How to piece together a historical narrative based on very limited and highly fragmented sources? How to deal with historical characters who did a great deal of self-staging? How reliable are the sources they circulated about themselves, their shows and exhibits? What is the role of objects and artefacts in historical analysis and how can we make sense of their performative effect? What impact do (new) visual media and technologies have on our gaze? To what extent do they influence beauty ideals and even (pseudo) science? What is the role of the carnivalesque and how to interpret the presence of "grotesque" bodies in historical sources?

Target audience: junior academic and artistic researchers

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

Time: 14h30-17h, unless communicated otherwise


This series of seminars will enable junior academic and artistic researchers to get acquainted with a variety of concepts, methods, and approaches in the fields of historiography, performance studies, media archaeology and cultural theory and to enter dialogue with a number of specialists in those respective fields. Sessions are meant to be informal in nature and will consist of (1) a presentation by the invited speaker and (2) a discussion based on a set of texts that will be made available to read beforehand. In addition, (3) participants will be invited to think about the ways in which the discussed material might be relevant to their own projects.

You can sign up for one session or the entire series by sending a message to Please do mention your current project and briefly describe why you are interested in attending the seminar(s).

The series is organized in the framework of Science at the Fair: Performing Knowledge and Technology in Western Europe, 1850-1914 ( a five-year research project coordinated by Nele Wynants, funded by the European Research Council (ERC).