Summer School Books and Culture 2022

The Plantin Press and the Religious Book

Location: University of Antwerp

Date: June / July 2022

Partners: Hendrik Conscience Heritage Library Antwerp – Plantin-Moretus Museum Antwerp

Course description

International expert speakers will explain the unique position of the world-famous Antwerp-based printing and publishing house founded by Christopher Plantin in 1555. They will discuss how it developed the production and distribution of religious books and related illustrations and prints in the following centuries.

Introductory presentations will familiarize the students with the central role of Antwerp as a printing center from the 16th century onwards, with the religious context in the Southern Netherlands, and with the role and position of the religious book therein.

Most lectures are conceived as workshops and hands-on sessions zooming in on different aspects, including: the world-famous Antwerp Polyglot Bible, the trade in religious books with Spain, illustrated religious books and catholic emblem books, and the link between manuscripts and printed books. Demonstrations will focus on the production of type, typesetting, composition, and printing.

Lecturers will use the holdings of the Ruusbroec Institute and of the library and archival records of the Museum Plantin-Moretus. Students will be invited to handle historic materials. In line with this setup, admission to the Summer School will be limited to 15 Master students, PhD students and postdocs. The presence of staff and lecturers during the course should stimulate the interaction and spark questions and discussions.

Sessions will be held on campus of the University of Antwerp at the Ruusbroec Institute’s library specialized in devotional holdings, and at the Museum Plantin-Moretus, recognized by Unesco for the historic site, its historical and research libraries and its unique series of business papers dating back to the 16th century.

Guided tours will take participants to the Plantin-Moretus Museum, to the stylish Hendrik Conscience Heritage Library, and to the Special Collections Department of the University Library specialized in, amongst other subjects, Jesuitica and Antverpiensia.

An unforgettable experience for every researcher who wants to learn more about manuscripts, books, and prints, and the role they played in Western European culture.

Target group

Master students, PhD students and postdocs intending to integrate book historical approaches into their reseach (history, literary history, art history, religious and church history...)

Credits and deliverables

Participants who want to acquire official ECTS credits can be awarded 3 ECTS credits upon writing an academic paper related to one of the summer school’s topics. Participants who attend at least 90 % of the classes, but do not write a paper will receive a certificate of attendance.

Social programme

To keep the minds fresh and to maximize interaction, a wide variety of fun and interesting social activities will be organised during evenings and weekends so participants can make the most of their stay in Antwerp.

Participants will not only have the opportunity to get to know their fellow class-mates and staff in a more informal way, but will also be able to get in touch with peers attending other summer schools at the Antwerp Summer University. A visit to the beautiful city hall, a networking reception, a guided city walk, a quiz night, a football game and a day-trip to another Belgian city such as Bruges or Brussels are only some examples of these activities.

All activities of the social programme are offered free of charge, in some cases participants will be asked for a deposit which will be reimbursed upon participation to the activity. 

Social activities will be communicated via email and Facebook.

Combine study and pleasure and spend a happy summer!