources do we use? How do we use them? And what conclusions can we draw? This workshop therefore invites researchers from different disciplines (history, literary studies, history of art and architecture, political philosophy, ...) to exchange views on these questions. Above all, the workshop wishes to provide a discussion forum for ongoing research with a specific focus on research questions, methodological issues and questions concerning source material. 

Finally, it is possible for Dutch ReMA students to obtain ECTS credits by attending this workshop and, possibly, contributing to the organisation. More specifically, two options exist:

1) To obtain 1 ECTS point
For this option, students are expected to prepare for the workshop, attend itfor its entire duration, actively participate in the discussions, and, finally, submit a paper (of max. 1,250 words) on the theme of one of the presentations by 1 March 2023 at the latest. This option is open to a maximum of 10 students.

2) To obtain 2 ECTS credits
Forthis option, students will not only be expected to fulfil the requirements for the first option, but they will also learn what steps have to be taken to organisean international workshop (during a two-hour group session in Utrecht on a date (still to be determined)in December/January 2023) and then put this knowledge into practice in the stages leading up to and during theworkshop. This option is open to a maximum of 5 students.

- Aimed at: Research MA students and PhD students.
- Period: 1 February 2023
- Location: Utrecht University, Drift 23, room 0.10
- Course coordinator: Dr N. de Raedt and Dr D.P.H. Napolitano
- Course load: 1 / 2 ECTS.


09:45-10:00  Registration

10:00-10:15  Welcome

10:15-11:15  Sources
Minne De Boodt (KU Leuven)
Debating good governance. The added value of a cross-contextual analysis for the study of late medieval political thinking

Frederik Buylaert, Klaas Van Gelder, Kaat Capelle (Ghent University)
Comparing “good governance” in town and countryside: the evidence from Flanders, c. 1250-1550

David Napolitano (Utrecht University)
From mirrors-for-princes, over the podestà literature, to mirrors-for-magistrates: Preliminary explorations of three modern labels for medieval advice literature on rulership

11:15-12:15 Discussion


13:30-14:10   Methodology
Nele De Raedt (UCLouvain)
Mirrors for magistrates on building the city

Mats Dijkdrent (UCLouvain)
Architectural descriptions as mirrors for good  governance in sixteenth-century Antwerp

14:10-15:10 Discussion


15:30-16:10 Ideals and Comparison  
Giacomo Santoro (Scuola Normale Superiore di Pisa)
Magistratus virum ostendit: a perspective on good governance in the Republic of Siena, between pedagogy and government (1428-1456)

Vasileios Syros (Jawaharlal Nehru University & The Medici Archive Project)
Good governance and the city in early modern Italy and India  

16:10-17:00 Discussion

  • Symposium 2: ‘Worker’s Health and Material Environment in Port Cities (1300-1700)’ (Leiden University and University Ca’ Foscari Venezia), 21-22 June 2023

As connected trade hubs through which a stream of people, goods and ideas passed, Europe’s port cities faced specific public health issues. Certainly after the outbreak of the Second Plague Pandemic in Europe (14th-17th centuries), port cities attempted to reduce disease transmission related to interregional connectivity and the mobility of merchants, workers, soldiers, pilgrims, and trade goods. At the same time, the maritime sector was attracting large, diverse pools of recruits to work on the ships and in the harbour. Health professionals, surgeons and barbers, found employment in the maritime industry, caring for the workers’ health and maintaining the labour pools. The different maritime recruits themselves, travelling to and dwelling in the port cities, had different social and legal statuses, and distinct profiles grounded in environmental medicine. Their working and living conditions could also be starkly different. This workshop explores how port cities and maritime recruits negotiated health policies in their different material environments and how representations of the material environment informed an understanding of workers’ different abilities.

Organisers: Dr. C.V. Weeda (Leiden University) and Marie-Louise Leonard (University Ca’ Foscari Venezia)

ReMA-students are given the opportunity to participate in organising the workshop, attending the sessions and contributing to the discussions. There is a written assignment, to be submitted after the workshop (1500 words). Participation in the organisation is 2 ECTS; the written assignment is a further 1 ECTS. 

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