Summer School: University and Diversity (Bologna, 6-14 Oct 17)

700px-bologna_panoramaSummer School: University and Diversity, Bologna, October 6 – 14, 2017
Deadline: May 1, 2017

University and Diversity: The Bolognese Experience (1088-2017)
Studienkurs of the Kunsthistorisches Institut in Florenz –Max-Planck-Institut

In 2013, the Municipality of Bologna set up a competition to find a
logo that represents ‘at a local, national and international level’ all
the ‘features and elements that make up the face of the city’. The
winning project ‘è Bologna’ provides a visual translation of the
endless perceptions of the city, linking letters to geometrical forms
inspired by archetypical Bolognese images, such as the city walls and
the brick mosaic of Santo Stefano. By typing a script, these forms are
superimposed with fixed proportions and chromatic relationships. Thus,
written words generate different but related signs that render the
‘multiplicity of elements which describe Bologna’.

The 2017 Summer School (Studienkurs) of the KHI focuses on
‘universitas’ and ‘diversitas’, concepts that are emblematic of Bologna
from the medieval to the modern period. The idea that the sum of all
things comprises a whole entity (‘universum’) provides a starting point
for exploring the city, whose urban fabric is characterized by its
former canals, medieval towers and porticoes. Bologna’s university, the
‘Alma Mater Studiorum’, considered to be founded in 1088, encapsulates
the city’s manifest identities through its original organization as a
conglomeration of loose societies called ‘nations’; the teaching of
canon and civil law and medicine; and the training of personages such
as Petrarch, Leon Battista Alberti and Copernicus. Bologna as a
cosmopolitan city is shaped further by its relationship to religious
institutions (the Dominicans and the Papacy, for example); by persons
acting on an ‘international’ scale, such as the Bentivoglio, Gabriele
Paleotti, Ugo Buoncompagni (Pope Gregory  XIII), Pier Paolo Pasolini;
and by the artworks within the city of Nicola Pisano, Giotto, Raphael,
Giambologna or the Carracci. Carlo Cesare Malvasia, writing in the
seventeenth century, described Bologna as the ‘metropolis of a kingdom’
due to its role as the capital of ancient Etruria and as the ‘school of
the universe’ for having taught philosophy, letters and religion before
all other cities. The images of the city as an important geographical
crossroad linking central and northern Italy to the rest of Europe and
as hub of learning, culture and avant-garde thinking pervades into
modern times. They impacted, for example, the tragic bombing of the
city during World War II or the Neo-Fascist attack at the Central
Station in 1980, a site that in recent years witnessed the construction
of the Alta ‘velocità’ railway, with its projected architectural
complex by Isozaki-Maffei.

The seemingly disparate histories of Bologna will be explored through
notions of ‘universitas’ and ‘diversitas’ in an attempt to better
understand the common links that, just as in the dynamic logo, comprise
the character of the city and will allow the Summer School to engage,
more generally, with the mechanisms that contribute to the cultural
constructions of multi-faceted urban centres and their relationship to
surrounding and interconnected environments. Shifting between
synchronic and diachronic approaches, topics to be explored, through
individual presentations and discussions, include: Santo Stefano and
its artistic and religious connections to the Eastern Mediterranean;
Bolognese manuscript illumination and its ‘international’ impact; the
open-air tombs of professors of law and medicine; ‘foreign’ cults
within the city, such as the Madonna di San Luca and the Madonna of
Guadalupe; spaces as places for display and as sites of alterity:
relics, bodies and burials of saints (e.g., St Dominic and St Caterina
Vigri), anatomical waxes, collections of natural objects and artefacts
with transcultural trajectories, especially to the New World and the
Ottoman Empire, and their role in the history of science and scientific
knowledge (Ulisse Aldrovandi and Ferdinando Cospi); as well as the
writing of artistic traditions and the so-called Bolognese School of
Painting. How does the city space and the civic cultures embodied
within it participate in connecting the local with the universal? How
can shifting notions of university/universality and diversity be
described and analyzed within the interplay of individuals and groups
that together make up the experience of the city?

The KHI Summer School invites applications from the fields of Art
History and related disciplines, from graduate students, doctoral
candidates and scholars who are embarking on post-doctoral research.
The number of participants is restricted to fifteen. Each participant
is expected to contribute to the success of the course not only with a
presentation, but also by actively engaging in the discussions. To
allow for active participation in the discussion, good passive
knowledge of Italian and German is required. The Institute will bear
the cost of accommodation and will reimburse half of the incurred
travelling expenses; in addition, participants will receive a daily

Applications should include: a letter of interest comprising a research
statement, a one-page Curriculum vitae and a presentation proposal (ca.
300 words). These materials can be written in English, Italian or

Please send your documents by 1 May 2017 in a single PDF file (max. 2
MB), referencing ‘Studienkurs 2017’, to the attention of Prof. Dr.
Gerhard Wolf (

Concept and organization: Annette Hoffmann, Marco Musillo, Jessica N.
Richardson and Gerhard Wolf


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