Lecture: “National and Religious Identity in the Low Countries during the Grand Siècle”
Over the past few decades, historians have argued about the concept of ‘national’ identity and the role religion might have played in this concept. Historians such as Miroslav Hroch and Rees Davies have placed their focus upon Modern and Medieval aspects of identity and even sociologists such as Anthony Smith have developed an interest in the notion of identity in the past. Although originally merely defined by geographical borders, the Low Countries did face several challenges up to the time that one can speak of their formation into respective ‘nation states’. Unfortunately, research on this aspect of society during the Early Modern Period has mostly been neglected. In this two hours long lecture we will discuss the role and evolution of language, cultural and political customs, and the importance of religion to gain an insight into how the inhabitants of the Prince-Bishopric of Liège and the Northern and Southern Netherlands perceived their identity and customs. Did they define themselves as Germans, Dutch, Catholics and/or Protestants? What were the main issues at stake to define oneself as a ‘citizen’ or even a member of the government and what triggered them to oppose other governments who seemed to threaten their precious identity? The lecture will be followed up by a discussion on the concepts of identity where all attendees will be able to contribute.
// Roeland Goorts