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Experts in the History of Culture, Communications, and Journalism elaborate on the origin of the journalistic activity in Europe during 6th edition of the School of the Baroque

November 16, 2009

Seville, 16 November 2009.- Today, the Focus-Abengoa Foundation, in collaboration with the Menéndez Pelayo International University (UIMP), inaugurated a new edition of the School of the Baroque which, under the title Baroque and communication, and until next Thursday 19th, will set the background for a gathering of prominent specialists in the fields of History of Culture, Communications and Journalism, at the Hospital de los Venerables, in Seville.

Anabel Morillo León, General Manager of the Focus-Abengoa Foundation, and Antonio Miguel Bernal Rodríguez, President of the Academic Council of UIMP-Seville, and Head of Department at the History and Economic Institutions College of the University of Seville presided over the inaugural session of this sixth edition, whose purpose is to focus on the birth of the journalistic activity in Europe.

In this regard, Carmen Espejo Cala, Senior Lecturer at the Communications College of University of Seville, and Course coordinator, together with Francisco Sierra Caballero, Dean of the Communications College of the same University, explained that "guest specialists will analyze the "servile" aspects of baroque journalism, as well as its condition as possible stage for voicing a critical public opinion; both in its first sensationalist manifestations, and in those which came closer to what our current understanding of "serious" journalism is.

French historian, Roger Chartier, the highest representative of the l'École des Hautes Études en Sciences Sociales of Paris, and Director of the Course, delivered the inaugural speech The Baroque: Cultural models, communication and advertising.

The more than thirty students enrolled in this new edition of the School will have the opportunity to, with the help of the 15 specialists, elaborate on the details of the cultural, communications, and journalistic activities during the 17th and 18th centuries in Europe, and, as highlighted by coordinator Carmen Espejo, "to reflect on a topic that has always drawn the interest from scholars: How did the absolute monarch convince noblemen and plebeian that it was Divinity that inspired his power? Which propagandistic strategies, based on the Fine Arts, the Letters, Literature, were put at the service of the construction of the public figure of the monarch? Was journalism, which appeared in European History with the birth of the Modern Age, just another accomplice in this gigantic promotional campaign?".

Tomorrow's, Tuesday, session will begin with the lecture by Sagrario López Poza, Head of the Spanish Literature Department of University of La Coruña, specialist in Spanish Literature and Humanistic Culture in the 16th and 17th centuries. Following this lecture, Richard L Kagan, professor of the Departments of History and Romance Languages and Literature at John Hopkins University, will analyze the political use of history during the reign of Phillip IV (1621-1665), putting special emphasis on the chronicler councils, and the works of José de Pellicer Tovar y Ossau.

Before the round table Margins and interstices of a hegemonic model, which will close the second day of the course, André Belo, Head of Department at Université Rennes 2-Haute Bretagne, in France, will discourse on the political nature of information in the Portuguese gazette during the first half of the 17th Century, a period during which censorship was a characteristic feature in Court news, and was understood as a key for interpretation by usual readers.

Within the framework of the School of the Baroque, students and lecturers will visit the landmarks of the University of Seville, as well as the old repository of the University Library of Seville.

The School of the Baroque is the product of a collaboration agreement between the Focus-Abengoa Foundation and Menéndez Pelayo International University, resulting in the organisation of two schools with a triennial program, which develop their programs and activities during Autumn and Spring at the Hospital de los Venerables in Seville, turning Focus-Abengoa's headquarters into a forum for encounters and reflection led by internationally renowned teachers and researchers.

The two schools, which are included in the academic program of the UIMP in Seville, bundle educational, scientific, and cultural issues in an interrelated manner, reflecting Focus-Abengoa Foundation's intention to contribute to the satisfaction of matters of general interest by means of a multidisciplinary approach.

Created by Abengoa in 1982, the Foundation's mission is to implement Abengoa's social action policy, which it does on a non-profit basis with general interest objectives focussing on welfare, education, culture, science, research and technological development. The Foundation has become a valuable instrument in Abengoa culture. Not only is it capable of providing support for the professional and human development of its employees, it is also capable of relating to society's new sensibilities as a whole, globally managing intangible assets whose influence benefits and pervades the company's own values and objectives.

The UIMP's interdisciplinar academic and cultural portfolio combines tradition and innovation under a seal of quality and prestige. It is currently the only on-site university under the Ministry of Education, which, instead of relying on its own faculty, continues to invite the academic, intelectual, scientific and artistic national and international elite to teach in its clasrooms.

- Admissions to the inaugural speech (Monday the 16th ), the magisterial lecture (Wednesday the 18th), and the closing session (Thursday the 19th), which will all be delivered at the Church of the Hospital de los Venerables, will be free of charge, while seats last.

Complementary Information

Wednesday, November 18th

The third day of the Baroque School will begin with the conference, An interpretative framework for Baroque Journalism, by Carmen Espejo Cala, Senior Lecturer at the Communications College of University of Seville, and Course Coordinator, which will focus on the historical reasons that explain the dawn of journalism in Europe, during the first centuries of the Modern Age.

Throughout the morning, Professor of English Literature and History and Director the School of Literature and Creative Writing at University of East Anglia, Mario Infelise, professor at the University of Humanities of the University Ca'Foscardi, Venice, and director of the Department of History of said university, and semiotics experts Eliseo Colón, director of the School of Communications at Río Piedras Campus - University of Puerto Rico, and Lucrecia Escudero Chauvel, Director of the Baccalaureate Program in Communications, at University of Lille.

Umberto Eco, the Italian writer and philosopher, will be responsible delivering what will be the highlight of day three, the magisterial lecture Baroque Encyclopedia and Electronic Encyclopedia. During his speech, Mr. Eco will focus on the defining features of both encyclopedias, emphasizing how the former coincides with a period which, for the first time, saw a crisis in the typical schematic definition of scholastic culture, and how the electronic encyclopedia fails to reduce its own multiplicity into order.

Thursday, November 19th

The morning session of the last day of the Baroque School will include the lectures by Jaume Guillamet, Director of the Department of Journalism and Audiovisual Communications at the Pompeu Fabra University, Barcelona, and Javier Díaz Noci, professor of the Pompeu Fabra University, who will examine the way in which news were structured, the flow of news, and the publications during that first century of inception of professional journalism in Europe.

The afternoon session will include the lectures from movie director Agustín Yanes, and Henry Ettinghausen, who will elaborate on the early Spanish yellow press and the Baroque, and the connections between phenomena and sensationalistic events, in his conference Sensationalist press and the Baroque, which will close the School of the Baroque 2009's edition.

School of the Baroque
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