Research team

Centre for Urban History

Expertise

Historical statistics - Material culture and consumption research - Urban History - Social and economic history - Transportation History - History of the Low Countries - Research Policy

Antwerp Interdisciplinary Platform for Research into Inequality: In search of equality. A socioeconomic examination within a global and historical framework (AIPRIL). 03/07/2019 - 31/12/2025

Abstract

This consortium proposal addresses the diverging fortunes of the rich, the poor and those in between. Our aim is to advance our understanding of how socioeconomic inequalities are changing, what is driving such trends and what, if anything, can be done. An undertaking of such ambition and complexity warrants an approach that combines state-of-the-art research from several disciplines. To that end, the current Methusalem grantee, the Centre for Social Policy Herman Deleeck, is joining forces with the Centre for Urban History and the Institute for Development Studies in the Antwerp Interdisciplinary Platform for Research into Inequality (AIPRIL) to continue and expand its work on the topic of socioeconomic inequality, enlarging the temporal and geographical scope this topic requires. We propose a seven year research program that seeks to make methodological, theoretical, and empirical advances in this rapidly evolving research field, building on insights from economics, sociology, economic history and development studies. The research program contains four strategically selected research streams: 1) New data and tools for the measurement of inequality; 2) Curbing inequality; 3) Urbanisation and Inequality; and 4) Shocks and Inequality.

Researcher(s)

Research team(s)

Fashioning 'old and new'. Secondary markets, commodity value conventions and the dawn of consumer societies in Western Europe (18th-19th centuries) 01/01/2018 - 31/12/2021

Abstract

Present-day policies to reinvigorate secondary markets and to reinforce the circular economy show a belief in societal progress through technological innovation and supply-side engineering. However, what is crucial in understanding our current 'throwaway'-attitudes – and any current-day policies shaping these – is a better knowledge of historically and culturally constructed demand-side issues, i.e. the formation of long-running consumer habits around commodities that were handled on secondary markets. The central ambition of this project is precisely to unravel the mental and cultural frameworks that shaped the desire and need for products on secondary markets in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. Within this crucial timeframe, Northwestern Europe saw the dawn of present-day-consumer attitudes and habits in dealing with 'old' and 'discarded' belongings. This entailed: 1) The breakthrough of luxurious and specialized art and luxury auctions, eventually of antique dealers, while at the same time the 'low end' secondary markets suffered enormously from a relative deprivation and an increasing stress for novelty in society. 2) An anything but linear shifting balance between the cultural appreciation of 'new' and 'old' belongings, which, arguably, can be held responsible for this shift. Hitherto, however, secondary markets have been far too often studied in isolation from the first-hand markets. Surprisingly little is known about the deep cultural and mental frameworks in which consumer preferences and perceived product qualities were embedded, and how these transformed in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. Drawing on a rich, and hitherto largely unexplored corpus of newspaper advertisements for upcoming auctions of second-hand goods, this innovative project seeks to unravel precisely the changing commodity value conventions among the taste-making elites in society and their relationship with the emerging 'consumer societies' of the modern era. Moreover, through a careful analysis of the kind of persuasive descriptors that were used to describe auctioned goods (with adjectives such as 'curious', 'fine', 'elegant', etc.), it becomes possible to map the changing consumer mindsets and bundles of commodity characteristics through time, hence revealing underlying 'regimes of value'. The latter will be made possible through a new 'big-data' methodology. A thorough comparison of word and cultural embedding in time and place will help to unravel how consumer mentalities were entangled with changing product qualities. The case studies were carefully chosen to include the major fashion making metropolises of the period, as well as more modest provincial and commercial towns, all with a different social architecture.

Researcher(s)

Research team(s)

Using institutional household accounts and the insights they provide to understand the consumption patterns, the standard of living and consumption inequality in early modern Delft. 01/09/2019 - 28/02/2020

Abstract

Merit Hondelink gaat in archeologische afvalcontexten (beerputten) op zoek naar archeobotanische vondsten die een complementair inzicht geven in de stedelijke voedselbevoorrading, voedselbereiding en -consumptie. Voor haar onderzoek kijkt ze naar vroegmoderne beerputten uit Delft. Een belangrijk aspect van haar proefschrift bestaat echter in de kruising van deze analyses met historische data omtrent huishoudelijke consumptie. Veel beter dan inkomens- en vermogensongelijkheid, verschaft de consumptieongelijkheid een inzicht in de gevolgen (maar ook tot op zekere hoogte oorzaken) van sociale ongelijkheid. Voor haar onderzoek in Antwerpen zal zij werken met institutionele huishoudrekeningen die een inzicht geven in verbruikspatronen, levensstandaard en reële sociale ongelijkheid. Concrete voorbeelden van beschikbare rekeningen zijn die van het Oude Mannenhuis en het Begijnhof, evenals documenten van het Clarissenklooster en het Klooster van St. Ursula. Van deze vier instellingen zijn ook archeologische rapporten beschikbaar, waardoor de rekeningen met het archeobotanisch onderzoek vergeleken kunnen worden. De rekeningen van het Oude Vrouwenhuis, het Meisjeshuis en de Weeskamer kunnen dienst doen voor een verdiepend onderzoek en een vergelijking met de rekeningen van het Oude Mannenhuis. Dankzij het eerdere werk van Thera Wijsenbeek-Olthuis beschikken we voor Delft ook over een unieke databank van boedelbeschrijvingen waardoor een heuristisch multi-dimensioneel verbruiksmodel verkregen kan worden. Het interpreteren van de data, de uitwerking ervan en het schrijven van het artikel dat wordt opgenomen in het proefschrift, geschiedt onder begeleiding van Prof.dr. B. Blondé. Aansluitend zal tijdens het verblijf van Merit Hondelink, mits gehonoreerd, een college voor Bachelor 3-scriptie worden opgezet. Dit is een unieke kans om de studenten Geschiedenis een multidisciplinaire praktijkervaring mee te geven.

