Hildegarde De Ridder-Symoens#

Emeritus Ordinary professor at the University Ghent, Sint-Denijslaan 47, B-9000 Ghent, Belgium

Born at Sint-Jans-Molenbeek (Brusselss) in 1943
Ph.D. in History at the University of Ghent (1969)
Until 2000 research fellow at the National Fund for Scientific Research (Flanders)
Part time professor in Medieval History at the Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam from 1986 until 2001
From 1 Oct. 2001 until 30 Sept. 2008 (retirement) full professor in Early Modern History at the Ghent University (Universiteit Gent), Belgium

Fields of Research:
  • History of European Universities and mainly its social role (13th-18th c.).
  • History of schooling and education (legislation, literacy).
  • Professionalization of Society and the role of schooling in this process.
  • Intellectual and cultural life during the Renaissance (15th-17th centuries) in its social context.

Functions and memberships:
Executive functions in scientific institutions and associations
  • member of the Flemish Royal Academy (2003-).
  • former President (1995-2005) and nowadays Vice-President of the International Commission for the History of Universities (member 1971-)
  • Vice-President of the Academia Belgica in Rome (2003-, member 2001), member of the Board of the Institut Historique Belge à Rome (2003- )
  • member of the Flemish-Dutch Committee for Dutch Language and Culture (VNC) (2003-2012); occasional member of selection committees of the Netherlands Organisation for Scientific Research (NWO).
  • chair of the scientific committee of the historical prices "Duke of Arenberg" (1990-).
  • member of the Consiglio di gestione e del Comitato scientifico del Centro interuniversitario per la storia delle università italiane (CISUI) (2005-)
  • Vice-president of the International Commission for the History of Universities (2007-)
  • member of the Kuratorium "Repertorium Academicum Germanicum” (RAG), Organ der Schweiz. Akademie der Geistes- und Sozialwissenschaften (SAGW) (Febr. 2008-)

Conferences, Papers, Guest Lectures, Referees (detailed list on request)
  • Long term visiting fellow and/or professor at the Max-Planck Institut für europäische Rechtsgeschichte in Frankfurt/Main (1983), University of Berkeley (1993 CSHE and 1998 Rubens chair) and Merton College, Oxford (1994).
  • Visiting professor (one or two lectures) at the universities of Leuven, several Dutch universities, Helsinki, Tampere, Reykjavik (Socrates), Bern, Eichstätt, Prague, Oxford, Edinburgh, Dublin, Berkeley.
  • Lecture tour in the USA (1991: Brown, Holy Cross, Worcester Polytechnic Institute, Columbia University, Georgetown) and in Canada (1993: Vancouver, Calgary, Montreal, Halifax).

Participation in European projects:
  • Member of the editorial board of the Joint University Research Project : A History of the University in Europe (4 vols) patronized by the CRE, actually the EUA at Geneva (general editor W. Rüegg, Bern); editor of the volumes1 (Middle Ages) and 2 (Early Modern Period) and contributor to three chapters in the volumes 1 and 2.
  • Member of the Expert Group on “Standards for the Governance of the University Heritage” of the project of the Council of Europe (Cultural Heritage Committee (CC-PAT) & Higher Education and Research Committee (CC-HER)) on Heritage of European universities as a part of the "Europe, a Common Heritage" Campaign. (2000-2003)
  • Participant at the international project The origins of the Modern State, 13th-18th Century (8 vols) patronised by the ESF (European Science Foundation) (general editors W.P. Blockmans & J.Ph. Genet);author of a contribution in vol. 4: 'Power Elites and State Building in Medieval and Early Modern Europe' (1990-1995)

Current Participation in Belgian or Flemish or Flemish-Dutch projects
  • 2007-2011: Interuniversity attraction poles 6 (IAP-IUAP) of the Federal Science Policy Office: 'City and Society in the Low Countries, 1200-1800: space, knowledge, social capital', general coordinator M. Boone (Ghent); partners H. Symoens (Ghent), Anne-Laure Van Bruaene (Ghent), M. Weis (ULBrussels), B. Blondé(Antwerp), P. Lefèvre (KBR Brussels), M. Draguet (KMSKB/MRBAB Brussels); M. Prak (Utrecht).
  • 2004-2008: co-promoter with H. van Nierop (UAmsterdam), B. Ramakers (RUGroningen) and G. Marnef (UAntwerpen) of the VNC project Vroegmoderne publieke opinie. Patronen, mechanismen en factoren in opinie- en besluitvormingsprocessen in de Noordelijke en Zuidelijke Nederlanden in de vroegmoderne tijd (Early Modern Public Opinion. Patterns, mechanisms and actors in processes of opinion- and decision-making in the Northern and Southern Netherlands in the early modern period).
  • 2003-2008 : co-promoter of the -project GOA12.517.03 of Ghent University: “Reevaluation of the Sciences in the Low Countries in the Renaissance”

Former activities
  • President of the "International Commission for the History of Universities" 1995-2005,
  • Secretary General of the "International Commission for the History of Universities". 1985-1995
  • General coordinator of the RASMUS ICP-NL-3023/08 1989-1997.
  • Member of the Board of Resonant. Centre for Flemish Musical Heritage 2003-2007

Current member of the Board of Journals
  • Jahrbuch für Universitätsgeschichte (since 2003)
  • History of Universities (since 1997)
  • Paedagogica Historica (since 1993)
  • Lias. Sources and Documents Relating to the Early Modern History of Ideas (since 1979 till 2009).

Member of Visitation Commissions
  • 1995, Fryske Akademy at Leeuwarden, Netherlands
  • 2001, March, Departement of History of the Université du Quebec à Montréal, Canada (UQAM)
  • 2004, May, Instituut voor Cultuurwetenschappelijk Onderzoek Groningen- The Groningen Research Institute for the Study of Culture (ICOG) of the university of Groningen, Netherlands (chair)
  • 2005, September, Onderzoeksinstituut voor Geschiedenis en Cultuur - Research Institute for History and Culture (OGC) of the University of Utrecht (chair)
  • 2008, March, Midterm Review van het Onderzoeksinstituut Geschiedenis van de Rijksuniversiteit Leiden (History Research Institute) (chair)
  • 2008-2011, member of the assessment committee of the Dutch Research Masters of the Dutch-Flemish Accreditation Organisation (NVAO)

  • 1971: laureate of the travel grant contest of the Belgian Government
  • 1992: laureate of the Sarton medal of the University of Ghent (History of Science)
  • 1992: University medal of the University of Helsinki
Last updated: January 2010

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