HuMaps: Framing Migration Narratives and Visualities through the Lens of the Cartographic Humanities

HuMaps: Framing Migration Narratives and Visualities through the Lens of the Cartographic Humanities

Postdoctoral project supervised by Tania Rossetto

Project in collaboration with the Department of Geography and Earth Sciences and the Centre for the Movement of People, Aberystwyth University (Prof Peter Merriman, Dr Andrea Hammel), and the Centre for Oral History and Digital Storytelling (COHDS) and the Geomedia laboratory at Concordia University (Prof Sébastien Caquard)

Laura Lo Presti

HuMaps explores the link between the emerging “cartographic humanities” and mobility and migration studies from a geo-visual and narratological perspective. The two-year research project has the dual objective of analytically deconstructing the imaginaries of migratory maps as well as reconstructing alternative, creative and sensitive imaginations of human mobility. These two research lines thus envisage an analysis of the cartographic narratives of the global migrant crisis to assess how maps, map-like objects and cartographic imaginaries have reproduced human migration over time – and migrated through several networks, artistic media and hybrid materials – to alternately foster feelings of hospitality and hostility towards newcomers. More importantly, HuMaps will reflect on novel applications of digital (and non-digital) mapping methodologies in the context of migration storytelling. These methodologies will be developed in collaboration with the MobiLab, as well as with the support of international scholars and partner institutions in Europe, the United Kingdom, the United States and Canada.

From Venice and Rome to Mainz: Italian Books from Humanism to Counter-Reformation in the Library of Baron Johann Christian von Boineburg

From Venice and Rome to Mainz: Italian Books from Humanism to Counter-Reformation in the Library of Baron Johann Christian von Boineburg

Postdoctoral project supervised by Paola Molino

Gábor Gángó

The “Maecenas Germaniae,” the Baron Johann Christian von Boineburg (1622-1672) was a book collector, patron of the arts, Lord Marshal at the court of the Mainz Elector Johann Philipp von Schönborn, and not least friend and supporter of the young Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz. Boineburg’s private library as an encyclopaedic, with an abundant number of hand-written cross-references interconnected “database” and his extended scholarly correspondence provides the source basis for the mapping of the international network of politically, denominationally, and scholarly engaged intellectuals after the Peace of Westphalia.

Gábor Gángó’s project aims at the reconstruction of Boineburg’s role in the knowledge transfer between Germany and Italy. This research would encompass details of the acquisition, circulation, and reviewing of Italian books within his network as well as the determination of the place which science and theology that were produced in Italy occupied in Boineburg’s ever-broadening system of knowledge.

Besides, the project will focus on the issue of confessionality in Boineburg, which crystallised in a special way in his conversion. Boineburg, who received a Lutheran education in Jena and Helmstedt, was converted at the Imperial Diet of Regensburg in 1653. In the literature, his better career prospects at the court of the Mainz Elector are given as possible reasons. Here Gábor Gángó wants to overcome the previous state of research and also reveal the intellectual motives for the conversion. To this end, he will also examine the collective thought processes in Boineburg’s correspondence with other scholars. This collective communication and thought process has a lot to do with Italy and cannot be understood without the Italian context. As it will be shown on the collected source materials, impulses of the Counter-Reformation in the 17th century in general and also particularly in Boineburg’s case came from Rome.

As a result, one would be in a better position to understand, through the case study of an important German Catholic convert, the mid-17th-century reconciliation attempts between the authority of the Catholic Church and the aspirations of modern science and philosophy for the possession of true knowledge.

Roma’scapes: Geographies of Mobility in Urban Wildness

Roma’scapes: Geographies of Mobility in Urban Wildness

PhD Project supervised by Chiara Rabbiosi (2020-2024)

Urban wildness is a little explored topic because of its very nature. One reason for this neglect is to be found in urban wildness both as a dynamic concept as well as an ever-changing entity. How to study a mobile and innately undefined object? Rather than considering it merely as a forgotten space or a natural resource, this project aims to interact with urban wildness as a subject. To foster a relational approach, the project explores urban wildness going through it and involving all senses in the production of knowledge.

A preliminary part of the research will focus on the evaluation of methods and instruments of enquiry, their capabilities and limits of observing and recording this mobile subject: from fieldwork diary to photography, from audio-visual methods to performance.

