Seminar: Larger than Life

Saints and Heroes in Modern Rome

Date: 19 June – 2 July 2018

Deadline for application: 15 April 2018

Personality cults play a crucial part in our media-driven society and politics. Creating identities and making sense of a complex world takes place and shape through our relation towards exemplary men and women, whether icons, idols, heroes or saints. These age-old mechanisms assumed particular traits in the modern era, with the rise of the nation state, a new mass audience, modern media and secularization, leading to a fascinating interplay of both traditional and new, secular and religious forms of hero worship.
The city of Rome offers an outstanding opportunity to study this phenomenon against the backdrop of a millennial tradition. In this intensive two week-course we will discuss and research the dynamics of modern heroism and sainthood, and related concepts such as sacrality, martyrdom, rituality and mythfication. Following introductory courses at the Royal Netherlands Institute in Rome, the group will visit several sites where the cults of modern heroes and saints have left their marks, from Garibaldi and pope Pius IX to Padre Pio, Silvio Berlusconi and Francesco Totti. Combining theoretical and historiographical insights with the study of primary sources and on-site visits in Rome, we will investigate the fascinating interplay between modern saints, martyrs, heroes icons and idols, both in practice and in ideology.

dr. Asker Pelgrom (KNIR)

prof. dr. Peter Jan Margry (Meertens Instituut/ UvA)

Target group and admission
The course is open to a maximum of 12 selected students in history, anthropology, religion, cultural studies or related disciplines at BA2/3 or (R)MA level from KNIR partner universities (Universiteit van Amsterdam, Vrije Universiteit, Universiteit Leiden, Universiteit Utrecht, Radboud Universiteit, Rijksuniversiteit Groningen).

Course format and assignments
The course is organized by and hosted at the Royal Netherlands Institute in Rome (KNIR). It consists of an two-week intensive seminar period in Rome, with lectures, on-site visits and discussions. During the seminar, each participant delivers an oral presentation. Before and after the seminar participating students work independently on two written assignments:
– an exploratory literature survey (1.000 words), deadline 11 June 2018
– a concluding essay (4.000 words), deadline 23 July 2018

Credits and assessment
The study load is the equivalent of 6 ECTS (168 hours). Each student should arrange with his/her home coordinator whether the course can be a part of the existing curriculum. After successful completion of the course the KNIR provides a certificate mentioning study load and evaluation.
The study load is based on:
a) Before the seminar in Rome, independent study of course material and preparatory assignment: 1 ECTS (28 hours)
b) Intensive seminar in Rome (14 days): active participation, presentation and essay proposal: 4 ECTS (112 hours)
c) After the seminar: essay of max. 4.000 words: 1 ECTS (28 hours)
Assessment takes place on the basis of preparatory study of course material (20%), active participation and on-site presentation (30%), and the concluding essay (50%).

Tuition and lodging at the KNIR is free for selected participants from the above mentioned Dutch universities. Personal expenses, including meals, are not included. Students receive a €100 reimbursement of their expenses for travelling to Rome after submission of their final essay.

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.

Apply before
1 April 2018 via the link below, submitting a motivation letter, a recent C.V. and an updated overview of study results.

More info
Phone: (+39)063269621