Course: Mining Library Treasures

Discovering Rome in KNIR's Rare Books Collection
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Deeply hidden in the basement of the KNIR, a secret treasure is waiting to be unveiled: a unique collection of over five hundred rare books and prints, from the sixteenth up to the twentieth century, covering a wide array of topics. This year’s KNIR-practicum will be dedicated to material related specifically to Rome, ranging from 16th century antiquarian guides of the ruins of ancient Rome, to descriptions and depictions of Roman daily life in the 19th century. During this intensive course, students will gain hands-on experience in exploring the KNIR special collection from an interdisciplinary perspective. BA and (R)MA students in History of the Book, Italian Studies, History, Art History, Classics, Architecture, Renaissance Studies and related disciplines are encouraged to apply.

The course combines lectures and practical workshops with excursions to famous libraries and other sites in Rome. It offers wide-ranging insights on the materiality and cultural history of early modern rare books, with a specific focus on the genres connected to Rome, while also considering the present prospects and challenges of special library collections.

Before the course starts, students will choose a specific copy for individual study from a list of rare ‘Rome’ books in the KNIR collection. They will write a short essay on their book, as well as provide a short entry on their book for the catalogue of the KNIR library. A first short version of the essay will be written before the course starts. During the course there are multiple self-study sessions where the student will be able to study their chosen book in person and write the longer and final version of the essay, as well as the catalogue entry. All participants work together on a digital exhibition of their titles that will be presented to the staff and KNIR community on the last day of the course, 12 December.

Eva van Kemenade MA (teacher and coordinator), Janet Mente BA (KNIR Librarian), dr. Susanna de Beer (KNIR Director of Ancient Studies and Classical Reception), guest lecturers.

Target group and admission
The course is open to a maximum of 10 selected BA and (R)MA students in History of the Book, Italian Studies, History, Art History, Classics, Renaissance Studies and related disciplines from KNIR partner universities (Universiteit van Amsterdam, Vrije Universiteit, Universiteit Leiden, Universiteit Utrecht, Radboud Universiteit, Rijksuniversiteit Groningen).

The study load is the equivalent of 3 ECTS (84 hours). Each student should arrange with their university coordinator whether the course can be a part of the existing curriculum. After successful completion of the course, the KNIR provides a certificate mentioning study load and evaluation.

Tuition and lodging at the KNIR is free for selected participants from the above mentioned Dutch universities. Personal expenses, including meals, are not included. Students, enrolled in one of our partneruniversities (University of Groningen, Leiden University, Radboud University, Utrecht University, Free University of Amsterdam, University of Amsterdam) receive a €100 reimbursement of their expenses for travelling to Rome after submission of their final essay.

Facilities in Rome
All participants will be housed at the Royal Netherlands Institute in Rome’s Villa Borghese Park. From there, it is only a short walk to the historical centre of Rome. The KNIR accommodation consists of shared bedrooms and bathrooms, and includes a living and dining space, a large kitchen, washing machine and wireless internet. All residents have 24/7 access to the library and garden of the Royal Netherlands Institute.

Application and admission
The course is a selective course with a maximum of 10 participants. The selection of participants is based on grades, the added value of the course in the student’s curriculum, a letter of motivation, and the composition of the group. Students can apply via the link below; include in your application:

  • a letter of motivation (max. 1 A4)
  • a cv
  • a recent list of courses followed and grades provided by your university

Apply before
1 October 2023
Please note that the decision of the selection committee is final and no correspondence will be entered into.

More info
Phone: (+39)063269621