Numero 1
gennaio - marzo 2015 anno 56

Abstract degli articoli

History and Archeology: Early Medieval Mediterranean and Italian Regional Areas (Around the Eighth Century)

Historians and archaeologists continue to engage in a lively debate, in which the Italian regional areas play a leading role, on the Mediterranean during the «long eighth century». Studies by Horden and Purcell, McCormick, Wickham and Delogu, are compared with the results of the latest archaeological and numismatic research on «globular amphorae», Comacchio and «Upper Adriatic» emporiums, monetary circulation and the mancuso. The Byzantine space and Sicily emerge as essential keys to understanding the «connectivity» in a Mediterranean world segmented into regional clusters. On the other hand, the debate’s constant revival stems not only from the continuous production of new empirical «data», or from the diversity of analytical tools, but from epistemological differences and the different gnoseological objectives pursued by the leading figures.

The State of Religion in Italy and the World: Sixteenth-century Variations on the Theme

Medievalism, the study of post-Medieval representations and uses of the Middle Ages, is a flourishing historiographic sector, with a prominent place in current Medieval Studies. This paper draws on the literature of the cultural history of the First World War and, by analyzing a diverse range of sources, identifies the broad spectrum of Medieval ideas widespread in Europe during the Great War (1914-1918). In particular, it focuses on codes of rhetoric and illustrates how three main Medieval-associated traits – barbarism, chivalry and Crusade – were ever-present in the public discourse of the era.

Medievalism and the Great War

Medievalism, the study of post-Medieval representations and uses of the Middle Ages, is a flourishing historiographic sector, with a prominent place in current Medieval Studies. This paper draws on the literature of the cultural history of the First World War and, by analyzing a diverse range of sources, identifies the broad spectrum of Medieval ideas widespread in Europe during the Great War (1914-1918). In particular, it focuses on codes of rhetoric and illustrates how three main Medieval-associated traits – barbarism, chivalry and Crusade – were ever-present in the public discourse of the era.

Literature and Historiography. Alberto Moravia and «The Conformist»

Taking Alberto Moravia’s famous novel published in 1951 as a point of departure, the article discusses the never-settled relationships between literature and historiography. Inspired by the murders of the Rosselli brothers in 1937, the novel delivers only one of the very many genres we make use of in our continuous efforts to grapple with the past – and, in this case especially, with the Fascist past. Although literature and historiography derive from a common storytelling experience, they both have their distinctive approaches to the historical past. In short, The Conformist outlines the story of a young man who makes a career as a secret agent in the 1930s. With the well-known literary technique of «stream of consciousness», the novel explains how the protagonist seeks the kind of abnormal normality that the Fascist regime offers, without being forced to do what he actually does, including his complicity in the murder of an exiled anti-Fascist professor. The article argues that historiography is not a subdivision of literature, as some theorists in the field of historical research believe. On the other hand, however, literary fiction does not necessarily imply a denial of historical reality. Rather, it presents itself as historiography by other means, thus showing us its ability to question or reconsider our cultural memory.

Il presente come Storia

The Role of the «Interreligious Council» in the Peace Process in Sierra Leone (1991-2002)

This essay recounts one of postcolonial Africa’s bloodiest civil wars, in Sierra Leone in the 1990s, and provides thoughts on an unusual «Interreligious Council» for the solution of the conflict and the «reconstruction» of social and political life after the war. The «Council», based on the alliance between various religious denominations – Catholic and Protestant, Islamic and traditional components – acts through many contacts and talks with enemy parties, relying on the authority of the element of confession. The «Council» also contributes to the formation of a «Truth and Reconciliation Commission» similar to the model already tried in South Africa after the end of Apartheid during the period from 1991 to 1994, and in Rwanda after the genocide in 1994; the goal is to start a process of «national reconciliation» through the testimony of the victims and the confessions of the executioners. Despite some contradictory aspects, the work of the TRC provides a basis for an effective civil reconstruction.

«The Élites Vogue»: The Reception of Michels, Mosca and Pareto in the United States

The importance that Italian Elite theory has had for the development of the social sciences is a well established fact. Equally well known is that the centre of political studies shifted rapidly from Europe to the United States, which gradually built a cultural hegemony in this area of study. This essay aims to understand the relationship between the Italian elitists and American academia in the 1920s-1930s, reconstructing dynamics, places and characters, in order to show Italian elitism’s important role for the renewal of political science in the United States, and for political studies in general. The main point of the article is that American scholars examined Elitism in order to understand Fascism and analysed issues (propaganda, patriotism, controlling the masses, crowd psychology) that they regarded as particularly important for the United States and its technocratic development.

Diaspora and Maritime Armament in the Economic Strategies of the Genoese in the Second Half of the 17th Century: A Global History

Starting from the middle of the 17th century, Genoese commercial and financial operations spread on a network of global trade. Perhaps presumptuous and partly unrealistic, the Republic’s so-called «navalista» politics gave impulse to a new economic upsurge for Genoese merchants. This growth found an already solid mercantile diaspora to America, the Mediterranean area, Africa and Asia: an intercultural network closely connected with the Armenian, Jewish and Muslim trades. Private initiatives received support from the Republic’s strengthened maritime policy which created modern institutions at the forefront of mercantile and nautical techniques. In short, far from being a State/non-State with a weak institutional capacity, between the 17th and the 18th centuries the Republic of Genoa was a paragon of modernity in line with the great European powers.

The Ansaldo Under the Perrone Family in Eastern Europe after the First World War. The Case of Poland

This essay reconstructs the economic penetration by the Genoese company Ansaldo into Poland in the years 1919-1921, as part of the expansion of Italian industrial capitalism into Eastern Europe after the First World War. Using mostly unpublished documents, the core themes of the Perrone brothers’ plan have been identified and developed. The plan was intended to help overcome society’s financial and industrial crisis, and to accelerate the process of vertical integration, postwar conversion, and, lastly, the technocratic and transnational program: in other words, the main objectives pursued by the Perrone family in those years. The clash with Banca Commerciale Italiana; relations with Poland’s industrial and financial bourgeoisie of local and Jewish origin; the diplomatic and political framework of the Paris Conference; the Orlando, Nitti and Giolitti governments’ economic policy in Eastern Europe; the structure of the company’s representation; and the role of the major European industrial groups constitute the essay’s reference grid. Although modest, the results of the Perrone plan in Poland permit a more comprehensive analysis of the decline of the two Genoese entrepreneurs.

October 31 1926: Antonio Gramsci Between Rome and Milan. An Analysis of the Testimony

October 31 1926 is an important date in Antonio Gramsci’s biography. On that day, he was travelling from Rome to Milan, expecting to proceed to Genoa, in order to attend an illegal meeting of the Comitato centrale of the Italian Communist Party, and then to leave Italy illegally. Gramsci’s journey, however, was interrupted by its coinciding unexpectedly with the attempt on Mussolini’s life that took place in Bologna that very same day, followed by serious violence perpetrated by Fascist groups against opponents of the regime throughout Italy. In that setting, Gramsci, soon after arriving in Milan, travelled back to Rome. A week later, on 8 November, this series of events ended with his arrest. This article offers a reconstruction of that journey and of the circumstances that led Gramsci to return from Milan to Rome. The reconstruction is based on documents and testimony, some already known, and others not considered in the literature.

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