** Please note: Those planning to attend events in this series should read the paper that will be posted on the CES website before the seminar.**
What are the origins of the state? Existing explanations focus on interstate wars and contracts between rulers and the ruled in the early modern period. Instead, the speaker will examine a neglected, but major actor in state formation: the medieval Catholic Church. First, the Church was a major rival for sovereignty, and popes and monarchs repeatedly challenged each other, and political authority fragmented as a result. Second, the Church was also a template for administrative and legal innovations, and source of literate administrators and wealth, critical to building early state institutions.