Modern and Contemporary History
Research activity in Modern and Contemporary History
Research at the Scuola Normale centres on some specific lines, with a special interest in cultural and religious history from the 16th to the 20th centuries. This includes studies on the religious life of the 16th and 17th centuries, with a particular focus on heretical and radical movements, on the call for tolerance, and, conversely, on the strategies of control and repression of dissenters. The history of the Church from the 19th to the 20th century is also covered, including the conflicting relationship of Catholicism with modernity and secular culture.
These areas of research are chronologically, geographically and thematically enhanced by the studies on heresy, the conversos (i.e. converts to Christianity) and the Spanish Inquisition spanning the 16th and 17th centuries, on the history of Judaism, the Holocaust and the racial laws in Italy, and on the origins and development of the welfare state.
A point of connection and comparison of these historical and historiographical problems is the question of the origins of human rights and their development from the religious struggles of the early modern age to the on-going processes of secularization. One last point worthy of note is the common interest in images as fundamental sources for studying modern and contemporary history and in the multidisciplinary approach that it requires.