Category Archives: Summaries


Francesca Blockeel: Portugal en zijn kolonies. Dekolonisering en teruggave van kunst

Summary: Portugal and Its Colonies. Decolonisation and Restitution of Art
In the sixteenth century Portugal was one of the great powers and, with Spain, a precursor in colonizing areas in Asia, America and Africa. Its imperium covers 500 years and it controlled colonies that now are situated in 53 different countries.
Nevertheless, in the actual debate about restitution of colonial art Portugal is almost never mentioned.This contribution starts with a concise overview of how Portugal
handled its colonies in the three continents consecutively, along with the kind of artefacts that were brought to the metropolis, Portugal as the mother country. As the discussion in Europe focalizes mostly on African art, the Portuguese colonies in Africa
are studied here more thoroughly. In the second half we sketch the current situation of restitution of colonial art in Portugal. First we examine the main position of museum directors and secondly what is going on in the press and on social media. It is obvious that the national identity of the Portuguese, still mainly based on the colonial empire, plays an .important role.

Lies Busselen; De tijd haalt ons in. Hoe het restitutiedebat een lens biedt op een verschuiving in de ‘ontkenning van gelijktijdigheid’

Summary: Time is Catching Up With Us. How the restitution debate offers a lens on a shift in the “denial of coevalness”

This article offers a theoretical reflection on the unequally shared heritage of former colonies and metropolises. I apply Johannes Fabian’s concept of “denial of coevalness”, a way to see “the other” in another time frame, to the restitution
debate concerning colonial collections in the Belgian and international contexts. The article outlines the historical process of the formation of international legal frameworks in relation to the restitution debate in Belgium in a section that explores the political dimension of these issues.A subsequent museological section examines colonial collections in current world museums, focusing on the Africa Museum in Tervuren and
the National Institute of Museums of Congo in Kinshasa. The article shows how African states remain absent in the Western restitution debate and argues for the “recognition of coevalness” between states in order to achieve reciprocal dialogues. Finally, the article argues that political recognition of the colonial past in Belgium is essential for the
recognition of coevalness of Congo.

Elisabeth Dekker: =tano Toba Saga.. Een menselijk verhaal en het recht

Summary: The Tano Toba Saga. A Human Story and the Law
This essay explores new approaches to reflecting on the future of colonial collections by considering the legal position of former colonies in tandem with a discussion of the Tano Toba Saga, a work of art exhibited as part of the exhibition Power & Other Things:
Indonesia & Art 1835-Now. Drawing on archival materials and cultural property laws, this article lays bare some troublesome dynamics pertaining to contemporary property
rights. In the article I argue that those property rights are marked by deeply ingrained distinctions and racial stratifications pertaining to  who is considered human: a painful
legacy that continues to haunt colonial collections. To move beyond such colonial structures, this article highlights how the Tano Toba Saga provides a legal subject historically excluded from humanity, with a voice, a story, and a name.

Valerie Mashman: ‘Looted in an expedition against the Madangs’. Decolonizing history for the museum

Summary:Een toevallig onderzoek van het originele eerste acquisitieboek in het Sarawak Museum onthulde de term “geplunderd tijdens een expeditie” die werd gebruikt om een set van zes huishoudelijke objecten te beschrijven uit een langhuis,
verworven in 1903, van een aftredende Brooke-beheerder, C.A. Bampfylde. Dit leidde tot een zoektocht van een jaar naar deze objecten, op de schappen van het depot van het Sarawak Museum en in de archieven  en opslagplaatsen van het Pitt Rivers
Museum, Oxford. Deze objecten – over het hoofd gezien door curatoren en zelden tentoongesteld – komen uit de huishaarden van de longhouses. Het betreft huisraad en daarom onwaarschijnlijke trofeeën van een  orlogsexpeditie. De aanwezigheid
van deze objecten in het Sarawak Museum roept dus twee vragen op:waarom zou huisraad als geroofde objecten worden geschonken, en waarom zou een ambtenaar ze
hebben bewaard en weggegeven bij pensionering? Om antwoorden op deze vragen te suggereren door de herkomst van deze objecten te onderzoeken, volgt dit artikel de
carrière van de schenker-verzamelaar.Het analyseert tevens de betekenis van de term “geplunderd” en de implicaties voor het gebruik ervan, en  e daaropvolgende reconstructie van de oorlogsexpeditie waarin deze items werden verworven. Aan de ene kant vertegenwoordigen deze objecten een overwinning in oorlogsvoering voor
het Brookeregime en aan de andere kant biedt de aanwezigheid van deze vijf objecten in het Sarawak Museum de mogelijkheid om mondelinge geschiedenissen en koloniale
rapporten te analyseren om de context te beschrijven en te reconstrueren wat er zou kunnen zijn gebeurd met de oorspronkelijke eigenaren, met name vrouwen die vechten om te overleven en worden onderworpen aan het niet aflatende geweld van strafexpedities. Deze objecten dienen als een katalysator voor de stem van de Badeng via mondelinge overlevering over keuzevrijheid, weerstand en onafhankelijkheid tijdens het Brookeregime. Tegelijkertijd wordt de tentoonstelling van deze objecten een complete set van zes, met de mogelijke uitlening of teruggave van 538 | summaries
de geplunderde hoed van het Pitt Rivers Museum.

Jonas van Mulder:Gedeeld erfgoed? Archiefgemeenschappen en de restitutie van kennis

Summary: Shared Heritage? Archival Communities and the Restitution of Knowledge
This paper reviews significant developments in archival science and practice that can potentially offer valuable insights into current debates about decolonizing heritage
collections. In both the professional archival field and amongst archival communities, the calls for partnerships in building and curating archives, expanded digital exchanges,
and greater transparency of archival practices have gained momentum in recent decades. As evidenced by an ever expanding body of research and applied approaches, ‘the archive’ has been zealously mobilized as an analytical and experimental instrument for both analyzing and counteracting the colonization of
knowledge, epistemic regimes, and cultural and social exclusivity inherent in conventional archival praxis. In addition to highlighting a sample of international studies and initiatives, this article also identifies some potential pitfalls and offers observations concerning the impact of digitization, the importance of collaborative research, and the value of dissonance.

