City Culture and the Transmission and Exploitation of Knowledge

From its development in the High Middle Ages to its transformation in the Late Middle Ages, urban society is inseparably linked to the rise of literacy and new ways of exchanging knowledge. Late medieval European cities saw an explosive growth of the number of individuals and social groups participating in processes of communication of knowledge, as well as a diversification of modes and patterns of knowledge exchange involving oral as well as written, and formal as well as informal forms of communication. Particularly important for the development and transformation of urban society is the use of the vernacular in administrative and commercial communication. Influenced by the religious reform movements of the late Middle Ages and by the growing participation of lay believers, also the transmission of religious knowledge increasingly took place in the vernacular. Think of preaching activities by the Mendicants, advisory and visionary appearances of recluses and visionaries, and collations organised by the Brethren of the Common Life. The newly developed strategies of knowledge transmission in the late medieval period gave way to significant changes and developments in the participation to cultural, social, political and religious life.

Communication, dissemination, and uses of knowledge in urban society are at the heart of many research projects that are carried out in the context of the Netherlands Research School for Medieval Studies and the Flemish network of medievalists. The theme of ‘Communication and Exploitation of Knowledge’ has also been chosen for the research programme of the Research School itself. The school was awarded a Graduate Programme grant of NWO, which makes it possible to appoint four PhD students in the research programme. During the 19th Mediëvistendag  this programme and some other new projects, which embrace the theme of the transmission and exploitation of knowledge in an urban environment, will be presented and discussed.

Provisional Programme

10:15-10:45: Registration and coffee

10:45-11:00: Word of welcome , Prof. dr. Catrien Santing, Academic Director of the Netherlands Research School for Medieval Studies

11:00-11:45: dr. Suzan Folkerts, University of Groningen

Bibles on the Market. Towards a New Approach of Urban Religiosity in the Late Medieval Low Countries

11:45-12:30: dr.  Samuel Mareel, Ghent University

Writing on the Wall. Religious Instruction and the Posting of Poems in Pre-Reformation Places of Worship

12:30-14:00: Lunch, Guided tour in Deventer

14:00-15:00: Lecture by prof.  Sita Steckel/WWU Münster (to be confirmed)

15:00-17:00: PhD presentations

17:00: Drinks



Town Hall, Grote Kerkhof 4 (Burgerzaal),  Deventer, near the Lebuïnus Church /

(from 14.00) Stads- en Athenaeumbibliotheek, Het Klooster 12, Deventer