Steven Vanderputten, born in Ukkel, Belgium, in 1976. Ph.D. from Ghent University. Professor of Medieval History at Ghent University.
VNC Fellow (1 September 2009 – 31 January 2010)
SPACES AND RITUALS: STAGING RELATIONS BETWEEN RELIGIOUS GROUPS AND LAITY IN THE CENTRAL MIDDLE AGES
The aim of my joint VNC Fellowship with Arnoud-Jan Bijsterveld was to investigate the function of public behaviour in the management of disputes during a period of Western history called the central middle ages. This has resulted in a paper entitled “Why Laymen Repented: Instrumentalizing Morality in Eleventh- and Early-Twelfth Century Politics” and in a second paper on the significance of references to the excommunication ritual in charter evidence. In both of these we argue that seemingly topical references to verbal denunciations, ritual acts of damnation and lay demonstrations of penance refer to an enacted political discourse which helped to transform social order around the year 1100. In addition I have individually written papers on social and communicative aspects of monasticism, monastic reform and the creation of distinctions between the ordo monasticus and lay society. Most notable among these is a paper based on the analysis of ‘conversion charters’, which deals with the interaction between texts and ritual speech acts.