Willy Durinx, Paul Catteeuw en Roselyne Francken: De collectie Hans Christoffel in het MAS Antwerpen

Summary: The Hans Christoffel Collection of the MAS Museum (Antwerp)
Hans Christoffel (1865-1962), a young Swiss, enlisted in the Dutch colonial
army at the end of the 19th century. He rose quickly through the ranks to
become the most revered and reviled officer active in the bloodstained
Dutch East Indies. Later, he seemingly turned his life around full circle to
become a pacifist. During and after his service years, he assembled a vast
collection of ethnographic artefacts. After a long-term loan, Christoffel
sold his collection to the City of Antwerp in 1958. Financial concerns
undoubtedly played an important role in this decision, but the sale may
also have been a final endeavour to physically distance himself from the
tangible memories of a violent past. Since the permanent closure of the
Antwerp Ethnographic Museum in 2009, the collection is accommodated
in the MAS, which opened its doors in 2011. The MAS can boast a rich
exhibition history of the Christoffel collection. Moreover, whenever
artefacts from the collection were put on display, the museum did not fail to
refer to the blood-drenched colonial context in which it was partly formed.
In the enigmatic maze that is the MAS online database, however, the artefacts gathered by the Swiss military man are nearly unfindable. A better online visibility of the collection is needed to reach Indonesian stakeholders
and cultural heritage partners as well as an international audience. In 2020, the MAS will therefore create a presentation of some hundred pieces of controversial provenance from the Christoffel collection on the online
platform Google Arts & Culture. And maybe this presentation could lead to talks between the MAS and the source community about a possible
restitution of stolen heritage objects, amongst others important five flags
from Aceh. Many questions will however have to be answered before a
possible restitution will be reality.

Jos van Beurden: Niet alles is roofkunst – Wat te doen met andere koloniale collecties?

Summary: Not Everything is War Booty.  What To Do With Other Colonial
This essay examines museum de-accessioning patterns in the Netherlands and Belgium to address the extent to which institutions have attempted to return objects to their countries of origin. In particular, this article spotlights several case studies involving more extensive de-accessioning: the Nijmeegs Volkenkundig Museum, the museum of Radboud University Nijmegen (which was closed in 2005, and that of the municipal Museum Nusantara Delft (which closed in 2013). The Radboud University Nijmegen
Museum’s 11,000 mostly-Indonesian items consisted of several collections.
These included its own small 540 | summaries collection, as well as several “subcollections” loaned by missionaries as well as the Beijens collection of
approximately 3,000 items, a loan from the municipality of Nijmegen.
This essay reveals the often troublesome journeys of these subcollections.
The majority of them have remained in the public domain.
An unknown number of items were offered for sale in the art market.
Some have disappeared. With few exceptions, almost no objects have
been returned to their countries or regions of origin. There were neither
networks nor know-how to facilitate this option. Return was not yet in the
air. This is a weakness, that indicates the need for a new approach.
When the Nusantara Museum Delft was obliged to deaccession its
collection of 18,500 items, the idea of return was immediately considered.
But it was challenging to convince the government of Indonesia to accept
this seemingly-generous Dutch offer. A new Director-General for Culture
at the Ministry of Education and Culture in Jakarta resisted the Dutch
return-offer. Apparently, part of the reason for diminished Indonesian
interest in the return was that the Netherlands had not offered a full
collection return: the Netherlands had set aside over 3,500 objects
for the National Collection of the Netherlands and for the Collection
Delft. The Nusantara Museum had urgently to look for interested
museums in the Netherlands, or in the rest of Europe and in other
countries than Indonesia in Asia. Eventually, Indonesia accepted 1,500
objects, selected by their own officials. At the end of 2019, the selected
objects were still in the Netherlands. The essay makes several concluding
observations: In cases involving deaccessioning colonially-collected
objects, we must reconsider regulations requiring that the Dutch
National Collection be offered first consideration as a new home for such deaccessioned objects. In return negotiations, Dutch heritage officials should be more sensitive to cultural differences. Whereas we might presume post-colonial nations are equally interested in how the objects were required, this is not universally the case. Throughout the return-process, Indonesia was not interested how the objects had been acquired (e.g. whether via war booty or other means). Rather, Indonesia sought objects that could fill holes in its own national collection.
Finally, Dutch museum officials were unable to achieve their preference
for the objects to be returned to regional museums in Indonesia, as its counterpart in these negotiations was a sovereign state with its own

Placide Mumbembele Sanger: La restitution des biens culturels en situation (pos)coloniale au Congo

Summary: De teruggave van cultureel erfgoed in (post)koloniale situaties in Congo: tussen politieke kwesties en behoud van het erfgoed
Macrons toespraak over de teruggave van Afrikaans erfgoed heeft in
sommige musea, in de wereld van handelaars, verzamelaars en in de westerse publieke opinie emoties losgemaakt. Opmerkelijk is echter het feit dat het debat voor het eerst door een Europees staatshoofd wordt aangezwengeld. Wat de Democratische Republiek Congo en haar voormalige koloniale macht België betreft, eisten sommige Congolese politieke leiders in 1960, in het kader van de onafhankelijkheidsonderhandelingen, de repatriëring van de collecties
van het Belgisch Kongo Museum in Tervuren, dat zich daartegen had verzet. Als België in de jaren zeventig een honderdtal voorwerpen
terugstuurde naar Congo, een honderdtal voorwerpen die het beschouwt als een schenking aan de Zaïrese autoriteiten, is het een overwinning dankzij de toespraken van president Mobutu in 1973 op het derde congres van de International Association of Art Critics in Kinshasa en op de 28ste Algemene Vergadering van de Verenigde Naties in New York over de teruggave van cultureel erfgoed aan Afrikaanse landen. Anderzijds wordt in dit artikel uitgelegd dat, ondanks de belangstelling die Macrons toespraak
over de teruggave in de wereld heeft gewekt, het debat in de DRC nog
niet open is in de academische, politieke of publieke opinie.
Dit artikel herinnert eraan dat het verzoek om teruggave van culturele
goederen door Afrikaanse landen gerechtvaardigd is. Ook wordt een
beroep gedaan op kunstwerken om te circuleren tussen het Noorden en
het Zuiden vice versa, wat dialoog en samenwerking tussen musea vereist.
Een van de essentiële voorwaarden voor deze dialoog, zoals Sarr en
Savoye in hun verslag zo goed hebben beschreven, is ook om de
betrekkingen opnieuw te overwegen en zo een “nieuwe relationele ethiek”
tussen Afrika en Europa te creëren.