Researcher(s)

Research team(s)

A golden age for labour? Economic inequality and labour income after the Black Death: Flanders and Tuscany compared (1350-1500). 01/10/2017 - 30/09/2020

Abstract

Did the Black Death result in a golden age for labour? Killing almost one third of the population, the mortality crisis caused a radical change in the relative value of land, capital and labour. Indeed, no other time before Industrialisation would witness such a rapid increase in real wages. Consequently, generations of historians have characterised the period between 1350 and 1500 as a golden age for labour. However, recent literature on pre-modern income formation casts serious doubts on such a straightforward interpretation. The real wage series, on which the theory is based, are hardly representative for real income levels and ever since the 1970's-1980's no new approaches to this problem have been developed. This research project, therefore, introduces a creative solution that will allow us to retrace the impact of the Black Death on income distribution. On the one hand, the narrow focus of the real wage series is replaced with a socially more diversified framework, including the gains of self-employed middle groups. On the other hand, a comparative perspective between Flanders and Tuscany will question the universal effects of the mortality crisis, and instead highlight the role of regional and intraregional economic and institutional divergences. As a result, this research project will lead to a critical rethinking of the longstanding paradigm of a golden age for labour.

Researcher(s)

Research team(s)

Economic growth and material living standards in a transistion economy: Venice (1600-1800). 01/02/2017 - 31/07/2017

Abstract

In recent decades the debate on the relationship between economic growth and material wellbeing was at the heart of the 'Revolt of the Early Modernists' (Jan de Vries). Unfortunately enough, studies on the birth of a consumer society in the late early modern period focused upon North-Western European countries, while the material renaissance research prioritized the Italian peninsula (Blonde & Ryckbosch). The purpose of this project is to fundamentally contribute to our understanding of the 'little divergence' by studying the material wellbeing and consumer practices in Mediterranean Europe. The case study envisaged is Venice in the 17th and 18th centuries.

Researcher(s)

Research team(s)

GIStorical Antwerp II. The historical city as empirical lab for urban studies using high-resolution social maps. 01/05/2016 - 30/04/2020

Abstract

In a time of rapid urbanization solid long-term perspectives on the many environmental, social, economic or political challenges of urbanity are urgently needed. Uniting urban history, sociology, environmental studies and digital humanities, GIStorical Antwerp II turns the historical city into a digital lab which provides an answer to this need. For 8 snapshots between 1584 and 1984 it offers dynamic social maps including every household in the entire city of Antwerp. Construction combines innovative ways of crowd-sourcing and time-efficient spatial and text-mining methodologies (Linear Referencing, Named Entity Recognition). The result is a GIS-environment which not only allows a micro-level view of 500 years of urban development, but more importantly allows an immediate spatial and social contextualization of a sheer unlimited number of other datasets, both those realized through 30 years of research on Antwerp and the mass of structured and unstructured digital 'big data'. For both the applicants and the international research community a completely new type of longitudinal research on urban inequalities – from income over housing quality to pollution – becomes feasible.

Researcher(s)

Research team(s)

Domestic energy consumption before and during the early industrial revolution: Belgium and the Netherlands compared (1600-1850). 01/01/2016 - 31/12/2019

Abstract

Why did the Northern Low Countries ('the Netherlands') experience early modern economic growth, but no industrialization until the late nineteenth century? And why, by contrast, did the Southern Low Countries ('Belgium') turn into the first industrialized region outside of Britain after experiencing centuries of relative economic stagnation and decline? (Mokyr 1976) This research project aims to evaluate the role of the transition from a 'organic' to a 'mineral' energy base (E.A. Wrigley) in the domestic sphere as a potential explanatory factor in these divergent paths of development. By studying the energy sources, technologies, practices, and mentalities related to the heating and illumination of early modern homes over time and in a comparative perspective, this project aims to shed light on the energy-intensity and –efficiency of households in Belgium and the Netherlands prior to industrialization. Not only is this research of primary importance in gaining a better understanding of the first Industrial Revolution on the European continent, it also promises insight into the roots of energy transitions both past and future.

Researcher(s)

Research team(s)

Creating a Domestic City? The Production and Consumption of Domestic Space in Late Medieval Bruges, Dijon and Antwerp, 1450- 1600. 01/10/2015 - 30/09/2017

Abstract

The main objective of this project is to look beyond the public appearance of men and women in late-medieval cities. While the past two decades historical interest in the 'public' urban spaces has figured high on the research agenda, scholars have refrained from interrogating the complex ways people appropriated and arranged their own domestic space. Hence, there is an urgent need to define and redefine the ways in which city dwellers shaped their home, an entity that needs to be approached as both physical and ideological in essence (Lefebvre 1974).

Researcher(s)

Research team(s)

A golden age for labour? Economic inequality and labour income after the Black Death: Flanders and Tuscany compared (1350-1500). 01/10/2015 - 30/09/2017

Abstract

Did the Black Death result in a golden age for labour? Killing almost one third of the population, the mortality crisis caused a radical change in the relative value of land, capital and labour. Indeed, no other time before Industrialisation would witness such a rapid increase in real wages. Consequently, generations of historians have characterised the period between 1350 and 1500 as a golden age for labour. However, recent literature on pre-modern income formation casts serious doubts on such a straightforward interpretation. The real wage series, on which the theory is based, are hardly representative for real income levels and ever since the 1970's-1980's no new approaches to this problem have been developed. This research project, therefore, introduces a creative solution that will allow us to retrace the impact of the Black Death on income distribution. On the one hand, the narrow focus of the real wage series is replaced with a socially more diversified framework, including the gains of self-employed middle groups. On the other hand, a comparative perspective between Flanders and Tuscany will question the universal effects of the mortality crisis, and instead highlight the role of regional and intraregional economic and institutional divergences. As a result, this research project will lead to a critical rethinking of the longstanding paradigm of a golden age for labour.