Going deeper, the project will attempt to build a relationship with urban wildness inhabitants, such as plants, animals and people. It is in fact their entanglement that makes urban wildness a living, dynamic, mobile subject. Collaborative labs will be opened on the field to enquiry and enhance a collective representation of urban wildness ‘from inside it’. Finally, the project will pay special attention in the making of synesthetic artefacts, out of the multiple wildness representations archived, to disseminate this new knowledge.

The research will be developed by specific case studies, in different European cities, following the footprint of the stereotypical “nomads” that are believed to be the main inhabitants of urban wildness: the Roma. Are Roma the only living in urban wildness? Who is living on the move in contemporary cities? Is mobility a choice?

The interaction with urban wildness, in different contexts, will open new possibilities of conceiving and representing the geographies of mobility in the contemporary city, raising the issue that to live on the move mainly means a restriction on the very possibilities of movement in contemporary Europe.

Occupational structure and labour mobility in historical perspective (1500-1850): Italy and the Mediterranean

Occupational structure and labour mobility in historical perspective (1500-1850): Italy and the Mediterranean

Digital project coordinated by Andrea Caracausi and Benoît Maréchaux

Project overview

This research project explores the evolution of occupational structures and labour mobility from a long-term perspective. It addresses both the way people worked and were on the move in the past and specifically how their occupational choices, migrations and labour relations were affected by global dynamic forces such as warfare mobilization or structural economic changes. By focusing on Italy and the Mediterranean area from the late medieval period to the beginning of the nineteenth century, the project aims to shed new light on the continuity and changes in work, labour mobility, and geographical diffusion of economic activities. It will also contribute to the reconstruction of a bigger picture on a European scale as part of a larger project on occupational structures coordinated by the University of Cambridge ( In collaboration with the Digital Laboratory for Mobility Research (MobiLab), the research will combine quantitative and qualitative analysis of empirical sources (such as census or lists of convicts and slaves) with the use of digital tools. In particular, GIS techniques will be used in order to map the mobility of people and their shifting occupations as well as to improve the understanding of mobility phenomena from an analytical point of view.

Occupational structure and labour mobility. A first aspect of the research project directed by Prof. Andrea Caracausi deals with the link between changing occupational structures and labour mobility in the Republic of Venice between the early sixteenth century and the beginning of the modern period (1500-1850). Discussing the consequences of political and economic changes that occurred in this period, this project aims ultimately to reconstruct the evolution of the occupational structure in the diverse territories of the Venetian Republic and to explain its determinants using an innovative statistical methodology. It also deals with social, economic and gender aspects using micro-historical approaches to reconstruct labour relations and labour mobility.

Mobility and forced labour. A second aspect of the research project coordinated by the postdoctoral fellow Benoît Maréchaux explores the phenomena of forced mobility of convicts and slaves transported to the galleys of Genoese galley contractors who worked for the Spanish Empire in the sixteenth and seventeenth century. The research will reconstruct the transnational flows of prisoners, analyze the agency of forced mobility and measure mortality in order to discuss the impact of coerced labor and migrations in the past and the way prisoners worked, moved and died in the early modern Mediterranean. This research is part of the project “Forced mobility before the sovereign state. Convict flows, composite polities and the business of galley warfare in the Mediterranean (1528-1715)” carried out at the DiSSGeA within the framework of the Mobility and Humanities project.

Research team:

  • Prof. Andrea Caracausi (occupational structure and general coordinator)
  • Dr. Giulio Ongaro (occupational structure)
  • Dr. Benoît Maréchaux (forced mobility, convict labor and slaves)
  • Dr. Marco Orlandi (Gis and data visualization)

Interns (Update 22 November 2020):

  • Anna Maria Albertini
  • Giovanna Cozzi
  • Giovanni Favretto
  • Simone Tommasi
  • Giorgia Ragana
  • Dana Belen Zuna
  • Gianluca Dalboni

Mobility and movements of escaping sullan proscripts

Mobility and movements of escaping sullan proscripts

PhD project supervised by Luca Fezzi e Federico Santangelo (2020-2024)

