Studies on nationalism in the Italian historiography have excluded 19th-century Italy from world history, yet Italians were active on the global stage as merchants, scientists, navigators, and colonial agents. Using a global microhistory approach and focusing on the Mediterranean and the Americas, Riall considers «exceptional normal» Italians, men like Nino Bixio and Antonio Raimondi, whose lives were defined by mobility and an opportunistic approach to the spaces opened up by global capitalism. A focus on their practices attenuates the celebration of Italians as a good people or «brava gente». It also proposes a new understanding of Italian «offshore» identity beyond the nation-state.
Keywords: World History; Mobility; Mediterranean; Colonisation
At the Borders of the Nation: The Cholm’s Rus’ in Russian Nationalism
Beginning with ideas of transition from an «elitist» Russian nationalism, theorized in the early 19th century by Nikolaj Karamzin, to a modern, «popular» nationalism as framed by Michail Pogodin in the mid-19th century, Piccin analyzes the reflections of both historians on the role of the western territories of the Russian Empire in strengthening the empire and in the process of nation-building. In particular, it was with Pogodin’s writings on the Polish Uprising of 1863 that the eastern districts of the Kingdom of Poland, so-called Cholm’s Rus, began to be perceived ab aboriginel Russian territory, thereby further expanding the imagined boundaries of the Russian nation westward.
Keywords: Russian nationalism; Karamzin; Pogodin; Cholm
Virtue or Corruption? Luxury and Consumption in the Italian Revolutionary Triennium
The article examines the conceptualization of luxury in the Italian revolutionary triennium. In particular, Carnino reflects on the contrast between the critique of luxury that imbued revolutionary literature and a certain rise in luxury consumption that marked the debates of the republican legislative assemblies and that laid the basis of the legislative policy on luxury adopted from 1796 to 1799.
Keywords: Revolutionary Triennium; Luxury; Virtue; Political Culture
Simulation and Self-Harm: From Civilian to Military Medicine, Between the 19th Century and the Great War
The lack of an extensive Italian historiography on self-harm and simulation signals the need to turn toward the more well-rounded Anglo-Saxon context to lay the interpretive basis through which to read the Italian case. The literature make it possible to understand the events and dynamics that shaped the development of the interest of civil medicine in simulatory and self-injurious acts and how this was an indispensable premise for the study of these phenomena during the First World War.
Keywords: Simulation; Self-harm; World War I; Military medicine
Paolo Tedesco, Lorenzo Bondioli, Michele Campopiano, Martha C. Howell, Andrew B. Liu, Priya Satia, Sheetal Chhabria, Jairus Banaji
Commercial Capitalism and Global History
Jairus Banaji’s A Brief History of Commercial Capitalism recenters the concept of «commercial capitalism» as a key heuristic to understand the operation of capital in the long period preceding the advent of industrial capitalism. Banaji’s breathtaking sampling of case studies spanning the whole globe and over a millennium raises fundamental issues as to the present state of the debates on the formation of a world economy, the origins of capitalism, transitions to modernity, and economic «divergences». The papers collected in this Forum address, challenge, and expand Banaji’s theoretical and historical arguments, each contributor critically engaging with A Brief History’s methodology, questions, and conclusions from the vantage point of their own field and specialist expertise.
Keywords: Capitalism; Global History; Merchants; Labor
Curia, Rhetoric and Politics in the Early 15th Century
Clémence Revest’s volume rewrites the history of the papacy in relation to the humanist movement of the 15th century. Its originality lies in the construction of a new vision of the phenomenon starting from a very thorough textual and stylistic analysis of a body of documentation that is not usually connected with the recovery of the ancient Latin tradition. What emerges is a pontifical primacy, especially during the reign of Innocent VII (1404-1406), that offers several points for critical reflection. Keywords: Papacy; Humanism; 15th century; Rome
The Pope’s Nephew
In the evolution of the political and intellectual debate on nepotism and anti-nepotism, the pontificate of Innocent XI Odescalchi represented a milestone. Drawing on Roberto Fiorentini’s book on Prince Livio Odescalchi, Mrozek Eliszezynski focuses on the new elements and contradictions of Innocent XI’s government and on the public and private path of his heir, who was deprived by his uncle of the possibility of becoming «cardinal nephew».
Keywords: Nepotism; Odescalchi; Church; Roman Curia
A Renaissance of Blood
In recent years, Norbert Elias’ theory that there was a gradual decline in interpersonal violence in Europe due to a process of «civilization» has been challenged by an increasing number of scholars. Among the voices that have opposed the German sociologist’s theory are those of Randolph Roth and later Pieter Spierenburg, who pointed out that the level of violence in a society cannot be likened to a linear graph but rather adheres to the degree of social trust within that society. Colin Rose’s work on 17th-century papal Bologna fits into this line of interpretation.
Keywords: Civilization; Renaissance; Norbert Elias; Violence
The Origins of a Dream
The collection of texts edited by Leonardo Rapone on the intellectual itinerary of Rosario Villari offers an opportunity to reflect on the path of a historian of great importance in Italian intellectual life in the second half of the 20th century. It is a text that not only identifies Villari’s contribution to the national intellectual debate and to the Southern Question, but it also discusses his specific interpretative contribution to the history of the Kingdom of Naples, and in particular to the 17th century and Masaniello’s revolt, from the publication of La rivolta antispagnola a Napoli in 1967 to Un sogno di libertà in 2012.
Keywords: Revolution; Kingdom of Naples; The Southern Question; Spanish Italy
The Lega Party and the Crisis of the Nation-State
The Lega Party is the longest-lived political party still active in Italy today. Initially confined to a few provinces in Lombardy, the Lega has gone from the federalism of its origins, which resulted in calls for secessionism in the second half of the 1990s, to an attempt to assume a national profile, expanding into the South of Italy, where it was long unthinkable for it to take root. This is the first historical monograph devoted entirely to this topic, and it examines the distinctive features of the Lega’s identity, including both its enduring features and recent innovations.
Keywords: Lega; Territories; Community; Nation-state