Category: 2019, Summaries


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Het uitkoken van de narheid en zijn verwantschap met de geneeskunst en de alchemistische beeldtaal

Summary: The Vaporisation of Folly and its similarity with early modern medicine
and alchemical discourse

The Vaporisation of Folly [‘Het uitkoken van de narheid’] fits within a framework of early modern evocations of the healing and makeability of men who are overcome by temporal madness,stupidity or narheid. This motif, portraying a wonder-working doctor
attempting to expel negative qualities from the patient’s brain by means of a furnace or a distillation device, has appeared in Western European visualculture since the end of the 16th century. Firstly, this treatise provides iconographic analyses of the most
influential narheid compositions: De narrensnijder (1596) by J.T. de Bry, Le médecin guarissant Phantasie purgeant aussi par drogues la folie (c. 1600) by M. Greuter and Doctor Wurmbrandt (1648). In addition, it elaborates on the subsequent recasting of this motif by second-generation artists so as to reveal content shifts in its use.
Such examination demonstrates that this burlesque operation iconography functioned as a blanc canvas on which the (often politically or religiously tinted) vicissitudes of everyday life were projected. Finally, this treatise offers detailed insight into the contextual meaning of the phantasmagoria that were believed to be expelled during the vaporisation procedure. The narheid imagery depicts an internal healing process; contemporary alchemical discourse and medical doctrine therefore need to be taken into account when studying this motif. Artists drew inspiration from such sources on a theoretical as well as a visual level. The Vaporisation of Folly bears a number of visual similarities to contemporary iconography  of exorcism rituals and the treatment of syphilis by fumigation. Theoretical analogies lie mainly in the belief that insanity and melancholy are caused by an excess of cerebral fluid.

Category: 2019, Summaries


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Erfgoed toegankelijk maken voor een divers publiek. Multiperspectief in het erfgoedonderwijs

Making heritage accessible to a diverse audience

Multiperspectivity in heritage education

This article presents an instrument for the screening of programme sets for heritage education putting the focus on multiperspectivity. It contributes to the need of a sustainable cooperation between formal education and institutions of heritage education. In a society with increasing diversity it appeals to multiperspectivity by bringing up perspectives of different ethniccultural groups, also those of less visible ones. The Heritage Education Multiperspectivity Matrix (HEMmatrix v1.0) is based first of all on the core objectives of history education, in particular historical thinking, and secondly on ‘Culture in the Mirror’ an application of the theory of culture of Barend van Heusden to the Flemish context. Starting from solid theory a blueprint of the matrix was established and critically altered by experts. Further it was tested for screening existing programme sets for heritage education. In a next phase the matrix was validated as a design instrument. That’s why we name the presented version of the matrix v1.0. Opportunities and limitations of the instrument are discussed.


Category: 2019, Summaries



La place et les usages du culinaire

De plaats van en vertogen over culinaire cultuur in de regionalistische Franse tijdschriften van de Belle Epoque (einde 19de- begin 20ste eeuw)

In welke mate heeft de regionalistische beweging in Frankrijk begin twintigste eeuw bijgedragen aan de ‘territorialisaton’ van verschillende gerechten en producten, of anders uitgedrukt, aan de totstandkoming van streekspecialiteiten? De invloed van deze beweging wordt regelmatig aangehaald door onderzoekers, maar is nooit echt geanalyseerd en tevens ontbreekt een klare chronologie. Deze bijdrage steunt op de analyse van meerdere tijdschriften, uitgegeven tijdens de Belle Epoque, een periode
waarin het regionalisme opkwam en confirmeerde.
Deze bijdrage toont aan dat de meeste tijdschriften in de bestudeerde periode relatief weinig aandacht besteedden aan eetcultuur. Er zijn daarbij twee benaderingen: een eerste meer emotioneel en affectief, schakelde elementen uit de eetcultuur in bij het
creëren van een identiteit; een tweede meer utilitair beklemtoonde het economische en toeristische belang van streekproducten en gerechten voor de Franse provincies en regio’s.
Op een meer fundamenteel niveau versterken deze twee invalshoeken elkaar, evenwel wanneer ze de regionale keuken inschakelden in een discours dat gekenmerkt wordt door bezorgdheid en ongenoegen over de teloorgang van het Franse platteland en het verdwijnen van typische rurale tradities.


Eendracht maakt macht?

Unity makes strength? Culinary expressions of identity and power at the Brussels International Exhibition of 1935

This paper explores the complex semiotic meanings embedded in the choice and the representation of food served at the official banquets at the Brussels’ World Exhibition of 1935.
The aim is to investigate how food was used by the organizing elite as a political and diplomatic means of  expressing cultural identity, regional diversity and national unity. How did Belgium shape its national identity in this diplomatic arena? How did the country deal with the increasing tensions between the Flemish and Walloon linguistic communities? And to what extent do local economic factors possibly play a role in the
choice for certain ingredients or dishes?


