Marriage and Mobility in Early Modern Venice (late 16th-18th Centuries) – Processetti

Postdoctoral project supervised by Jean-François Chauvard (Université Paris 1 Panthéon-Sorbonne) and Walter Panciera

Teresa Bernardi

The research project explores the role played by social ties within processes of migrant identification during the early modern period. The historical and geographical background of this study are the cosmopolitan city of Venice and its domains during the seventeenth century. The research is primarily based on a specific archival source: the so called processetti matrimoniali. This documentation consists in pre-matrimonial enquiries aimed at attesting the marital status, or widowhood, of foreigners and other ‘mobile people’ who wanted to get married in Venice. The project’s hypothesis is that relying on gender as a lens of analysis, along with focusing deeply on women’s mobility, may challenge some historiographical assumptions about the very phenomena of mobility and identification: respectively, the presumed clear-cut between short and long-distance mobility; and the assumed replacement of orality – in terms of reputation and social networks –  by written documents.

This research is part of a bigger international programme funded by the French National Research Agency (ANR) and supervised by Prof. Jean-François Chauvard. The research group’s overall objective is to explore the relation between marriage and human mobility both from a qualitative and a quantitative perspective. It does so by comparing the city of Venice, the Greek World under the Venetian dominion and other cities of the Italian peninsula. Moreover, this programme will pursue the digitalization of a vast portion of the processetti in the context of the virtual research environment Geovistory (http://geovistory.com/). In addition to the digital humanities, this project’s research interests thus span various fields of social, legal, and cultural history.