Italiae res maxime floruere: Observations on the Many Italies (15th century)
The geography of the Italian peninsula in the mid-15th century is usually outlined on the basis of the web of alliances and adherentie recorded in the agreements that led from the Peace of Lodi to the Italic League. However, Lazzarini superimposes other, less precise and more ideological, images on the Peace of Lodi’s detailed geopolitical map, other “Italies”, in search of two different pictures of the peninsula. The first considers the distinctive traits or features that made up the territory, while the second analyses the image of the peninsula that resulted from these readings and how it was projected into the 16th century and beyond.
Keywords: Medieval Italy; Pontano; Dei; Machiavelli
The Command Economy Before Stalinism: Rethinking the Soviet Union of the 1920s
The article discusses the precursors of the transition to a command economy in the USSR that took place after Stalin consolidated power. The author identifies the foundational elements of the New Economic Policy (NEP) of the 1920s, which became fundamental to the command economy from the 1930s on. Cadioli considers the move away from the NEP, the transition to a Stalinist economy, and the mechanisms of the shift from collective planning with no use of force in the 1920s to the «planning without theory» that characterized the rest of the Soviet period.
Keywords: Soviet Union; New Economic Policy; Stalinism; Planning
Of Charisma and Celebrity: Notoriety and Public Opinion Between the 18th and 19th Centuries
In this text, the author examines three publications: Constructing Charisma, eds. E. Berenson and E. Giloi’s, A. Lilti’s, The Invention of Celebrity and D.A. Bell’s, Men on Horseback. The three studies use the «charisma» and «celebrity» status of famous men to examine the logic of power and its reliance on public opinion. These texts converge at a shared view of charisma and celebrity as tools for captivating personalities to establish ties to the public sphere. This entails a mutual exchange and has a performative dimension that transforms celebrities and charismatics into new figures of authority.
Keywords: Charisma; Celebrity; Power; Public opinion
The Documentary Culture of a Medieval Middle Eastern State
Bori reviews the contents and arguments of Marina Rustow’s latest book, where she scrutinized hundreds of Fatimid administrative documents from the Cairo Geniza and reassessed the widespread idea that, before the Ottomans, the Middle East produced and preserved few documents and that, as a result, medieval Middle eastern states were either run inefficiently or were ruled by despots.
Keywords: Documents; Geniza; Fatimids; State
Fedi a loro modo Lavenia legge Biasiori
Faiths in Their Own Way
Lavenia discusses Lucio Biasiori’s recent book, which provides a glimpse into the religious history of Florence from the period of political crisis that followed Savonarola’s disgrace to the consolidation of the duchy, and then the Medici grand duchy. It moves from the phase in which ecclesiastical authorities hesitated to act against religious dissent to that in which the Tridentine Church, with the help of secular authorities, worked to regulate the beliefs, devotion and bodies of the faithful throughout Italy, as well as in the unique context of Florence.
Keywords: Religion; Renaissance; Politics; Florence
Identità sessuali nel Settecento Palmieri legge Donato
Sexual Identities in the Eighteenth Century
In 1744 the doctor Giovanni Bianchi published the Brief History of the Life of Catterina Vizzani, who Wore a Man’s Clothes for Eight Years. Despite having the appearance of a novel, the text recounted the autopsy performed on a corpse that was rather controversial. On an anatomical level, it appeared female, but the person to whom it belonged had assumed a male identity. Clorinda Donato’s volume traces this case, investigating both its scientific and media-cultural implications. The Brief History aroused lukewarm reactions among intellectuals of the time but had considerable success on the European publishing market and became the subject of various translations and distortions.
Keywords: Sexuality; Medicine; Communication; Translation
Orientalismo italiano Serafini legge De Donno
Fabrizio De Donno’s volume contributes significantly to the reconstruction of the relationship between orientalist production and power in Italy. De Donno analyzes the Italian reception of European Orientalism, connecting it to Risorgimento and Fascist ideologies and identity politics and to the construction of the nation-state. Serafini reads De Donno’s text alongside other postcolonial studies, and above all in relation to Edward W. Said’s famous Orientalism.
Keywords: Orientalism, Nationalism, Cosmopolitism, Identity
Neoliberalism in the Twilight of Globalization
Quinn Slobodian’s volume is an attempt to historicize neoliberalism. It follows the emergence of a group of intellectuals, mostly from Germany, between the end of the World War I and the creation of the World Trade Organization. It identifies its fundamental ideal in the desire to isolate the economy from the excesses of economic nationalism and the redistributive tendencies of democracy, as well as from the rationalist aspirations of experts. The book examines how the paralysis of the World Trade Organization reveals the limits of neoliberal ideology.
Keywords: Neoliberalism, Globalization, History of ideas, 20th-century