The Next 100 Years of Dutch Studies

OpenforbusinessYou will all be aware of the importance of 2019 for Dutch Studies in the UK and Ireland: it is the Centenary Year of Dutch Studies at UCL and, by extension, of the discipline in the UK.

The executive committee of the ALCS wants to use this historical moment to draw attention to the state of Dutch Studies in the UK.  Our report The state of Dutch Studies in the UK and Ireland, which we presented in Sheffield in June 2018, is the starting point of a campaign to raise awareness of the importance of Dutch language and cultures studies for the UK and Ireland.
Recently, Henriette Louwerse, Chair of the ALCS, published the following opinion pieces:

Nicola McLelland (our former ALCS Chair) raised the position of Dutch during a British Academy Round Table in London on 30 January. She pointed out that monitoring of the national coverage of so-called specialist language such as Dutch is required. We are hopeful that a comment on the provision of Dutch and other specialist languages will find its way into the briefing that Janice Carruthers (AHRC Leadership Fellow for Languages) will produce from the various consultation round tables about languages.

More positive action is needed to raise the profile of Dutch Studies. We are working with various partners to inform policy makers in the UK and the Low Countries and we call on all our ALCS members and friends to speak up and point to our report whenever they can. We will keep you informed.

13th ALCS International Conference

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13th ALCS International Conference:
Worlding the Low Countries

University College London, 6–8 November 2019

Marking the occasion of the Centenary of Neerlandistiek in the Anglophone world (the first Chair for Dutch Studies was founded in 1919 at University College London, with historian Pieter Geyl as its first incumbent), the 13th international and interdisciplinary Conference of the Association for Low Countries Studies (ALCS2019) will be held at UCL from Wednesday to Friday, 6–8 November 2019.

This means that with our biennial conference will be a year early. Not only is a centenary too good to pass on, this also this puts the ALCS conference in alternate years with the INCS conference of the American AANS. Colleagues will be in a better position to visit each other’s Conferences.

The full Call of Papers can be found on the Conference website.

Picturing Reality: A Sunny Snapshot

Picturing Reality: A Sunny Snapshot of International Dutch and Flemish Studies

In the last week of June 2018, scholars from ten countries and four continents gathered at the University of Sheffield for the 12th biennual ALCS conference. In uncharacteristically sunny weather (a marked contrast to the snowstorms which dominated our last Sheffield meeting of April 2012), our delegates enjoyed three days of talks, networking events and entertainment hosted by staff from Germanic Studies at the University of Sheffield.

Our speakers looked at how, why and for whom reality is shaped, perceived and represented and how these representations impact on self-image, national stories and language status. And although Picturing Reality may have a contemporary ring to it, the breadth of our contributions proved it is a theme for all times. Among the historical realities we encountered seventeenth-century comic theatre as a vehicle for social criticism; Polish views on the Dutch Republic as a military power; and the realities of queer women in Dutch novels between 1928 and 1945.

In addition to welcoming friends old and new to our conference, the ALCS was proud to join in the celebrations marking 70 years of Dutch and Flemish Studies at Sheffield. What started modestly in 1948 as an option for students of German has grown into one of the largest Dutch Sections in terms of student numbers in the Anglophone world. Professor Emeritus Michael Perraudin, himself a former teacher of Dutch language and literature, entertained our guests with the history of how Dutch came to be studied at the university, offering anecdotes about current staff and former students during a festive dinner.

Another highlight was the performance of The Farce of the Fisherman, a 16th century short play by Flemish playwright Cornelis Everaert, performed by Sheffield English and Drama students.

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Sobering report

An important part of the ALCS Conference was taken up by the discussion of the comprehensive report The State of Dutch Studies in the UK. This is the third ‘state of’ report, which gives us the opportunity to compare today’s situation with where we were in 2006, the date of the previous report.

The sobering conclusions of the report – Dutch Studies as an academic discipline is in decline, Dutch as an Institution Wide Language is standing its ground – has prompted the committee to invite a representative of the IWLP Dutch to join the committee, Ms Claire Wengen (Edinburgh).

We have now shared the report widely with relevant organisations including the UCML and Flemish and Dutch representation in the UK. The report was also presented and discussed with the Taalunie and other policymakers in the Netherlands and Belgium.

 

Executive Committee 2018-2019

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The ALCS Executive Committee wants to reflect all the disciplines represented in the Association. At the moment it consists of linguists, historians, literary scholars, art historians and a librarian/information expert. Dr Anna Geurts (Sheffield, Nottingham) is the ALCS administrator.

During the Biennial General Meeting at University of Sheffield on 30 June 2018 the following members were elected and co-opted to the Executive Committee:

  • Dr Henriette Louwerse – Chair (Sheffield)
  • Dr Jenny Watson – Honorary Teasurer (Sheffield, Edinburgh)
  • Dr Carol Fehringer – Secretary (Newcastle)
  • Dr Hans Demeyer (UCL)
  • Marja Kingma (British Library)
  • Dr Nicholas Piercey – Member for Area Studies (Manchester Metropolitan University)
  • Adam Sammut – Postgraduate member (York)
  • Christine Sas (UCL)
  • Claire van Wengen – Member for IWLP Dutch (Edinburgh)
  • Vacant: Member for Ireland

Chair’s Report 2016-2018

The Farce of the Fisherman

textfirshermanHusband and wife fishers are caught at sea when a heavy storm threatens to overturn their boat.

It is time to confess!

But what if the storm was not quite as devastating as expected and the truth is out…


As part of the cultural programme of the ALCS Conference: Picturing Reality and with the generous support of the Representation of the Flemish Government in London we would like to present The Farce of the Fisherman.  This short play, written by the Bruges playwright Cornelis Everaert and translated into English by Ben Parsons and Bas Jongenelen, will be introduced by Dr.  Charlotte Steenbrugge (Sheffield). The play is produced by Samuel Dickinson.

Friday 29th June
DINA, 32A-34 Cambridge Street
8.30pm (Doors open at 8.00pm)

The performance is free, but by reservation only.  All ALCS delegates will get their reservation in the conference pack.


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