Location: S.S209 ARIA attic, Lange Sint-Annastraat 7, 2000 Antwerp

Time: 14h30-17h, unless communicated otherwise

Target audience: junior academic and artistic researchers

"It is important to remember that fraud of every kind is an [sic] historically determined phenomenon" (Eliav-Feldon, 2012, p.11). In other words, lies, forgeries and false identities are an excellent means to explore the historical context in which they "worked". They allow us to see what fears, dreams and beliefs preoccupied people’s minds. In this seminar we will explore some of the work that has been done on lying and impostors. We will see how in order to look "credible", liars needed to play upon the expectations, existing roles, images and storylines that their contemporaries would recognize. Taking our cue from studies like Houlbrook’s Prince of Tricksters and Eliav-Feldon’s Renaissance Impostors we will thereby reflect on the historical conditions (like mobility and anonymity) that allowed such personal reinvention.

Preparatory readings

  1. White, Luise. "Telling More: Lies, Secrets and History", History and Theory, 39 (2000), 11-22.
  2. Eliav-Feldon, Miriam. "Introducing an Age of Impostors", in Renaissance Impostors and Proofs of Identity. Palgrave Macmillan, 2012, 1-15.
  3. Houlbrook, Matt. "Gambit", in Prince of Tricksters. The Incredible True Story of Netley Lucas, Gentleman Crook. Chicago, 2016, 1-21.
Tine Van Osselaer 

is associate professor in the history of spirituality, devotion and mysticism at the Ruusbroec Institute of the University of Antwerp. She has published on gender and religion; and edited volumes on religion and medicine, religion and the family, religion in the Great War and on corporeality and emotions. She was the principal investigator of STIGMATICS: "Between saints and celebrities. The devotion and promotion of stigmatics in Europe, c.1800-1950", a project sponsored by the European Research Council (Starting Grant) and is currently leading the projects "Patients and Passions. Catholic Views on Pain in Nineteenth-Century Austria" (sponsored by FWO/FWF, a collaboration with Maria Heidegger) and "Contested bodies. The religious lives of corpses" (sponsored by FWO/SNF, a collaboration with Angela Berlis).