Archive for March, 2012

Faith and Migration in Europe

Posted on March 9, 2012 in The Movement of Peoples

The Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life has just published a report on the religious affiliation of international migrants.  Pew’s research shows that there are vastly more Christian immigrants in Europe than Muslims (26 million, or 56% of the foreign-born population, versus 13 million). However, if one excludes internal migration within the European Union, the shares are much closer: 42% Christian to 39% Muslim, respectively.

Here’s the spotlight on Europe.

Steinbichler at Notre Dame

Posted on March 9, 2012 in Film, Social and Political Geographies, Students

Hans Steinbichler just spent a few days with us to discuss his work and present his new film, DAS BLAUE VON HIMMEL (“Promising the Moon”). We are still getting excited emails from faculty and students who met him and were inspired by his film and his combination of passion and intelligence.

Hans had been here ten years ago to make a short film about Vittorio Hösle, a philosopher from Germany who has now been at Notre Dame for many years. Returning after a decade, he marveled at the tools and resources available at Notre Dame. But more than that, he felt inspired by the community of students and scholars who explored so eagerly with him the history and complexity of Heimat (roughly, the concept of “home” as in “homestead” or “homeland”), the relationship between memory and forgiveness, of history and place, of legacies in German film, of acting and filmmaking technique, and the potential of film as a medium, especially at a university. In short, Hans excited everyone who met him.

We look forward to seeing him and his work at Notre Dame again soon.

European Sports and Society

Posted on March 9, 2012 in Patterns of Integration

At the Nanovic Institute, we are no strangers to sports. We certainly noticed that the US soccer team beat Italy 1-0 in an exhibition game on 29 February 2012 in Genoa, Italy. Clint Dempsey, an American career scoring leading in England’s Premier League, scored in the 55th minute with an assist from Jozy Altidore. In 78 years (11 games), the Americans had been 0-7-3 against Italy and outscored 32-4. (Ouch.) This was the first time the US beat Italy. Could this be a tiny cultural watershed? Notre Dame is a bastion of collegiate sports in America and also bastion of the Humanities — yet the two cultures rarely mix. It would be interesting, we think, to bring them together more often.

How Abroad is Abroad?

Posted on March 2, 2012 in Students

This semester, over a thousand undergraduates applied to Notre Dame’s Office of International Studies (OIS) to study abroad. Of these, 754 were accepted. The most popular destinations were countries in which the native language is English. In the next decade, Notre Dame will have its own study abroad location in Rome. One hopes that the Rome program will be conducted mostly if not entirely in Italian.

At the Institute, for contrast, we just heard from a student who wants to study Russian in Yakutsk.

Michelangelo Frammartino

Posted on March 2, 2012 in Events, Film, Opinion, Religion & Secularization

Every semester the Nanovic Institute organizes a European film series which galvanizes what has come to be a sizable audience. Last semester, the series was guest curated by film producer Leslee Udwin (a friend of the Institute) and focused on Europe, Beyond Borders. This semester, as is our practice  every other semester, we pull together a Best of Recent European Film to keep the series fresh and current.

The first film of this semester was Michelangelo Frammartino’s QUATTRO VOLTE (“The Four Times”).

ND Italianists, always in piazza, were out in full force for this one. John Welle (Professor of Italian) gave a gentle introduction which set the tone for this unusual film, which is nearly silent, poetic, and has no human dialogue. Frammartino’s use of Pythagoras’s theory of the fourfold transmigration of the soul (hence the title) made me care about the shepherd, the sheep, the tree, and (yes) charcoal. How is this possible? By following how one is shown to mingle with the other.

There is something medieval about this film, not only in its intuition of the Great Chain of Being, but also in its cinematography. Several fixed-camera shots are composed so that you follow movement on the screen as if you were following a narrative placed on a two-dimensional surface, as in a gothic painting. Frammartino’s shots are beautifully composed. I wouldn’t be surprised if many were consciously or unconsciously arranged in Golden Sections. (He does have a background in architecture.) You have to watch the film in a different way. It is organized by repetition. Props to Frammartino for taking these kinds of risks.

It’s great for students looking for fresh ways of thinking about the kind of experience one can have in a cinema.

The Nanovic Institute

Posted on March 2, 2012 in Admin

Right, so first something about who we are.

The Nanovic Institute has a broad mission to enrich, integrate, and internationalize European studies at Notre Dame. Since 1992, it has done this by promoting European issues and events, sending undergraduates abroad, helping graduate students become professionals in their fields, supporting faculty research across collegial and departmental lines, and building an international network of scholars. A large array of programs have been established in each of these five areas, which now serve as the foundation for its many future activities.

European studies is obviously a broad category. Under the leadership of A. James McAdams (William M. Scholl Professor of International Affairs), the Institute has taken an inclusive approach to membership. We now have 149 affiliated faculty in a broad range of scholarly and professional disciplines. The Institute sits at the borders between these colleges and schools and can therefore make connections across them that would not otherwise be made. New research questions, new scholarly collaborations, new ways of thinking about curricula, new relationships with universities in Europe — all these things become possible with a broad faculty base. We have also found that casting a broad net allows us to remain responsive to scholarly growth and new developments at Notre Dame.

That said, the Institute is now being asked to develop a sharper research profile for itself at the same time it is being asked to plan strategically for another decade. It’s an exciting time.