On 2 and 3 July, in the heat of the London summer, over twenty postgraduate and early career researchers from the UK, Netherlands, Belgium and Germany attended the Postgraduate Colloquium on Low Countries Studies: Drawing a Map.
From the opening address by Dr Ulrich Tiedau (UCL) and the five themed panel sessions over two days, an exciting, multidisciplinary and multinational map emerged. The contributions ranged from the representation of the Islamic world through the eyes of Flemish artists in the 15th Century (Talitha Schepers – Cambridge) to ‘Ad hoc interpreters in a Brussels Emergency Department’ (Sophie Segers – VUB).
Striking was the presence of two papers on the Flemish author Rachida Lamrabet (Christina Barningham – Sheffield and Aimée Hardy – UCL). Ruth Clemens (UCL) gave a convincing Deleuzian reading of Cees Noteboom’s novella Het volgende verhaal. Cyd Sturgess (Sheffield) critically reflected on the relation between sexological theories and the literary representation of female same sex desire in Dutch novels of the 1930s.
Floor Naber and Kim Smeenk (Utrecht) took the title of the colloquium literally when they mapped the international cultural network of Simon Vinkenoog during the 1960s. Alisa van Kleef (Bonn) also focussed on maps: she discussed the cartographic representations of the Low Countries in German Westforschung (1920-1945).
Dr Nicholas Piercey (UCL) combined the Amsterdam Potato Riots of July 1917 with a reflection on his own research practice as a historian and Sabine Waasdorp (Utrecht) studied the representation of Queen Mary II in Dutch pamphlets. Also historical, but from a linguistic angle was the presentation of Eline Laperre (Queen Mary) who outlined her work on the preverbal negation in historical Dutch.
Drawing a Map was a memorable event for more than the tropical temperatures. It was the breadth of the research, the quality of the contributions and the enthusiasm of the participants that made it into such an exciting inaugural occasion. Thanks to the energy and enthusiasm of the Colloquium Committee this event will hopefully be the start of a long tradition of postgraduate colloquia in the UK. Prof Catherine Davies of IMLR popped in to offer continued IMLR support.
The ALCS owes much gratitude to the splendid colloquium committee for their initiative and their impeccable organisation: (from left to right) Richard McClelland (KCL), Jenny Watson (Swansea and ALCS Committee), Cyd Sturgess (Sheffield), and Aimée Hardy (UCL).
It is of paramount importance for Dutch Studies in UK, and thus for the ALCS, that young researchers feel inspired and engaged by our diverse discipline. The ALCS considers it a prime objective to offer a platform for researchers to meet up, present and discuss their work. Contributors are encouraged to submit their papers to be considered for publication in our Journal Dutch Crossing. All details can be found on the Authors Submission Page.
This colloquium was organised in conjunction with the Institute for Modern Language Research and the Centre for Low Countries Studies at UCL. The event was generously sponsored by the Royal Netherlands Embassy.