Colloque – True Warriors? Negotiating Dissent in the Intellectual Debate (c. 1100-1700)

Leuven, 11-13 December 2019

Conference program

Online registration

Capture d’écran 2019-11-17 à 15.05.01

Dissent, polemics and rivalry have always been at the center of intellectual development. The scholarly Streitkultur was given a fresh impetus by the newly founded universities in the High Middle Ages and later turned into a quintessential part of early modern intellectual life. It was not only mirrored in various well-known intellectual debates and controversies – e.g. between Aristotelians and Augustinians, scholastics and humanists, Catholics and Protestants – but also embodied in numerous literary genres and non-literary modes of expression – e.g. disputationes, invectives, consilia, images, carnivalesque parades, music, etc. – and discursive or political strategies – patronage, networks and alliances. Moreover, the harsh debates notwithstanding, consensus was also actively searched for, both within particular disciplines and within society as a whole.

The aforementioned genres and strategies are all modes of negotiating dissent, which raises several important questions regarding these intellectual ‘warriors’. What were the most important issues at stake and how were they debated? Did the debates in the public sphere reflect the private opinions of the scholars involved? What access do we have to those private opinions? Can we approach such controversies in terms of authenticity and truthfulness, or consistency and coherence? Is there a contrast between ego-documents and the published part of an author’s oeuvre?

Starting from these questions, the aim of this conference is to study the polemical strategies and the modes of rivalry and alliance in scholarly debate from the 12th through the 17th centuries.

Confirmed keynote speakers:

  • Laura Beck Varela (Universidad Autónoma de Madrid)
  • Leen Spruit (Radboud Universiteit Nijmegen)
  • Anita Traninger (Freie Universität Berlin)

Conference venue:

Conference fee:

  • The conference is free for KU Leuven participants.
  • Registration fee for non-KU Leuven participants: 30 EUR. The registration fee includes access to all conference presentations, conference materials, all coffee breaks, 2 lunches (December 12 and 13, 2019) and the opening reception on Wednesday December 11, 2019.

The conference fee should be paid after you have completed your online registration. The conference fee can be paid by bank transfer:

  • account number IBAN: BE60 7340 0666 0370
  • name and address of beneficiary: KU Leuven, Oude Markt 13, 3000 Leuven, Belgium
  • BIC/Swift code: KREDBEBB
  • reason of payment/gestructureerde mededeling: 400/0018/88509 (It is mandatory to mention this number!)
  • Please be sure your name is also clearly visible.

Online registration:

Please register before November 27, 2019.

Conference poster

Conference program

Abstracts of presentations (to be added soon)

Organizing committee: Guy Claessens, Wim Decock, Fabio Della Schiava, Wouter Druwé, Wim François, Erika Gielen, Céline Szecel


For more information, please contact LECTIO.

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