Women have always been active in the European book business, although less visible than their male counterparts. During this international summer school we will address how female authorship took shape. We will investigate how women contributed to the printing and selling of books. We will also discuss which books were favored by female readers, and how publishers responded to these specific preferences (if any). 

Experts from multiple backgrounds will analyze and explain the meaning of gender and gender identity as a relevant methodological framework in book history, both in the early modern period and in more recent centuries, when the industrial revolution profoundly changed the production of books.  

You will immerse yourself in books made by or for women, focusing on research questions, sources and methods. Most lectures are conceived as interactive sessions, often starting from specific cases presented in Antwerp’s rich heritage institutions. In an unparalleled private collection, you will experience what it meant to operate different printing presses before and after the industrial revolution. On the last day, you will meet a contemporary (female) author of illustrated children’s books. 


Maartje De Wilde (maartje.dewilde@uantwerpen.be)

Pierre Delsaerdt (pierre.delsaerdt@uantwerpen.be)

Target group

Master students, PhD students and postdocs intending to integrate book historical approaches into their research and/or with a special interest in the role of women in European cultural history.

Participants are expected to have at least officially started an academic Master’s programme. 


This summer school takes place at Stadscampus (Prinsstraat 13, 2000 Antwerp) of the University of Antwerp. This campus is located in the city centre.

Micro-credential and study credits (ECTS)

3 or 6 ECTS: Successful completion of the programme and the writing of a paper can be awarded with 3 ECTS credits. 3 additional ECTS credits can be earned during a five-day internship at the University Library. All certificates of completion are issued as a micro-credential.
Participants who attend at least 90 % of the classes, but do not write a paper will receive a certificate of attendance.

Social programme

Participants will 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.