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Marieke van Egeraat MA

PhD candidate


Area(s) of interest: Dutch History, Early Modern History, Environmental History, Identity

Cohort/Start PhD: 2017-2018

Narratives of resilience in the Low Countries, 1421-1570

Radboud University Nijmegen
Project: Dealing with Disasters in the Netherlands. The Shaping of Local and National Identities, 1421-1890
Promotor(es): Prof. dr. Lotte Jensen, Prof. dr. Johan Oosterman
Aanstelling: vanaf januari 2018

Current scholarship has the tendency to focus on politics, in particular war and conflict, as the decisive factors in processes of community building. This project develops a new approach by studying processes of identity formation from the perspective of disaster studies. The main hypothesis is that the issue of identity formation can be understood properly only when the impact of disasters (floods, storms, famines, plagues) is taken into account. The project Dealing with Disasters in the Netherlands. The Shaping of Local and National Identities, 1421-1890 investigates the way local (civic / regional) and national identities were shaped in response to natural disasters in the Netherlands, starting with the St Elisabeth’s Flood of 1421 and ending with the Severe Winter of 1890. By studying the media coverage of these disasters, we seek to understand how Dutch society coped with catastrophes in the past.
The first subproject focuses on the representations of disasters between 1421 (St Elisabeth’s Flood) and 1570 (All Saints Flood). The project will follow two linked trajectories. Firstly, it will compile a general overview of how disasters were represented in this period. The main source will be contemporary chronicles, such as Tielse Kroniek, Dye Chronycke van Hollant and Die excellente Cronike van Vlaenderen. These chronicles contain not only information about the disasters and events which were organised to commemorate them, but also measures taken by local governments to protect themselves from future catastrophes. They can also tell us to what extent disasters were experienced on a local or supra-local level.