Past Event

The Popes, Iberia, and the Conquest of Africa (1500-1600)

November 30, 2023
5:30 PM - 7:30 PM
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501 Hamilton Hall
November 30, Thursday, 5:30 pm in 501 Hamilton Hall
The Popes, Iberia, and the Conquest of Africa (1500-1600)

Speaker: Celine Dauverd (University of Colorado Boulder/ Italian Academy, Columbia University)

Respondent: Diane Bodart (Department of Art History and Archaeology, Columbia University)

Moderator: Pier Mattia Tommasino (Columbia University)

My book project, All the Kings of the Mediterranean, The Role of the Renaissance Papacy in the North African Conquest 1430-1620, explores the Iberian conquest of North Africa (1450-1620) through the prism of seven Renaissance popes. I investigate how popes exploited their spiritual and temporal sway through soft power of rhetoric and authority, and through raw power of secular jurisdiction and alliance politics. The uniqueness of the popes’ involvement in the Maghrebi conquest is the notion of “inhabited world,” or oikoumene.  They used oikoumene to claim sovereignty over the whole Mediterranean world, seeking leadership over all confessions. Choreographing wars in Africa, the popes adroitly consolidated their sovereignty over the Mediterranean world at the expense of Iberian rulers and Muslim warlords. In this paper, based upon the chapter “Papal Manipulation of Iberian powers during the Conquest of North Africa,” I argue that the popes ably manipulated the Iberian Crowns by occasionally promising right of conquests’ bulls, at times by threatening via threats of excommunication, and at others by advocating alliances.  

Professor Celine Dauverd received her Ph.D. from the University of California, Los Angeles. Her research focuses on the socio-cultural relations between Iberia, Italy, and North Africa during the early modern era (1440-1640). Her first book, Imperial Ambition in the Early Modern Mediterranean: Genoese Merchants and the Spanish Crown (Cambridge University Press, NY 2015) examines the role of the Genoese trade diaspora in southern Italy in the context of the Spanish-Habsburg expansion in the Mediterranean Sea. Her second book, Church and State in Spanish Italy: Rituals and Political Legitimacy (Cambridge University Press, NY 2020) won the Eugene V. Kayden Book Award. It investigates the link between imperialism and religion through an analysis of the Spanish viceroys’ role in religious processions in Early Modern Naples. Dauverd’s third manuscript, Colonialism and Resistance in Early Modern Europe: Rebellion, Magic, and Reason in the Italian States, 1530-1760 (under peer review by Cambridge) explores Corsican resistance to Genoese colonialism. She is also crafting a historical fiction book probing women’s resilience and global resistance during WWII through the lives of her foremothers in France and Vietnam. In recent years, Dauverd has won several fellowships across Europe and the United States. During the 2023-24 academic year, she is a fellow of the Italian Academy for Advanced Studies at Columbia University in New York. 


Contact Information

Pier Mattia Tommasino