First cycle
degree courses
Second cycle
degree courses
Single cycle
degree courses
School of Human and Social Sciences and Cultural Heritage
Course unit
SUP9086440, A.A. 2019/20

Information concerning the students who enrolled in A.Y. 2019/20

Information on the course unit
Degree course Second cycle degree in
LE0607, Degree course structure A.Y. 2017/18, A.Y. 2019/20
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Number of ECTS credits allocated 9.0
Type of assessment Mark
Website of the academic structure
Department of reference Department of Historical and Geographic Sciences and the Ancient World
Mandatory attendance No
Language of instruction English
Single Course unit The Course unit can be attended under the option Single Course unit attendance
Optional Course unit The Course unit can be chosen as Optional Course unit

Teacher in charge LUCIO BIASIORI M-STO/02

ECTS: details
Type Scientific-Disciplinary Sector Credits allocated
Core courses SPS/14 History and Institutions of Asia 9.0

Course unit organization
Period Second semester
Year 1st Year
Teaching method frontal

Type of hours Credits Teaching
Hours of
Individual study
Lecture 9.0 63 162.0 No turn

Start of activities 02/03/2020
End of activities 12/06/2020
Show course schedule 2019/20 Reg.2017 course timetable

Examination board
Examination board not defined

Prerequisites: There is no prerequisite other than a willingness to interpret the present in the light of the past. As the course will be in English, a good knowledge of the language is required.
Target skills and knowledge: Students will become familiar with the processes of mobility of people, ideas and objects during the early modern age, discovering that many characteristics of the societies in which we live were prepared during the centuries from the fifteenth to the seventeenth. Although very different from the one in which we live, the early modern world found itself experiencing changes similar to those that more massively affect the present time: wars of religion, more or less forced mobility of masses of people, migrations, the imposition of baptism and conversion, the birth of increasingly vast commercial spaces, changes in the management and communication of information introduced by the invention of the printing press, etc.. The awareness of this interweaving of similarities and differences between the past and the present world is necessary not only for the study of history, but also for the training of those who want to address in a mature way some of the most urgent social issues of our time. At the end of the course, students will be able to fully understand the political, economic, social and cultural implications of the processes of mobility in the early modern world.
Examination methods: The final exam will be in oral form and will focus on the topics covered during the course. During the course the students will present reports on essays or sources assigned in class. Since this is a course for which attendance is recommended, non-attendants will have to agree on a specific examination program with the teacher.
Assessment criteria: Active participation in class (30%)
Reports on essays or sources (40%)
Final interview (30%)
Course unit contents: The course aims to analyze the mobility of people, ideas and objects in the early modern age through the study of the diaspora of Italian heretics of the sixteenth century. This is a traditional theme of Italian historiography, which in the course will be addressed with new questions, precisely those prompted by recent developments in historiography in the field of studies on collective diasporas and mobility.

The course is divided into three parts.

A first part (about 21 hours, 3 CFU), entitled "Itineraries of the Diaspora" will be introductory and will study the reaction of the Italian Churches and states vis-à-vis the spread of ideas related to the Protestant Reformation. It will then analyze the ways in which these ideas were presented as dangerous because they came from outside, not only from the Protestant north but also from the "Spain of the three cultures", which in the same years was trying to eradicate all its debt to Judaism and Islam. In particular, it will be seen to what extent the foundation of the Holy Office of the Inquisition in 1542 should be considered at the origin of the first wave of migration of the Italian supporters of the Reformation. Particular attention will be paid to the social composition and mobility of this diaspora, the geography of the movements, the difficulties, both ideal and material, that its members encountered in establishing themselves in a new context.

A second part (21 hours, 3 CFU), entitled "Diasporas in comparison", will analyze - through sources and case studies - the diaspora of Italian heretics within the framework of other contemporary diasporas, such as that of the French Huguenots, or of marranos and moriscos, the descendants of Spanish Jews and Muslims forced to convert or flee in 1492. In addition, an attempt will be made to analyse the interaction between religious and mercantile networks, in an attempt to see to what extent religious diversity influenced the possibilities of trade and whether commercial contacts were also established between individuals or groups of different religious orientations.