Aardappelen met een “brave Nederlandse gehaktbal” en spruitjeslucht

Potatoes with a decent Dutch meatball and a whiff of sprouts air

The ‘bad’ Dutch cuisine and the tastelessness of ‘the Dutchman’, they form recognizable and seemingly self-evident elements of contemporary Dutch culture. Even in Dutch food historiography, this negative assessment of the Dutcheating habits is often repeated or even endorsed, while the construction of images underlying this myth
remains unquestioned. Therefore this article does focus on how culinary journalist Wina Born contributed to the creation and reproduction of this negative national self-image in her texts for the magazine Avenue between 1965 and 1980. During the major cultural and culinary changes of the sixties and seventies in the Netherlands Born was an important mediator between the growing middle class, ‘foreign foods’ and gastronomy.
In her texts for Avenue she developed a cosmopolitan and critical culinary discourse within which taste hierarchies were made and culinary capital was allocated to ingredients, restaurants and foreign cuisines. A qualitative analysis of her culinary
reports and reviews shows that within this discourse ‘the Netherlands’ always functioned as the unique ‘bad’ opposite of the refined and often ‘foreign’ eating habits she advised to her readers. In this way the article provides insight into the functioning
of the negative national self-image as strategy for social distinction. By rejecting the Dutch cuisine and the taste of ‘the Dutchman’, users of the self-image such as Born, show that they, in contrast to the average Dutch person, are able to distinguish what is
tasteful and what is not. In addition, the article shows the flexibility and longevity of the myth, because, even when the eating habits of the Dutch began to differentiate more in the seventies, the negative national selfimage retained its distinctive function in the culinary discourse of Born.


Investigating yhe history of meanongs of a dish

Hoe de betekenis van een gerecht doorheen de tijd verandert
Een enactivistische benadering van de biografie van de Russische salade in Bulgarije in de 20ste eeuw

Dit artikel onderzoekt de geschiedenis van het gerecht “Russische salade” en de betekenis ervan in Bulgarije in de 20ste eeuw, namelijk de opkomst ervan als een feestelijk gerecht met de status van een culinair icoon, overgenomen van modieuze Russische immigranten, waarna die status geleidelijk verloren  ging en het gerecht werd opgenomen in de doordeweekse lokale voedseltraditie. Om deze evolutie te verklaren past de auteur een voor food studies experimentele methode toe: de enactivistische theorie, die in de voorbije jaren door cognitieve filosofen werd ontwikkeld. Zij betoogt dat het niet-reducerende naturalistische kader van deze theorie
een antwoord kan bieden op tot nu toe ongrijpbare en belangrijke vragen, zoals de dynamiek van sociale praktijken en de rol van het lichaam bij de betekenisgeving.
Door de enactivistische benadering te gebruiken bij het bestuderen van de geschiedenis van de betekenissen van een gerecht, toont zij het potentieel ervan aan om het leven van sociale praktijken en autonomie van historische processen van
betekenisgeving te verklaren.


Bollen en boterkoeken

‘Boules’ and butter biscuits The heritagisation of two Dixmude specialties

Visit Flanders, the Flemish-Brussels Tourist Office, promotes ‘IJzerbollen’-
a kind of pastry with pudding – and ‘Boterkoeken’- buttery viennoiserie – as well known specialties from the small town of Diksmude in West-Flanders. As if they have always
existed and everybody associates them with Diksmude. That is not the case: ‘Boterkoeken’ enjoy a much wider fame than ‘IJzerbollen’. Research in cooking books, culinary periodicals, picture libraries and oral history deciphers how both sweets
became to be seen as heritage and hints on explaining the difference. Culinary identities are created, as are all identities. The association between a dish and a location is manmade. The creation of culinary identities is to be seen as heritagisation. That term is used to describe the process within which a community redefines the
meaning of (im)material heritage. That new meaning provides the community with an identity. The process often takes place in times of uncertainty and change, to create
a hold. In the case of food, a dish or an ingredient gets an addition referring to a place, home, or ‘better days in the past’. The context of the heritagisation is variable, as are the communities that act within the process. Conflicting identities are possible. Nothing is set forever. ‘Boterkoeken’ is a registered trademark since 1978. One determined
family of bakers took care of that registration. Since 1978 there has been nothing but continuity in the process of heritagisation. In the case of the ‘IJzerbollen’ the heritagisation community was far from close. At the same time, the heritagisation
timeline shows gaps: moments without the pastry as heritage. In 2011 the name ‘IJzerbollen’ got protection. That moment marked the humble start of the pastries renown. The power of a mark – in its widest sense – cannot be underestimated in the
process of heritagisation, as can’t a close and growing community and the continuity of the process.


Gebakkelei over de Geeraardsbergse mattentaart. De identiteitsconstructie en een streekproduct

Wrangling about the ”Geraardsbergse mattentaart”
The identity construction of a regional product

In this article the evolution of the identity construction of the ‘Geraardsbergse mattentaart’ is being analyzed. The authors explore the multiple, and often contradictory, histories and cultural dynamics instigated by this regional product.
After a short factual description of the local pie (and its recipe), they present
a historical sketch of the culture of the mattentaart, focusing on pivotal points in its evolution. In the second part, the authors analyze – on the basis of historical and journalistic sources, visual material and interviews – the discursive dynamics the mattentaart has initiated and the heritagisationstrategies operationalized to strengthen the identification claim on the product. The central question guiding their analysis is: How can a seemingly banal cake activate and invigorate an entire community and generate a never-ending stream of stories? It is argued whether precisely this processof heritagisation, which is surely applicable to other regional products,
constitutes the specificity of the culture of the mattentaart.


