Field: Early Modern Europe
Advisor: Ed Muir
Charles Keenan is a Ph.D. candidate in history at Northwestern. His research focuses on early modern Italy, and he is particularly interested in the role of the Catholic Church as an international institution that worked within and between secular governments. He holds an M.A. in history from Northwestern and an Honors B.A. (summa cum laude) in history from Marquette University, with a minor in theology.
Charles’s doctoral dissertation, entitled “Tolerating Toleration: The Catholic Response to Religious Difference in Early Modern Europe, c. 1560-1600,” examines the Catholic Church’s reaction to policies of religious toleration that began to appear in the fifteenth century. That the Catholic Church usually disapproved of religious toleration is not surprising, but this project reveals the competing justifications that different Catholics offered for rejecting toleration – or why certain clerics thought toleration might be a necessary expedient in some cases. Traditionally the history of toleration has been told using the cases of Protestant countries like England and the Netherlands. This dissertation includes lesser-studied examples from Savoy, Austria, and Poland, and in so doing tries to explain the Catholic side to this story, which, due to the nature of the universal church, was a transnational phenomenon. By considering legal guarantees of toleration, incidents of popular violence, and the assassination of political leaders, this dissertation asks how Catholic leaders tried to intervene in events abroad, what they understood the relationship between secular and ecclesiastical power to be, and how they saw their role in relation to other Christian confessions.
About Charles (academia.edu)