Cushwa in Rome: Scholars gather in fall 2019

Author: Luca Codignola and Rose Luminiello

At Notre Dame’s Rome Global Gateway on Thursday, November 7, Daniela Rossini, professor of history at Università Roma Tre and a member of the Cushwa Center’s Rome advisory committee, coordinated a one-day seminar on “1919 and the Birth of Twentieth-Century Internationalisms,” sponsored by the Cushwa Center and the Università Roma Tre. Rossini discussed Woodrow Wilson and the League of Nations; Claudio Natoli (Cagliari) offered remarks on the Communist International; Maria Susanna Garroni (Napoli L’Orientale) dealt with the women’s pacifist movement; and Carlo Casula (Roma Tre) discussed the Catholic Church’s universalism, cosmopolitanism, and internationalism. Some 50 students and faculty members, mainly representing Università Roma Tre, were in attendance and participated in a lively final discussion.

Codignola Bookcover

On Friday, November 22, Luca Codignola presented his latest book, Blurred Nationalities across the North Atlantic: Traders, Priests, and their Kin Travelling between North American and the Italian Peninsula, 1763–1846 (2019) to faculty and students of Università Roma Tre in Rome. The Cushwa Center and the Department of Human Sciences of Università Roma Tre sponsored the launch. Daniela Rossini together with Elena Baldassarri, lecturer in U.S. history, introduced the author and took questions from a packed floor.

The following day, Kathleen Sprows Cummings and Rose Luminiello, Cushwa’s joint research associate with the Research Institute of Irish and Scottish Studies, hosted a workshop, “Globalizing Profession: Women Religious in the Anglophone World, 1840–1960,” at Notre Dame’s Rome Global Gateway. Organized with the University of Aberdeen’s Colin Barr, the workshop brought together archivists and leading historians of Catholic women religious in Britain and Ireland. The day began with a presentation by Luminiello on themes that have emerged from her current research on women religious, including “borders and boundaries,” “networks, migration, and mobility,” “charism and community,” and “competition and cooperation.” Through her research, Luminiello has discovered that Roman archives contain sources pivotal to understanding women religious in history as both individuals and international actors. The discussions following this opening paper focused on the current state of the field of the history of women religious. In these sessions, each archivist and scholar identified what they thought were the core challenges, opportunities, and necessary developments for the field.

Throughout the day and each discussion session, the participants noticed a consensus about what were identified as core issues for the field. The most frequent questions involved how to increase understanding of the field within broader contexts such as the history of migration, medicine, and education, as well as addressing the low prioritization of archival preservation and cataloguing within congregations and how scholars can support or advance cataloguing processes.

Archives Of The Pontifical Irish College
At the archives of the Pontifical Irish College.

During a break, participants were welcomed to the Irish College in Rome (Pontificio Collegio Irlandese) by its Rector, Monsignor Ciarán O’Carroll, Vice-Rector Father Paul Finnerty, and librarian and archivist Cezara Petrina. Petrina gave a tour of the library and archival material, while O’Carroll took the group on a tour of the college, presenting its history and various important figures linked to the college such as Daniel O’Connell and the first Irish Catholic Cardinal, Paul Cullen.

After tea at the college, the group was back at it again, brainstorming some of the best ways to promote the discipline and to secure funding for research projects related to the history of women religious. Questions and points for development that emerged from the day included how best to communicate charism to new scholars or scholars outside of the field, and how to engage students and interdisciplinary scholars in the history of women religious.

Luca Codignola is a senior fellow at the Cushwa Center. Rose Luminiello is a postdoctoral research associate at the University of Aberdeen’s Research Institute of Irish and Scottish Studies and at Notre Dame’s Cushwa Center.

This article appears in the spring 2020 issue of the American Catholic Studies Newsletter.