Theories, Methods and Approaches in Periodical Studies

Target Group

PhD students whose projects are explicitly situated within the field of periodical studies and PhD students for whom periodicals are currently first and foremost a research instrument and source of information. The course will offer them theoretical insights and methods to study periodicals as more than just sources, as active agents participating in and shaping the specific historical period and socio-cultural domain they are working on as part of their projects.

Organizing Committe

  • Prof. dr. Marianne Van Remoortel (UGent), coordinator, Faculty of Arts and Philosophy, Department of Literary Studies, ()
  • Prof. dr. Marysa Demoor (UGent), Faculty of Arts and Philosophy, Department of Literary Studies ()

Topic and Aim

Periodical studies – the study of periodical publications such as magazines, journals and newspapers – is a relatively young and vibrant multidisciplinary area of research. Since the 1960s-70s, scholars from various disciplines within the humanities and social sciences have studied the role of the periodical press in shaping society and culture from the early eighteenth century onwards. Meanwhile, periodical studies has also explicitly defined itself as a research field, on a theoretical level, through thorough reflection on the periodical as genre, object and medium, and by developing a common conceptual and methodological framework for studying periodicals.
In Flanders, periodical research is conducted in different faculties (UGent: Arts and Philosophy, Law, Political and Social Sciences) and departments (e.g. Literary Studies, History, Legal History, Media Studies). Ghent University has always taken the lead with Marysa Demoor (Victorian periodicals) in particular, Ada Deprez (Dutch-language literary periodicals), Els de Bens (Belgian newspapers) and more recently Marianne Van Remoortel’s ERC project on female periodical editors.
More and more periodical research is being done at PhD level, following successful project applications by professorial staff members or as part of an individual project supported by a periodical scholar.

This two-days Doctoral School specialist course on periodical studies aims to remedy this situation by bringing together PhD students from various disciplines working on or with periodicals and to offer them in-depth training in periodical studies in collaboration with international experts in the field. By doing so, the course also hopes to foster cross-fertilization among researchers and to encourage PhD students to think outside the box of their own projects.


Participants will be required to attend and actively participate in 10 sessions – a total of 16 contact hours – spread across two consecutive days. The course will offer theoretical and methodological sessions as well as roundtable workshops focusing on particular approaches.
1. Theories
The theory sessions will introduce key theoretical debates, concepts and terminology for working with periodicals.
Confirmed speakers: Prof. em. Laurel Brake (Birkbeck), Dr. Jasper Schelstraete (UGent).
2. Tools and Methods
These sessions will discuss qualitative and quantitative methods for the study of periodicals: discourse analysis, computerized text analysis, Social Network Analysis, bibliometrics and methods from translation studies.
3. Approaches
During these sessions, periodical scholars from different disciplines will presents case studies from their own research projects. PhD students will also be asked to prepare a short presentation on their projects. Each session will focus on approaches from a particular perspective (literary studies, gender studies, media studies, history, legal history). We aim for a roundtable format with plenty of time for discussion, bringing specialists and PhD students together and encouraging peer as well as expert feedback.
Confirmed speakers: Prof. dr. Marysa Demoor (UGent), Prof. dr. Marianne Van Remoortel (UGent), Prof. dr. Daniel Biltereyst (UGent), Dr. Birgit Van Puymbroeck (UGent), Dr. Sebastiaan Vandenbogaerde (UGent).


  • Thursday, 15 September 2016

08:45-09:00 Registration
09:00-10:00 Theories 1 (Laurel Brake)
10:00-11:00 Tools and Methods 1 (Merike Ristikivi)
11:00-11:15 Break
11:15-12:15 Theories 2 (Jasper Schelstraete)
12:15-13:00 Lunch
13:00-14:00 Tools and Methods 2 (Christoph Malliet)
14:00-15:45 Approaches 1 (Marysa Demoor)
15:45-16:00 Break
16:00-17:45 Approaches 2 (Sebastiaan Vandenbogaerde)

Friday, 16 September 2016

08:45-09:00 Registration
09:00-10:00 Tools and Methods 3 (Dominique Longrée)
10:00-10:15 Break
10:15-12:00 Approaches 3 (Daniel Biltereyst)
12:00-13:00 Lunch
13:00-14:00 Tools and Methods 4 (Christophe Verbruggen)
14:00-15:45 Approaches 4 (Birgit Van Puymbroeck, Marianne Van Remoortel)
15:45-16:00 Break
16:00-17:00 Tools and Methods 5 (Lieven D’Hulst)


Ghent University, Faculty of Law or Faculty of Arts and Philosophy (to be confirmed).


Please submit a short CV and an abstract of your PhD project (demonstrating your affinity with or interest in periodical studies) to the course coordinators ( and ) by Friday, 19 August 2016.

Registration fee

Free of charge for members of the Ghent University Doctoral School of Arts, Humanities & Law

Course Materials

Handouts and other material will be provided by the speakers and course coordinators.

Number of participants

Maximum 20

Evaluation criteria (doctoral training programme)

Attendance and active participation in all sessions is required for members of the Doctoral School of Arts, Humanities and Law and Social and Behavioural Sciences.