Researcher(s)

Research team(s)

Eating with your fingers, dining with your eyes. Table manners in the late mediëval and early modern Low Countries. 01/10/2014 - 30/09/2016

Abstract

The challenge we take up in this project is to flesh out if and how table manners were materialized in tableware, and how tableware contributed to changing social intercourse. Therefore, scattered information from archaeology, art history and cooking history awaits to be integrated. This project – at the crossroads of discourse analysis and material culture studies, will consider the dialectics between individuals and materiality, by using complementary sources and methods. 1) A discourse analysis of dining manuals will shed light on shifts and continuities in the meaning of dining manners. 2) Confronting this analysis with the material culture of tableware will reveal the extent to which this prescriptive literature was really appropriated. 3) Probate inventories will prove crucial to clarify the complex downward and upward social dimensions of these manners. In order to do justice to the genuine contribution of middling groups in urban society, the late medieval cities of Antwerp, Oudenaarde and Bruges with their shifting social textures and sociabilities were chosen for analysis.

Researcher(s)

Research team(s)

'Wo mistus, da Christus'. A micro-perspective on the allocation and recycling of urban waste in the rural economy of early modern Flanders. 01/10/2014 - 30/09/2016

Abstract

This project aims to investigate to what extent the contribution of urban waste and manure could overcome the challenge of fundamental nutrient deficiencies in regions of dense urbanisation and intensive agriculture. In order to reach that goal, the social relations that are at the core of this project, will be confronted with three other strategic factors affecting the manure allocation: transport improvements, institutional change and economic growth

Researcher(s)

Research team(s)

Practicing domesticity in an age of transition. Material cultures and discourses of inclusion and exclusion in 19th-c. Antwerp. 01/10/2014 - 30/09/2015

Abstract

This project is about the daily practices and material aspects that constituted the experience of 'home' in 19th-c. Antwerp. While early modern consumption and late 19th-c. shopping practices have thoroughly been studied, a lack of interest in the material practices of 19th-c. homemaking can be observed. Yet, the profound redefinition of domestic life and 'home' against a background of a rapidly changing material culture warrants scholarly scrutiny to come to a calibrated notion of 'domesticity' and 'home' in this age of critical transition. By means of a long-term, systematic analysis of probate inventories for 19th-c. Antwerp, the first purpose of this project is to determine how the domestic ideology got inscribed in the interior. Secondly, this research aims to consider whether and how (changes in) material practices in the 19th-c. contributed to processes of social inclusion and exclusion. How material practices were connected to the overarching issue of social inequality

Researcher(s)

Research team(s)

An exotic taste. The allocation of value in exotic groceries - the Low Countries, ca. 1250-1750. 01/10/2013 - 30/09/2016

Abstract

The project will conduct a long-term study of the way in which four exotic groceries with divergent trajectories (pepper, ginger, grains of paradise, and tea) were perceived of as desirable by contemporary consumers and observers. The research project integrates perspectives from economic, social and cultural history to draw out the long-term continuities and changes in the behaviour and mentality of European consumers towards global commodities, and the (material) world itself.

Researcher(s)

Research team(s)

The domestic city. The organization and decoration of domestic space in fifteenth-and sixteenth- century Antwerp, Bruges and Dijon. 01/10/2013 - 30/09/2015

Abstract

The main objective of this project is to look beyond the public appearance of men and women in late-medieval cities. While the past two decades historical interest in the 'public' urban spaces has figured high on the research agenda, scholars have refrained from interrogating the complex ways people appropriated and arranged their own domestic space. Hence, there is an urgent need to define and redefine the ways in which city dwellers shaped their home, an entity that needs to be approached as both physical and ideological in essence (Lefebvre 1974).

Researcher(s)

Research team(s)

The tearing tissue. Family, friends and neighbours: the resilence of everyday social relations (Brussels - Antwerp 1715-'90). 01/10/2012 - 30/09/2015

Abstract

Our first objective is to look beyond various bold theories on (in)formal social relations, democratisation, poor relief, and civil society. Rather, we seek to resuscitate the simple everyday dimensions of community life. Earlier research may have settled for drawing a comprehensive still life of the who is who – and the who with whom – in myriad sorts of social networks and institutions; however, we wish to portray the praxis of everyday social relations at work. How, when and why did ordinary city dwellers appeal to neighbours, colleagues, friends, and family? Were these social ties strong or weak? Vertical or horizontal?

Researcher(s)

Research team(s)

Eating with your fingers, dining with your eyes. Table manners in the late medieval and early modern Low Countries. 01/10/2012 - 30/09/2014

Abstract

The challenge we take up in this project is to flesh out if and how table manners were materialized in tableware, and how tableware contributed to changing social intercourse. Therefore, scattered information from archaeology, art history and cooking history awaits to be integrated. This project – at the crossroads of discourse analysis and material culture studies, will consider the dialectics between individuals and materiality, by using complementary sources and methods. 1) A discourse analysis of dining manuals will shed light on shifts and continuities in the meaning of dining manners. 2) Confronting this analysis with the material culture of tableware will reveal the extent to which this prescriptive literature was really appropriated. 3) Probate inventories will prove crucial to clarify the complex downward and upward social dimensions of these manners. In order to do justice to the genuine contribution of middling groups in urban society, the late medieval cities of Antwerp, Oudenaarde and Bruges with their shifting social textures and sociabilities were chosen for analysis.

Researcher(s)

Research team(s)

Church music and confessionalization in transformation. Case Antwerp, ca. 1585-1794. 01/10/2012 - 30/09/2014

Abstract

This project aims to investigate the interaction between church music and urban society during a period of multiple transformations. By mapping the use of church music as a means to establish and consolidate a confessional identity on the one hand, and by assessing the influence of the religious, political and socio-cultural changes on the production and patronage of church music on the other hand, evolutions in musical life will be interpreted in relation to the societal context and vice versa. Through this study, the layered meaning and functioning of church music in an urban environment will become apparent.

