Early Modern History and Methodology of Historical Research - PARTE II (2018/2019)

Course code
Name of lecturer
Giovanni Ciappelli
Number of ECTS credits allocated
Academic sector
Language of instruction
Sem. II Trento dal Feb 11, 2019 al May 31, 2019.

To show the organization of the course that includes this module, follow this link * Course organization

Lesson timetable

Go to lesson schedule

Learning outcomes

First Part (Methodology of Historical Research): Prof. Giovanni Ciappelli
The course is a seminar course. The training objective is to provide precise knowledge on a historiographical theme on which international research has been particularly alive in recent times, that of family memory and autobiographical memory in the early modern age, through a social-historical and comparative approach. Lessons will examine published and unpublished sources related to the topic, and will present and discuss the most important scientific literature on the subject.
Attendance of the planned training activities and individual study will ensure that at the end of the course the students know and are able to define and describe, both orally and in writing, the characteristics and details of the aforementioned areas of knowledge. Expected results include the development by students of autonomous research and analysis abilities on published and unpublished sources, to be used into the elaboration of a final essay.


First part (prof. Ciappelli)
"Use and interpretation of sources: the letter from the Middle Ages to the 20th century".
The course will deal with the letter as a means of expression and communication of different contents at different times: political communication and information in general (diplomatic, commercial, private letters), expression of feelings of friendship and affection; narration of one's own thoughts and actions to the other, which also includes aspects of the self. The letter is one of the most common documents available to the historian in all ages, and has recently become part of the larger category of egodocuments (writings of various kinds in which an individual tells about himself), which is increasingly attracting the historians' attention. In any case, it corresponds to a literary genre, with specific rules, which may vary from period to period, and requires nuanced interpretations that must take into account the context, the nature and purpose of sender and recipient, and the writing style of the time. The course will present public and private collections of letters from the 14th to the 20th century, trying to capture recurring elements and evolutionary traits and to put them in relation with the possible uses by the historian.

Reference books
Author Title Publisher Year ISBN Note
Andrea Giorgi, Katia Occhi (a cura di) Carteggi fra Medioevo ed età moderna. Pratiche di redazione, trasmissione e conservazione (Edizione 1) il Mulino 2018 88-15-27348-2
Maria Luisa Betri, Daniela Maldini Chiarito (a cura di) Dolce dono graditissimo. La lettera privata dal Settecento al Novecento Angeli 2003
Gabriella Zarri (a cura di) Per lettera. La scrittura epistolare femminile tra archivio e tipografia, secoli XV-XVII (Edizione 1) Viella 1999 88-85669-93-X
Armando Petrucci Scrivere lettere. Una storia plurimillenaria (Edizione 1) Laterza 2008 88-42085-27-0

Assessment methods and criteria

First part (Prof. Ciappelli)
The exam will be composed of:
1. an ORAL EXAM, based on knowledge of assigned readings (see “Assigned readings”), material distributed during lessons and (for attending students) class notes;
2. a WRITTEN ESSAY of 40-50,000 characters (including notes) on a topic agreed with the professor. Papers must be sent to the professor at least two weeks in advance of the oral exam, in ways agreed upon with the professor during office hours.