I graduated in Dutch and English literature in the University of Antwerp, where I wrote a PhD on urban historiography in the city of Mechelen (1500-1750) revealing how medieval chronicles were recycled and rewritten to serve new goals. After having taught courses in Medieval Literature at Utrecht University, I now work as a postdoc in Leiden. I continue to be partly affiliated with the Royal Library of Belgium in Brussels, where I coordinate the BNTL, a bibliographic database for Dutch Studies.
I am particularly fascinated by the contact zone between the periods traditionally labelled as the 'Middle Ages' and the 'Renaissance'. I have looked at how Renaissance texts portray the Middle Ages, and at how the medieval manuscript changed form and function in the course of the Renaissance. In my current research, I study an Early Modern manuscript dealing mostly with events from the sixteenth century. This research allows me to to combine my insights from Medieval Manuscript Studies with a good grasp of Early Modern Cultural and Political History.
2009 Graduation as MA in Dutch and English, University of Antwerp
2009-2011 Scientific collaborator on a project dealing with layered identities in the late medieval and early modern period, University of Antwerp
2011-2015 PhD dealing with urban historiography in the city of Mechelen, University of Antwerp
2016-present Coordination of the BNTL, a bibliographic database for Dutch Studies, Royal Library of Belgium
2017-2018 Lecturer at University of Utrecht, teaching classes on Medieval Literature
2019-present postdoc, University of Leiden
Description of my research
My research is centred around a manuscript made in the early seventeenth century, which contains dozens of drawings depicting scenes and soldiers from the Eighty Years War, as well as a collection of poems, songs, chronograms and other texts dealing mainly, but not only, with the same subject matter. The manuscript is known for being the earliest hand-written copy of the Dutch anthem 'Wilhelmus', but has never been looked at in any detail. The main question is why this distinctly orangist manuscript was made, in a time and a place (the southern city of Mechelen) where it is distinctly out of joint. I will look at the manuscript and its makers first, expanding my research to literature in a broader sense in this period of time. My aim is to rethink the traditional hypothesis of a cultural divide between the southern and northern Low Countries after 1581, the Fall of Antwerp.
Grants & awards
2010 Intra-universitaire Scriptieprijs / Runner-up for the Taalunie Scriptieprijs
2018 KVAB Jaarprijs Wetenschapscommunicatie
- Caers B.J.M. (2019), Review of: Armstrong Adrian | Strietman Elsa (2017) The Multilingual Muse: Transcultural Poetics in the Burgundian Netherlands, Legenda, French Studies 73(2): 284-285.
- Caers B.J.M. (2016), A New Standard in the Footsteps of Maerlant. Frits van Oostrom, Wereld in woorden. Geschiedenis van de Nederlandse literatuur, 1300-1400 (Amsterdam: Bert Bakker, 2013) Review of: Oostrom F.P. van (2013) Wereld in woorden: geschiedenis van de Nederlandse literatuur, 1300-1400, Geschiedenis van de Nederlandse Literatuur, Journal of Dutch Literature 7(2): 72-84.
- Caers B.J.M. & Visscher M. (2018), The illuminated "Brabantsche yeesten" manuscripts IV 684 and IV 685 in the Royal Library of Belgium: an unfinished project of Brabantine historiography. Description, list of illustrations and index of persons depicted, In Monte Artium: Journal of the Royal Library of Belgium 11: 7-35.
- Caers B.J.M. & Demets L. (2019), Konkurrierende Darstellungen von Loyalität und Rebellion. Städtische Geschichtsschreibung in Brügge und Mechelen im Spätmittelalter. In: Eckhart Pia, Tomaszewski Marco (Eds.) Städtisch, urban, kommunal. Perspektiven auf die städtische Geschichtsschreibung des Spätmittelalters und der Frühen Neuzeit. Formen der Erinnerung no. 69 Göttingen: V&R Unipress. 229-254.
- Caers B.J.M. (2019), Ondertussen in het hertogdom Brabant: Duitsers met tulbanden, Madoc. Tijdschrift over de Middeleeuwen 33(1): 9-12.
- Wetenschappelijk medewerker