Pleidooi voor meerstemmigheid. Antwerpse Handjes en Jodenvervolging

A plea for multiperspectivity
The Antwerp Hand cookies and the persecution of Jews

Jos Hakker was an enterprising confectioner in the Provinciestraat in Antwerp in 1934 when he launched a new specialty: the Antwerp Handje. A box of Antwerp Hand cookies is the most famous tourist souvenir of the city of Antwerp today. When you
open a box of Antwerp Handjes, you discover – next to the cookies – the legend of the giant Antigoon who had lifted toll on the River Scheldt until the Roman soldier Brabo chopped off his hand … after which the city of Antwerp started to flourish thanks to free trade. Less known is the fact that Jos Hakker was of Jewish Dutch  origin and that he and his family were victims of the persecution of Jews during the Second World War.
This aspect of history has never been discussed in the broad marketing and communication concerning the Antwerp Handje. The marketing of regional products
asks for some multiperspectivity. All the more because the Antwerp Hands cookies became truly successful in the 1950s and 1960s, at a time when  even Jews who survived the war kept silent about the Holocaust. The reasons for this lack of attention for the inventor can be understood from this context, but today we think it is extremely relevant to tell not only the legend but also the story of Jos Hakker, and particularly the story of his persecution and his resilience as a Jew and a confectioner in Antwerp.
That is why we strongly suggest a new text in the brochure about the Antwerp Hand cookies.


Category: 2018, Summaries


LIESBETH GEUSSENS, Onroerende goederen – Emotionaliteit en betekenisgeving in -estamenten van Leuvense mannen en vrouwen, 1770-1780

Emotional goods Sensitivity and signification intestaments of Louvain men and women,1770-1780

Historians studying emotions have recently been using last wills to research the emotional implications of material culture and social networks. In this regard, this article
tries to show in what way and to which extent the citizens of Leuven who formulated their last will between 1770 and 1780, expressed their affections in these highly personal documents. The author has analysed the separate bequests and how they
are phrased, the beneficiaries and their relationship to the testator, and other stipulations, of which religious depositions are most important. This contribution shows that the Leuven  citizens of the late 18th century were indeed concerned with expressing emotions in their will. They did so in relation to both the objects they
bequeathed and the beneficiaries.
By governing the destination of their individualized possessions and by passing on family memory, the testators tried to uphold their own identity as well as the identity of the family.

Category: 2018, Summaries


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Thijs and the study of devo¬tional prints
The late professor Alfons Thijs was an expert in the field of devotional prints from Antwerp (17th-19th Cen¬turies). After his death the university library of Antwerp acquired more than 1.000 prints, related to the city. The library made its ‘Thijs Collec¬tion’ available on line opac/opacuactobj. The first part of this article stresses Thijs’ scientific research and publications and shows Thijs as a collector of all sorts of devotional prints. The second part is devoted to the history of the research of this print work. It starts with Adolf Spamer’s Das kleine Andachtsbild vom XIV. bis zum XX. Jahrhundert (1930). The first study dealing with Antwerp was published in the same year: Les images de dévotion anversoises du XVle au XIXe siècle by Emile Van Heurck. They mainly studied their object in a ‘rather’ traditionally historical way: printers, print methods, iconography, taxonomy and functions. Since the turn of the millennium and the rise of ‘material Christianity studies’ de¬votional prints are looked at in a new way: the focus is now on the function¬ing of the object in everyday life and in the construction of the religious identity of the user. The article closes off with the presentation of some new research results of this recent meth-odology.

Learning by attention
Visiting and commemorating the dead in the Aymara culture and the Low Countries
The text starts with a short compara¬tive reflection – commemorating the dead in the Low Countries versus what indigenous groups do in “the Andes”– and gradually concentrates on visiting and commemorating practices among Bolivian Aymara families, in order to reflect upon some philosophical-anthropological considerations about what social life might be, in its broad¬est sense. In a concrete way, this ar¬ticle is about their visiting, honouring and commemorating the dead (and in a certain way also being visited by them). It will show how “the social component” always is intimately en¬tangled with “the ecological element” in an ever-extending meshwork of life-embracing relations, much clear¬er than in our traditions. The article analyses how the Aymara carry on their lives –“socialize”– in intense and attentive ways, not only with their guiding ancestors but also, in a very related way, with other inhabitants and elements of the world, such as animals, sacred places and protecting mountains. This proposal also urges us to ask ourselves about the learning dynamics involved here: how people, through these visiting and com¬memorating practices, learn to cul¬tivate and cherish “attention” for the interwovenness of all life processes and for the way human life lines “cor¬ respond” with other lines of life. This “attention” is vital in many senses. Both questions, the entanglement of the social and the ecological elements and the education through attention-enhancing practices of exposure, can be asked about other places, such as Flanders and the Netherlands, taking into account the different contexts, elaborations and accentuations.

Ma’nene’ or how to keep the dead alive?
In this article the author brings us to Toraja, a mountainous area in South Sulawesi (Indonesia). The ancestral belief of the inhabitants led/leads to extensive funeral rites. The Dutch col¬onisation from the beginning of the 20th century onwards slowly but sure¬ly influenced these rituals. Still, the touristic scene discovered this place in the seventies and since then Toraja is a well visited region, due to these still extensive rituals, as the tourists are welcome at the burial feasts. Recently, tourists are now also visiting a ceremony that was largely a private matter. During the ma’nene’ ceremony the family of the deceased take the coffin out of the tomb to clean the grave. Meanwhile they open the coffin and give the mummified corpse new clothes, food and ciga¬rettes. At the end of the ceremony the coffin is put back in the grave. The fact that this kind of second funeral is being promoted as a touristic high¬light by the local touristic office can either be a danger or an opportunity for this ceremony.
The author explores how dark tourism and ma’nene’ can influence one another in a region where Christi¬ Christi-anity is the major religion, but where the inhabitants also keep up some of the ancestral rituals, closely connect¬ed to religion.

