Jeroen Puttevils

Jeroen Puttevils (° 1985) is Principal Investigator of the Back to the Future project and lecturer at the Centre for Urban History at the University of Antwerp. He specializes in the history of urban societies, the interaction between culture, finance and economics in the later Middle Ages, and thinking about the future in the later Middle Ages and the Early Modern Period. He is currently finishing a number of papers and a book manuscript resulting from previous project "The Lure of Lady Luck: lotteries and economic culture in the fifteenth- and sixteenth-century Low Countries".

Besides being an aide to the other Back to the Future project team members, he analyses several merchant correspondences and will write the project’s synthesis. For more on Jeroen’s research and publications see:

Sara Budts

Sara Budts holds an MA in Linguistics and an advanced MA in Artificial Intelligence (Speech and Language Technology) from the University of Leuven. In January 2021, she defended her PhD in Linguistics at the University of Antwerp. Her research operated at the interface between English historical linguistics and Artificial Intelligence and explored to what extent Deep Learning models can help us understand how languages evolve through time.

In her current research, Sara will be responsible for the linguistic analysis of English merchant letters, paying particular attention to expression of perceived probability and risk on the part of the letter writers. In addition, she will assist her fellow team members in all things digital - from the digitalisation of the merchant letters to the implementation of text-mining and distant reading techniques.

Nicolò Zennaro

Nicolò Zennaro (1994) is a Ph.D. student in medieval history. In 2020 he obtained his MA in History at Ca' Foscari University in Venice with a thesis focused on the organisation of a fifteenth-century Italian mercenary company. His main fields of interest are the economic and social history of the Republic of Venice and the politics and military institutions of late medieval Italy. Since September 2020, he joined the Back to the Future project.

He will investigate the relationship between capitalism, future thinking, and future actions in late medieval Italian society. His research will deal with the Venetian market and it will define how the economic practices and decisions of merchants were related to future thinking.

Sanne Hermans

Sanne Hermans (1993) studied both History and Dutch at the Universities of Groningen (BA, 2012-2017) and Amsterdam (MA, 2017-2019). During her studies, Sanne specialized in the literature and cultural history of the Dutch ‘Golden Age’. In 2016, she accepted a summer internship at the Huygens Institute in The Hague where she assisted in the digital accessibility of early modern letters. After her graduation, she worked as a publishing assistant at Uitgeverij Verloren in Hilversum.

Since November 2020, Sanne is part of the Back to the Future Project. Here, she focuses on the Dutch merchant correspondences from the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, and researches in what ways the political and religious situation caused by the Dutch Revolt influenced future thinking of merchants, wives, exiles, and of those who stayed behind. She uses Digital Humanities tools to trace future statements in the various letters.

Elisabeth Heijmans

Elisabeth Heijmans obtained her PhD at Leiden university in 2018 on early modern French empire and overseas companies with a particular emphasis on the participation of private interests and trans-imperial connections. After her PhD, she stayed at Leiden university for a post-doctoral research on the governance of diversity in the early modern Dutch empire. Her research interests are European early modern expansions, French early modern history, Atlantic History, trans-national and cross-cultural relations, New Diplomatic History, the slave trade and slavery and gender relations. She recently published The Agency of Empire The Agency of Empire: Connections and Strategies in French Overseas Expansion (1686-1746).

Her current research explores French merchants’ expectations of the future and the influence of religious change and the Enlightenment on their future thinking.

Max-Quentin Bischoff

Max-Quentin Bischoff studied History and Business Administration at the Universities of Mannheim (Germany) and Bergen (Norway) from 2012 to 2019. After finishing his MA thesis on short  biographies in the 17th century parish registers of the Imperial City of Schwäbisch Hall, he worked as a research assistant at the University of Mannheim and as a research fellow in the Collaborative Research Centre "Material Text Cultures" at the University of Heidelberg. From March to August 2020, he received a doctoral scholarship from the Landesgraduiertenförderung Baden-Württemberg until he joined the Back2theFuture project as a PhD candidate in September 2020.

He will analyse the impact of moments of crisis on future thinking in the correspondence of the German merchant family Tucher during the 16th                                                        century.