Judith Pollmann - Biography#

Judith Pollmann studied history at the University of Amsterdam and Renaissance Studies at the Warburg Institute in London. In 1998 she was awarded her doctorate at the University of Amsterdam for a study of the religious development of the diarist and humanist Arnoldus Buchelius (1565-1641). From 1995-2005 she taught early modern European history at Somerville College and the University of Oxford. She came to Leiden in 2005, and currently holds a personal chair in Early Modern Dutch History. She served as head of the history department from 2016-2018.

In the most general sense Judith Pollmann’s work concerns the question how people and societies in the past negotiated change. This has resulted in work on early modern identity formation, the history of the early modern Netherlands and the Dutch Revolt; the Reformation and Counter-Reformation in Europe and the social history of religious violence; the history of early modern memory, news and public opinion. Much of her work is based on the study of chronicles, diaries, and other personal records. Newer work is focusing on perceptions of time, change, novelty and innovation across a longer time-span.

Pollmann is the author of three well-received monographs, and co-edited six collections of essays. She has published widely in the field of early modern Dutch and European history, and has presented papers across Europe and in the US. She has successfully supervised 8 doctoral students, and is currently supervising another 6. She has examined more than 50 doctoral dissertations in the Netherlands, UK, and Belgium, and has been hosting research students from Belgium, Italy and the UK in Leiden.

Pollmann has proven very successful at attracting funding for and running major team projects. From 2008-2013 she directed the NWO VICI research project Tales of the Revolt. Memory, oblivion and identity in the Low Countries, 1566-1700. With Henk te Velde, she is currently completing the synthesis of an NWO team project on The persistence of civic identities in the Netherlands, 1747-1848. Since 2018, she has been PI of a collaborative and interdisciplinary digital humanities NWO project entitled Chronicling novelty. New knowledge in the Low Countries, 1500-1850. Internationally, she was a member of the ESF project

Cultural exchange in Europe, and partner of the Belgian IAUP project City and society in the Low Countries c. 1200-1850.

Pollmann is a very active member of the profession at home and abroad. In 2018 she was elected to membership of the Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts and Sciences. She is honorary curator of the history section at the Rijksmuseum, and a member of the editorial Board of Past and Present. She also serves as a member on the Wissenschaftliche Beirat of the Leibniz Institute for European History in Mainz, and as adviser of the Metamorfoze project of the Dutch Royal Library. She has served on juries for major Dutch history prizes, most recently the Heineken Prize 2020, as well as on selection committees for major grants in the Netherlands, the UK and Belgium.

Pollmann takes an active interest in the circulation of historical research to popular audiences., through giving frequent talks, media appearances and podcasts, as well as advisory work for museum boards, media companies, and local authorities. In 2018 she acted as main adviser for a major exhibition on the Eighty Years War at the Rijksmuseum Amsterdam, and the accompanying national television series.

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