Andrea Frizzera

At the beginning of a century in which Rome is almost fully aware of its mediterranean dimension, we can observe the exploitation of the possibilities of movement that the Mare nostrum’s new political configuration can offer. This concerns the commerce, the cultural exchanges, the migrations, but also political refugees. This project wants to conduct an investigation on this last category. So, starting from the existent prosopographic studies, it will be necessary to revisit the ancient sources (literary, epigraphic, numismatic) and the modern studies on sullan proscripts, in order to travel beside them the ways that bring them to find rescue in different places in the Mediterranean sea. This will lead us not only to draw a map (thanks also to digital tools and methods) of proscripts’ movements, but also to understand which choices (political, moral, economic choices), feature their lives in the new contexts in which they finally settle. So, we will be able to appreciate how the proscripts’ mobility resulted very conditioned and it had peculiar features compared to the other displacement typologies. We also hope that such a kind of research could contribute, in a different perspective, to enrich the debate on the political significance of the sullan proscriptions and on the consequences they caused in the Roman world. Finally, we do not exclude the possibility that, by adopting such a kind of approach, the research focus could expand to 43 BC proscriptions.

Marriage and Mobility in Early Modern Venice

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 (Sept 2020-Aug 2022)

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 ( In addition to the digital humanities, this project’s research interests thus span various fields of social, legal, and cultural history.

Bo 2022 Project

Bo 2022 Project

Digital project coordinated by Pierluigi Terenzi, Dennj Solera, Giulia Zornetta, Andrea Martini

“Bo 2022” is an innovative digital project that explores the history of the University of Padua by mapping the academic population who animated its cultural and institutional life from the foundation of the Studium in 1222 to the 20th century. Starting from the previous project PADU-A financed by the DiSSGeA, a team composed of medievalists, early modern and modern historians designed an open-access database by using Nodegoat, a web-based research environment developed to build, manage and visualise large sets of historical information. The project is also supported by the University of Padua, the Center for the history of the University of Padua (CSUP), and the University Museum Centre (CAM).

The “Bo 2022” dataset focuses on the students who graduated at the University of Padua during the past 800 years as well as on professors and other employees. Due to the different sources available for each historical period, the database is conceived in modular and separated sections. Each one contains a wide range of prosopographical information, that may include the geographical origin of the students, the scientific area of their studies, their religious belief, the title of their thesis, the final evaluation and many other aspects.

  1. The Medieval Age section (1222-1405) maps all the people who had been qualified as having a relationship with the University during the 13th and 14th centuries by using mainly (but not only) the private charters edited by Andrea Gloria.
  2. The Quattrocento and the “Paduan Golden Age” section (1406-1605) focuses on the students who graduated at the University in that period and were thus recorded in the Acta graduum academicorum Gymnasii Patavini.
  3. The Modern Age section (1606-1805) collects the academic population of Padua from the last years of Galileo’s teaching period to the Austrian government’s reforms.
  4. The Contemporary Age section (19th to 20th centuries) maps all the students who graduated at the University of Padua and, whenever possible, their tutors by using both the students’ files and the dissertation records produced, that were produced by each Faculty.

Beside these sections, the database also focuses on some cross-cutting aspects concerning more than one period: the copyists of medieval manuscripts (13th to 15th centuries) who declared in their writings a connection with the Studium of Padua as current or graduated students, and the hundreds of the students’ coats of arms that have been preserved in the Palazzo del Bo as well as in other buildings of the city (15th to 17th centuries).

Starting from the database, the “Bo 2022” research fellows aims to carry out research on the circulation of both people and ideas connected to such an important centre of high-culture and learning. Consequently, the project is strictly connected with the mobility studies and aims to give an important contribution in measuring the attractiveness of the University of Padua in both an European and Global perspective. Beside the database, three books dedicated to specific aspects of the history of the university will be published on the 800th anniversary of its foundation. The subjects include the mobility of students and its consequences on both their career development and the urban life of Padua during the medieval and early modern period; the intellectual, religious and social freedom guaranteed by the university (the so-called patavina libertas); women and the University of Padua.

