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Sovereignty, History, and Papal Monarchy: Political Theory in the Age of Innocent IV

November 4, 2013 @ 3:30 pm - 5:00 pm

Portrait image of Brett Whalen wearing a white shirt and black jacket standing in front of book shelves

Monday Seminar:

Brett Whalen

Kingdon Fellow (2013-2014)

History, UNC-Chapel Hill


A former canon lawyer, Pope Innocent IV (1243-1254) declared that all peoples—rulers and the ruled, believers and non-believers—came under the Roman Church’s spiritual and ultimately temporal jurisdiction due to the pope’s status as the successor to Saint Peter and, through that apostle, to Jesus Christ. In this way, the pope crafted an all-encompassing Christian vision sovereignty and world order, a religious and political project that still resonates today. In this seminar, Professor Whalen will discuss aspects of his current research on Innocent’s papacy, paying particular attention to the pope’s clash with the German ruler, Frederick II, a struggle grounded in competing claims over the meaning of history itself.


Brett Whalen is associate professor of history at UNC-Chapel Hill. He works on Christian intellectual and cultural history during the Middle Ages, including apocalyptic thought, the crusades, and church reform. His first book, Dominion of God: Christendom and Apocalypse in the Middle Ages (Cambridge, Mass., 2009), explores the medieval belief that Christianity would spread to every corner of the earth before the end of time. He is also the author of Pilgrimage in the Middle Ages(Toronto, 2011) and The Medieval Papacy (London, 2013).


November 4, 2013
3:30 pm - 5:00 pm
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University Club, Room 212
432 East Campus Mall
Madison, Wisconsin 53703 United States