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.

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.

Landscapes of Human Mobilities

Landscapes of Human Mobilities

Postdoctoral project supervised by Benedetta Castiglioni (Nov 2019-Oct 2020)

Laura Lo Presti

Addressing the contemporary European migration crisis from the vantage point of its maps, this research project explores the mediated landscape of institutional, mass-media, artistic, and mobile mappings that concern migration and cultural diversity issues. Drawing from fields of mobility studies, visual culture studies, and post-representational map studies, this interdisciplinary work reflects on the cultural and affective ecologies and the technological and political digitalities through which cartographic images represent and perform the condition of im/mobility experienced by migrant subjects. Adopting digital ethnography and visual analysis of cartographic media content, the project pays particular attention to the many unpredictable ways in which maps, as visual landscapes of human mobilities, elicit and embody a plethora of discourses, actions, and feelings about the migration crisis, its forms of hierarchized mobilities, and alternative imaginings of solidarity and hospitality.

Gender and mobility across the Mediterranean and the Red sea (19th and 20th century): Italy, Libya and Eritrea

Gender and mobility across the Mediterranean and the Red sea (19th and 20th century): Italy, Libya and Eritrea

Postdoctoral project supervised by Carlotta Sorba (Nov 2019-Oct 2021)

Silvia Bruzzi

The research project aims to examine human mobility phenomena that have crossed the Mediterranean and the Red Sea, from the late 19th century to World War II, focusing on the histories and experiences of Eritrean and Libyan women. Adopting a gender perspective and crossing visual sources (postcards, family photographs, newsreels, ethnographic documentaries) and written sources (legal literature and judicial archives in Arabic and Italian), the research will show that female actors are essential to understand the circulation of ideas, images and subjects across Italy, Eritrea and Libya. The scopes of the research are twofold. On the one hand, the analysis will highlight the impact of mobility phenomena (of ideas, images and people) on the social and legal status of Eritrean and Libyan women in the colonial context. On the other hand, it will trace and reconstruct the transnational trajectories of “exceptional normal” women who have crossed this space, subverting or inhabiting the social and legal norms.

«LiVE». Libri Veneti in Europe: Mapping the loans of Greek books of the Library of St Mark, from Venice to Europe

«LiVE».  Libri Veneti in Europe: Mapping the loans of Greek books of the Library of St Mark, from Venice to Europe

Postdoctoral project supervised by Margherita Losacco (Jan 2020-Dec 2021)

Ottavia Mazzon

The project «LiVE» studies the paradigms of mobility through two different but closely connected perspectives: mobility of physical objects (namely books) and mobility of texts. The aim is to map the impact that the Library of St Mark’s collection of Greek codices had on other European book collections in the 16th century, a crucial time for the affirmation of ancient Greek as part of the European élites’ cultural heritage and the formation of many Renaissance collections of Greek books. «LiVE» will provide the first critical edition and English translation of the earliest loan registers of the Library of St Mark, recording the book loans that took place between 1545 to 1559. Starting from the identification of the manuscripts that were effectively borrowed, the research will focus on tracing the copies that were produced, following the library loans with the objective of reconstructing their history, from the circumstances of their production to their present conservation site.

Landscapes in Human Mobilities

Landscapes in human mobilities

Postdoctoral project supervised by Benedetta Castiglioni (Nov 2019-Oct 2020)

Margherita Cisani

Human mobilities change in close connection with landscape transformations, along different scales, speeds and with uneven patterns. This correlation is reciprocal: landscapes are produced by mobilities, reflecting political negotiations and workings of power, but mobilities are also affected by landscapes, in a complex process of landscape co-creation through motion, which involves place attachment, landscape awareness and enskillment. This research is devoted to the analysis of this dual relationship and it focusses specifically on low-carbon human mobility practices, such as bicycle tourism practices. Such landscapes in motion will be analysed through the integration and the analysis of direct experiences and digital information, in order to explore the multi-dimensional facets of landscapes in human mobilities.

