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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. 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 (CUP forthcoming), for which she received the Praemium Erasmianum Research Award in 2012 and the Heineken Young Scientist Award for History in 2014. In addition, she has published on such subjects as censorship, debate and cultural constructions of identity. As of 2011 she works at the Huygens ING as a postdoctoral researcher. In 2015, she applied together with Mariken Teeuwen (PI), for a NWO-Free Competititon project titled ‘The Art of Reasoning: Techniques of Scientific Argumentation in the Medieval Latin West (c. 400- c. 1400)’. This project runs from June 2016- June 2020.

Research and other projects

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

The Art of Reasoning: Techniques of Scientific Argumentation in the Medieval Latin West (c. 400- c. 1400)

Boundaries and the transfer of knowledge. Creating a knowledge society in a globalizing world (1450-1800)

Additional Positions

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

Major publications

  • ‘The censor’s rod.Textual criticism, judgment and canon formation in late Antiquity and the early Middle Ages’, in: M. J. Teeuwen, I. van Renswoude (eds.), The Annotated Book in the Early Middle Ages. Practices of Reading and Writing, Turnhout: Brepols, Utrecht studies in medieval literacy 38, 2018, 587-627.
  • ‘The art of disputation: dialogue, dialectic and debate’, in: Early Medieval Europe 27: 1 (2017), pp 38-53.
  • With Janneke Raaijmakers, ‘The ruler as referee in theological debates: Reccared and Charlemagne’, in: R. Meens, D. van Espelo et al. (eds.), Religious Franks. Religion and Power in the Frankish Kingdoms. Studies in Honour of Mayke de Jong (Manchester University Press, 2016).
  • 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, 2014).


Research output in Pure

Activities in Pure

Awards in Pure