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Saint Louis University Establishes New Center for Research on Global Catholicism

by Maggie Rotermund
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Maggie Rotermund
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ST. LOUIS – A new center at Saint Louis University has been established to support research in global Catholicism. 

The Center for Research on Global Catholicism (CRGC) supports scholarship on how Catholicism migrated across time and space to become a global religion. World-class researchers and area archivists will study the nexus of Catholicism and culture.

Center for Research on Global Catholicism

The executive team for the CRGC includes SLU faculty including, from left, Charles Parker, Ph.D., Mary Dunn, Ph.D., Kate Moran, Ph.D. and Cathleen Fleck, Ph.D. Photo by Robert Grant. 

“Our ambition is to make SLU a destination for research on global Catholicism,” said Mary Dunn, Ph.D., director of the CRGC and professor of theological studies at SLU. “We are building a center here at SLU that will be a hub for scholarship, connecting our own faculty and students with local archivists, national research centers, and the rich network of scholars around the world who work within the growing field of global Catholicism.”  

An interdisciplinary collective of researchers and scholars, the executive board of the CRGC also includes Cathleen Fleck, Ph.D., associate professor of art history and chair of Fine and Performing Arts; Kate Moran, Ph.D., associate professor of American Studies; and Charles Parker, Ph.D., professor of history.  

The executive board has worked over the past three years bringing together scholars for research discussions and conversations that cross-disciplinary, even professional, boundaries.

“Already, the diverse community of scholars, archivists, and others that has coalesced around the CRGC is moving the field of global Catholicism in new directions,” said Dunn. “Given the energy around the study of global Catholicism and the work we’ve done over these past few years, we feel like SLU is really well-positioned to become a leader in this area.” 

The Center for Research on Global Catholicism will:

The CRGC has a robust slate of programming planned for the upcoming academic year, building on last year’s initiatives.

On October 20-21, the CRGC will host a conference at SLU on the theme of global Catholicism and material culture. “Translations, Transgressions, and Transformations: the Global Movement of Objects in Catholic Cultures,” brings together scholars from around the world to examine the cultural mobility of Catholicism through the physical movement of objects like refined artworks, textiles, books, and mundane, everyday items.

Other events this year include the third in a series of biannual book symposia, the launch of a seminar fellows program, and the development of a robust digital humanities project in collaboration with regional archives belonging to women religious. 

The origins of this new Center lie in an internal Big Ideas competition to define university-wide strategic research priorities. The first Big Idea grounded in the Humanities, the CRGC brings together key components of SLU’s Jesuit history and mission: a legacy of global engagement, a commitment to rigorous academic inquiry and a focus on social justice.

For more information on the CRGC, visit the Center’s website.

Saint Louis University

Founded in 1818, Saint Louis University is one of the nation’s oldest and most prestigious Catholic institutions. Rooted in Jesuit values and its pioneering history as the first university west of the Mississippi River, SLU offers more than 13,500 students a rigorous, transformative education of the whole person. At the core of the University’s diverse community of scholars is SLU’s service-focused mission, which challenges and prepares students to make the world a better, more just place.