Intangible Heritage & The Muse¬um in an age of superdiversity
In this article the authors focus on the question of how museums can find new roles in a more (ethnically) diversified society. The challenge of what English sociologist Steven Ver¬tovec has called the challenge of su-perdiversity is huge. This refers to a new demographic reality, a diver¬sification of diversity in which city populations are more dynamic than ever before. Where until recently the challenge was mainly restricted to the integration of a limited group of mi¬grants in a dominant ‘white’ heritage discourse, we now see much more di-versification in which the notion of majority versus minority cultures is no longer relevant.
For the intangible heritage sec¬tor the focus on superdiversity opens new perspectives to interpret intan¬gible heritage from a more dynamic, global perspective – heritage that is always on the move and becomes meaningful in ever changing fluid contexts. This focus shows that intan¬gible heritage is NOT being carried by stable homogeneous groups, „dis¬tinct from the rest of society and lost in time”, as Ramon de la Combé once provocatively formulated it. Instead, heritage is about dynamics, flow and fusion. It is determined by multiple perspectives. For museums the focus on intan¬gible heritage may open ways of deal¬ing with superdiversity. The focus on intangible heritage implies a shift from ‘heritage preservation’ to ‘safe¬guarding heritage’ and ‘heritage in the making’, and a shift from ‘heritage of the past’ to ‘heritage in the present and future’ – for intangible heritage is by definition contemporary, dy¬namic culture. ‘Participatory collect¬ing’, ‘connecting people’, ‘listening to multiple networks around intangible heritage’ and ‘being part of these net¬works’ are the important key words. Through co-creations between museums and the bearers of intangi¬ble heritage museums can support the safeguarding of heritage while at the same time they will draw attention to the superdiversity of society. Co-creation offers opportunities to nego¬tiate intangible heritage among dif¬ferent stakeholders (amongst which the museums themselves) and to de¬velop heritage for the future. It is an open ended, experimental approach towards intangible heritage, for what we would like to call a network-labo¬ratory approach.

Category: 2018, Summaries


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Between taboo and tolerance
30 years of AIDS commemoration in the Netherlands
The article deals with the commemoration of AIDS during the last three decades in the Netherlands. It focuses on AIDS Memorial Quilts and the rituals related to them. The quilts were made to fight intolerance against AIDS and homosexuality and to shape a commemoration community. The successful control of the epidemic and the increase of tolerance led to a change from grief over the AIDS victims to the celebration of life. The quilts have lost their function. They are now given to several museums to represent the history of AIDS, AIDS commemoration and tolerance towards homosexuals in the Netherlands. The article raises the question in how far AIDS commemoration is related to nationalism in the Netherlands and images about ‘Dutchness’.

Everyday Humour in the Initial Years of the Dutch Revolt
In the opening years of the Dutch Revolt, in the 1560s and early 1570s circulating oral humour was a symbolic means to negotiate political norm changes. This kind humour created a Lachgemeinschaft, a laughing community among the Dutch people. Their laughter was based on the well-known traditions of joyfulness
on the ice and carnival upheaval as well as jokes on swaggering soldiers and impertinent artisans. The future was uncertain and carnivalesque symbols, jokes and travesties creating temporary powers were a boisterous means to test the rules of authority. But, this also caused friction and created particular laughing communities, for instance those of the gueux or beggars, the noblemen who in 1566 disputed with the governor general concerning the relaxation of the edicts on religious tolerance. Nevertheless, carnival humour was paramount and allowed for a playful investigation of temporary authority as a way to deal with uncertain political roads to take. Flemish drunkenness and jokes on a peasant farting in front of emperor Charles V were the illustrations of this comic worldview among the Dutch population, whatever their actual appreciation of the course of events. In the course of the 1570s, however, continued fighting and comic propaganda stirring up hate of the enemy prevailed and the Lachgemeinschaft of the Netherlanders fragmented and broke down.

Category: 2017, Summaries


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“The White Wrap Speaks For Itself”
Dynamics and Prescriptive Order in the Traditional Dress of Staphorst, c. 1950-2017
It is not for the first time that the people of the village of Staphorst in The Netherlands make out the subject of an article in Volkskunde. In 2017 a substantial but slowly diminishing number of women still wears the lo¬cal traditional costume every day. The costume tells us, among other things, whether they mourn about a beloved person or an acquaintance. The unwritten rules how to mourn help these women to cope with the situation in a manner they know well. On the one hand the mourning dress imposes a straight jacket. Their so¬cial network appears a factor not to be missed. One’s clothes are a major preoccupation, but many people seem even more preoccupied with someone else’s costume. Despite the rules, one has a certain freedom to apply them to one’s own ideas. This article de¬scribes how the rules are becoming clearer when not followed correctly. Many examples from everyday life in Staphorst, starting from a period of preparation before a burial to the mourning period thereafter, makes clear that there is a layered set of rules for mourning. One may shorten the period of mourning, or alleviate the rules themselves. A mourning dress may also be chosen based on social or religious needs. No need to say that a creative use of rules is talked about in
the village, even if one doesn’t strictly apply the rules, for instance because of a lack of a group to provide social feedback. The women wearing a tra¬ditional costume will often be the last and only members of their fam¬ily adhering to this habit. There are no mothers and daughters to correct them.
In this way, this article introduces the reader to a group that seems to stick to common ways of coping with be-reavements within their way of cloth¬ing. However, their regional and reli¬giously inspired rules give the women of Staphorst a certain freedom to cope with a situation in their own way. This article thus provides a fascinating in-sight into the mentality of a Dutch re¬gion, and into the implications of this mentality in clothing.

Folklore and Medicine
A 19th Century Struggle Against Superstition
In the late eighteenth and early nine¬teenth century folklorist research became popular throughout Europe. The research purposes varied widely. Whereas in Germany folklore was mostly used to revive and conserve folk culture, its foremost purpose in the Netherlands was to repel superstition. This article focuses on an enquiry into superstition conducted by J.C. de Man, a doctor from the province of Zeeland.

