CSPW Students at Utrecht Summer School
Building on a pre-existing exchange relationship, the Consortium for the Study of the Premodern World funded three University of Minnesota graduate students to enroll in Utrecht Summer School in the Netherlands in summer 2017. Luke Freeman, Eric Becklin, and Jan Volek, all PhD students in History, took a course on "Religion in the World: Beyond the Secular Paradigm." Luke summed up the experience:
As a week-long seminar and series of lectures, the course provided an overview of major recent thought on the concepts of secularity, secularism, and religion in European society. Of particular interest was the role of secularism in constructing the concept of "modernity." The Eurocentric idea of religion required therein was critiqued and challenged. Temporally, the focus was on the Netherlands since about 1550 until the present. This meant that lectures and discussion considered a broad range of themes, including religion during Dutch colonialism, the revolt against Spain, the Reformation, colonialism and empire, and post-colonial Dutch society. The challenge to secularism as a concept emerged, in part, through historical and sociological analysis of religion in contemporary Dutch society, including both Pentecostalism and Islam in the Netherlands. Excursions included visits to a mosque in Amsterdam, as well as to a Buddhist temple in Utrecht itself, and to a Hindu temple in The Hague.
The CSPW fosters innovative thinking on local, regional, national, and international scales, and looks forward to continuing to strengthen its academic alliance with Utrecht.