Karsten J. Schuil is a cultural historian of the late medieval and early modern periods with a specific interest in the history of emotions, church history, and socio-religious practices. He obtained a Bachelor's degree in History (2018), and a Research Master degree in Classical, Medieval, and Early Modern Studies (2020), both from the University of Groningen in the Netherlands. During his studies, he developed a particular interest in the cultural and church history of the late Medieval and Early Modern periods. Throughout his studies, he worked on cataloguing the incunabula (early prints) collection of the University of Groningen. In this capacity, he published blog posts about these remarkable books, explaining what they are and what made them so diverse.
In 2020, Karsten graduated with this Masters with a thesis about the sixteenth-century priest Jacob Vallick. This thesis provides a unique insight into the diversity of the local social-cultural relationships and roles a priest could be entangled in during the sixteenth century. Intrigued by the sixteenth-century religious life and the many references of Vallick to the late medieval period, Karsten started investigating one of the pillars of this society: pilgrimage. In the Fall of 2020, he obtained a scholarship at the Royal Dutch Institute in Rome (KNIR) to investigate the pilgrimage to Rome.
During this stay, Karsten developed his current PhD project, focussing on the Germanic pilgrimage to Rome in the late medieval period. He approaches this topic by studying the experiences of the Rompilgerfahrt in a broad variety of sources, including pilgrim travelogues, guides, prayers, songs, legal sources, and 'commonplace' stories. The project attempts to provide a comprehensive, structured, and multivalent analysis of the Germanic pilgrimage experience to Rome by analysing four elements of the journey: emotions, senses, storytelling, and temporality. This will improve our understanding of pilgrimage as a significant late medieval phenomenon and, by extension, late medieval German society.
(Photo by H. I Lavell)