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Global Catholicism and Early Modern Ottoman Europe

Wednesday, February 17, 2021, 12:40 pm – 1:30 pm

In the last couple of decades, the study of early modern global Catholicism, i.e., how Catholicism operated on an international scale between the sixteenth and eighteenth centuries, has become a dynamic field, with a primary focus on the most essential vehicle of Catholicism’s global reach—the missions. This new scholarship has yielded important results in the study of Catholic missions to the Americas and Asia, however, missions within Europe in general and within Ottoman Europe in particular, have remained outside this new trend.

The aim of my talk is to introduce my dissertation that I am currently completing at CEU and where I examine the plural manifestations of Catholicism in seventeenth-century Ottoman Europe, with a focus on Bosnia, southern Hungary, and the Banat (collectively referred to as ‘northern Ottoman Rumeli’). My principal objective is to analyze the complex and contested nature of these regional variants of Catholicism and situate the area in the history and historiography of early modern Catholic missions. Drawing primarily on published and unpublished Catholic missionary letters and reports and cross-reading them with other types of primary sources of Ottoman and Orthodox Christian provenance, I focus on how the sacramental reforms of Trent were received and negotiated in the religiously, ethnically, and legally pluralistic context of seventeenth-century northern Ottoman Rumeli. At the same time, my objective is to bring to the fore the multilayered local contexts and multi-confessional agency that could create such local variants of confessional meaning-making in the first place.

In this presentation, I will briefly speak about the conceptual framework of the thesis, sources, and some of the interpretative challenges of dealing with such a topic in an adequate manner.

For the Zoom meeting, click here.


This presentation is a part of a recent series of events – the CEMS Research Seminar – which will be informal, lunchtime gatherings at which CEMS members present their current or recent research in a friendly, low-stakes environment. The presentations will be brief (15-20mins) and ample time will be left for discussion. The idea is to become more familiar with one another’s research and encourage conversations within CEMS. In this way, we hope to strengthen the internal community and benefit from the excellent scholarship in which our colleagues are engaged.