Sermons and artistic images performed a doctrinal role in the foundation of the Christian religion in the Middle Ages.  At the same time they played an essential role not only to explain to the common people the nature of the feudal system but also to legitimize its structure of Power. They constituted an “audiovisual language,” which, by utilizing elements of social doctrine and political theology developed by the Church, presented a portrait of Order.
This lecture will reflect upon the key connection between the message of the sermons and the Romanesque and Gothic iconography, analyzed from the point of view of the Medieval spectator and will involve a discussion of a European language, common to Spain, France, England, and Italy between the 11th and 15th centuries.
Miguel Larrañaga, born in San Sebastian, Spain, received his B. A.  from the Universidad Autónoma de Madrid, and his Ph. D. in History from the Universidad de Deusto, Spain, in1994.  A university professor and researcher in Spain, and visiting professor in Germany, USA, and UK, currently he is professor of the Humanities Center of IE University in Segovia, Spain, and also professor of Stanford’s Bing Overseas Studies Program in Madrid.
His research interests center on the history of the Middle Ages:  Social history; Cultural history; Written culture; Medieval sermons; Medieval iconography: Medieval Church; Mendicant Orders; Paleography. He has published more than 70 paper, articles, books. The titles of his most recent books include: Peasants and social conflict in Late Medieval Navarreand Word, Image, and Power: Teaching Order in the Middle Ages.”

The Conference will take place on Thursday January 14th, 12.30pm at Stanford University, California (Pigott Hall (Bldg 260), Room 252)

For further information click here


57679David Hernández de la Fuente impartirá dos conferencias sobre el matemático y filósofo griego Pitágoras en la Fundación Juan March.

Martes 12 de enero – Las vidas de Pitágoras: entre historia, filosofía y leyenda

Jueves 14 de enero – La escuela de Pitágoras: sabiduría, comunidad y política en la Magna Grecia

Ambas conferecias serán en el Salón de Actos de la Fundación Juan March (Castelló 77) a las 19.30h.

Si desea más información sobre las conferencias pulse aquí


The enemy within

Written on January 7, 2016 by Susana Torres Prieto in IE Humanities Center, International Relations

susanaBy Susana Torres Prieto, Professor of Humanities at IE University and IE Business School. 

Only a few months ago, almost coinciding with the concession of the Nobel Literary prize to Svetlana Alexievich, the world was remembering once again the assassination of Anna Politkovskaya, whose tenth anniversary will be marked this coming year 2016. Rereading one of her last books, Putin’s Russia, which in fact was published in the United Kingdom and in English in 2004, three years before appearing in Russian in Russia, one realizes, in retrospective, a few important factors, and inevitably wonders what she would say of current Russian and European politics.

The first thing that catches the eye is that this almost posthumous book was a warning. At a time, 2004, when the West was enchanted and immensely pleased with the new Russian leader, Politkovskaya, whose assassination, by the way, was committed on Vladimir Putin’s birthday, was already saying that, beneath that enchanting figure, was a cold-hearted secret agent who only knew one way of ruling, imposing silence and fear as any KGB agent was trained to do, someone who would rather be efficacious and effective than remembered for respecting human rights conventions.

The second aspect is that her criticism stems from indignation accumulated at watching Russian people suffering at the hands of their own state, particularly young men in the army. It is an indignation parallel to the one suffered by Chekhov when he visited the penal colony in the island of Sakhalin. An indignation that constantly cries out ‘why does our government care so little for its own people’, those Poor Folk who were granted the rank of protagonists by Dostoyevsky and were satirized by Chekhov himself.

One thing that Politkovskaya was certainly pursuing, and in this she coincides with the Nobel laureate Alexievich, was opening the eyes of Russians and the whole wide world , showing to them that things were being done tremendously wrong by their own authorities, as she has always done in criticizing, among other things, the Second Chechen War. And for doing so they both chose a similar path: giving voice of those that were silenced, hushed, isolated. Our shared concern with free press stems from the firm belief that access to free and contrasted information necessarily contributes to creating an informed public opinion which will held their authorities accountable for their acts. Unfortunately, reality shows, in Russia and elsewhere, that that is not always the case. For someone who never ceased to ask them to open their eyes to the evidence, Politkovskaya might have been surprised to see the current level of acceptance amongst Russians of President Putin’s policies, despite his public requests for economic sacrifices and unpopular measures to come, due mainly, though not solely, to the extremely low price of oil, a crucial fact for a heavily oil-dependent economy like Russia’s. Pilar Bonet, El País correspondent in Moscow, was informing a few days ago that, in the battle between fridges and television sets, as some analysts would put it, television sets were currently on the lead. In a nutshell, Russians prefer to live in worse economic conditions but being assured that they are a great country.

Propaganda is an astonishing tool, more powerful than any numbers of analysts and academics might imagine, and it has little or nothing to do with reason. Maybe the flaw in the argument is that, despite more or less open access to information, availability and accessibility to Internet, at the end of the day, people choose to believe. Those with unlimited confidence in human reason are heart-broken when they see people just decide to ignore, for political, religious or any other reason, what reason tells them, or should be telling them, in exchange of confidence, security or any other unattainable utopia. Per ardua ad astra, the ancients used to say. Indeed.


By Daniel Kselman, Academic Director of International Relations at IE School of International Relations,  and Jose Piquer, Director of the Bachelor in International Relations at IE School of International Relations.

This Sunday, Dec. 20, Spaniards will go to the polls in one of the most unpredictable elections since the country’s transition to democracy in the late 1970s. For the last three decades Spain’s politics have been dominated by the conservative Popular Party (PP) and the Socialist Party (PSOE). Now for the first time, the centrist Citizens and the leftist Podemos, or We Can, parties are challenging the two dominant organizations.

One thing is certain: The day after the election the next prime minister will be forced to address the question of Catalan secession. In Catalonia, a northern Spanish region that makes up 16 percent of Spain’s total population and produces 19 percent of its total gross domestic product, pro-independence parties are pushing ahead with a historic plan for an independent state.

Since the onset of economic crisis in 2008, nationalist politicians in Catalonia have increasingly clamored for independence. In the regional elections of September 2015 Catalan nationalist parties won an absolute majority of seats (though not votes) in the 135-seat regional assembly. Last month this majority, led by regional governor Artur Mas, approved a measure in the Catalan parliament to formally begin the process of breaking away from Spain. The parliament outlined a plan for the region’s independence by 2017.

The Madrid government challenged the resolution in the Constitutional Court, which suspended the motion and declared it unconstitutional. Grounded in this legal position, Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy’s argument to the Catalan secessionists has been simple: Spain’s constitution forbids such a referendum, so don’t do it. This position has been matched by a similar position from Albert Rivera, leader of the centrist Citizens party, which looks poised to emerge as a powerful political force in Sunday’s general election.

The socialists of PSOE have also rejected a referendum on independence, but have proposed a constitutional reform in the next legislature to transform Spain into a truly federal system. But Podemos has committed itself to an independence referendum in one year, arguing that Catalonia has a legal right to decide, and proposing a new constitutional definition of Spain as a ‘pluranational’ state (see table).

Read full article in The Washington Post


Happy Holidays from IE! – Winter Break 2015/16

Written on December 18, 2015 by Administrador de IE Blogs in Video

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