Doctoraatsbursaal BOF-project middeleeuwse politieke liederen (UGent) (deadline 15 septeber 2017)


Vacature voor doctoraatsbursaal binnen het project “The Diffusion and Reception of Political Songs in the Low Countries, c. 1300 – c. 1570” gefinancieerd door het BOF (Bijzonder Onderzoeksfonds) van de UGent o.l.v. Jan Dumolyn met medewerking van Jelle Haemers (KULeuven), Veerle Fraeters (UA), Johan Oosterman (Radboud Universiteit Nijmegen)

Datum indiensttreding: 1 november 2017

Over het project
In the nineteenth century, ‘historical songs’ (‘historieliederen’), the term that was used at the time, formed a popular object of study for Romantic literary scholars, folklorists and historians. They seemed to represent a ‘folk’ view on historical events reflecting the inner soul of a people. However, even apart from the problem of the now untenable romantic essentialism which was their starting point, the collections made by romantic folklorists but also the later more scholarly and systematic editions by Fredericq (1894) and Van de Graft (1904) hardly employed coherent criteria to delineate their corpus. Neither did they sufficiently analyze the problems of genre, social origin, intended audience, and textual tradition. During the last century, early modern Dutch political songs and poems, and notably those dealing with the Dutch Revolt, have received more scrutiny, particularly the so-called Geuzenliederen (‘Beggar’s Songs’), which famously include the Wilhelmus, since 1932 the national anthem of the Kingdom of the Netherlands. In general, historians of the Reformation have shown the importance of songs in diffusing Protestantism. In contrast to the Geuzenliederen, the more varied corpus of political songs before the 1560s remains sadly understudied. During the last decade, however, several publications such as the edition of the 1544 Antwerp Songbook, a number of seminal case studies and some preliminary overviews of the source material have revealed the great potential of a combined approach of literary and historical perspectives for the study of pre-Reformation political song culture.

This project will build on these findings and will, for the first time, provide a systematic study of the body of later medieval political songs from the Low Countries from a truly interdisciplinary perspective. Thus, it will fill an important lacuna in the historiography of Dutch culture and literature, and will bring Dutch and Flemish scholarship on this topic to the level of English and German scholarship. Therefore, this project aims to inventorize and analyze Middle Dutch political songs before the Dutch Revolt and, more specifically, study their social contexts of production, circulation and performance as well as their perlocutionary effects as instruments for the construction of group identities and social memory. We define ‘political songs’ as a genre defined by a combination of ideological contents, functions, and audiences, in which the social and political message forms a central element. The study of such texts thus provides new ways of obtaining insight into how political communication functioned in a society that was still to a very large degree an ‘aural’ one. Political songs have been at the margins of both literary history and socio-political history but in fact offer excellent opportunities to reflect on the intense relationship between literary production, society and politics in the later medieval period and sixteenth-century. This type of analysis, which for the Low Countries has never been undertaken, involves an innovative combination of research methodologies derived from various disciplines and fields, e.g. the combination of narratological and social network analysis.

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