In 1919 Pieter Geyl became the first Chair for Dutch Studies at the University of London (and the Anglophone world in general) and quickly gained a reputation in scholarly and political circles. While being widely recognized as a brilliant historian, Geyl’s political views let him become suspicious enough to the Belgian government to support the foundation of a ‘counter-Chair’ with a view to containing Geyl’s impact on British public and politics. In 1931 Émile Cammaerts, long-time Belgian resident in London was appointed first Chair for Belgian Studies, leading to an ‘academic propaganda war’ between Dutch and Belgian interests that only ended with Geyl’s move to Utrecht in 1935. The talk analyses this battle, which was not just a conflict between two scholars, but a wider dispute with three dimensions, a political, a scholarly and a public one.
Ulrich Tiedau is an Associate Professor at the Department of Dutch and the Associate Director of the Centre for Digital Humanities at University College London. Since 2006 he is also coordinating editor of Dutch Crossing: Journal of Low Countries Studies.
At the reception following Prof. Tiedau’s lecture, the Dutch Studies program is pleased to offer a broad selection of Dutch novels for free. These are duplicates from the Dutch library and the Dutch Studies program needs to make space for new books.