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Expansion through Separation. The Linguistic Conflicts at the University of Leuven in the 1960s from a Medical History Perspective

Journal Contribution - Journal Article

This article rereads a well-known chapter in Belgium’s political history – the linguistic struggles that led to the splitting-up of the University of Leuven in 1968 – as a chapter in medical history. We argue that the particular circumstances in the medical field, such as the struggle for patients’ rights and the ideological competition over the implantation of new academic hospitals, accelerated ongoing disputes over language. We show that the logic of tying academic expansion to linguistic separation, which later underpinned the splitting-up of the university as a whole, was put into practice first in the Leuven Faculty of Medicine. Our analysis reveals that the matter of linguistic separation was tied to different social, professional and ideological ambitions, and was sometimes regarded as an instrument of medical expansion, rather than as a goal in itself.
Journal: Bijdragen en Mededelingen Betreffende de Geschiedenis der Nederlanden
ISSN: 0165-0505
Issue: 1
Volume: 132
Pages: 38 - 61
Publication year:2017