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2 NWO PhD projects in the Humanities awarded

25 June 2018

Funding for two projects in the Faculty of Arts was awarded in the latest round of NWO PhDs in the Humanities. The projects involved are:

Tombs, memory, reputation: Artists' memorials in fifteenth- and sixteenth-century Rome
Candidate: ms. C.J. (Charlotte) van der Toolen, MA
Supervisor: prof.dr. B.A.M. (Bart) Ramakers

This project is a contribution to the field of cultural memory studies, particularly of memory sites, that is, of spaces and objects that were consciously created or used to construct, frame, or manage individual or collective identities and reputations. It aims to investigate how in fifteenth- and sixteenth-century Rome artists' reputations were not merely reflected, but also shaped by their memorialization. For the sake of comprehensiveness, not only tombs of well-known artists will be included, but also those of less- and un-known artists - both local and foreign -, as well as tombs that are no longer extant.

Tomb monuments manage memory. Their inscriptions and decorations provide a selective summary of the deeds, virtues, and qualities that make the deceased worthy of recall. Artists' memorials do not only construct their reputation as individuals, but also of the visual arts as a profession, and of artists as a social group. During the investigated period, the reputation of the visual arts underwent a notable change, as artists increasingly came to be valued as creative individuals rather than as mere craftsmen. By studying artists' tomb monuments we not only improve our comprehension of the various ways in which artists were commemorated and esteemed, but also increase our understanding of their rising social status.

In addition, the tombs shed light on the patrons who commissioned them for their own self-fashioning. Thus, this project will investigate not only how artists were presented through their tombs, but also by whom, with what intention and to what effect.

Pigs, People and Politics in the Late Bronze Age – Early Iron Age Aegean
Candidate: ms. F.G. (Francesca) Slim
Supervisor: prof.dr. D.C.M. Raemaekers

Pigs are one of the most remarkable animals of cultural history. Not only is the relationship between people and pigs extremely varied, throughout history pig data also functions as a mirror to ancient societies. This is not only true for pigs in contemporary society, seen as delicacies, taboos, pets, or connotated through imagery and metaphors; in ancient societies too, pigs were eminently the domesticate which reacted most strongly to changes and differences in society.

Interpretative frameworks zooarchaoelogists use to understand humans and pigs in the past are however outdated, and present simplified, generalized and acontextual reconstructions of the relationship between pigs and people in the past. There is need for a high-resolution, holistic and contextual interpretative framework. The Aegean during the Late Bronze Age/Early Iron Age (1500-700 BC) presents such a period in vast need of a more contextual and high-resolution study of pigs: tumultuous socio-political, economic and demographic changes occur during this period, while archaeological evidence signals highly complex relationships between pigs and people.

Through a sociological approach in combination with a Big Data and Principal Component Analysis, this proposal focuses on testing a wide set of variables and their influence on people and pigs in the past. This study will re-test frequently applied assumptions in zooarchaeology, as well as test a wide variety of variables of influence of people and pigs in contrast to the Late Bronze Age - Early Iron Age Aegean for inductive model building of a new interpretative framework on human-pig relationships in the past.

Last modified:09 May 2019 5.36 p.m.

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