Researcher(s)

Research team(s)

'Wo mistus, da Christus'. A micro-perspective on the allocation and recycling of urban waste in the rural economy of early modern Flanders. 01/10/2012 - 30/09/2014

Abstract

This project aims to investigate to what extent the contribution of urban waste and manure could overcome the challenge of fundamental nutrient deficiencies in regions of dense urbanisation and intensive agriculture. In order to reach that goal, the social relations that are at the core of this project, will be confronted with three other strategic factors affecting the manure allocation: transport improvements, institutional change and economic growth

Researcher(s)

Research team(s)

At Home in Sixteenth-Century Flanders. Materiality and Domesticity in the City (1450-1650). 01/10/2012 - 30/09/2013

Abstract

The main objective of this project is to look beyond studies that treat citizens as members of the public urban community (e.g. Nicholas 1985; Stabel and Boone 2000) without acknowledging the key role that may have been played by living patterns in their households.

Researcher(s)

Research team(s)

GIStorical Antwerp: a micro-level data tool for the study of past urban societies, test-case: Antwerp. 02/07/2012 - 31/12/2017

Abstract

This project represents a formal research agreement between UA and on the other hand the Flemish Public Service. UA provides the Flemish Public Service research results mentioned in the title of the project under the conditions as stipulated in this contract.

Researcher(s)

Research team(s)

Beyond Baudelaire's indignation : an enquiry into the interplay between the art markets and the decline of the representation theory in art criticism. The case of Brussels, 1848-1914. 01/07/2012 - 30/06/2016

Abstract

The purpose of this interdisciplinary project is to gain an in-depth understanding of 'art value' through a diachronic analysis of the Brussels art market (1848-1914) in relation to simultaneous transformations in the art-theoretical discourse and aesthetic thinking. Preparatory historical research has shown that the Brussels art market was profoundly restructured during the second half of the 19th century (Arnout). Interestingly enough, this reorganization of the Brussels art market did not only coincide with a striking increase in the number of specialized art magazines, but also with the decline of the representation theory and the rise of the expression theory in the visual arts at the end of the 19th century. Through a systematic analysis of various forms of discourse on art value (ranging from market value eloquently phrased in auction catalogues to art criticism in magazines and philosophical aesthetics), these phenomena will for the first time be approached in one research project. Whereas historical research on art markets benefits both from an in-depth art-historical knowledge of the works sold and from an insight into the aesthetic canon of a certain period (Lyna), the need for a historical dimension becomes more and more explicit in art-philosophical research concerning the criticism of representation. In this interdisciplinary project, the paradigm shift from representation theory to expression theory offers a unique opportunity to fathom the interplay of aesthetic thinking and the (historical transformations of the) art markets.

Researcher(s)

Research team(s)

City and society in the low countries (ca. 1200 - ca 1850). The condition urbaine: between resilience and vulnerability (City&Society). 01/04/2012 - 31/12/2017

Abstract

In the previous IAP phase, our network covered the wide time-frame of the late Middle Ages and early modern period (roughly speaking the period between 1200 and 1800). In this new IAP phase, driven by the need for wider comparisons and a better understanding of patterns of transformation, our network intends to extend the chronological scope until ca. 1850, allowing the transition to modern society to be included. The study of transformations and continuities between, on the one hand, the medieval and early modern period and, on the other hand, the early modern and modern period, will therefore be at the core of our research.

Researcher(s)

Research team(s)

Female networking in early modern Aalst: 'hidden' social capital? 01/10/2011 - 09/01/2014

Abstract

The project aims to examine the (development of) networks of women (and men) in a small early modern city during the 17th and 18th century. We aim to examine economic as well as non-economic networks (e.g. guilds and confraternities) and formal as well as informal relations (neighborhood relations, family relations, bonds of friendship). These developments will be contextualized by taking into consideration the possible influences of changes in women's position in the household economy on the broader social and economic networks of female actors and vice versa. During this research we will also pay attention to the networks of male actors in order to get grip on the differences and or similarities in networking according to gender . By integrating a cultural as well as an economic and social approach towards the social relations of unmarried and married women (and men) we will take a necessary and refreshing step towards a better understanding of women's social and economic agency at the intersection of social and domestic life.

Researcher(s)

Research team(s)

Human qualities. Repertoires of evaluation and the objectification of product quality in the early modern Low Countries (case: table ware industry). 01/01/2011 - 31/12/2014

Abstract

Increasingly, economic historians realize that product qualities, eventually prices, are cultural constructs. This project will examine how product quality of early modern tableware was 'objectified' in the run- up to the industrial and consumer society, analyzing in particular the role played by human competencies in the process of product quality construction.

Researcher(s)

Research team(s)

An interdisciplinary analysis of the Prix de Rome (1819-1920) at the Antwerp Academy of Fine Arts. 01/01/2011 - 31/12/2012

Abstract

In the scope of the 350th anniversary of the Royal Academy of Fine Arts, an inventory and interdisciplinary analysis of the Prix de Rome collection will be made. From an art-historical perspective, the unexplored rich archives of the biennial Prix de Rome (1819-1920) will be analyzed using the concepts of quality and artistic talent. In addition, the entire collection of sculptures of the Prix de Rome will inventoried, as well registering and labelling the object, as an inventory of damage and the associated preventive and curative conservation measures.

Researcher(s)

Research team(s)

The wealth of cities. Economic growth and living standards in Brabant, Holland and Liège in the long run, 1500-1900. 01/10/2010 - 31/01/2013

Abstract

A major achievement of historical research in the past decades has been to deconstruct the old assumption that early modern Europe was a growthless economy. In recent years historians have spent increasing attention to the reconstruction of historical national accounts of early modern Europe, which, however, has led to a conundrum. New studies reveal long-run increases in GDP per capita that contradict older evidence on low levels and declining trends of living standards. This confusion is true for Europe as a whole, and is highly problematic since it seriously confounds our appreciation of the long-run growth achievement of even the most developed pre-industrial economies. Moreover, diverging paths between real wages and per capita GDPestimates urge us to connect the living standard research to the income distribution debate. Building on a novel approach this project reconstructs aggregate and socially diversified real incomes in a comparative micro-level study for three regions in the Southern and Northern Netherlands between 1500 and 1900. Six urban centres in Brabant, Holland and Liège with distinct paths of development will be studied. This project contributes to a more profound understanding of the long-term development in living standards in the face of economic growth and decline.

