June is in full swing here in Italy and the first summer session here at John Cabot University in Rome will soon be drawing to a close. It has been a wonderful session featuring some memorable conferences and festivals for our international students in Italy and faculty to enjoy. So while we wait for the second summer session to start up, we thought we’d recap a few of the most inspiring cultural and academic events that have occurred recently.
Rethinking Political Catholicism Conference
Featuring over 50 scholars from the United States, Europe and the Middle East, the two day Rethinking Political Catholicism Conference was held at John Cabot University on May 22nd and 23rd. The purpose of the conference was to present new research on the current practice and future possibilities of political Catholicism in Italy and elsewhere. Attendees ranged from anthropologists and sociologists to political scientists, Vatican journalists, and philosophers.
Professor Michael Driessen, who co-organized the conference with Professor Tom Bailey, thought it was a remarkably creative and informative event, enthusing that “it was our belief that we could begin to move the debate about religion and politics forward in innovative but grounded ways only by engaging in an intentionally multi-disciplinary approach of this nature. I think we were extremely successful, and I look forward to watching the conversation develop further.”
InVerse Poetry Festival
The InVerse Poetry Festival, founded in 2005 by John Cabot University professors Brunella Antomarini, Berenice Cocciolillo, and Rosa Filardi, is an event centered around the reading of Italian poetry, accompanied by English translations. This year featured poetry from Nadia Agustoni, Gian Maria Annovi, Bianca Madeccia, Andrea Inglese, and many more. A bilingual edition of the InVerse collection of poetry will be published in 2015. The festival aims to introduce the beauty of Italian poetry to study abroad students, fostering a cross-cultural appreciation of how Italian culture is transmitted through poetic language. Says poet Bianca Madeccia, “The Festival was impeccably organized in one of the most beautiful venues of Rome’s historic center.”
Moved By Wonder
Moved By Wonder, which took place on the 13th and 14th of June, was a university-sponsored conference dedicated to appreciating the life, work and influence of author Flannery O’Connor. Her seminal short story, “A Good Man is Hard to Find,” inspired a JCU short story contest in which the winning students were invited to present a portion of their work at the conference. Fifty years since her death, the literary great’s style continues to be felt in the music of Bruce Springsteen, the writing of Cormac McCarthy and the films of Quentin Tarantino. Moved By Wonder featured a keynote speech by O’Connor’s biographer Dr. William Sessions, as well as a documentary on O’Connor by Dr. Mark Bosco. There was also an interesting discussion on the author by poets M.P. Gallagher, Davide Rondoni, and Alessandro Zaccuri.
It has been quite a busy Summer I session here at John Cabot University, and there’s no doubt that we’ll have even more to look forward to in the Summer II session!