International Conference, Ghent University, 15-16 September 2016 

Inaugurations, coronations and the accompanying joyous entries, fireworks, theatrical or musical performances, and Te Deums constitute an important research field in medieval and early modern historiography. These ceremonies and all of their attendant rituals allow us a rare glimpse of the on-going constitutional debates, and the various participants’ political ambitions and self-representation strategies. However, the inaugurations and coronations of the 18th and early 19th centuries have thus far received remarkably little attention. Often, they have been considered mere spectacles put on before passive audiences, their sole purpose to glorify absolute monarchs. This conference is the first to tell another story and our intention is to seriously examine many participants’ ambitions, alliances, power dimensions and tactics. It questions the constitutional role of the inaugurations and coronations, traces the impact of the Enlightenment, revolutions, and burgeoning nationalism, and seeks to highlight and explain the truly remarkable way in which the ceremonies were able to adapt to contemporary developments.

Scientific Committee:

Dr. Klaas Van Gelder (UGent), Prof. Dr. René Vermeir (UGent), Prof. Dr. Werner Thomas (KU Leuven), Prof. dr. Violet Soen (KU Leuven), Prof. Dr. Griet Vermeesch (VUB), Prof. Dr. Michèle Galand (ULB)