De Man sent out letters containing several questions regarding supersti¬tious beliefs to several correspondents in Zeeland. Although his resentment against superstition is clear, De Man never specified the specific purpose of his research. The only remain¬ing results are two lectures about divination in Zeeland. The study of these documents and two additional lectures from De Man on medieval diseases and demographics in combi¬nation with the remaining correspon¬dence from the inquiry have allowed me to look into De Man’s motivation for his inquiry, as well as his inspira¬tion. One of his correspondents, J.P. Snoep, had been participant in a prior inqui¬ry of the Nederlandsche Maatschap¬pij tot bevordering der Geneeskunst (NMG) into superstition. As De Man was in the same medical association as Snoep, he must have known about the inquiry and it is therefore very likely that it must have been a ma¬jor source of inspiration. It becomes clear from his lectures that De Man sees superstition as a threat to medi¬cal progress and success. As a doctor he experienced the devastating effects of epidemics in Zeeland, which must have motivated him to take proactive measures in any relevant field. Conse¬quently, De Man’s inquiry should be seen as a survey of the threat towards medical progression, the threat being superstitious beliefs.

Category: 2017, Summaries


Fantastical Stories in Plural:
or, The Reach of Giants
Historical narrative research is increasingly facilitated by internet sources, especially in the Netherlands where a service like Delpher (a combination of “delver” = miner, and “Delphi” = the oracle) provides access to millions of pages from historical newspapers, journals and books; the latter also includes the dbnl (digital library for Dutch literature). With all these newly accessible texts, attention to contexts tends to suffer. While this introduction merely mentions issues like literacy and multilingualism, it explores stories about giants (very tall human-like beings) in some detail. It concludes that they were mentioned in the Bible and chronicles, thus belonging to the category of belief, but also the subject of hyperbole, particularly in relation to the creation of the landscape. Stories about giants were situated between “belief” and “jest”. In the course of the eighteenth century, and for some as yet unknown reasons in the Northern rather than the Southern Netherlands, the balance between the two shifted towards “jest”. It is suggested that this field of cultural tension may also provide one of the contexts in which to understand the issues which are subject to the other contributions to this volume.

An unlikely story:
The Latin ‘fairy’ tales of a medieval Cistercian
Throughout literary history, fairy tale-like stories have frequently met with resistance from critics who deemed their playful disregard of historical-empirical realism unfit for more “enlightened” readers. Meanwhile, authors of such stories have often anticipated and responded to this line of criticism in their writings so as to vindicate them(selves). The present contribution discusses the particular case of the Latin framed tale compilation Dolopathos, sive de rege et septem sapientum (Dolopathos, or the King and the Seven Sages, 1184-1212), written by the Cistercian monk John of Alta Silva. Among its embedded exempla, it also features a marvellous story about supernaturally descended children who are victimised by their wicked grandmother and transformed into swans. Through a multi-layered analysis of this story, its encompassing frame narrative and the pro- and epilogue that accompany the entire work, this article aims to shed light on the sorts of methods writers such as John have relied on to imbue their creations with an aura of truthfulness and put them to a specific use, in this case of a religious-monastic nature. These include the introduction of morally exemplary elements to a given story, the fictional dramatization of that story’s truthfulness in the specific context of its frame tale, and direct interpretative and literary-theoretical reflections by the narrator/author – all of them methods that would be employed again by fairy-tale authors in centuries to come.

Flying Carpets in the Arabian Nights:
Disney, Dyâb … and d’Aulnoy?
In May 1709, 19-year old Hanna Dyâb told Antoine Galland a lengthy story about Prince Ahmed and Pari Banou, which Galland subsequently took into the final volume of his Mille et Une Nuits (1704-1717). It was a straightforward fairyland fiction that played out in two worlds, one Pari Banou’s enchanted subterranean world, the other the ordinary world of Prince Ahmed, his two brothers, and their father. The first half of the tale, which involves competition for a bride, is resolved amicably when the three brothers cooperate to heal their cousin. Three magic objects are involved: a telescope, a flying carpet, and a healing apple.
Hanna Dyâb’s flying carpet, like “Prince Ahmed and the Fairy Pari Banou” as a whole, has no antecedent in Arabic narrative tradition. It seems to have been Dyâb’s own invention. That is the first surprising conclusion. The second, however, has to do with the imaginary from which a flying carpet may have emerged. Since “Prince Ahmed and the Fairy Pari Banou” is so heavily dependent for its plot and motifs on a tale by Marie-Catherine d’Aulnoy published in the 1690s, it is reasonable to further examine her oeuvre for motivic antecedents for a flying carpet. Such an examination, in fact, brings to light a likely crossover point for Dyâb’s culturally and literarily consequential creation of a flying carpet, in addition to his utilization of a full thirteen plot and motif links binding “Prince Ahmed and the Fairy Pari Banou” to “La Chatte blanche.” This article confirms and extends a line of inquiry into Western and European contributions to the Eastern Arabian Nights.

Telling through your teeth:
(re-)oralisation of seventeenth- and eighteenth-century literature
One of the bones of contention of present-day folktale research concerns the relation between the written and oral tradition of stories. Especially the “fairy tale” genre, however, provides many examples of written or printed versions which preceded the oral tradition and may well have initiated it. The question posed in this contribution is whether this also applies to other narrative genres such as the joke, the anecdote or the legend. The digitalisation of Dutch books and journals provides rich material for a fruitful exchange between proponents of oral and printed transmission. Seventeenth-and eighteenth-century examples of anecdotes are discussed that in the nineteenth century were deemed to be oral but, in a number of cases clearly derived from earlier printed versions. Could they have been based on older oral versions? Here examples are discussed of ATU 750B, ATU 1527A, ATU 1735, ATU 1293 and ATU 1837.

