Publications catalogue

The publications catalogue of the Department collects the information from ARCA [ITA], the institutional open-access archive of Ca’ Foscari scientific production.
It is also accessible from cerCa, the Ca’ Foscari bibliographic platform.

Working in research

PhD Degrees

PhD Degree is the highest level of academic education. It is a limited admission degree programme and lasts for at least three years. It allows graduates to develop methods and skills to pursue highly qualified research.

Research fellowships and grants

Short-term research fellowships allow Master’s Degree graduates to pursue short-term research (less than 12 months normally) including them in existing projects and research groups.

Research grants allow Master’s Degree graduates and PhDs to pursue research activities at the university or in the projects offered to the candidates.
In this section also a list of the ongoing research grants and topics [ITA], including the area research fellowships and the research fellowships on specific projects.

Discover all the other opportunities of international recruitment at Ca’ Foscari: our University is highly committed in achieving excellence in research, developing international partnerships and funding new talents.

Research areas

  • Classical and Medieval Greek and Latin literature
  • Ancient, Medieval, Modern and Contemporary History
  • Near Eastern, Classical and Medieval Archeology
  • Ancient and Medieval Epigraphy and Philology
  • Romance and Byzantine Studies
  • History of Art

  • Italian Literature (Middle Ages to the 20th Century and beyond)
  • Linguistics
  • History of Religion
  • Cultural Anthropology, Ethnology, Ethnolinguistics and Geography
  • Cataloguing and study of manuscripts and books
  • Digital humanities

Research groups

The GIEFFRA group brings together Roman scholars experts in different disciplines (epigraphers, jurists, papyrologists, numismatics, archaeologists, art historians, philologists…), to study with a documentary approach women and the family in the Roman world, from the Republican period to Late Antiquity, in Italy and in the provinces.

Through technical knowledge and less exploited types of sources, a renewed study is possible on the Roman family, on the political and social ties of kinship, on the presence of women in political, dynastic, legal, family, religious and social life. The research projects enable to extend the analysis to a large scale or to focus on geographical area (Rome, Italy, the Latin speaking provinces, the Greek speaking provinces).

Website of GIEFFRA

EMoDiR is an international research group dedicated to the study of religious differences, conflicts and plurality in Europe during the early modern period.

Analysis, both at local and transnational levels (from a predominantly European perspective), transcends traditional historiographic boundaries (notably national and/or confessional) to examine the discursive constructions of religious dissent and the socio-cultural practices: this plurality defied confessional ‘orthodoxies’ that were establishing within states’ growing and modern-evolving apparatus.

Besides the specific cultural practices and intersections of different forms of religious dissent, the group analyses also specific mechanisms of cultural transfer: circulation of manuscripts and printed texts, publication strategies, social networks and male and female dissenters, their journeys, and their meetings within heterodox environments.

Website of EMoDiR

Coordinators: Roberto Cristofoli (Università di Perugia), Alessandro Galimberti (Università Cattolica del Sacro Cuore di Milano) and Francesca Rohr (Ca’ Foscari University of Venice).

The research group ‘Between Republic and Principality’ aims at exploring in-depth the knowledge of the period between the 1st century B.C. and the 1st century A.D., a crucial phase of Roman history in which the crisis of Republican institutions grew after several solutions were attempted to ensure the survival of the Roman Republic and reforms were eventually set to guarantee the future of the Roman State as a Principality.

Experts in several fields (history, legal history, philology, epigraphy, archaeology, papyrology, numismatics) work together in a multidisciplinary approach which creates opportunities for scientific dialog and collaborations between scholars from different generations and nationalities.

The Poikilia Research Group originated from a series of international seminars as part of the academic course “History of Religions”. 

It is characterised by an interdisciplinary methodology that connects the historical, anthropological and other fields, making it possible to actively involve teachers, researchers, and students. 

The purpose is the implementation of an area for debate on topical questions concerning ancient and modern history/ies. 

Issues such as “body”, “rituality”, and “voice” will bring focus on the relation between Norm and the construction of the human being. The project aims to the publication and dissemination of the collected scientific results, also through the creation of a website which will include an open access archive.

Website of Poikilia

Archaeology at Ca' Foscari

A showcase of the archaeological projects at Ca’ Foscari University, involving the Department of Humanities in innovative and research opportunities for students and volunteers.

Digital and Public Humanities

The Venice Centre for Digital and Public Humanities funded by MIUR through the Department of Excellence Project 

Research projects

The Department periodically highlights in this page some of the main ongoing research projects, at a national or international level.