Researcher(s)

Research team(s)

Social relations through consumer practices. Well-to-do households in Antwerp, second half 17th - first half 19th century. 01/10/2010 - 30/09/2012

Abstract

Research on social relations behind and constructed by consumer activities through quantitative and qualitative investigation of the 'flow' of goods/services and trade-partners, using household journals, accounts and correspondence of 17th-18th century members of the Antwerp social elite. By inquiring what was being bought from whom, an attempt will be made to reconstruct the social network and the 'flow' patterns of consumption from within the actors themselves, and thus discovering the how and why regarding consumer activity, the relevant social relations (credit-relations, reciprocity, etc.), the use of goods, and any evolutions thereof.

Researcher(s)

Research team(s)

Church music and confessionalization in transformation. Casus Antwerp, ca. 1585-1794. 01/10/2010 - 30/09/2012

Abstract

This project aims to investigate the interaction between church music and urban society during a period of multiple transformations. By mapping the use of church music as a means to establish and consolidate a confessional identity on the one hand, and by assessing the influence of the religious, political and socio-cultural changes on the production and patronage of church music on the other hand, evolutions in musical life will be interpreted in relation to the societal context and vice versa. Through this study, the layered meaning and functioning of church music in an urban environment will become apparent.

Researcher(s)

Research team(s)

International trade and economic development in the Austrian Netherlands, 1759-1791. 01/10/2010 - 30/09/2011

Abstract

My project, titled "International trade and economic development in the Austrian Netherlands, 1759-1791", means to initiate a study of the so far disregarded dialectic relationship between international trade and the economic growth of the Austrian Netherlands in the second half of the eighteenth century. I will investigate the impact of international trade and the trade policy on a number of economic sectors in order to reveal the different actors and effects. On the one hand it aims to deliver new insights into the economic history of the Southern Netherlands, while on the other hand it is strongly embedded in vivid present-day international debates.

Researcher(s)

Research team(s)

"Economies of quality" and the Material Renaissance. The Forgotten Consumer Revolution of the Low Countries in the Long Sixteenth Century. 01/01/2010 - 31/12/2013

Abstract

This project represents a research contract awarded by the University of Antwerp. The supervisor provides the Antwerp University research mentioned in the title of the project under the conditions stipulated by the university.

Researcher(s)

Research team(s)

Selected Issues in Using the Recorder in the Performance of Sacred Music circa 1500-1650: Variations on a Theme. 01/01/2010 - 31/12/2011

Abstract

This project researches and establishes the presently unknown historical role of the recorder in the performance of sacred music from 1500 to 1650. It researches selected performance parameters which were not notated in the original music sources, the role of the contemporary performer in their realization and consequently in the creation of the composition. Sacred works will be performed in a variety of ways for comparison and new editions prepared. Historical and performance research are thereby integrated.

Researcher(s)

Research team(s)

Citysounds 18: Research on the musical life of Antwerp in the 18th century. 01/01/2010 - 31/12/2011

Abstract

This research project looks widely at musical life in Antwerp, without making distinctions between genres, so that a broad overview emerges regarding the place and functioning of musical life. Much unknown music will be portrayed in its broader artistic framework, so that historical performance practice is also further enriched and the music can be situated against the background of Western European music history. The connection with present-day performance practice will be strengthened by grouping together the final artistic productions within the global concept 'Citysounds 18.'

Researcher(s)

Research team(s)

Female networking in early modern Aalst: "hidden" social capital? 01/10/2009 - 30/09/2011

Abstract

The project aims to examine the (development of) networks of women (and men) in a small early modern city during the 17th and 18th century. We aim to examine economic as well as non-economic networks (e.g. guilds and confraternities) and formal as well as informal relations (neighborhood relations, family relations, bonds of friendship). These developments will be contextualized by taking into consideration the possible influences of changes in women's position in the household economy on the broader social and economic networks of female actors and vice versa. During this research we will also pay attention to the networks of male actors in order to get grip on the differences and or similarities in networking according to gender . By integrating a cultural as well as an economic and social approach towards the social relations of unmarried and married women (and men) we will take a necessary and refreshing step towards a better understanding of women's social and economic agency at the intersection of social and domestic life.

Researcher(s)

Research team(s)

Music historical, stylistic and artistic research on the Russian opera's of Sergei Prokofiev and the meaning of Maddalena as preliminary study of The Gambler and The Fiery Angel. 01/01/2009 - 31/12/2010

Abstract

This integrated artistic research project focuses on the Russian operas by Sergei Prokofiev. Research in music history and music technique will cast a new light on the origin, performance, perception, style and content. This will be linked to a new instrumentation of the one-acter Maddalena and the composition of a whole new chamber opera, based on the same story.

Researcher(s)

Research team(s)

A historically informed, scenical performance of Johann Christian Bach's opera Artaserse. 01/01/2009 - 31/12/2010

Abstract

This project aims at performing Johann Christian Bach's progressive opera Artaserse in historically informed fashion. To do so, a critical edition of the score will be created so as to supersede all extant original manuscripts and facsimiles of the score. Scholarly research will furthermore deal with the opera's historical set designs, costumes, and mise-en-scène. The eventual scenic realization will introduce conservatoire students to the intricacies of mid-eighteenth-century operatic performance.

Researcher(s)

Research team(s)

18th Century Keyboard Music from the Southern Netherlands. Correlation and Interchanges between Repertoire and Instruments. The Historical Performance Practice from an interdisciplinary Point of View. 01/01/2009 - 31/12/2010

Abstract

The study of the 18th century keyboard music from the Southern Netherlands is a highly underrated research topic. This project concentrates on the interconnection between instruments and the repertoire. New historical and musicological findings will be confronted with a current performance practice. This new dialogue between scientific questions and artistic realisations in the field of this underestimated but highly important topic, is the only way to enhance our understanding of 'historical performance practice'.

