Paper in Motion: Methods and Case Studies for an Interdisciplinary Approach (November 15, University of Florence)

By |2021-03-01T18:38:32+00:00October 16th, 2019|PIMo Conversations|

This seminar intends to use a series of case studies to exemplify the role of paper as (1) material medium for communication and consequently for the establishment of institutions, communities and the emotional ties that generated them, and (2) as a trope that denotes the nature and the function of the information, emotions and values it is used to record and convey. As the case studies will suggest, the different uses and functions of paper determined strategies and methods employed in the administration of the movement of people, ideas, and goods, and in the creation of complex networks (political, economic, religious, and intellectual) across the Mediterranean and beyond. There will be a particular focus upon the circulation of texts and documents involved in the articulation of discursive varieties for the expression of subjective emotional identities and for the establishment of the norms that regulated their public and social dimensions.   Prof José María Perez Fernandez's  original research started with an interdisciplinary approach to comparative literature, which then led to an interest in the relations between early modern literature and political [...]

Travelling men, travelling books. Hidden lives in the papers of an Orientalist librarian in Vienna (1608–1636) (November 15th, University of Florence)

By |2021-03-01T18:39:50+00:00October 16th, 2019|PIMo Conversations|

We only see movements that are documented: we talk about "looking at movements” more than the movements themselves. How were these movements perceived, and how was the displacement narrated? Some information on these questions might be found in an unexpected source. Letters written by erudite scholars are a favoured source in the history of scholarship. But they can also reveal other presences, and the movements of travellers, exiles and refugees. The letters of Sebastian Tengnagel, imperial librarian in Vienna and a scholar of Arabic, Turkish and Persian, are one such case. Nowadays he is a ghostly figure, but in his day he was one of the leading figures of the “Republic of Arabic Letters”. Although he – as a librarian - is a sedentary figure par excellence, his letters are full of movement: of ideas, of books, and of people. In this seminar I will focus on the movement of people. Tengnagel’s correspondents range from giants of philology like Casaubon and Gruter to unknown, mist-shrouded figures from a shifting ecosystem: missionaries, adventurers, interpreters, slaves and prisoners of war, from the [...]