Mariken Teeuwen appointed as Professor in Leiden
From 1 March 2022 Mariken Teeuwen has been appointed Professor by special appointment at the University of Leiden for a period of 5 years (0.2 FTE). Her teaching will concern the culture of writing in the Middle Ages. She will be part of the Humanities Faculty, Leiden Institute for History.
The medieval manuscript book is an object of overwhelming richness: in it we find miniatures illuminated with gold leaf or rare works of ancient poetry; Middle Dutch songs full of social criticism or a collection of law texts in Old Frisian; hand books for falconry or manuals for a surgeon or midwife. These books relate stories about our medieval past, not only with their content, but also through their materiality: are they costly books, embellished and illuminated, or dirty and worn out by intense handling? Do they contain marks of ownership that let us decipher their biographies? Does the binding tell us something about who ordered or owned the book? Do script and decoration reveal the social standing or intellectual circle in which the book was used? The many layers of the medieval manuscript book can be analysed as if it were an archaeological site.
Just as in archaeology, furthermore, so too in the study of the medieval book radical changes have been caused by the digital turn: not only in libraries, but also in online collections digital reproductions of books can now be studied and analysed in new ways. This development brought us new methodological insights. We started using standards to store and publish images and metadata. We are finding ways to search across collections, to transcribe automatically and to analyse images using computational methods. This opens up new paths of research, but also asks for a new set of skills for the next generation of manuscript researchers.
With this appointment, Mariken will be able to guide students in their exploration of the medieval book in all its facets and to teach them the old and new skills that they need.
Mariken Teeuwen is musicologist and medievalist. She is senior researcher at Huygens Institute and head of the research group Innovating Digital Editions.