History of Historiography - FONTI PER LA RICERCA STORICA (2020/2021)

Course code
Name of lecturer
Gian Maria Varanini
Number of ECTS credits allocated
Other available courses
Academic sector
Language of instruction
CuCi IA dal Sep 21, 2020 al Oct 31, 2020.

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

Lesson timetable

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Learning outcomes

Within the course of the master's degree program, the course about "Sources for historical research pursues" the objective - shared with the other teachings - to enable the student to critically evaluate a historical testimony, reflecting on the concept of document and analyzing different types of historical sources: written sources of various kinds, oral sources, iconographic sources. The examples proposed in class will refer to both the medieval age and the modern and contemporary age. Practical exercises and lessons in the archives are planned. At the end of the course the student will have to demonstrate to be able to autonomously evaluate the potentialities of the different historical testimonies for the reconstruction of the past.


1. The phases for the construction of historical knowledge
2. The concept of a document
3. Archival problems
4. The crisis of sources written in the early Middle Ages; ecclesiastical hegemony on written documentation
5. The cultural rebirth of the twelfth century and the construction of a system of written sources in Italian cities; the long duration of the system until the end of the modern age
6. Legislative sources and history of law
7. Demographic sources
8. Tax sources in the cities of medieval and modern Italy
9. Judicial sources in the cities of medieval and modern Italy
10. Ecclesiastical sources in the cities of medieval and modern Italy: the papacy, the bishop's curias
11. Ecclesiastical sources in the cities of medieval and modern (and contemporary) Italy: pastoral visits, documentation of a disciplinary nature (ecclesiastical tribunals, inquisition)
12. Sources for the history of the state: supplication, appellate magistrates, court life
13. Sources for the history of the state: the birth of diplomacy (medieval, modern and contemporary age)
14. Sources for the history of science: the correspondences of scientists of modern age
15. Sources for oral history
16. Sources for economic history
17-18. Lectures in the state archives, in the civic library, in the archives of the bishop's curia

Reference books
Author Title Publisher Year ISBN Note
Cammarosano Paolo Italia medievale. Struttura e geografia delle fonti scritte (Edizione 4) Carocci 2009
Luzzatto Sergio Prima lezione di metodo storico (Edizione 10) Laterza 2010 9788842092209

Assessment methods and criteria

For students who have attended the course, the exam will have the characteristics of an interview, aimed at measuring the awareness of the problems of method acquired by the students.
Intermediate tests and reports by the students will be possible.
For students who have not attended the course, the oral examination will be accompanied by the preparation and discussion of a dissertation agreed with the teacher. It is also expected to read some essays, agreed with the teacher, of the volume "Parole nel tempo" by F. Benigno (see Texts scheduled for the exam).