Researcher(s)

Research team(s)

Civil society in late medieval and early modern Mechelen. The development and function of urban club life, 1400-1800 01/10/2008 - 30/09/2011

Abstract

This research projects wants to examine the field of independent citizens, free of traditional societal powers such as the economic market and the central state. Recent studies indicate that this development of the European civil society can only be understood from a historical perspective, but most historians of the early modern period still believe that the club life of the eighteenth-century Enlightenment was the cradle of this civil society. The consequences of this new chronology are important. It means that not the secular associations of the Enlightenment but the Christian corporations of the middle ages were crucial in the existence of a civil society. Needless to say, that this new perspective dramatically changes our understanding of the importance and evolution of the civil society in Europe. The political culture ¿ which flourished in this civil society according to several studies ¿ will be at the heart of our analysis. Indeed, several sociologists have claimed that a dense associational life ¿ which is more or less the same as a dynamic civil society ¿ goes hand in glove with the rise of a democratic political culture. This contradicts with traditional visions on the political elites of the late medieval and the early modern times. Numerous studies have pointed at the oligarchic and closed character of most urban governments in the Low Countries. Next tot this, historical research showed that the craft guilds did not promote political participation. These conclusions suggest that the influence of late medieval and early modern civil society was rather small. Therefore, this research project will investigate how the long tradition of civil society and associational life in early modern Europe influenced political participation and democratization. We will look at the evolution of the civil society in a particular city in the Netherlands, namely Mechelen. This was a middle-size city situated in the heart of the Low Countries which could be representative for other towns in the Southern Netherlands. Mechelen did not fundamentally differ from other neighbouring cities in the Antwerp hinterland. The population of the city rose from 15.000 inhabitants during the middle of the fourteenth century to 30.000 inhabitants two centuries later. The demographic evolution changed completely after 1530. This was due to the departure of the Court of Margaret of Austria, the economic reversion and the Dutch Revolt (1566-1609). The population recovered during the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, but it never exceeded 20.000 inhabitants until the end of the Ancien Regime. The investigation of one city should enable us to formulate more precise conclusions about the long term developments and to investigate different aspects of our subject. Of course, we will also make comparisons with other well studied cities in the Low Countries (i.e. Antwerp, Amsterdam, Gent, 's-Hertogenbosch and Zwolle) and look at the developments in other European regions.

Researcher(s)

Research team(s)

Social relations and consumer activity of the Antwerp elite (17th-18th century). 01/10/2008 - 30/09/2010

Abstract

Research on social relations behind and constructed by consumer activities through quantitative and qualitative investigation of the 'flow' of goods/services and trade-partners, using household journals, accounts and correspondence of 17th-18th century members of the Antwerp social elite. By inquiring what was being bought from whom, an attempt will be made to reconstruct the social network and the 'flow' patterns of consumption from within the actors themselves, and thus discovering the how and why regarding consumer activity, the relevant social relations (credit-relations, reciprocity, etc.), the use of goods, and any evolutions thereof.

Researcher(s)

Research team(s)

Social inequality and mobility during the long sixteenth century: Bois-le-Duc and its "Meierij" 01/10/2008 - 30/09/2010

Abstract

Historical interest in the dynamics of social inequalities has been strangely underdeveloped. Especially as to the late medieval and early modern Low Countries, surprisingly little is known on patterns of social and economic mobility on the household level within its numerous cities. Armed with a number of exceptional sources, this project hopes to further our understanding of the inequalities and mobilities of a typical ancien régime town, as well as their processes of (re)production. Intergenerational transfers of resources will occupy a key place in the analysis and theories brought into play.

Researcher(s)

Research team(s)

Art auctions between culture and economy. Consumption and distribution of paintings in Antwerp and Brussels (1700-1800). 01/10/2008 - 30/09/2010

Abstract

In this project the goal is to present an explanation for the remarkable success of art auctions as a channel for cultural consumption and distribution in the age of Enlightenment. The research questions revolve around the socio-cultural and economic conditions that allowed the auction circuit to have such an impact on contemporary culture in an era of rapidly changing fashions and the rise of the retail sector and the project will relate the growth of the art-auction phenomenon to the broader context of Antwerp and Brussels, reflecting on the value and meaning of second-hand art and 'old' objects.

Researcher(s)

Research team(s)

International trade and economic development in the Austrian Netherlands, 1760-1790. 01/07/2008 - 31/12/2012

Abstract

With this research we intend to study the impact foreign trade exerted upon the eighteenth-century economic development of the Austrian Netherlands. On the basis of documents generated by the Council of Finance (Department of Custom Duties) a comprehensive reconstruction and interpretation of the foreign trade and foreign trade policy is envisaged.

Researcher(s)

Research team(s)

Circulation of knowledge in the Low Countries. Flows of technical knowledge in the western core-area of the Low Countries between c. 1400 and 1700. 01/01/2008 - 31/12/2011

Abstract

The aim of this project is to examine how technical knowledge circulated in the Low countries between 1400 and 1700, how the volume and mode of this circulation changed, and what socio-economic, political, cultural and institutional circumstances effected this. The project involves four cities (Haarlem and Rotterdam in the North, and Antwerp and Ghent in the South) and three economic sectors (textile finishing, woodprocessing and silver and goldsmithing.

Researcher(s)

Research team(s)

Jacques-Nicolas Lemmens (1823-1881) and the foundation of the École de Musique religieuse de Malines. 01/01/2008 - 31/12/2009

Abstract

Jacques-Nicolas Lemmens (1823-1881) was not only a famous organist, but also the founding father of the École de Musique religieuse de Malines: an historical figure who subsequently underwent a certain amount of mystification. This research project focuses on Lemmens' motivations to found this school for religious music and aims to place this in a larger political, historical and artistic context.

