Universiteit Leiden

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Erik Kwakkel


Prof.dr. F. Kwakkel
+31 71 527 2166

Until the end of the academic year 2017-18 I was affiliated to LUCAS as book historian, Scaliger Chair for the study and promotion of Leiden University Library’s Special Collections, and member of the institute’s Management Team. As of 1 August, 2018, I occupy the position of Professor at the iSchool (Library, Archival and Information Studies) at The University of British Columbia, Vancouver. For the duration of the academic year 2018-19 I remain affiliated to LUCAS as doctoral advisor of two PhD candidates.

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Full résumé


My principal research is in medieval paleography and codicology, but I have spoken at conferences devoted to medieval literature and history, digital humanities and book design. I am currently working on a book project about the twelfth-century manuscript and its context of production and use (with Rodney M. Thomson), a book-size study of the oldest manuscript of Constantine the African's  Pantegni (with Francis Newton), and a monograph on the development of script in the long twelfth century.

Teaching activities

I teach graduate courses in paleography and codicology for the English Department and Book and Digital Media Studies.

Curriculum Vitae

Ph.D., University of Leiden, 2002 (cum laude)

I have held postdoctoral appointments at the Universities of Leiden and Amsterdam (VU), teaching appointments at The University of British Columbia and the University of Victoria (Canada), and was Assistant Professor at the latter institution before moving back to Holland in 2010. My other professional positions include Advisory Board Member of  Quaerendo: A Quarterly Journal from the Low Countries Devoted to Manuscripts and Printed Books (Brill Publishers) and the Leuven Centre for the Study of the Transmission of Texts and Ideas in Antiquity, the Middle Ages and the Renaissance (Lectio). I am a Member of the Editorial Board of two series at Brill Publishers: 'Library of the Written Word - The Manuscript World' and 'Studies in Medieval and Renaissance Traditions'. In March 2012 I was appointed to De Jonge Akademie of the Royal Dutch Academy of Arts and Sciences (KNAW).

Key publications

My publications are in Dutch and English and have appeared in both European and North-American journals, including  The Library: The Transactions of the Bibliographical SocietyViator: Medieval and Renaissance Studies; and  Quaerendo: A Quarterly Journal from the Low Countries Devoted to Manuscripts and Printed Books.

I have published many book chapters, including for handbooks devoted to medieval manuscripts (Roberts and Robinson,  The History of the Book in the West: 400 AD-1455, Ashgate, 2010; Gillespie and Wakelin,  The Production of Books in England, 1350-1500, CUP, 2011).

My book publications include  Turning Over a New Leaf: Change and Development in the Medieval Book (Leiden University Press, 2012, co-authored with Rosamond McKitterick and Rodney Thomson) and  Author, Reader, Book: Medieval Authorship in Theory and Practice (Toronto University Press, 2012, co-edited with Stephen Partridge).

(Social) Media

To spark a broader interest in the medieval book among a non-academic audience I blog on  medievalbooks.nl, share findings on Twitter (@erik_kwakkel), and have made movies for YouTube. Various discoveries were reported on national radio and in television programs (including a TV-item on the NOS national evening news); local, regional and national newspapers (including De VolkskrantTrouw and  NRC); as well as in popular and opinion magazines (including  Elsevier Weekblad and  Quest: Braintainment). I frequently write for popular-historical journals ( Quest Historie) and undertake public lectures. In October 2014 I launched  Quill: Books Before Print, a website explaining how medieval books were made.


  • Faculteit der Geesteswetenschappen
  • Centre for the Arts in Society
  • Boekwetenschap


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