“Intellect unites us more firmly to Christ.”
Hands hold a bible open in scripture study

Nova Forum

USC Caruso Catholic Center logo and IACS logo - The institute for advanced catholic studies at USC

New - Deadline is extended to Monday, May 11, 2020!

The Nova Forum for Catholic Thought
at the University of Southern California

The Nova Forum is an initiative of the Roman Catholic community at USC to introduce students to the Catholic intellectual tradition, to share that tradition’s resources with the secular university, and to equip the next generation to sustain the tradition. Nova Forum is a joint enterprise of the Caruso Catholic Center and the Institute for Advanced Catholic Studies. 

As USC students prepare for positions of academic, cultural, and political leadership, Nova Forum offers programs for intellectual formation in Catholic thought. These seminars, lectures, and workshops complement academic coursework and connect the spiritual life to the life of the mind. Nova in Latin evokes the “new things” promised in the scriptures (Isaiah 43:19; Revelation 21:5) and reflected in traditions of Catholic learning in theology, philosophy, literature, politics, ethics, the arts, and the sciences. The Nova Forum offers scholars and students alike new opportunities to explore that long trajectory of Catholic thought.

While it primarily serves students, Nova Forum offers the university new resources as well. Catholic thought has enduring relevance in its dialogue with the contemporary world and can renew the modern academy with the energy of older traditions. As today’s universities struggle to connect teaching and research, ethics and education, culture and the common good, Catholic thought offers an alternative perspective. 

Although it is located at USC, Nova Forum engages other institutions across Southern California, starting with a founding partnership with Pepperdine University. We welcome Catholic students from UCLA, Caltech, the Claremont Colleges, and LMU, as well as lay Catholic adults across the Archdiocese of Los Angeles, the largest and most diverse in the United States. 

The heart of Nova Forum is the annual seminar. Senior fellows from USC and Pepperdine will lead a standing colloquium organized around a given theme. They will be joined by a class of junior fellows comprised of undergraduate and graduate students from both campuses. The seminar embodies a classical model of communal inquiry, intellectual apprenticeship, and personal integration. Students will learn how the Catholic intellectual tradition is practiced by taking part in ongoing inquiry, dialogue, and friendship grounded in a shared life of faith. The senior fellows for 2020–2021 bring a range of expertise in church history, theology, philosophy, poetry, art, political science, archaeology, and classical culture. 

In addition to the seminar, Nova Forum will invite prominent Catholic scholars to USC for public lectures and student events. It will offer mini-seminars on current topics and important authors, and sponsor graduate workshops in theology, humanities, and social sciences.

We encourage all interested USC and Pepperdine students to apply for Junior Fellowships. Applications are due Monday, May 11, 2020. If selected, participants will receive a stipend. The online application takes five minutes to complete. To learn more, see the links below. Send questions to Professor David Albertson.