Select Page

Masterclass by Benjamin Schmidt: ‘Violent images, violence against images: the visual culture of violence in the in early modern period’ – 23 March 2019 (& 21 March Lecture)

Date:                  Masterclass: 23 March 2019 (& 21 March Lecture – time t.b.a.)

Time:                 10.00 – 12.30 h

Venue:              Brakke Grond, Vlaams Cultuurhuis
Open to:           ReMa-students and PhD candidates

Fee (non-members): n/a

Credits:             1 ECTS (available upon request)

Coordination:  Inger Leemans, Michel van Duijnen

Registration:   Maximum participants in masterclass: 15 (first come first serve base). Keynote open to all.

Register before 28 February 2019 via an email to 


Speaker: Benjamin Schmidt

Benjamin Schmidt is Professor of History at the University of Washington, Seattle, and author of several books, including the prize-winning Innocence Abroad: The Dutch Imagination and the New World, and the 2016 Inventing Exoticism: Geography, Globalism, and Europe’s Early Modern World.

Program: Keynote + Masterclass

Prof. Schmidt will present a keynote at the conference ‘Imagineering Violence’ on ‘fumi-e’, [‘stepping-on pictures] the symbolic iconoclasm that Europeans were forced to perform in early modern Japan. In particular, the keynote will explore the way in which such acts would have necessitated a re-performance of iconoclasm (in this case, literally stepping on icons) for Europeans in Japan.  It is clear that there were non-Dutch among the ‘Dutch’ in Deshima, including Catholics and Lutherans; yet it is also likely that Calvinists, too, would have had misgivings about the performance of iconoclasm. What were the material dimensions of such Asian-European encounters, and how did they influence this clash in attitudes over religious imagery and violence?

During the masterclass, participants will have the chance to relate their own research to the broader issue of the relationship between visuals and violence. Using the chapter on print culture and violence from Schmidt’s latest work, Inventing Exoticism, participants are invited to reflect on the ways in which early modern media grappled with the representation of violence, and how they positioned such representations in terms of geography, as well as religious and political identities.

Imagineering Violence Conference

The keynote is part of the two-day conference Imagineering Violence, which aims to analyze early modern techniques of representing violence and their transformations over time. In particular, the conference will cover the technical and performative aspects of the depiction of violence, whether in print or painting, on stage, in the anatomical theater, the scaffold, and elsewhere. What regimes of representing and staging violence can we trace? We assume that by zooming in on the concept of violence, we are forced to rethink traditional boundaries, between secular and religious realms, between East and West, between baroque and classical styles, between theatricality and spectacle, between the public and the private sphere.


  • day planning (incl. coffee and tea, and lunch breaks)

o   10.00 – 10.15   Ontvangst met koffie

o   10.15   Start Masterclass

o   12.30-13.30 Lunch at Brakke Grond

Preparation and proposed readings:

  • literature

o   General preparation: take note of the work of professor Schmidt

o   Read: Benjamin Schmidt, Inventing Exoticism, chapter 3.


  • preparation

o   Attend keynote lecture Benjamin Schmidt on March 21 (time/program to be announced shortly)

o   Write short essay (1-2 pages) on the connection between your research and Schmidt’s work, or more in specifically, on the theme of the masterclass. Formulate a question for professor Schmidt.

o   Participation in masterclass.

Credits & certificate

Certificates of participation and credits are available upon request after the event. Event coordinators will decide whether the participant has fulfilled all requirements for the ECTS. Please direct your request to and include the postal address you want the certificate to be sent to. Note: the certificate itself is not valid as ECTS, you  need to validate it yourself at your local Graduate School.


For more information on this masterclass and subscription, please see this page.