Dutch newspapers (1850-1950) as legend medium
The study of newspaper legends emerged as a vital research topic in the nineteen fifties and has so far focused on the past half century. The present study explores the potential of digitized newspaper archives to analyze the discursive construction of newspaper legends in Dutch dailies during the years 1850-1950. Emic concepts of Dutch journalists are contextualized in shifts regarding content, genre and work routines of the Dutch daily press. During this period, the most frequently used label for traditional stories of uncertain veracity was zeeslang, i.e. sea serpent. These stories were said to be particularly frequent during the slow news season in summer, the so-called komkommertijd (lit. ‘cucumber time’). Identifying and condemning these stories as false or unreliable served the rhetorical function of bolstering the journalists’ ethos as a credible professional. Discussing sea serpent and cucumber stories, journalists demarcated their routines and output from those of less professional news purveyors (Gieryn’s ‘boundary work’). The most commonly named scapegoat were allegedly money-driven American journalistic practices.

The lover as witch:
A different look at Dutch-language migratory legends on witchcraft
Migratory legends about witches are usually catalogued according to their magical content. In the Low Countries, however, over a hundred of those legends, classified as different “types”, contain the same warning: “do not marry a witch”. This contribution relates the difficulties of finding the relevant texts of the legend “the lover as witch” through ostensibly similar ways of categorising. As far as can be gathered from Scottish and Scandinavian catalogues of migratory legends, this particular theme is unknown beyond the Low Countries. Only in collections from western Germany a few examples have been found. This relativises the migratory in the migratory legend. It also calls for a reconsideration of the way witchcraft legends are classified, especially if they are to be integrated into a broader historical study about the witchcraft discourse. The last sections discusses how the narrative could be used in the way marriages were restricted, as well as the occurrence of the legend in comparison to nineteenth- and early twentieth-century newspaper reports.

Category: 2017, Summaries


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B. DENIS, Home, sweet home?! Publiek en privaat onder de loep in negentiende-eeuws Antwerpen (1880)

Summary: Home, sweet Home?!
The Public and Private Element in Domestic Culture (Antwerp, 1880)
Contrary to the strong Anglo-Saxon tradition that predominantly draws on normative sources to study the
middle class home and domestic culture, the focus is here on a broader socio-professional group. Based on a sample of official inventories, the analysis charts the domestic interiors
in Antwerp in ‘the age of domesticity’ and sheds a light on some nuances and contradictions regarding the public/private doctrine. The singularity of the home in Antwerp is to be taken into account. The urban context determined the margin for negotiating the domestic ideal when dividing and using the available space.
Against the background of a rapidly changing society, a cosy home offered consolation and refuge. Domesticity became a synonym for (illusive) privacy, because the decoration of the frontstage parlor and the dining room reveals that these rooms were intended not only as home comfort but also as representation. The lower middle-class had to be creative since the separation of the workplace from the household was often impossible. Social class, status and gender played a role as regards domesticity.

G. BUELENS, ‘En redders zult gij zijn van heel het Vaderland!’
De artistieke en culturele beeldvorming van en herinnering aan de Eerste Wereldoorlog als een Vlaamse, Belgische of internationale aangelegenheid sinds 1914

Summary: ‘Saviours you will be of the Whole Fatherland!’
Remembrance of the First World War as a Flemish, Belgian and International Affair (1914-2014).

This article analyses a wide variety of cultural artefacts that in the past century have been shaped by poets and other cultural agents. From the beginning of the Great War most Belgians only wanted to get rid of the Germans and to restore national sovereignty. The war became an outright struggle for the survival of Belgium and this fact united the
(Dutch speaking) Flemish and the (French speaking) Walloons against
the common enemy. But, as the war dragged on, Flemish civilians in the occupied territories (as well as in neutral Holland) and an
influential contingent of soldiers at the front started to see the war as a purely inner-Belgian conflict which (hopefully) would ultimately lead to Flemish independence. Thus, the war deepened political and cultural divisions in Belgium, leading to the
emergence of a Flemish nationalist party at the first post-war elections (1919). From the twenties onwards Flemish filmmakers, novelists, poets and journalists were instrumental in promoting
this vision on the Great War. But when the Cold War drew to an end, a few Flemish novelists, e.g. Hugo Claus and Tom Lanoye, began criticizing the old view. They disagreed with the way ‘Flemish radicals and fascists’ had appropriated the Great War. The idea
that the First World War was a global conflict has prevailed ever since. This international orientation has also inspired many centenary activities. Nevertheless, the focus seems to have shifted lately from critical self-analysis to ‘peace tourism’, to the multifaceted war experience of ‘Flanders Fields’ and to the political balance of power in the new federal Belgium.

J. VERRIET, ‘Een ongevaarlijk avontuur’ Beeldvorming omtrent buitenlandse eetculturen in Nederland, 1950-1970

Summary: ‘A Safe Adventure’.Foreign Cuisine as mediated in the
Netherlands, 1950-1970 In the post-war decades ‘foreign’ foods
and international cooking became a new trend in the Netherlands.

The role of the mediators has however hardly been examined, even though their subtle negotiation between housewives and producers formed a consistent plea for cultural change.
Therefore this paper offers a muchneeded closer look into the definitive birth of one of the biggest food trends of the twentieth century. In order to plot the presentation of ‘foreign’ food in the Netherlands at that time it zooms in on the magazine-factor:
magazines as the most significant mediators of food choice in the 1950s and 1960s. The cultural significance of the (gradual) changes is explained by means of a systematic survey of the patterns found in recipes and advertisements. They are coded and subjected to a close reading to generate both quantitative and qualitative data. In this way a complex dual strategy in the representation of ‘foreign’ food is revealed. The mediators presented ‘foreign’ food as strange to render it more exciting, but kept some of its aspects more recognizable to keep these ‘foreign’ products and recipes accessible. Surprisingly, these commentators were not naive about the complexity of the new cuisine during this crucial phase in the globalization of cooking. Instead of focusing on uthenticity,
however, they took a pragmatic approach in presenting the new
ingredients as ‘a safe adventure’. The mediators’ awareness and deliberate use of language and images played a significant role in appreciating the new food.

Category: Summaries