Conference | Sacred Places, Pilgrimage and Emotions | University of Melbourne

Sacred Places, Pilgrimage and Emotions

May 23-25, University of Melbourne

This conference will explore the emotions created in response to sacred place or space from the late antique to the modern period and how these emotions are deployed to build ,strengthen and defend different forms of community and communal identity. There will be a focus on European pilgrimage sites and their associated rituals and material culture, between the twelfth and eighteenth centuries, particularly the way these sacred places promote collective and personal emotions through direct experience of a site or shrine, and through constructed or extended memory. Papers will also consider the continuities between these roles of pre-modern religious shrines and the emotional investment that underpins sacred place and commemoration in secular nations and states.

Speakers: Peter Read, The University of Sydney (History) | Dee Dyas, The University of York (History) | Philip Soergel, The University of Maryland (History) | Simon Ditchfield, The University of York (History) | Andrew McGowan, MCD University of Divinity (History/Theology) | Sarah Randles, The University of Melbourne (History) | Felicity Harley-McGowan, The University of Melbourne (Art History) | Claire Renkin, MCD University of Divinity (Art History) | Lisa Beaven, La Trobe University (Art History) | Alex Fisher, The University of British Columbia (Musicology/History) | Susan Karant-Nunn, The University of Arizona (History) | Claire Walker, The University of Adelaide (History) | Charles Zika, The University of Melbourne (History) | Megan Cassidy-Welch, Monash University (History) | Dolly MacKinnon, The University of Queensland (History) | Joy Damousi, The University of Melbourne (History) | Shino Konishi, The Australian National University (History) | Richard White, The University of Sydney (History) | Catherine Kovesi,The University of Melbourne (History) | Peter Sherlock, MCD University of Divinity (VC)

Full program here.

Keynote Lecture | Thursday 23rd May 6:30pm | Copland Theatre, University of Melbourne

Thinking with Rome: Space, Place and Emotion in the Making of the First World Religion | Simon Ditchfield

What happened to Rome and the idea of Rome in the age of the Counter-Reformation and of the missions to America and the Indies? Even as Roman Catholicism was ‘going global’ to an unprecedented extent, that pre-eminent symbol of its claims to universality, Rome, was being re-invented to a degree which arguably had not been seen since the fourth century CE. The papal Jubilee of 1575 effectively relaunched the city not only as a pilgrimage destination but also as a setting for the daily processions of what surely remains the most kinetic of world religions. This lecture will also examine how Roman Catholics all over the globe ‘thought with Rome': not only via the Daily Office (and Roman Martyrology with its information about the city’s martyrs), but also via its relics which were being exported at an unprecedented rate from the late 16th century.

Simon Ditchfield is Reader in History at the University of York, UK. He carried out his postgraduate research at the Warburg Institute, London and has been a Rome Scholar at the British School at Rome (1988-89). In 1991-94 he held a British Academy postdoctoral research fellowship at the University of York. In 1998 he was elected to membership of the Accademia di San Carlo in Milan and to the fellowship of the Royal Historical Society in the UK. In 2006-08 he held a British Academy Research Leave Fellowship. Since 2010 he has been co-director of the AHRC-funded project “Conversion narratives in early modern Europe: a cross-confessional and comparative study, 1550-1700.” He has published widely on the role of perceptions of the past in the construction of religious identity in the age of the Counter Reformation and is currently writing a book entitled: Papacy and Peoples: the making of Roman Catholicism as a world religion 1500-1700 for Oxford University Press.

Dates: Thursday 23 May to Saturday 25 May, 2013

Venue: Graduate House, 220 Leicester Street, The University of Melbourne

Bookings: Attendance is free but places are limited. For enquiries or to reserve a place, please email Jessie Scott