Research Aims

LambertusThe Henri Pirenne Institute for Medieval Studies (HPIMS) is a cross-disciplinary research group that brings together all medievalists at Ghent University. It draws its members - some 100 scholars spanning all career stages - from four different faculties and nine departments. Our members mainly do research in the fields of  Archeology, Art History and Historical Musicology, Geography, History, Law, Literature and Linguistics (Dutch, English, French, Greek, Latin, Scandinavian, Slavonic, and Spanish languages), and Studies of the Near East. The Institute fosters cross-disciplinary research into the medieval period and advances knowledge exchange both between these different fields of study, as well as with societal partners and the general public. Fundamental critical research of original medieval texts, images, maps, and artefacts is our core business, but the HPIMS also houses expertise in digital humanities, outreach and co-creation with archives, libraries, museums and other cultural heritage institutions and with the educational sectors.

During the academic year, the HPIMS organises the Medieval Seminar Series, consisting of monthly Lunch Lectures and specific Source Seminars or thematic Collaborative Workshops. We also organise an annual international Autumn School for advanced MA- and PhD-students with which we cater to existing needs in research and education.

The basis for our education and our role as a knowledge broker is always the latest academic research:

Across disciplines

We work towards heightened cross-disciplinarity within Medieval Studies at Ghent University by:

  • Combining multiple specialist sub-disciplines in research projects
  • Incentivizing mutually beneficial exchange of methodological and conceptual approaches through our activities
  • Fostering a strong tradition of fundamental analysis of primary source materials with the aid of the auxiliary sciences

Across cultures

Our research spans the corners of the medieval world, looking beyond the boundaries between cultures, often within explicitly comparative project-frameworks.

Research is currently conducted on aspects of:

  • Western and Southern Europe, Nordic and Slavonic cultures, and the Near East, Islamic and Byzantine worlds

The cross-cultural approach also results in multi-period research, for instance across:

  • Late-Antiquity and the Middle Ages
  • The medieval and early-modern periods

Across periods

One of our focal points is diachronic research, tracking changes over different parts of the Middle Ages but also for instance crossing:

  • Late Antiquity and the Middle Ages
  • The medieval and early modern periods
  • The boundaries between the modern world and its medieval past (medievalisms)