AAC : « War and Genocide, Reconstruction and Change : The Global Pontificate of Pius XII, 1939 – 1958 », colloque international à l’École française de Rome — LIMITE : 31/​01/​2020

War and Genocide, Reconstruction and Change : The Global Pontificate of Pius XII, 1939 – 1958
Conference hosted by the École Française and the German Historical Institute in Rome
17 – 19 June 2020
In March 2020, the Vatican will open its archives for the pontif­i­cate of Pius XII. Long-​awaited within the schol­arly commu­nity, these new sources will allow histo­rians to address a whole range of topics that extend beyond Eugenio Pacelli’s biog­raphy and relate to greater ques­tions of global poli­tics as well as twentieth-​century social and economic history. 
Pius XII steered the Catholic Church not only through the mass violence of the Second World War and the Holocaust, but also through the period of post-​war recon­struc­tion, the Cold War, and finally, into a new era of glob­al­iza­tion. This pontif­i­cate, in other words, stands amidst the ‘Age of Extremes’, which forced Catholics to situate them­selves in rela­tion to conflicting ideolo­gies, total­i­tar­i­anism, democ­racy, and moder­nity. Although a period of accel­er­ating secu­lar­iza­tion, the pontif­i­cate also witnessed the re-​emergence of the Catholic Church as an influ­en­tial global force. 
Scholars now face a multi­tude of ques­tions : What were the major insti­tu­tional, social, and reli­gious changes in the global Catholic commu­nity under Pius XII’s papacy ? What was the Vatican’s atti­tude towards democ­racy and human rights as well as total­i­tarian and author­i­tarian regimes ? How did Pius XII cope with Catholic ambi­gu­i­ties between resis­tance and collab­o­ra­tion in Nazi-​ruled Europe and in the face of the Holocaust ? And how impor­tant were the Vatican’s efforts of human­i­tarian aid in the same period ? In what ways did Pius XII influ­ence the forma­tion of the Western alliance and the begin­ning of the Cold War ? How did the Holy See react to the foun­da­tion of Israel or to move­ments of de-​colonization in Africa, Asia, and South America ? In addi­tion, future schol­ar­ship will likely examine how Pius XII reacted as a theolo­gian to chal­lenges of secu­lar­iza­tion, mass culture, tech­no­log­ical progress, and rapidly changing gender rela­tions. These issues, of course, gained a partic­ular impor­tance in the Second Vatican Council, held only four years after Pacelli’s death. 
Given the timing of the archives’ opening, this confer­ence does not claim to provide defin­i­tive answers to open histor­ical ques­tions. Instead, it aims to discuss the current state of the histo­ri­og­raphy, to encourage further discus­sions, and to estab­lish an agenda for future research. In partic­ular, the confer­ence will examine what we have already learned from the previous opening of the archives of Pius XI in order to lay a ground­work for assessing conti­nu­ities and discon­ti­nu­ities between the pontif­i­cates of Eugenio Pacelli and his prede­cessor in their respec­tive govern­ment of the Church. Thereby, the confer­ence is not limited to biograph­ical research on Pius XII. It also seeks to gather histo­rians in Rome who work on Catholicism in the context of broader global events. Ultimately, we hope to form an inter­na­tional group of scholars who will stay in contact whilst doing archival research in the Vatican over the next decade. 
Both paper and panel proposals are welcome and should be sent to Dr. Nina Valbousquet and Dr. Simon Unger-​Alvi (nina.valbousquet@efrome.it & Unger-Alvi@dhi-roma.it) by January 31, 2020. Paper proposals (for a 15 – 20-​minute presen­ta­tion) should not exceed 350 words and should be accom­pa­nied by a short CV. Panel proposals should include 3/​4 papers and CVs. Accommodation will be provided and reim­burse­ment for travel costs may also be avail­able, partic­u­larly for younger scholars without insti­tu­tional funding.