Storica. 41-42 • anno XIV, 2008.

Testata: Storica • Anno di pubblicazione: 2009
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pp. 304, ISBN: 9788883344244
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Glorie antiche e moderne : il Democrates di Juan Ginés de Sepúlveda
Vincenzo Lavenia

Ancient and Modern Glories. The Democrates of Juan Ginés de Sepúlveda
Over the last years research on the theories and concepts of Empire has proven to be a particularly lively and fruitful area of scholarship. However, many recently published contributions in this area that focus on imperial Spain still seem to underrate the importance of the ideological confrontation that opposed the rhetoric of the civilizing mission (of Aristotelian and Stoic imprint) and the theological discourse of conversion to Christianity. This article ex- amines the theses put forward by the sixteenth-century humanist Juan Ginés de Sepúlveda (theorist of the Indios’ natural slavery) and tries to explain his isolation within the Spanish intellectual arena, where scholastic theology maintained its hegemony throughout the century and beyond.


Machiavelli, la religione dei romani e l'impero portoghese
Giuseppe Marcocci

Machiavelli, Roman Religion and the Portuguese Empire
Recent historiography has stressed the relevance of ancient Rome on theories of early modern European imperialism. The impact of Machiavelli’s view of Roman religion on Portuguese imperial thought is a case in point. The Discorsi and the Principe started circulating in Portugal in the early 1530s. An intense debate arose between those who tried to reconcile Machiavelli with Catholic imperialism and those who spoke out against any attempt to re- habilitate forms of paganism. In the 1540s reading Machiavelli, as well as praising the virtues of Roman religion, became a dangerous position and was condemned by the Inquisition.


La diversità meridionale nell'antropologia italiana di fine secolo XIX
Antonino De Francesco

The ‘otherness’ of the South in late nineteenth-century Italian anthropology
This article explores the ways in which the divisions between northern and southern Italy informed the political culture of Liberal Italy. Whereas many scholars have studied the ethnic differences stressed by nineteenth-century Italian anthropology as a tool to introduce social hierarchies and define the nation in restricted terms, this essay examines how this form of ‘racialism’ was instead part of a left-wing political discourse. The anthropologists’ deliberate effort to develop a racial theory of the origins of Italian peoples endorsed the socialist refusal of Liberal Italy and consequently opposed nationalism, colonialism and racism. This perspective calls for an urgent reassessment of the impact of racial anthropological discourses on Italian national culture.


Il più grande impero che il mondo abbia mai conosciuto : alle origini del revisionismo sull'imperialismo britannico
Pinella Di Gregorio

«The Greatest Empire the World has ever Known». The Origins of the Revisionism on British Imperialism
The historiography on the British Empire has seen many attempts at updating and revision. Starting in the 1980s, a strong «anti-imperialist» sensibility and the development of the so-called «postcolonial studies» have prompted a radical change in perspective towards empire. This article argues, however, that the crisis of «orthodox» imperial history may be backdated to the traditional themes of «classic» imperialism: informal/ formal imperialism, colonialism/exploitation. A fundamental moment of this first revisionism was an article published in 1953 by Ronald Robinson and John Gallagher, containing the idea of English imperialism as the effect of economic drives and geopolitical choices originating from the «centre» and the metropolis, but also spurred by societies in the peripheries. Their contribution is here set alongside later ones by David Kenneth Fieldhouse (a supporter of the so-called «peripheral interpretation» of imperialism) and the more recent and weighty studies by P.J. Cain and A.G. Hopkins, who have devised an inter- esting interpretative model (“Gentlemanly Capitalism”) based on the role of financial capitalism in English imperial expansion. Now that the historiographical storm generated by the linguistic turn has subsided, a neo-economic interpretation of imperialism may prove more tenable. Developing independently from the culturalist orientation (in the case of Robinson and Gallagher), or indeed in open controversy with it (in the case of Cain and Hopkins), this trend of research has contributed fundamental studies to the debate on the British Empire.


Mozart : l'Ungheria e il Vaticano, 1962-64 : il fascicolo di spionaggio come fonte storica
Stefano Bottoni

“Mozart”, Hungary and the Vatican, 1962-64. Intelligence reports as sources for the historian.
This article explores the methodological problems scholars face when dealing with recently declassified intelligence files from the post-Soviet world. The case study is an attempt made in 1962 by the Hungarian residentura in Rome to recruit the German-born journalist Gottfried Kusen, a senior Vatican expert with a long ex- perience as Italian, German and British secret agent.


Rituali altomedievali : le ragioni di un dibattito
Giovanni Isabella

Medieval Rituals: the reasons of a debate
This essay analyzes different theoretical approaches to medieval rituals of power. The focus is on the influential works of Gerd Althoff (Spielregeln der Politik im Mittelalter 1997 and Die Macht der Rituale 2003), Geoffrey Koziol (Begging pardon and favor 1992) and Philippe Buc (The dangers of ritual 2001) and the debate that has come out of these studies. The most important difference lies in the divergent concept of ritual adopted by the three historians: a real historical object, knowable in his pragmatic dimension according to Althoff and Koziol; a cultural object according to Buc, produced by the medieval authors that describe the ritual, thus understandable only through the analysis of their narrative strategies.


Oil addicts : il petrolio nelle relazioni economiche internazionali : una storia senza fine?
Luciano Segreto

Oil addicts. Oil and International Economic Relations. A Never Ending Story?
The article is a critical reappraisal of the book by Pinella Di Gregorio, Oro nero d’oriente. Arabi, petrolio e imperi tra le due guerre mondiali, published in 2006. It addresses some of the most relevant topics connected with the role of oil in the history of twentieth-century international economic relations, and the different interpretation of British and American hegemony in this framework. It also offers some new research perspectives on how industrialized countries were – and are – dealing with the energy issue, and how this is influencing much of their foreign policy.


Per una ricerca su identità e pratiche sociali tra madrepatria e colonie italiane : intrecci di genere, classe e razza
Barbara Spadaro

Social practices and identities between metropolis and Italian colonies. Gender, class, and race intertwined.
This article focuses on gender, class and race as identities constructed and intertwined in the relationship between Italy and its colonies. It is a first exploration of the possibilities offered by the New Imperial History – which analyzes similar processes in other empires – to the research on Italian colonies. The first part is a sur- vey of reference works on gender and imperialism, notably in the British, Dutch and French cases. The second offers an overview of recent works on Italian colonialism that are already focusing on the construction of identity and suggesting new points of departure.