Equipe of research

  • Pierluigi Terenzi (1222-1405 and general supervisor/coordinator)
  • Giulia Zornetta (1406-1500)
  • Dennj Solera (1501-1806)
  • Andrea Martini (19th-20th centuries)

Advisory Board

  • Filiberto Agostini
  • Andrea Caracausi
  • Maria Cristina La Rocca
  • Paola Molino
  • Carlotta Sorba
  • Giuliana Tomasella
  • Nicoletta Giovè (manuscripts and copyists)
  • Franco Benucci (coats of arms)

Database collaborators

  • Claudio Caldarazzo (CSUP)
  • Antonella De Robbio
  • Elisa Furlan (borsista “Mille e una lode”)
  • Michele Magri
  • Manoel Maronese
  • Maria Giada Semeraro (CISM)

Some datasets are provided by

  • Rossella Bortolotto (CSUP)
  • Elisabetta Hellmann (CSUP)
  • Remigio Pegoraro (CSUP)


Interns (updated June 2020)

Cecilia Alfier, Nicolò Anegg, Luca Bertolani Azeredo, Pavle Bonca, Caterina Borsato, Martina Borsato, Fabio Boscagin, Alessandro Brodesco, Riccardo Cantagallo, Alessandro Chinello, Giusy Ciacera Macauda, Manuel Dell’Armi, Andrea Di Renzo, Federico Feletti, Lisa Fonzaghi, Rosaria Frisone, Marco Gallo, Federico Jarc, Gautier Marcel Pierre Juret-Rafin, Tommaso Laganà, Riccardo Mardegan, Alessio Menini, Michele Mosena, Enrico Rampazzo, Edoardo Ranzato, Gianluca Ratti, Lucia Squillace, Luca Tomasin, Raffaele Usai, Giorgia Visentin, Matteo Visentin, Giovanni Zanella

CoDato: a research project in the study of the circulation of latin texts

CoDato: a research project in the study of the circulation of latin texts

CoDato aims at providing a fundamental resource for the study of the transmission of Latin classical texts and their circulation in Europe: the Codices Vossiani Latini Online. The digital archive gathers 363 codices which form the world-famous Latin part of Isaac Vossius’ manuscript collection held at the Leiden University Library. The database is a fundamental tool both for philologists and paleographers interested in textual and paratextual elements of the Codices Vossiani, and for historians and scholars dealing with history of books and book collections.

Forced mobility before the sovereign state. Convict flows, composite polities and the business of galley warfare in the Mediterranean (1528-1715)

Forced mobility before the sovereign state. Convict flows, composite polities and the business of galley warfare in the Mediterranean (1528-1715)

Postdoctoral project supervised by Andrea Caracausi (Jan 2020-Dec 2021)

Benoît Maréchaux

The project explores the emergence of forced convict mobility in the early modern Mediterranean. It analyzes the flows of prisoners that Genoese galley contractors working for the Spanish empire brought from different areas (such as Lombardy, Catalonia, Lucca, Naples, or Lunigiana) by collaborating with a multiplicity of stakeholders (kingdoms, cities, bishops, feudal lords, the Inquisition, military tribunals, etc.). While the literature on the history of penal transportation has often analyzed the problem from a nation-state point of view and, more specifically, as a colonial phenomenon, this research explores how a constellation of non-state actors and polities organized the transnational flows of convicts in the Mediterranean through different types of agreements, contracts and markets. By developing a new database on prisoners transported to the Genoese galleys, it also aims to reveal the social and demographic impact of forced labor mobility.  By so doing, the project discusses how forced mobility shaped Spanish polycentric empire-building, the business interests of Italian merchant-bankers and shipowners, and dramatic changes in the lives of people forced to move and to commodify their labor power as oarsmen.

MAPFLY project: cartographic WebGIS of the University of Padova

MAPFLY project: cartographic WebGIS of the University of Padova (co-financing)

The Mobility & Humanities Project of Excellence is a co-funder of the ongoing MAPFLY project, led by the Department of Geosciences and aimed at providing the University of Padova with new technological infrastructures to access, visualise and navigate the massive volume of historical map collections stored in several departments of the University. These cartographic collections are distributed over various libraries (in particular the Geography, Geosciences and Engineering libraries). Currently, these materials are not accessible via WebGIS platforms. Therefore, the project aims to provide the University with new dynamic tools to enhance the usability of the collections for topological queries (digitalization, archiving, implementation  of the web platform based on ArcGIS). This mobilisation of the cartographic heritage and knowledge of our University, scheduled for 2021, is critical to the Mobility & Humanities Project. Not only can the factual movements of people or materials be more effectively traced on historical and recent maps but also the cartographic heritage and knowledge of our University can be incorporated into new research and communication practices with the extra-academic audience through the public engagement’s initiatives promoted by the Museum of Geography.