A third part (21 hours, 3 CFU), entitled "Physical Mobility, Religious Mobility, Cultural Mobility", through a research on primary sources, will focus on the ways in which the experience of physical dislocation activated processes of religious change and, conversely, on other cases in which it reactivated internal bonds within the diaspora that would never be stimulated under normal conditions. On the other hand, we will see how the exponents of the Italian heretical diaspora have acted as cultural brokers, promoting the diffusion of Humanism and Renaissance culture in a very wide geographical context.

These are the main arguments:

- History of heresy and free thinking
- Religious comparison
- Inquisition and censorship
- Migration and mobility
- Forms of resistance
- Gender
- Religion, politics and society in Europe
Planned learning activities and teaching methods: The course will take place approximately in this way:

1) A series of introductory lessons held by the teacher (roughly corresponding to the first part of the course)

2) Seminar classes on the subjects covered by Part Two and Part Three. To achieve this goal, it is strongly recommended that participants come to class after reading the sources or secondary literature indicated by the teacher from week to week, according to a timetable that will be specified at the beginning of the course.

3) Common discussion of sources or historiographical problems on which each student will report.
Additional notes about suggested reading: The reference texts indicated are of a general and introductory nature only.

The teacher will prepare - together with the students - a specific bibliography to stimulate discussions and debates. A corpus of sources (archival or printed) will be available to introduce students to historical research.
Textbooks (and optional supplementary readings)
  • Delio Cantimori, Eretici italiani del Cinquecento. Torino: Einaudi, 2009. Cerca nel catalogo
  • Mercedes García-Arenal, Gerard Wiegers, A Man of Three Worlds: Samuel Pallache, a Moroccan Jew in Catholic and Protestant Europe. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 2007. Also available in Italian
  • Nancy L. Green, Changing Paradigms in Migration Studies. From Men to Women to Gender. «Gender&History», 24/3 (2012),: pp. 782-798, --.
  • Christiane Harzig, Dirk Hoerder, What is Migration History?. Cambridge: Polity Press, 2009. Cerca nel catalogo
  • Claudia Moatti, Wolfgang Kaiser, Mobilità umana e circolazione culturale nel Mediterraneo dall’età classica all’età moderna. in Storia d’Italia. Annali 24:: Torino, Einaudi, 2009, pp. 7-20, --.
  • Charles H. Parker, Global Interactions in the Early Modern Age. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2010. Also available in Italian Cerca nel catalogo
  • Adriano Prosperi, Il seme dell'intolleranza. Ebrei, eretici, selvaggi: Granada 1492. Bari: Laterza, 2011. Cerca nel catalogo
  • Nicholas Terpstra, Religious Refugees in the Early Modern World. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2015.
  • John Tedeschi, Italian Reformers and the Diffusion of Renaissance Culture. The Sixteenth Century Journal: 5 (1974), pp. 79-94, --. Also available in Italian
  • Natalie Zemon Davis, Trickster Travels: A Sixteenth-Century Muslim Between Worlds. New York: Hill-Wang, 2006. Also available in Italian Cerca nel catalogo
  • Francesca Trivellato, The Familiarity of Strangers: The Sephardic Diaspora, Livorno, and Cross-Cultural Trade in the Early Modern Period. New Haven: Yale University Press, 2009. Also available in Italian Cerca nel catalogo
  • Sanjay Subrahmanyam, Three Ways to be Alien: Travails and Encounters in the Early Modern World. Waltham (Mass.): Brandeis University Press, 2011. Cerca nel catalogo

Innovative teaching methods: Teaching and learning strategies
  • Lecturing
  • Problem based learning
  • Case study
  • Interactive lecturing
  • Working in group
  • Questioning
  • Story telling
  • Problem solving
  • Use of online videos
  • Loading of files and pages (web pages, Moodle, ...)
  • Students peer review

Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)
Quality Education Gender Equality Reduced Inequalities Climate Action Peace, Justice and Strong Institutions