Cod. Laur. Plut. 58.26 (f. 47v), which contains Pollux' Onomasticon, one of the most important Atticist lexica

PURA - PURism in Antiquity: theories of language in Greek atticist lexica and their legacy

Researcher: Olga Tribulato, Lenght: 60 months (31/12/2025), Grant: € 1.303.437 (Horizon 2020 - ERC Consolidator Grant)

Linguistic purism emerged during the Roman Empire aiming to protect the Greek language from the 'threat' of multilingualism. Ancient Greek purism has never been studied in a multidisciplinary perspective and remains unknown outside the realm of classics. The EU-funded PURA project will conduct the first global study of this phenomenon. It will focus on the analysis of Atticist lexica, which were composed of scholars who lived in the multilingual environment of the Roman Empire and intended to preserve the Greek language in its 5th-century form. The project combines classics, linguistics, textual philology, codicology and historical lexicography to deliver a global mapping of the purist theories expressed in lexica and produce a conclusive study of Atticism and its legacy.

Project website: PURA

Water Cultures - The Water Cultures of Italy (1500-1900)

Researcher: David Gentilcore, Lenght: 72 months (until 30 September 2025), Grant: € 2,44 milions (Horizon 2020 - ERC Advanced Grant)

The project, funded by an ERC Advanced Grant, offers a new way of writing history, with water placed in the center. The concept of "Water Cultures" is based on the synergistic interweaving of five lines of research: the symbolic beliefs and practices associated with water; the circulation and evolution of knowledge related to water and the diseases associated with it; the management of the hydraulic systems and water resources of the big cities; the hydraulic landscape of rural areas; professions and professions related to water and its use. Italy was chosen as a "case study", for the richness of its archives and the social, political and geographical variety it offers, and a long-term approach to better identify elements of continuity and change.

ARCHIVWAR – Archives in Times of War: Scattered Families and Vanishing Past in Contemporary Syria

Researcher:  Francesco Vacchiano (fellow: Veronica Ferreri), Lenght: 36 months (until 30 September 2025), Grant: € 256.442,88 (HORIZON-MSCA-2021 - Postdoctoral Fellowship)

In times of war, Syrian state archives have fallen victim to destruction and plundering. Simultaneously, Syrians in the diaspora have been saving and retrieving copies of mundane legal documents originally stored in these state repositories. ARCHIVWAR examines these documents and their centrality in preserving a connection to family members in Syria and in the diaspora. Combining ethnographic methods with oral history research, the project rethinks the archive as a form of care amongst Syrian transnational families based in Berlin. Through this re-reading the archive, the project ultimately aims to shed a light on a different political history of the archive partly disarticulated from state and (post)colonial forms of knowledge-power. Veronica Ferreri will conduct her research at University of Waterloo (Canada), under the supervision of prof. Secil Dagtas, and at the Department of Humanities of Ca’ Foscari, under the supervision of dr. Francesco Vacchiano.

PERLY - Performing Lyric, East and West: A Comparative Study of the Ancient Greek and Japanese Traditions

Researcher: Ettore Cingano (fellow Vanessa Casato); Length: 36 months (until 31/10/2025), Grant: € 266.318,4 (Horizon Europe Marie-Sklodowska Curie Actions - Postdoctoral Fellowship)

This project will study side by side the fragmentary poetry of ancient Greek lyric and the still living performance tradition of Japanese Nō poetry. Greek lyric was originally composed for performance but has been purely textual for almost two and a half millennia. Japanese Nō on the other hand still has a thriving performance tradition, and it shares with the Greek material some key lyrical aspects. Vanessa Cazzato, who has thus far specialized in Greek lyric poetry, will spend two years in Japan studying the Nō and Nō-influenced Japanese performance tradition before returning to Venice for a year to write on what this can tell us about Greek lyric specifically as a performance genre. She will be hosted at Tokyo University under the supervision of Prof. Hyuga Taro and at Ca’ Foscari under the primary supervision of Prof. Ettore Cingano.

NapApps - Napoleonic Job Applications: from Personal Pleas to Modern Curriculum Vitae in Early 19th-Century Europe

Researcher: Dorit Raines (Fellow: Valentina Dal Cin), Lenght: 36 months (31/08/2024), Grant: € 251.002,56 (H2020 Marie-Sklodowska Curie Actions - Individual Fellowship)

The NapApps project investigates employment applications in Napoleonic bureaucracy, analyzing the transition from a petition-based model that characterized the ancient regime to a style that anticipated the modern curriculum vitae. To achieve this, the project applies text mining techniques to a vast corpus of archival sources. As Napoleonic France disseminated the revolutionary principle throughout Europe that public employment should be accessible to all based on their talents, the project assesses the prevalence of arguments based on knowledge and skills, in contrast to a more conventional emphasis on personal misfortunes or family needs. Given that applications were addressed to the government with the intention of garnering its favor, these documents enable an investigation into the comprehension of new values and mechanisms, thereby assessing the socio-cultural impact of political changes. 
Cordis website

WaterScapes - Human-Environment interactions in and around Venice Lagoon: microecologies and geoarchaeological narratives from Roman Period to Middle Ages

Researcher: Daniela Cottica (Fellow: Alexandra Bivolaru), Lenght: 24 months (31/07/2024), Grant: € 172.750,08 (H2021 Marie-Sklodowska Curie Actions - Postdoctoral Fellowship)

In and around Venice Lagoon, the role of the environment didn’t have enough importance so far in the historical interpretation of the settlements and societal structures transformations from Antiquity to the Early Middle ages. Moreover, the existent historical narratives insufficiently consider the longue durée approaches in identifying human-environmental entanglement. WaterScapes project will address this major scientific gap about social aggregations and environmental transformation in and around Venice Lagoon from Roman times to Medieval period (2nd c. BC to 9th c. AD). The proposed objectives, methodology and trainings will offer a unique opportunity to evaluate the area in an historic and anthro-ecological perspective. WaterScapes will focus on micro-ecologies and geoarchaeological narratives, providing unique insights into the study of vulnerability, resilience and adaptation of human societies to challenging environments.

