University of Notre Dame

Center for Italian Studies


Rome Seminar


Each year since 2011, the Italian Studies Program at Notre Dame, along with the Nanovic Institute for European Studies and in collaboration with various other departments and univeristies, has sponsored an annual seminar in Rome. This interdisciplinary seminar brings together graduate students and junior faculty members from Italy, the United Kingdom, the United States, and the rest of the world.

The 2018 Rome Seminar is designed to introduce graduate students from across the humanities to the unique primary sources available in Rome. Working hands on with materials in some of the city’s archives and libraries, students are exposed to the rich potential of a wide range of sources produced from 1100 to 1750. Seminar meetings are held at the Vatican Apostolic Library, the Biblioteca Casanatense, the Biblioteca Nazionale, and the Archivio di Stato (state archives), and elsewhere. Practical skills for using non-textual primary sources like works of art and architecture are also be taught. The seminar also includes a series of presentations by senior scholars who will discuss how they have collected and interpreted Roman primary sources in their own research.

The 2017 Rome Seminar, Ireland & Italy, took place on June 16-30 at Notre Dame's Rome Global Gateway. Organized by Barry McCrea (Irish Studies, English), the seminar investigated the complex set of connections between Ireland and Italy, from medieval monasticism (and earlier) to the contemporary European Union.

The 2016 Rome Seminar, "Rome and the Jubilee, 1300-2015," took place on June 9-24 at Notre Dame's Rome Global Gateway. Organized by an interdisciplinary team of distinguished professors at Notre Dame (Ingrid Rowland, Architecture and Classics; Heather Hyde Minor, Art, Art History & Design; Margaret Meserve, History; and Robin M. Jensen, Theology), the Seminar used the study of Jubilees, past and present, as a focus for tracking Rome’s changing fortunes as a religious and political capital, to discover how its mission as a destination for tourists and pilgrims shaped the face of the city and the growth of its public institutions. 

The 2015 Rome Seminar, "Philology Among the Disciplines," took take place on June 14-27 at Notre Dame's Rome Global Gateway. Co-sponsored by Italian Studies at Notre Dame, the Nanovic Institute for European Studies, the Notre Dame Institute for Advanced Study, and the Office of the Vice President for Research, the seminar examined the role and relevance of philology in its relations to archaeology, anthropology, history, art history, classics, law, philosophy, and theology.

The 2014 Rome Seminar was the first of the seminars to take place in Notre Dame's new building in Rome. Co-sponsored by the Cushwa Center for the Study of American Catholicism, the Nanovic Institute for European Studies, and the College of Arts and Letters, the conference explored American Catholicism in a World Made Small: Transnational Approaches to U.S. Catholic History.

The 2013 Summer Seminar, Dante's Theology, which took place in Jerusalem from June 17-28, 2013, aimed to bring together Dante scholars and theologians so as to offer the opportunity for sustained, high level interdisciplinary engagement with Dante's theology, thereby creating the possibility for the development of new insights and fresh methodological perspectives from which the field at large may benefit. It was also our goal is to create a human and professional environment that can foster ongoing friendship and collaboration in the furtherance of our understanding of Dante's work.

The 2012 Rome Seminar, CineRoma, which took place in Rome from June 11-28, 2012, explored ways in which film genres and traditions (comedy, the fantastic, silent and popular cinema, realism) address and represent Rome. The overarching goal of the seminar was to assess the treatment of Rome within the broader theoretical and cultural debate of the representation of urban place and space in cinema. The seminar was organized into ten sessions (urbanism, tourism, memory, gendered space, silent cinema, popular cinema, comedy, fantasy and reality, audiences, the landscapes of Italy). One day was dedicated to each topic; and a specialist in the particular field led each seminar

The inaugural Rome Summer Seminar (13 June – 1 July, 2011)—Italia “Glocale”/ “Glocal” Italy—brought together scholars in the fields of literature, history, anthropology, classical antiquity, cultural studies, the arts, architecture, and postcolonial studies. Organized in collaboration with the University of Rome "La Sapienza", the 2011 Rome Seminar faculty included Maurizio Albahari, Roberto Antonelli, Piero Boitani, Joseph A. Buttigieg, Theodore J. Cachey, Jr., Roberto Dainotto, Dennis P. Doordan, Sabine G. MacCormack, Margaret Meserve, Charles M. Rosenberg, Ingrid Rowland, Maria Serena Sapegno, Salvatore Settis, Aldo Schiavone, and Maurizio Albahari. Participants in the 2011 Rome Seminar came from Brown University, California State University Chico, the University of Cambridge, the University of Chicago, Colorado State University-Pueblo, Flinders University Adelaide, James Madison University, the University of Michigan, New York University, the University of Notre Dame, Rutgers University, Stanford University. The 2011 Rome Seminar explored both the history and the contemporary reality of Italy as a culture grappling with the need to construct a unified national imaginary while at the same time preserving regional and local distinctiveness, identity, difference. A major element of this phenomenon is the tension among cosmopolitanism, nationalism, and regionalism. In broader, more abstract terms, reflection on “Glocal Italy” served as a starting point for reflections on the relations between centers and peripheries, identity and difference, the urban and the rural, the universal and the particular, national and minority languages or dialects, hegemony and subalternities, the global and the local.