In the spaces of the Mediterranean of the «decadence».
Notes on institutions, ethics and commercial practices
in the late Ancien Régime
According to an image painted by an illustrious historiography, the early modern Mediterranean is a sea in decadence; progressively marginalized by the «first globalization», it is conquered, politically and economically, by the «Nordics», bearers of practices, ethics and institutions conducive to modernity and market economy. On the basis of recent specialized historiography, this essay focuses on the variety of circuits, social and political actors, institutions and ethics that sustained Mediterranean traffics, and produced forms of market unorthodox but endowed with specific and effective rationalities.
Parole chiave: Mediterraneo, Decadenza, Età moderna, Traffici
Keywords: Mediterranean, Decadence, Early Modern Age, Commerce
What words do not say. Visual and material
in the recent Italian debate on the history of science
With the first issue of 2011, Nuncius, a respected Italian journal on the history of science, changed its editorial layout and its subtitle, which is now Journal of the Material and Visual History of Science. This change is an interesting litmus test capable of revealing critical trends and issues in the debate that has involved Italian historians of science in recent decades. Is there room in Italy for something beside the traditional history of scientific ideas?
Parole chiave: Storia della scienza, Cultura materiale, Storia visuale, Storia sociale
Keywords: History of Science, Material Culture, Visual History, Social History
Back on the Job? German Studies on Renaissance Humanism
Historians are back on the job?
German studies on Renaissance Humanism
German studies on Renaissance Humanism have a long tradition, despite the lost ground in the wake of World War II. Surveying a number of recent contributions, this article sketches some of the developments that have led to a new efflorescence of the field. Historical scholarship needed to draw a clear line between the old Geistesgeschichte and the new Kulturgeschichte.«Ethical»and «anthropological» approaches, however, have interesting contributions to make, too, and should not be neglected.
Parole chiave: Storiografia tedesca, Rinascimento, Umanesimo
Keywords: German Historiography, Renaissance, Humanism
The return of the Thugs.
On discursive transformations and social identities
Who were the Thugs? Gangs of Indian robbers and stranglers active in the first half of nineteenth century, animated by a blind devotion to the goddess Kali – as says the traditional literary and movie vulgate (in Italy popularized by Emilio Salgari) – or an exemplary case of colonial «orientalist» phantasy? This article traces the historiographical path between these two opposite versions, in search of the true identity of a peculiar social group, destined to become the prototype of criminal tribes. It also explores the more general questions suggested by this theme on the relations between les mots et les choses, the transformations of discourse and the creation of social identities.
Parole chiave: Orientalismo, Colonialismo britannico in India, Tribù criminali, Identità sociali
Keywords: Orientalism, British Colonialsm in India, Criminal Tribes, Social Identities