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Citizenship Discourses in the Early Middle Ages

Sharing Knowledge

Citizenship matters in the multicultural, multi-ethnic, and multi-religious societies of present-day Europe. A deeper understanding of historical citizenship discourses and the exchange between citizenship and religion helps to grasp the tensions and ambiguities that the perception of citizenship causes today. We collaborate with cultural partners in order to share the knowledge generated by the project with interested groups outside academia.

A Citizenship of Sharing

In this project we collaborate with the local Foundation Saint Martin Utrecht and the international Centre culturel Européen Saint Martin de Tours, supported by the European Council, to investigate the historical development and actual significance of local and European heritage, in particular of the local patron saint in historical and present-day programmes of urban culture and citizenship formation. Within the European network the focus is on the symbolic and universal meaning of sharing (partage citoyen), translated into concrete and contemporary forms of sharing cultural, ecological, and humanitarian goods and values.

In September 2018, the Centre organised its annual conference in Utrecht. Els Rose contributed with a presentation on the cult of St Martin in early medieval Utrecht, with special focus on the figure of bishop Radbod (899/900-917) and his literary and musical compositions. The lecture was entitled “Saint – City – Citizen: Radbod’s cult of St Martin in Medieval Utrecht” and was accompanied by a musical contribution of the Utrecht Schola “Gregoriaans Koor Utrecht”. A summary of this presentation can be found online.

In 2019, Els Rose took part in the conference “Métamorphoses des églises dédiées à saint Martin: Construction, destruction, reconstruction”, organised by the Centre culturel Européen Saint Martin de Tours on 9 November 2019. Her presentation was entitled “Destructions et reconstructions de la cathédrale Saint-Martin d’Utrecht”. She presented three episodes of destruction of the Utrecht church dedicated to Saint Martin and its effect on citizens and their life. Traveling through time from the most visible to more hidden historical episodes of the history of this cathedral and its inhabitants she discussed the storm that destroyed the nave of the cathedral in 1674; iconoclasm in the age of the Reformation that destroyed the devotional art and liturgical disposition of the church as of 1580; the invasion of the region by Northmen, its political consequences and the formation of a new understanding of citizenship under the civic patron saint in the ninth and early tenth centuries.

Utrecht 2022 – 900th anniversary

The urban patron saint Martin and performative expressions of urban citizenship in past and present are further thematized in a public conference organised for 2022 at the occasion of the 900th anniversary of the Utrecht charter issued in 1122. The conference is a collaboration between the Citizenship Discourses-project, Gregorian Chant Choir Utrecht, musicologist Leo Lousberg and his Gregoriusfundatie, Utrecht University Library Special Collections, Uitgeverij Verloren, Centre culturel européen Saint Martin de Tours and Stichting Sint Maarten Utrecht. The conference will be framed by the full performance (from First Vespers on Sunday, July 3 July through to Second Vespers on Monday, July 4) of the chants that bishop Radbod (899/900-917) composed for the feast-day commemorating the translatio of Martin’s relics on July 4, newly installed on the Utrecht festive calendar by Radbod (UBU Hs 406). The day will be closed with the festive presentation of a book written on the medieval and present-day performative cult of St Martin in the city of Utrecht, including a full translation of Radboud’s Libellus de miraculo sancti Martini. In addition, the website will be launched streaming the audio-visual recording of the full Office for Martini translatio.

Project Week “The City Inside Out” (De stad binnenstebuiten), Corderius College Amersfoort

Within the scope of Utrecht University’s Rectors League and Scholennetwork, the Utrecht Centre for Medieval Studies has developed a strong tradition of sharing academic knowledge with secondary education (see http://lesplannenmiddeleeuwen.wp.hum.uu.nl/). Together with partner Corderius College Amersfoort, a project week was organized in April 2019 for the school’s students in the age of 16. Students at all levels of secondary education (VMBO, HAVO, VWO) were invited into the University to participate in the week-long programme that enabled them to study, discuss and enact expressions of social, political and cultural citizenship past and present. An impression of the project week as it took place from 8-12 April 2019 can be found here.