Seminar: The Vatican Inside Out

Eternity Meets Modernity – Politics and Culture, 1800-present

Date: 1 April – 15 April 2019

Deadline for applications: 15 February 2019

From Napoleon to the present day, the relationship between Roman Catholicism and modernity has been an uneasy one, since many aspects of the modern age run counter to the intrinsically traditional nature of the Church, both as an institution and as a community of faith. Modern ideas such as liberalism, capitalism, nationalism and modernism have continuously challenged its theological doctrine, ecclesiastical hierarchy and political authority, as well as Christian living in general, leading to either reactionary stances or calls for internal reform.

This course examines how the Vatican and modernity have put each other to the test over the last two centuries. It aims at analyzing the political relationship between church and state (Napoleon, (Italian) nationalism, imperialism, totalitarianism, the Cold War), theological stances and religious politics (ultramontanism, dogma’s, encyclical letters, the First and Second Vatican Councils, the politics of sainthood, relations towards other creeds etc.), social issues (missionary work and development aid, but also sexual abuse) and cultural aspects (the European school-funding controversy, practices of popular Catholic devotion, heritage policy, Christian archeology, attitude towards modern art). Finally, the present state of affairs will be examined: to what extent can we speak of an aggiornamento of the Church to modern times today?

In this intensive 14-day seminar, we will investigate these fascinating themes during a series of lectures at the KNIR, in which some of the main theoretical and historiographical insights will be discussed. From an early stage, students will work on their own assignments in the KNIR Library, using both primary and secondary sources. A large part of the course consists in on-site visits in and around Rome, thus providing visible and concrete examples of the ideas, developments and events dealt with in class and in the course readings.

Dr. Jeroen Koch (UU), dr. Asker Pelgrom (KNIR) and guest lecturers

Target group and admission
The course is open to a maximum of 12 selected students in history, religion, cultural studies, art history 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 22 March 2019
– a concluding essay (4.000 words), deadline 3 May 2019

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
15 February 2019 via the link below, submitting a motivation letter, a recent C.V. and an updated overview of study results.

More info
Phone: (+39)063269621