Researcher(s)

Research team(s)

Consumer changes and church music in Antwerp, 1650-1750. 01/10/2007 - 30/09/2011

Abstract

This innovative and discipline-transcending research project, combining urban history, musicology and performance practice, aims to track down the interaction between shifting consumers patterns and the Antwerp mass compositions from the (High) Baroque. The interdisciplinary approach will generate new findings regarding processes of composition, performance, consumption and reception of music, in the context of European music history.

Researcher(s)

Research team(s)

Women's work in the Southern Netherlands during the early modern period (case-studies Antwerp, Ghent and Mons). 01/10/2007 - 30/09/2010

Abstract

Researcher(s)

Research team(s)

Socio-economic inequality revisited. A long-term and comparative analysis: Flanders and Brabant, 15th-18th centuries. 01/10/2007 - 30/09/2009

Abstract

"The stratification of society, and its relation to patterns of economic growth, sociability and culture, is one of the most important objects of study in disciplines as sociology, economics and history. Yet to this date we still have surprisingly little empirical evidence on the evolution of social inequalities during the pre-industrial period. This research project aims to gain insight in what economic inequalities looked like during the early-modern period in the Southern Netherlands, and how it interacted with social, cultural and political inequalities and transformations that took shape within this timeframe. The results should offer a historical viewpoint and contextualization for the sociological and economic literature on present-day inequalities, as well as a social framework to contextualize some of the major cultural, social and economic transformation that took place from the 15th to the 18th centuries."

Researcher(s)

Research team(s)

Art and luxury consumption as a social strategy in the tensionfield between court, aristocracy and the middle class? A study on fashion and taste in seventeenth and eighteenth centuries Brussels. 01/10/2007 - 30/09/2009

Abstract

Researcher(s)

Research team(s)

Top pieces and the art of inheriting. De Fraula collection (1690-1738) revisited. 01/07/2007 - 01/10/2008

Abstract

Researcher(s)

Research team(s)

Visual communication and Counter-Reformation in Antwerp: 1566-1801. 01/06/2007 - 31/08/2007

Abstract

The project is to write the first general book on Counter Reformation art in Antwerp. The underlying thesis argues that viual persuasion was instrumental to the establisment of the Roman Catholic Church at the center of South Netherlands society in opposition to the Protestant North Netherlands just a few miles across the border. Chapters will reconstruct the major innovations and changes that implemented this process during more than two hundred years.

Researcher(s)

Research team(s)

City and society in the Low Countries 1200-1800: space, knowledge, social capital. 01/01/2007 - 31/12/2011

Abstract

This project represents a formal research agreement between UA and on the other hand the Federal Public Service. UA provides the Federal Public Service research results mentioned in the title of the project under the conditions as stipulated in this contract.

Researcher(s)

Research team(s)

"Minstrel music". Study of the origin, nature and performance of a forgotten music repertoire in the Southern Netherlands (ca. 1650-1830). 01/01/2007 - 31/12/2008

Abstract

This research project focuses on the so-called "minstrel music" (Speelman music), an important part of folk music in Flanders, and puts the spotlight on this underexposed segment of the Flemish musical heritage. This is done in an innovative, interdisciplinary, contextual and combined scientific-artistic manner. Via the study of historical and musical sources and interaction with creative performers new scientific and artistic insights will be gained into the origin, composition, function and performance of this repertoire.

Researcher(s)

Research team(s)

At the fringes of modernity? Commercial recycling in an age of transformation, ca. 1750- ca. 1850. 01/10/2006 - 30/09/2009

Abstract

Researcher(s)

Research team(s)

Travel culture of the Netherlands (1650-1750). A research into the dialectical relation between travel literature and travel practices and the effect on the rise and dynamics of the European touristic field. 01/10/2006 - 30/09/2008

Abstract

Researcher(s)

Research team(s)

Social inequality and mobility during the long sixteenth century: Bois-le-Duc and its "Meierij". 01/10/2006 - 30/09/2008

Abstract

Historical interest in the dynamics of social inequalities has been strangely underdeveloped. Especially as to the late medieval and early modern Low Countries, surprisingly little is known on patterns of social and economic mobility on the household level within its numerous cities. Armed with a number of exceptional sources, this project hopes to further our understanding of the inequalities and mobilities of a typical ancien régime town, as well as their processes of (re)production. Intergenerational transfers of resources will occupy a key place in the analysis and theories brought into play.

Researcher(s)

Research team(s)

Art auctions between culture and economics. Consumption and distribution of paintings in 18th-century Antwerp and Brussels. 01/10/2006 - 30/09/2008

Abstract

Researcher(s)

Research team(s)

A contextual text-critical study of Bach's harpsichord works. 01/10/2006 - 30/09/2007

Abstract

Researcher(s)

Research team(s)

Consumer changes and church music in Antwerp's 'dark age', 1650-1750. 01/01/2006 - 31/12/2007

Abstract

This project will examine musical life in Antwerp in the period 1650-1750 in the context of its broader cultural and historical framework. Essential is the application of an innovative interdisciplinary methodology, on the basis of hitherto insufficiently studied source material (music and archives) and in close collaboration with experts in historical performance practice, in order to gain new insights in the genesis, performance, consumption and reception of mass compositions in Antwerp in the age of the high baroque.

Researcher(s)

Research team(s)

Social and economic inequalities in the Southern Low Countries, 15th-18th centuries. Towards an interdisciplinary analysis of measurement and (re-) assessment of social inequalities in pre-industrial societies. 01/10/2005 - 30/09/2009

Abstract

Social Inequality research of the Southern Low Countries, 15th-18th centuries is marked by the use of a deficient methodology and the absence of both long term and comparative research approaches. The major goal of this research project lies a) in the accommodation and application of social inequality measurements in historical research, b) a reassessment of the existing insights related to preindustrial social inequality.

