Tools and Methods for the History of Churches between East and West (5th-19th century)

Doctoral Workshop

Rome, 10-15 September 2018


Frédéric Gabriel (CNRS, IHRIM, ENS de Lyon)

Camille Rouxpetel (CRM-Université Paris-Sorbonne / CRHIA-Université de Nantes / Villa I Tatti, the Havard University Center for Italian Renaissance Studies)

Advisory board

Dominique Iogna-Prat (CNRS, EHESS, CéSor)

Michel-Yves Perrin (EPHE-LEM)

Pierre Savy (EFR)

Benoît Schmitz (Centre Roland Mousnier, Paris)

Laurent Tatarenko (IESW / CERCEC)


The École française de Rome, in partnership with the EHESS, the ENS Lyon, three CNRS laboratories (LEM, CéSor, IHRIM) and the labex CoMod (Lyon), is organizing a doctoral workshop in Rome from 10 to 15 September 2018. This workshop is part of the program “Religious Norms and Practices in Eastern and Western Christianity: a comparative history of interactions between European and Mediterranean Christian communities (from the ninth century to the nineteenth century A.D.)” ( Headed by Camille Rouxpetel and Laurent Tatarenko, this program federates the École française d’Athènes, the Centre de recherche français à Jérusalem and the EFR, as well as the CNRS (CéSor, CERCEC), the Catholic University of Louvain and the University of Nantes (CRHIA).


The relations between religion and institutions, long neglected by human and social sciences structured by secularism or, on the contrary, used for apologetic purposes, are now being questioned afresh. In this context, it is essential to return critically to the notion of the Church, in its confessional plurality, both Western and Eastern (Central and Eastern Europe, Hellenic space, Middle East). Very often, “religious history” takes indeed for granted what it is here to question. Conversely, in this international thematic school, we will highlight and discuss the issues that structure ecclesial institutionalism, its norms, its ramifications, its scale games, and we will propose a cartography of fields related to this topic. Classically, when it comes to defining the Church, we immediately recognize the ambiguity of the term, its multiple meanings: it is this ambiguity and its polyphony that we will explore in an interdisciplinary way, to better understand the dialectic between religion, institution and norms.

This doctoral workshop will thus make it possible to relate compartmentalized historiographies even though they share a central and strong object, the Church, which is often treated only as a backdrop to history. Instead of focusing on the differences between subjects and disciplines, our comparative approach of distinct times and territories, taken in various political contexts, will allow us to understand historical phenomenon that are anything but linear in nature. Indeed, the object “Church” is interdisciplinary by definition, but its study, rare as such in the French-speaking world, is divided between different disciplines (theology, history, but also classical letters, sociology, philosophy, law). The participants who will take part in this school will have the opportunity to see combined diverse and complementary approaches: social, normative, liturgical, political, orientalist. The participants will have access to the methods, the problematization and the last achievements of these different interdisciplinary approaches in the long term. In addition, they will also have the opportunity to discuss among themselves their subjects, and the specificity or convergence of their issues. Finally, they will benefit from the expertise of different specialists on difficulties they encounter, since all the speakers will participate in the school in its entirety.

Rome is the ideal place where we can study in a restricted area various elements which spread over a millennium: archaeological sites, ancient, medieval and “Baroque” buildings, archives, ecclesiastical libraries. For a doctoral workshop located at the crossroads of several domains, this geographical center of the ancient, medieval and modern eras imposes itself.


The Workshop will take place as follows:

1) Historiographical lectures, in French, that will present a problematized synthesis of the state of the art, as well as the most current perspectives of research. After these interventions, a large place will be devoted to the discussions.

2) In a smaller format, students will be able to give a concise presentation in relation to the topics covered (working languages: Italian, French, English). During this training week, we plan to select the best presentations from the participants. to offer them, at the end, a submission of their text to the Mélanges de l’École française de Rome Moyen Âge.

3) Guided tours of archaeological sites, monuments and archives.


The École française de Rome offers 12 scholarships for young researchers (MA, PhD or post-doctoral students from the European Union and other countries) carrying out research work on the issues of the workshop. These scholarships cover only the accommodation expenses in Rome, travel costs being borne by the laboratories or doctoral schools of the participants (exceptionally, we can consider taking charge of certain travels).

Those wishing to participate must send (in French, or in Italian, or in English), before 31 March 2018, to 1. a one-page CV and 2. the presentation of their research topic in one page.


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