À l’occasion de son 10e anniversaire, LECTIO organise le 1-2 juin 2021 un colloque en ligne intitulé «Imagining the future of premodern intellectual history. Online dialogue on innovation in the study of ideas, texts, and images from Antiquity, the Middle Ages and the Renaissance»


Innovation and change have marked philological and intellectual historical scholarship throughout the centuries. Whether in the past, the present or the future, the advent of new technologies, the discovery of new sources, or the attraction of novel methods of interpretation have urged scholars to adapt the investigation of ancient, medieval and modern texts, ideas and images to new circumstances. At this very moment, scholarship in pre-modern intellectual history is being revolutionized by new methodologies and tools stemming from Digital Humanities and Artificial Intelligence. Even if traditional skills remain indispensable, the potential of technological innovations can no longer be ignored. They are the harbinger of paradigm shifts that recall similar events in the past, such as the invention of the printing press, the empirical study of the human body or the Copernican revolution. Moreover, the time is long past when intellectual historians could ignore insights from neigbouring disciplines. On the contrary, interdisciplinary collaboration now goes beyond the field of the humanities in the strict sense to include partnerships with social scientists, linguists and IT specialists. So what are the threats and opportunities of these evolutions? What impact do they have on the working habits of art historians, philologists, philosophers, theologians, jurists or, for that matter, medical doctors and mathematicians fascinated by the history of their disciplines? What does inter-disciplinary scholarship really mean in the fields of the history of ideas and text editing?

On the occasion of LECTIO’s 10th anniversary, this symposium will bring together leading scholars in the field to reflect on those challenges. Building on the illustrious tradition of Louvain’s Collegium Trilingue (°1517), LECTIO fosters cutting-edge interdisciplinary research in the field of pre-modern intellectual history and the science of text editing. Since April 2020, LECTIO has been recognized as a KU Leuven Institute – an initiative that provides an extra stimulus to excellent research based on a strong tradition that remains important in the long term. One of its missions is to foster the dialogue on the smooth integration of new and traditional methodologies in intellectual historical scholarship.


  • Barbara Baert (KU Leuven, Belgium)
  • Shadi Bartsch-Zimmer (University of Chicago,USA)
  • Bettina Berendt (TU Berlin, Weizenbaum Institute, Germany & KU Leuven, Belgium)
  • Rens Bod (University of Amsterdam, The Netherlands)
  • Claire Clivaz (Swiss Institute of Bioinformatics, Switzerland)
  • Barbara McGillivray (Alan Turing Institute & University of Cambridge, UK)
  • Johan Östling (University of Lund, Sweden)
  • Marco Passarotti (Catholic University of Milan, Italy)
  • Nicolas Standaert (KU Leuven)
  • Mikko Tolonen (University of Helsinki, Finland)

Organizing committee

Wim Decock, Mark Depauw, Pieter d’Hoine, Margherita Fantoli, Michèle Goyens, Marleen Reynders, Andrea Aldo Robiglio, Stefan Schorn, An Smets, Violet Soen, Jos Verheyden

Registration required before 31 May





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