The Crisis of Humanism during the Wars of Religion in France

PhD Advisor: Prof. Jan Miernowski

Between 1562 and 1598 France was torn apart by a bloody civil conflict known as the “Wars of Religion.” The civil wars have almost annihilated the French state and have had profound repercussions throughout Europe, the most known of which are European (and most of all Polish) echoes of the St. Bartholomew’s massacre. This series of battles, massacres and political assassinations was traditionally considered as mere aftershocks of long-term tectonic transformations of French feudality into a modern absolutist kingdom. It is only recently, thanks to the scholarship of literary- and anthropologically oriented historians, that religion and ethics were introduced back to the study of religious and political struggles for power in late-Renaissance France. As doctoral student, you will be invited to explore the literary, cultural, theological and political aspects of the violence of French Wars of Religion conceived as manifestations of European humanism brought to its limits.

If you choose this field of doctoral research you will complete your fellowships abroad at the following Partner Institutions:

Centre Roland Mousnier, Université de Paris-IV Sorbonne
Centre Roland Mousnier is the leading research center in the study of early modern France. With over 50 members (among whom 24 professors whose books cover all the areas of world’s modern history from the Renaissance to contemporary times), located on the premises of the Sorbonne, the Centre Roland Mousnier is the optimal intellectual setting for doctoral students to learn first-hand the newest methods of scientific investigation in historical studies. Especially valuable from the perspective of our Project is the interdisciplinary and humanities oriented character of the Center’s research programs (among others: the history of the family; globalization and cultural areas; defence and international relations…). In the Centre Roland Mousnier, you will have at your disposal over 14 000 volumes of the Centre’s highly specialized library, as well as the Library of the Sorbonne, and many Parisian libraries of crucial importance for the completion of the dissertation: Bibliothèque Nationale, Bibliothèque de l’Arsenal, Bibliothèque St. Geneviève, Bibliothèque Mazarine, Bibliothèque de la Société du Protestantisme Français. You will work under the supervision of Prof. Denis Crouzet. For more information, see:

Department of French and Italian, University of Wisconsin-Madison
The Department of French and Italian of the University of Wisconsin-Madison, is located on one of the major campuses in the USA. Hence the richness of resources at your disposal both within and outside of the Department: the ultra-modern Memorial Library housing over 3 million volumes, and, most importantly, its precious Special Collection comprised of rare prints among which our student will find a large collection of French political pamphlets from the 16th and 17th centuries (described in the bibliography by Lindsay and Neu), as well as the Duveen and Cole collections on alchemy, science and religion. On the Madison campus, you will take advantage of research teams such as: the Institute for Research in the Humanities, the Center for Early Modern Studies, and the Humanities Center as well as the Department of History. The Department of French and Italian at the University of Wisconsin-Madison is one of the top research and training academic units in the USA (9th in research, 7th in the quality of PhD students’ training, and 1st in number of PhD awarded in French studies according to the latest rankings). The faculty of the Department is comprised of 24 tenured professors and academic staff, covering by their expertise all the areas of French and Francophone literature and culture. You will work under the supervision of Prof. Ullrich Langer. For more information, see: