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As city of the pope, Rome has been an important religious and artistic center since the Middle Ages. It is less well known that Rome has also been a center of scientific research and the visualization thereof. This fact has been undervalued because of the traditional, but by now outdated, opposition between religion and science. Religion and science were by no means mutually exclusive, as the scientific activities of the Jesuits show. Therefore, this course will introduce Rome as a city of knowledge in its European and global contexts from 1400 until 1900. By looking specifically at the visual culture of science participants will learn about the networks that brought together artists, collectors, and intellectuals, and how these actors and their ideas influenced the practice of science and its visualization.
On the basis of case studies and interdisciplinary approaches – e.g. historical, art historical, digital humanities – participants will delve into this understudied aspect of cultural history. During the course we will visit a variety of sites in Rome (archives, libraries, churches, and museums) and analyze many different sources (manuscripts, printed books, prints, paintings, sculptures, photographs, architecture, and film) in order to analyzes and understand the city from the perspective of science and art.
Target group and admission
The course is open to 7 RMA and PhD students who are a member of a Dutch National Research School (members of the Huizinga Institute have first access) and 7 international RMA and PhD students. The selection of RMA students is based on grades, the positioning of the course in the student’s curriculum, and a letter of motivation. The selection of PhD students is based on the letter of motivation and curriculum vitae. Students can apply via the link below; include in your application:
• a letter of motivation (max. 1 A4)
• a CV
• for RMA students: a recent list of courses followed and grades provided by your university
Course format and assignments
Preparatory assignment, group assignment in Rome, individual presentation in Rome, final essay.
Tuition and lodging at the KNIR for selected participants is covered by the Huizinga Instituut (for students from Dutch universities) and by the Bibliotheca Hertziana (for international students). Personal expenses, including meals, are not included. Students can request a € 175,00 reimbursement of their expenses for travelling to Rome after submission of their final essay. Students of Dutch universities can do this at the Huizinga Instituut, international students at the Bibliotheca Hertziana.
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 center 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 gardens of the Royal Netherlands Institute.
* The KNIR accommodations comply with Italian national safety and health requirements, also in light of COVID-19.