Researcher: Marieke van Egeraat
Supervisors: Lotte Jensen and Johan Oosterman

The first project focuses on the representations of disasters between 1517 and 1609. This period is chosen because of the religious tensions that arose from 1517 onwards. The discussion between the different religions gives ample room to also study their specific viewpoints with regards to explaining disasters. In 1609, the religions were more or less defined and instead, discussion moved from between religions to within one religion. This is therefore a sensible ending point.

The PhD researcher is studying these explanations of disasters through pamphlets and handwritten chronicles. These sources are chosen for two reasons: they complement each other in which disasters are covered and methodologically, they lay bear how news functioned with pamphlets distributing the news and chronicles (sometimes) showing how news was consumed.  Disasters in this project are understood very broadly, also including natural signs or portents such as stranded whales and blood rains. Although there is a difference between a comet and a flood, the people of the sixteenth century did explain them through the same lens: as a punishment of God. Divine providence will therefore be the main theme of this project. 

Identity issues are interesting for the chosen period, because of the changing religious landscape during the sixteenth century and the political issues in the second half of the century. This project will therefore focus mostly on religious identity and the different uses of divine providence by these religions and their discussion with other possible explanations of disasters, such as a scientific one. On top of this, the political use of the idea of providence also deserves attention, since especially from 1570 onwards, providence is also used to make a sharp division between different groups. Lastly, the PhD researcher will study the (transnational) apocalyptic thought that is present in many of the pamphlets and chronicles.