Introducing Professor Robiglio, UCLA Van Dyck Chair

Published: April 23, 2024

Andrea Aldo Robiglio is a Professor of the History of Philosophy at the Hoger Instituut voor Wijsbegeerte, KU Leuven, and a Corresponding Member of the Akademie der Wissenschaften zu Göttingen. His expertise spans Medieval Philosophy, Renaissance Philosophy, History of Logic, and Aesthetics, which he has taught throughout France, Germany, and The Netherlands. 

Professor Robiglio is well known as the co-founder and co-editor-in-chief of Mediterranea. International Journal on Transfer of Knowledge. This Open Access journal focuses on various areas of knowledge transfer from Late Antiquity to the Early Modern period, covering the Middle East and the Mediterranean basin and paying particular attention to philological, philosophical, scientific, cultural, and religious, fields of research.

CMRS-CEGS is pleased to introduce Professor Robiglio as the UCLA Van Dyck Chair for Spring 2024. We met with him to discuss his appointment at UCLA and his plans at CMRS-CEGS and on campus.

What can you share with us about your UCLA Van Dyck Chair appointment?

  • Every year, the universities of Berkeley, California, and Pennsylvania, in collaboration with the Flemish Interuniversity Council and the Department for Education in Flanders (Belgium), grant a chair to a researcher of one of the Flemish universities and somehow active in the domain of Dutch studies. The chair’s purpose is to present the culture, literature, history, and arts of Flanders as an integral part of the curriculum at the American host institution. The guest lecturer is invited for one quarter and has to give two courses in their discipline and a public lecture on a topic of choice. In the case of the “Antoon Van Dyck Chair,” UCLA selects a candidate, and the Flemish Interuniversity Council approves the nomination of UCLA. Concerning the Van Dyck Chair, the driving force behind this has been Professor Margaret Jacob

What courses are you teaching at UCLA, and what do you hope your students will gain from your teachings?

Besides teaching, what else are you working on throughout the quarter?

  • In addition to teaching, I am combining research at the Huntington and Clark libraries with new readings and conversations with colleagues to learn about the intellectual landscape of Los Angeles, even beyond the gates of UCLA. After reading Yale Anthropologist Lisa Messeri’s recent volume, In the Land of the Unreal: Virtual and Other Realities in Los Angeles, Durham NC: Duke UP, 2024, for example, I have been exploring some of the fringes of Los Angeles’ “Silicon Venice” and reflected on some of the concerns that animate those circles of activists, artists, and scientists. At variance with my Northern European experience, these encounters are stimulating and unexpectedly instructive for me.

How have you been engaging with the broader academic community during your time here at UCLA?

  • Many colleagues from different departments at UCLA (from Physics to History) have provided me with generous support and relentless advice. My wife, who is conducting her research at the Near Eastern Languages and Cultures (NELC) department, and I are very grateful for such a warm welcome, marked by the general willingness of fellow scholars to meet and discuss intellectual issues dear to our hearts. I want to mention, in particular, two colleagues from the Department of Political Science, Dr. Tejas Parasher and Dr. Natasha Piano, who are coordinating this year’s departmental Political Theory Workshop and graciously invited me to present a topic connected to my Van Dyck Chair appointment. The event is scheduled for Friday, May 3, 2024, from 12:00 pm to 1:30 pm, and will be held in Bunche Hall 4357.

Are there any fun facts you would like to share?

  • Fun facts to share, so far, I don’t have any… But it is funny (and fun) to teach specific problems of Medieval and Renaissance Flemish intellectual history at the far edge of the Pacific Ocean, isn’t it? Flanders was and still is a small region, now part of Belgium, both tiny parts of an unlikely construct called Europe.Why should knowledge of this Flemish microhistory be of use today, on the other side of the northern hemisphere? One might say that it is because of its unruly complexities and the multi-layered tensions between regional and national, as well as between national and global dimensions of human institutions and culture. Flanders in the Renaissance, a culturally and economically thriving micro-region in Charles V’s global empire, deserves to be better studied and understood. At the time, in the imperfect conversation between distinct cultures (vernacular, scholastic, humanistic), a sophisticated model had been worked out to hold together in discordant harmony what seemed too different to be reconciled.


Thank you, Professor Robiglio! We are delighted to have you here with us at CMRS-CEGS and UCLA.