Loyola University Chicago

Department of History

The Ramonat Seminar


The History Department is very pleased to offer, through the generosity of donor Susan Ramonat, the third annual Ramonat Seminar in American Catholic History and Culture for the 2017–18 academic year. The Ramonat Seminar is an interdisciplinary, two-semester course that provides Loyola undergraduates with the unique opportunity to explore changing topics within American Catholic history, literature, and culture through hands-on research.

Taught by a Loyola faculty member, 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.

Application for the Ramonat Seminar is competitive. Applications are due Monday, March 27th. Scroll down for details on how to apply.

The theme of the 2016–17 Ramonat Seminar is:

Vision Questers and Mission Makers

August 28 through December 16, 2017: Tuesdays and Thursdays, 10:00–11:15 am

January 17 through April 29, 2018: Tuesdays, 2:30–5 pm

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.

This is a two-semester course. Students are required to take both the fall and spring courses. Fall class meetings will be built around readings, discussion, field trips, guest lectures with leading scholars, and digital projects. Working with the instructor, local archivists, and librarians, students will develop and complete a research project of their own design in the spring semester. Primary sources that students might choose include:

  • Parish and institutional records;
  • Newspapers;
  • Novels;
  • Memoirs, Diaries and Journals;
  • Court Records;
  • Maps;
  • Photographs;
  • Sheet Music and Musical Event Programs;
  • Theater Programs;
  • Sporting Event Records;
  • and Library Collections.

Each student will have access to a $500 research budget for her or his project. Final presentations of this research can take the form of a research paper or a digital project. Projects will be presented at the end of the semester at a public mini-conference and the best paper or project will be awarded The Susan Ramonat Prize for Scholarly Excellence.

Application deadline is March 27, 2017.

Application for the Ramonat Seminar is competitive and open to undergraduate students in all majors. Accepted students are required to complete both the fall and spring courses. Applicants are required to submit by April 4, 2016 for consideration:

Students will learn of their acceptance by April 14th, before the start of fall registration. For more information about the Ramonat Seminar or to apply, please contact Professor Kyle Roberts, Department of History (kroberts2@luc.edu)

About the Instructors:

Ted Karamanski is Professor of History and Director of the Public History Program. He has written extensively on Native American history and teaches courses on a range of topics.