‘Jesuits and the Arts’ Symposium this April at SLU


On April 18, 2017, the Saint Louis University libraries, the College of Arts and Sciences and the Jesuit Archives: Central United States is hosting the third annual Jesuit Student Research Symposium. The theme is “Jesuits and the Arts.”

Dr. Silvana Siddali of the department of history, Tim Achee from Pius Memorial Library and Dr. Dave Miros from the Jesuit Archives began the symposium.

Siddali explained that the three of them were surprised and disappointed that SLU was not conducting any events concerning Jesuit history.

2014 marked the bicentennial of the Jesuit restoration after the Jesuit order had been repressed. After being founded again, the first generation of Jesuits came to the United States to conduct missionary work.

Achee, Miros and Siddali felt that the bicentennial should be celebrated at SLU and that students should be involved. The symposium was created and both undergraduate and graduate students presented their papers on Jesuit history.

After their success, the three decided to host the event annually. The next year’s theme was about race and the Jesuits.

Siddali said the controversies at and around Ferguson inspired the trio to cover the topic. The focus was on SLU and slavery, but there were also presentations on Native Americans and Jesuits.

The race and Jesuits synposium was well-received, but Siddali said that attendees were somewhat surprised by SLU’s history with slavery.

The symposium brought to light that SLU really had not done anything about their negative history.

Siddali went to the office of the University’s president and shared that people were inquiring about SLU’s past with race. In response, the research project concerning SLU and slavery was started and is currently being researched by several faculty members from the department of history. The foremost researcher is Dr. Nathaniel Millett.

The project will be featured prominently among SLU’s bicentennial programs in 2018.

Siddali shared that the SLU and slavery project showcases the mission of the symposia: “We were hoping that these symposia would bring our students more in line with Jesuit history.”

For the 2017 symposium, the theme concerns the Jesuit influence on art. The Jesuits have had an impact on various art forms whether it is stained glass, architecture, music or even plays. Siddali expressed her excitement about working with students from various disciplines on their research.

Surprisingly, Jesuits have even been involved with theatrical performances. Siddali said there are several plays that can be found in the Jesuit Archives.

Beginning the call for papers now, the deadline for proposals is Monday, Jan. 30, 2017. Both undergraduate and graduate students can submit proposals.

The proposal will be reviewed by a panel and presentations will be 20-minutes long. Final papers are due Monday, April 10, 2017.

Contact Dr. Silvana Siddali at [email protected] with questions or for more information. Siddali said she will even assist with topic choices.

All are invited to attend the symposium to hear presentations on April 18, 2017. It will be held in Saint Louis University Museum of Art (SLUMA) and there will be food and refreshments.

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