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Irene van Renswoude

  • Name: Dr. Irene van Renswoude
  • Position: researcher
  • Department: History of Science
  • Specialization: textual culture of Late Antiquity and early Middle Ages, rhetoric, debate and censorship
  • E-mail:
  • +31(0)20-2246838


Irene van Renswoude studied Language and Culture Studies in Utrecht, with a specialization in medieval history and literature. She held various positions at Utrecht University including that of junior researcher and project assistant to the NWO research project Communication in the early Middle Ages led by Prof. Marco Mostert (UU). In 2004 she started a PhD programme in early medieval history at the Research Institute for History and Culture (OGC) On 6 June 2011 she was awarded a PhD (cum laude) for her thesis entitled: Licence to speak. The rhetoric of free speech in Late Antiquity and the  early Middle Ages, for which she received the Praemium Erasmianum Research Award in 2012. In addition, she has published on such subjects as censorship, perceptions of time, identity constructions and (the lack of) trust in the written word. As of 2011 she works at the Huygens ING as a postdoctoral researcher in the project Marginal scholarship. The practice of learning in the early Middle Ages (c.800-c.1000) led by Prof.dr. Mariken Teeuwen.

Research and other projects

Practices of Censorship, postdoc project as part of the research project  Marginal scholarship. The practice of learning in the early Middle Ages (c.800-c.1000).

Additional Positions

  • Researcher Onderzoeksinstituut Geschiedenis en Kunstgeschiedenis Universiteit Utrecht
  • Editor Open Access Journal  Medieval Worlds
  • Member of the Jury, KNAW Onderwijsprijs 2015


  • Irene van Renswoude, ‘Licence to Speak. The Rhetoric of Free speech in Late Antiquity and the Early Middle Ages’, in: The Cultural Significance of the Natural Sciences (Praemium Erasmianum Yearbook 2012, Amsterdam 2013) pp.49-50
  • With Christoph Baumgartner, ‘Censorship, Free Speech and Religion’, in Paul Hedges (ed.), Controversies in Contemporary Religions, vol.2: Public and Ethical Controversies (Praeger Multi-Volume series, Oxford, in press).
  • ‘The sincerity of fiction. Rather and the quest for self-knowledge’, in: R. McKitterick, R. Corradini, M. Gillis and I. van Renswoude (eds.), Ego Trouble. Authors and their Identities in the Early Middle Ages (Vienna, 2010) 309-334.
  • ‘The word once sent forth can never come back: Trust in writing and the dangers of publication’, in: P. Schulte, M. Mostert, I. van Renswoude (eds.), Strategies of Writing. Studies on Text and Trust in the Middle Ages (Utrecht Studies in Medieval Literacy 13, Turnhout, 2008) 393-413.