Researcher(s)

Research team(s)

Art and luxury consumption in seventeenth- and eighteenth-century Brussels. The dialectic interplay between court, nobility and the urban middling sort of people. 01/10/2005 - 30/09/2007

Abstract

Researcher(s)

Research team(s)

Art auctions: between old glory and new fashions. Cultural consumption and distribution during the eighteenth century, case study Antwerp and Brussels. 01/05/2005 - 30/04/2009

Abstract

The goal of this research project is to present an explanation for the remarkable success of art auctions as a channel for cultural consumption and distribution in the age of Enlightenment: what were the socio-cultural and economic conditions that allowed the auction circuit to have such an impact on contemporary culture in an era of rapidly changing fashions and the rise of the retail sector?

Researcher(s)

Research team(s)

Research Director of the N.W. Posthumus Institute-program "Economy and Society of the Low Countries before 1850". 01/02/2005 - 31/12/2005

Abstract

Researcher(s)

Research team(s)

Travel culture of the Netherlands (1650-1750). A research into the dialectical relation between travel literature and travel practices and the effect on the rise and dynamics of the European touristic field. 01/10/2004 - 30/09/2006

Abstract

Researcher(s)

Research team(s)

Consumer changes and commercial circuits. Changing consumer preferences and retail dynamics of a city in `crisis. Antwerp, ca. 1648-ca. 1748. 01/10/2004 - 30/09/2006

Abstract

This project focuses on the retailing and the consuming of durable consumables in early modern Antwerp. It tackles retail and consumer (r)evolutions simultaneously, thus seeing them as different sides of the same development Antwerp went through in the 17th and 18th centuries. The major goal of this project is to demonstrate that we can only fully understand early modern retail changes (both from a qualitative and quantitative viewpoint) when simultaneously consumer changes are taken into account. For making this claim three distinct changes in the buying of home-goods will be analyzed, thus considering their impact on retailing: (1) The growing dependence on fashion (2) The growing diversity in goods (3) The slackening durability of goods

Researcher(s)

Research team(s)

Morphological research into the re-use of confiscated land in a numer of cities in the Low Countries (1576-1640): empiricism, innovation and theory. 01/02/2004 - 31/12/2005

Abstract

Research into the rational re-use of confiscated land in the innertown districts of several cities in the Low Countries during the Calvanist period. Influences of innovative planning practices on the theory of modern urban planning. Cities studied in this morphological research are Antwerp, Ghent, Malines, Amsterdam, Haarlem and Leiden.

Researcher(s)

Research team(s)

Research in the field of Social, Economic and Cultural History of the Middle Ages and the Early Modern Period. 01/10/2003 - 30/09/2013

Abstract

Research in Social, Economic and Cultural History of the Middle Ages and the Early Modern Period.

Researcher(s)

Research team(s)

Guide-books published in the Netherlands (1600-1800). Research into the dialectical relation between travel literature and travel practises and its influence on the genesis and the dynamics of the European tourist area. 01/10/2003 - 30/09/2004

Abstract

Researcher(s)

Research team(s)

Consumers, commercial circuits and urban transformations in an age of crisis. Retailing in Antwerp and Brussels (ca. 1648 - ca. 1748). 15/10/2002 - 31/12/2006

Abstract

This research wishes to embark on an investigation into the 'consumer sensitive' retailing sector in the period of transformation 1648-1748. The objective is to trace the impact of changing taste and fashion on the urban decline of Antwerp and Brussels. The central research question of this project is concerned with the strategies in which local retailing circuits in Antwerp and Brussels have influenced and reacted to the social-economic recesses in the 'age of crisis'. Possible questions are, for instance: in what ways did retailers of all kinds (varying from shopkeepers to wandering peddlers) went along with the changes in fashion and taste among urban consumers? Did the selling of fashionable products by the so-called "magasins à Paris", which flourished at that period, contribute to the economic weakening of Antwerp and Brussels? And what role did the urban consumers play in all this?

Researcher(s)

Research team(s)

Consumers and commercial circuits. Retailing and consumer durables in Antwerp and Brussels in the 'age of crisis' (ca. 1648 - 1748). 01/10/2002 - 30/09/2004

Abstract

Researcher(s)

Research team(s)

Urban society in the Low Countries (late Middle Ages - 16th century) 01/01/2002 - 31/12/2006

Abstract

The project aims at expanding the historical study of urban society in the Low Countries in both a chronological sense (by pushing the investigations further into the 16th century) and a geographical sense (by engaging a Dutch team). Research will cover the most urbanised core regions of the Low Countries (Flanders, Brabant, Hoilland and Hainaut) and will stress the comparative study of these regions (comparing them with other regions in the Low Countries and Europe)

Researcher(s)

Research team(s)

In search of a price history of predindustrial road transportationand inland river navigation. The transport costs of moving millstones in Flanders and Brabant (fifteenth-eighteenth centuries) 01/01/2000 - 31/12/2001

Abstract

This project will intend to reconstruct a homogeneous and reliable series of transportation price data. The backbone of this project will be the processing of price data related to the transportation of millstones in Flanders and Brabant. However important (and often prohibitive) for preindustrial economic development, few researchers have even succeeded in constructing a complete series of price data which meets the requirements of a qualitative price history. The results of this project will lead to a better understanding of preindustrial urban and regional economics in general, and of Flanders and Brabanrt in particular.

Researcher(s)

Research team(s)

    Urbanisation and de-urbanisationin the early modern outhern Netherlands. The urban network of Brabant and the economic relationships betwee town and countryside in the Seventeenth century. 01/10/1997 - 30/09/2000

    Abstract

    Study of the economic interplay between town and countryside during the seveneenth century. Case: Branbant (Belgium).

    Researcher(s)

    Research team(s)

      Labour, labour relations and labour markets in Western Europe, 1500-2000. 01/01/1996 - 31/12/2010

      Abstract

      The principal aim is to throw new light on the changes that have occurred in labour processes, labour relations and labour markets since the sixteenth century, with special reference to (1) periods of global societal transformation, and (2) urban wage-earners and self-employed artisans/shopkeepers.

      Researcher(s)

      Research team(s)