BO2022: The European space. Transnational and translocal mobility

BO2022: The European space. Transnational and translocal mobility

Postdoctoral project supervised by Maria Cristina La Rocca (Jan 2019-Dec 2020)

Giulia Zornetta

Since its foundation around 1222, the University of Padua has been one of the most important stages of the peregrinatio academica. During the Middle Ages and the early modern period, wandering from one university to another was a common practice among European students, especially among the ultramontani (i.e. those coming from the other side of the Alps). Consequently, many students from both the Italian peninsula and the wider European area spent one or more years in the city to study Law, Arts and Medicine, or Theology.

This research project is part of the celebration of the 800th anniversary of the University of Padua and aims at identifying the main mobility flows of the students during the late medieval period. It takes into account both the push and pull factors and the political choices and contingencies. The project is linked to a research team currently engaged in building a database to map the academic population from the late Middle Ages to the modern period.

The space of libertas. Religious, political and intellectual freedom

The space of libertas. Religious, political and intellectual freedom

Postdoctoral project supervised by Andrea Caracausi (Jan 2019-Dec 2020)

Dennj Solera

The project aims to analyse the theme of libertas patavina, intended as an incentive to the mobility of people, knowledge and ideas towards the University of Padua, in particular between the second half of the 16th and the early 17th century, at the sunset of the University’s “Golden Age”, in the years of Galileo Galilei and Cesare Cremonini. The study focuses both on social life and on the confessional and political climate, to understand how these mobilities have contributed to create a more or less favourable context for the development of knowledge and research in the early modern age. The main goal is to understand the impact that political and institutional choices had in expanding or contracting the movement of the academic and student population and in the development of networks of knowledge useful for scientific debate. For this reason, I am implementing the database (Padua 2022) containing all the profiles of Paduan students for the 16th-18th century period, when the Counter-Reformation and the confessional divisions risked blocking the Paduan Studium.

Women and University. The women in the history of Padua University (19th and 20th century)

Women and University. The women in the history of Padua University (19th and 20th century)

Postdoctoral project supervised by Carlotta Sorba (Jan 2019-Dec 2020)

Andrea Martini

Until now, historiography has underestimated the presence and the role played by women in the history of Italian universities. In particular, no comprehensive research has been conducted about the case-study of Padua. My project aims at filling this gap by conducting a survey of the female presence in the university (with the support of the open-access database Nodegoat) and by co-editing a book, with my tutor Carlotta Sorba, which offers the first women history the University of Padua. By combining a quantitative and qualitative approach, the research project will reconstruct the identity of female scholars of Padua university and their role in the European circulation of knowledge. Moreover, the research wants to scrutinize the biography of some female students, and, finally, observe how the so-called process of massification of the university education affected the female presence in Padua.

Excellence in Economy. Italian craftsmanship in international markets: a comparative analysis between the Veneto and the Tuscan cases

Excellence in Economy. Italian craftsmanship in international markets: a comparative analysis between the Veneto and the Tuscan cases

Postdoctoral project supervised by Giovanni Luigi Fontana (Nov 2019-Nov 2020)

Francesco Catastini

The main objective of this research project is to trace the history and the transformation over time of Italian quality crafts, taking Veneto and Tuscany as case studies, and to explore how specific form of mobilities (trade flows and transfers) shaped these activities.
Italy appears to be the European country with the highest percentage of craft enterprises in total manufacturing activities. To understand this type of enterprise, its rootedness, and its territorial distribution in specialized districts of more or less longue durée, it is essential to use the historical perspective, combining it with the territorial, social and cultural dimension. My project focuses on a particularly significant territory for Italian craftsmanship of excellence, Tuscany, and on specific sectors (leather goods, jewellery, and footwear). These sectors represented, and still represent, reference points of excellence at a global level, whose practices (ideas, goods, and people) have been the subject of mobility phenomena. The aim of this research project will be to identify processes and procedures that led to the development of iconic products at a global level. In this sense, this work contributes to confer historical depth to the selected artisan production. To achieve these goals, the project combines an analysis of the existing scientific literature with statistical economic reconstructions and in-depth studies of individual business cases.