The Ramonat Seminar in American Catholic History and Culture is an interdisciplinary, two-semester course that provides Loyola undergraduates with the unique opportunity to explore changing topics within American Catholic history through hands-on research. Taught alternately by a Loyola faculty member or a recent PhD in Catholic History, the seminar is limited to 12 participants who pursue common readings in the fall semester and individual research projects in the spring semester. Unlike standard undergraduate courses, the Ramonat Seminar provides promising students, who will be named Ramonat Scholars, with resources for research, travel, and even publication in digital and print formats, all aimed at their general professional development. The best final research paper or digital project from each year’s seminar, to be voted on by a panel of three judges from among the faculty of the University, will win The Susan Ramonat Prize for Scholarly Excellence.
2017-2018 Seminar: Vision Questers and Mission Makers
Vision Questers and Mission Makers: Catholic Missions and Americans in North American History and Culture
Religion played a large role in the European-American conquest of the New World. Catholic mission activities often constitute a painful chapter in indigenous history. Yet Christianity and mission education programs have also played an important role in the survival and revival of Native American societies and sovereignty. Christianity was tool of conquest and perhaps even genocide yet it also was a space where natives and newcomers could explore new spiritual worlds and create a common sacred ground. This class will explore the conflicted history of Catholic evangelism in North America including the legacy of Junipero Sera and the Spanish missions, the Jesuits in New France and the creation of the Jesuit Relations, as well as the role of Catholic mission in Anglo-America’s “civilization program.” The two semester class will also explore aspects of American Indian spirituality through seminal figures such as Neolin, Handsome Lake, Tenskwatawa, Kateri Tekakwitha, and Black Elk and the influence of Christianity in its repression, evolution, and renaissance.