Thijssen-Schoute MA Thesis Award 2022 for Aron Ouwerkerk

The Dr. C. Louise Thijssen-Schoute Foundation aims to encourage research in the history of ideas of the early modern Netherlands, with special attention to the emergence and dissemination of new philosophical ideas, as well as the intersections of literature and science in the seventeenth- and early eighteenth century.

The Foundation awards a bi-annual prize for the best MA thesis within the aims of her statutes. This award recognizes original and distinguished research for a final thesis at a (research)master’s level, either submitted to a university in the Netherlands or abroad. The award consists of a prize of 2000 Euros, and a certificate of appreciation.

For the prize of 2022, the jury received 6 theses written by students who earned their master’s degree between 31 August 2020 and 31 August 2022. Many of the theses were of high quality. The jury was unanimous in its judgement, however, that one thesis stood out: Aron Ouwerkerk’s ‘Decus reipublicae litterariae’. Elisabeth Koolaart-Hoofman and Her Engagement in the Republic of Letters (1695-1705). With an Edition of Her Correspondence.

Aron Ouwerkerk with this thesis obtained his degree for the research master Ancient, Medieval and Renaissance Studies at Utrecht University. His analysis of the correspondence of the early eighteenth-century Haarlem poet Elisabeth Koolaart-Hoofman deeply impressed the jury, as it is original, innovative, and gives reason for further research. The thesis is a wonderful study of the position of women in the early modern Republic of Letters.

There are also two honorable mentions, for:

  • Pichayapat Naisupap (Leiden University, Colonial and Global History), The Emblematic Elephant: Elephants, the Dutch East India Company, and Eurasian Diplomacy in the Seventeenth Century – in the words of the jury ‘an impressive thesis about the role of the elephant as a gift in the context of VOC diplomacy. The jury was specifically impressed by the intertwining of emblematics and the history of science’.
  • Tommie van Wanrooij (Radboud University Nijmegen, Literary Studies), De opkomst van de heldin. Vrouwelijk herschrijven en cultureel bewustzijn in de tweede helft van de achttiende eeuw – in the words of the jury ‘A well-written study about the growing attention for the heroine during the second half of the eighteenth century. It beautifully shows how Dutch literature made an effort to rewrite history’.

The Board of the Dr. C. Louise Thijssen-Schoute Foundation congratulates Aron Ouwerkerk.