Call for Papers: Religious Minorities and Catholic Reform in Early Modern Rome

5 June 2018, British School at Rome


We invite papers on the lives and stories of non-Catholics in Rome between the 16th and 18th centuries, for a one-day conference to be held 5 June 2018 at the British School at Rome.

How did religious minority groups, and individuals who did not always profess Roman Catholicism, contribute to early modern Catholic reform from within the city at its heart? Can the history of early modern Catholicism be written not only as a global religion, but also as an inter-religious enterprise – even at its core? In asking these and other questions, this workshop seeks to apply new methodologies in early modern religious history to the capital of Roman Catholicism. A vast edifice of nineteenth- and early 20th-century scholarship was built on institutional records of the Church’s many congregations. These often-prescriptive sources portrayed a monolithic, uniform, and largely successful Church and city. In response, current scholarship on early modern Catholicism emphasizes the marginal and peripheral, the domestic, and the transitory: shifting identities, fluid boundaries, reception, appropriation and adaptation. Some of the most fruitful results have examined interactions between Catholics and non-Catholics in distant missionary contexts. We apply their approach to the capital city of Roman Catholicism for the following purposes:

• to consider early modern Rome as a city which hosted adherents of many faiths.
• to examine potential channels of influence by other confessions on early modern Catholicism.
• to locate exchanges between faiths within particular urban spaces in Rome

Papers examining the presence in Rome – transient or permanent, individuals or groups – of any minority group or religion are very welcome. Topics can include but are not limited to:

• sites of intellectual exchange across religious denominations
• liturgical and theological differences among Christian sects in Rome
• converts as mediators between Roman Catholicism and other confessions
• Ambassadors, tourists, slaves, merchants
• Public, private, or liminal spaces of interreligious exchange
• Papal, congregational, or other Catholic policy as the fruit of interreligious concerns.

Interested parties should please send an abstract (250 words) and short bio to Emily Michelson by 30 March 2018.