CE41 - Inégalités, discriminations, migrations

Rebuilding the World, Society, and Human Identity (1939-1958): The Global Perspective of the Vatican Archives – GLOBALVAT

Submission summary

The GLOBALVAT project seeks to access data of exceptional value to history and the social sciences – namely, the Vatican archives on the pontificate of Pope Pius XII, opened in 2020 – and to harness it as a resource for twentieth-century world history. While the opening of these archives has attracted a great deal of media and public interest, this previously unseen collection also sheds new light on a wide range of subjects and places that go well beyond the Second World War and purely ecclesiastical matters.
It is for this reason that the GLOBALVAT project has chosen to study the archives with regard to a central issue: how did the Catholic Church commit to rebuilding a world destroyed by war through its involvement in numerous areas, from the reorganization of international relations to the redefinition of human identity? It is a question that leads on to crucial contemporary issues – the emergence of a pluralized international system due to the developing role of religious organizations; the spread of various currents of secularization in Europe and the United States as well as in colonial and decolonized societies; and the gradual integration of democratic and care values and practices. In order to study these issues and coordinate collaborative research into these huge archives, the project will focus on three areas using a multi-scalar approach – the international system, the regulation of society, and human identity – and will also include the creation of a cross-cutting database.
The GLOBALVAT project brings together an experienced and close-knit multidisciplinary team, whose previous work together includes study into the archives of the former pontificate (Pius XI 1922-1939) plus assignments relating to the proposed project, with the organization of a seminar in 2019-2020 followed by various scientific and promotional activities in 2020/21. Backed by a solid university consortium centred around the Ecole française de Rome, GLOBALVAT aims to provide a resource and training platform that will enable the French research community, in collaboration with its network of colleagues abroad, to play a pivotal role in this international field of research.
In order to achieve this and to generate a sustainable dynamic, the project will span four years and consist of five work packages (WPs): in addition to general tasks (WP1), the project will focus on research into these complex archives, whose access it will facilitate either directly, via assignments, or indirectly through the creation of a database on the pope’s audiences (WP2); the organization of scientific events (WP3); the training of young researchers (WP4); and the production of deliverables for a range of audiences (WP5).

Project coordination

Laura PETTINAROLI (Direction des études - Epoques moderne et contemporaine)

The author of this summary is the project coordinator, who is responsible for the content of this summary. The ANR declines any responsibility as for its contents.


RCH András Fejérdy
UniFR Université de Fribourg (Suisse)
EFR Direction des études - Epoques moderne et contemporaine
Unicatt Università Cattolica del Sacro Cuore

Help of the ANR 446,084 euros
Beginning and duration of the scientific project: December 2021 - 48 Months

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