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JLGC 05: Breaking the Rules: Artistic Expressions of Transgression

To begin to understand the human experience, the study of explicit and implicit political, religious, and aesthetic boundaries must be complemented by analyses of the diverse ways in which these rules are contested, broken, and rebuilt.

Sara Polak, Fleur Praal and Karine Laporte, eds.
01 February 2017
Open Access download (PDF)

Six of the best conference papers of 2015’s LUCAS Graduate Conference, titled ‘Breaking the Rules! Cultural Reflections on Political, Religious and Aesthetic Transgressions’ are presented as articles in this fifth issue of the Journal of the LUCAS Graduate Conference. Each of these articles, written by international early-career scholars from various research backgrounds, explores a transgressive scenario – and reactions to it – in a particular historical period, religious or philosophical framework, and social context, focusing on artistic expressions contemplating the act of transgression.

Featuring not only traditional methods, such as painting, but also relatively recent forms, such as zines and performance art, this set of articles delves afresh into the act of rule-breaking in, and through, the visual arts. Spotlighting mixed artistic media provides the groundwork for this complementary shift in thinking about transgression: as Marshall McLuhan argued in his now-famous expression, “the medium is the message”, the contents of any message spread via a particular medium cannot be analysed without also taking the specifics of that medium into account. In the artistic expressions featured in this issue of the JLGC, the medium might not be the whole message, but it can certainly be argued that the choice of medium heavily influences the effect of any transgression made through art: the conceptualisation, production, and reception of all artworks analysed in the collected articles authored by David Murrieta Flores, Aisling Reid, Beth Hodgett, Timea Andrea Lelik, Rena Bood, and Looi van Kessel.

Series Editor and Editorial Board

Sara Polak

Member of the editorial board of issue 3 of the JLGC, and Chair of the LUCAS PhD Council at the time of its foundation, Sara Polak is proud to return to the editorial board as Series Editor of issue 5. She recently defended her doctoral dissertation, "This is Roosevelt’s World”: Franklin D. Roosevelt as a Cultural Icon in American Memory, and is now developing a new line of research on the forms and places in which non-politically correct cultural memories resurface. Interdisciplinary between history, American studies, literary studies, and cultural studies, Sara has a keen interest in arts in twentieth century and contemporary society from a broad range of perspectives. She teaches modern literature in Leiden University’s English department, as well as North American culture for International Studies.

Fleur Praal

Fleur Praal is again co-Editor-in-Chief with Karine Laporte for the fifth issue of the Journal. Fleur graduated cum laude from the MA Book & Digital Media Studies (Leiden University) in 2012, and is currently writing a dissertation on scholarly communication and publication practices in the Humanities. Academic publishing has evolved in the print domain over centuries, but is now uprooted by the digital medium and the new possibilities for communication it brings. Fleur is fascinated by academics’ communication habits, such as authors’ choices between formal and informal outlets, complementing monographs with articles, blogs, and even tweets, as well as readers’ selection strategies to cope with an ever-growing information load. She brings her experienced outlook on new technologies for text processing and publication to the Journal. Alongside her PhD, she is a lecturer in the Book & Digital Media Studies department.

Karine Laporte

Karine Laporte returns with Fleur Praal as co-Editor-in-Chief for the fifth issue of the Journal.  She completed a joint MA programme in Classics from Université Laval (Québec) and Université de Strasbourg in 2014. Her current FRQSC-funded doctoral research focuses on the History of the Roman Empire, written in the 3rd century CE by Greek historian Herodian. Stepping away from the usual approaches to factual accuracy in Herodian and the search for his historical sources, she is mainly interested in the combination of narrative, thematic, and linguistic strategies applied in his work. In an attempt to reconcile ancient historiography and literature, she discusses these patterns not as a consequence of Herodian’s lack of talent, his clumsy use of sources, or his desire to showcase rhetorical skill, but as an instrument of historical interpretation.

Andrea de March

Andrea de March is currently a PhD researcher in Latin language and literature at Leiden University. He received his BA in Classics from the University of Verona and his MA in Classical Philology from the University of Bologna, both cum laude. His research interests are Roman comedy, especially Plautus, and its relationship with Greek models. In particular, he is applying to this much-debated topic the approach of ‘Anchoring Innovation’, being thus part of a larger group of Dutch classicists who are working together to define this new concept and studying its relevance in classical antiquity.

Nynke Feenstra

Since 2013, Nynke Feenstra has been dedicated to improving the accessibility of museums for people with sensory impairment. As a freelance accessibility consultant, she develops museum programmes and produces workshops on Deaf culture and accessibility. She holds a BA in Arts, Culture & Media from the University of Groningen, and completed a ResMA of Arts & Culture at Leiden University. As a guest PhD student she conducts her research on Mechanisms of Inclusion: Physical, Cultural, and intellectual accessibility at Leiden University. This research focuses on the development of a new methodology for inclusive museums that focuses on social empowerment whilst maintaining their critical function.

Renske Janssen

Renske Janssen is a PhD researcher in the group ‘History and Culture of Ancient Judaism and Early Christianity’. She holds a BA in Greek and Latin language and culture and a ResMA in Classics and Ancient Civilizations (cum laude) from Leiden University. She is current working on her PhD dissertation, titled Religio Illicita: Roman Legal Responses to Christianity and Judaism in Context. Renske’s research focuses on how Christian and Jewish groups were embedded in, and interacted with, the Roman legal system. She is especially interested in the comparison between examples of Roman religious policy (if such a thing exists) regarding Christians and Jews, and laws concerning less well-known religious groups.

Lizzie Mitchell

Lizzie Mitchell is writing a PhD in Classical Archaeology with the title Thinking Through Bodies: Cupids as Mediators in Roman Art, in which she focuses on so-called ‘minor’ figures, particularly the malleable and ubiquitous cupids which cover everything from wine-cups to sarcophagi in Roman material culture. By interrogating the functions and effects of these figures in the relationship between users and objects, she explores new ways of understanding the specific phenomenologies invited by Roman domestic and funereal space. Visiting from the Classics department at Harvard, a Kress Institutional Fellowship (2015-2017) enables her research at LUCAS. She also runs a graduate interdisciplinary workshopping group with a focus on bodies, corporeality, and sexuality.

Yves van Damme

Yves Van Damme holds BAs in Computer Sciences and in History, and an MA in Medieval History from Ghent University. He is currently a member of the Initial Training Network ‘Mobility of Ideas and Transmission of Texts’ under the Marie Curie Actions program funded by the European Commission. His doctoral research focuses on vernacular spiritual literature produced around the intellectual centre Groenendaal. Using a comparative approach, Yves' study investigates how these texts reflect both the increasing interest of late-medieval lay devotees in their inner life and personal spiritual experiences, and their place at the heart of debates about the socio-political position of lay people pursuing contemplative religiosity beyond the institutional confines of the Church. Yves' research challenges the traditional division between orthodoxy and heterodoxy and uncover the functional layer of this almost-mystic literature.


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