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Soen, Violet

Associate Professor of Early Modern History

KU Leuven, Belgium



Max Weber alumnus

Department of History and Civilization

Cohort(s): 2008/2009

Ph.D. Institution

KU Leuven, Belgium


Violet Soen defended her Ph.D. in Early Modern History at the Katholieke Universiteit Leuven in 2008. After history studies in Leuven en Bielefeld, she also obtained a master degree in European Studies at the Université Catholique de Louvain.

Her research interests include early modern religion and state formation, especially in the Low Countries and the Spanish Empire. She is the author of a book on sixteenth-century inquisition in the Low Countries, for which she received in 2004 an award in religious history of the Royal Flemish Academy of Belgium for Science and the Arts. Her dissertation on resistance and reconciliation during the Dutch Revolt (1564-1598) argues that state formation not only occurred through military repression but also through appeasing measures. In the princely pacifying offers, the reconciliation of nobility proved of crucial importance. Her current research therefore looks at state formation from a bottom-up perspective by comparing noble family strategies at the border of the Burgundian-Habsburg composite state and the French monarchy between 1477 and 1632. Generally, scholarship addresses the patronage of one sovereign towards nobility. However, because of wide-spread properties and familial tactics, noble lineages usually maintained relations to various sovereigns, which profoundly influenced choices of rebellion and reconciliation.

During her Ph.D.-research, she received stipends of the Fund of Scientific Research of Belgium (Flanders), Instituto Olandese a Rome, Instituto neerlandés en Madrid and the Fundación Complutense. She participated in master classes in Rome and Madrid and presented papers in international congresses in Europe and the United States. Articles in Dutch have already appeared in Bijdragen en Mededelingen voor de Geschiedenis and Trajecta, while contributions in English, French and Spanish are forthcoming. Her article and text edition for the Bulletin de la Commission Royale d’Histoire was rewarded with the Brice and Mary Lyon prize 2006.
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