P.E.A.C.E - Pius XII Holy See facing the European Attempts for a Catholic Ecumenism after WW2 (1939-1958)

Researcher: Giovanni Vian (fellow Saretta Marotta), Lenght: 24 months (30/06/2024), Grant: € 172.750,08 (H2020 Marie Skłodowska-Curie COFUND “GLOBAL_AT_VENICE)

P.E.A.C.E. studies the reactions and strategies developed by the Holy See towards the growth of the international ecumenical movement and its influence within European Catholicism between the Second World War and the Second Vatican Council, i.e. the years of the pontificate of Pius XII (1939-1958). The opening of new resources at the Vatican Archives in March 2020 has rekindled historians' interest in this papacy: P.E.A.C.E. proposes not only a new subject, but also a new interpretive key to the pontificate of Pius XII. The hypothesis of the project is that these experiences of dialogue not only led to a theological renewal among Catholics that would later pave the way for the Second Vatican Council, but also that the impact of the ecumenical phenomenon caused conditioning and gradual openings in some areas within the Roman Curia (e.g. biblical, liturgical, etc). P.E.A.C.E. therefore analyses the dynamic of action-reaction between the activity of local groups engaged in Catholic ecumenism and the surveillance and control by the Roman authorities, combining the official Vatican documentation with the vast documentary heritage of individuals and institutions located throughout Europe.

NAMELESS-STORIES - The Invisible Women: Nameless and Forgotten Stories of the Rubber Boom (Bolivian Amazonia, 19-20th centuries)

Researcher: Valentina Bonifacio (fellow Lorena Cordoba), Lenght: 24 months (until 30 November 2023), Grant: € 183.473,28 (H2020 Marie-Sklodowska Curie Actions - Individual Fellowship)

The project aims to reconstruct female agency during the ‘Rubber Boom’ in Bolivian Amazonia (1870-1920). The historical record present us with a hyper-masculinized Amazonian jungle and neglect the numerous women involved in the extractive machinery by forgetting, anonymizing or relegating them as minor, transparent, or almost invisible actors. Therefore, by combining an ethnographic and historical approach the goal of the project is to rescue the testimony of indigenous women forgotten by the historical record on the account of their ethnic condition, as well as the Creole or European female settlers who were rendered invisible by the sexist bias of regional historiography.

Project website: Nameless-Stories

PythiaPlus - Machine Learning for the Study of Ancient Epigraphic Cultures

Researcher: Lorenzo Calvelli (Fellow: Thea Sommerschield) , Lenght: 24 months (until 14 November 2023), Grant: € 171.473,28 (H2020 Marie-Sklodowska Curie Actions - Individual Fellowship)

PythiaPlus will explore the nature of the epigraphic cultures of the Greek and Roman worlds using recent advances in Artificial Intelligence. By revolutionising our ability to access and analyse the data through the implementation of Machine Learning models, this research will enable and undertake the interpretation of the epigraphic patterns and parallels discovered by the models across the texts and metadata of thousands of Greek and Latin inscriptions, transforming our understanding of epigraphic communication.
Thea Sommerschield will be working at the Department of Humanities of Ca’ Foscari (under the supervision of prof. Lorenzo Calvelli), and will collaborate with Google’s DeepMind in London, the Athens University of Economics and Business, and with the Digital Curation Unit of the IMIS Athena Research Centre.

Project website: PythiaPlus

SaInAT-Ve - Sacred Inscriptions from the Ancient Territory of Venetia

Researcher: Lorenzo CalvelliLenght: 24 months (until 31 October 2023), Grant: € 50.000 (SPIN 2021)

This project aims to investigate the interaction between writing and religion in ancient north-eastern Italy from the 3rd century BCE to the 1st century CE, and covers the area described by Livy as the Venetorum angulus (5.33.10), which was included by Augustus' administrative reform in the tenth region of Italy. By adopting an interdisciplinary and cross-temporal approach, cults and rituals are addressed through the lens of epigraphy to understand their role in promoting the religious and political integration of indigenous societies into the Roman world. Our dataset comprises a range of epigraphic documents from a variety of indigenous cultures (Celtic, Raetic, and Venetic), as well as a large body of so-called 'sacred inscriptions' written in Latin, ranging from the earliest contacts of the Romans in north-eastern Italy to the full integration of local communities into the Roman political system.
The project's acronym, SaInAT-Ve, alludes to the Venetic form Sainat-, a highly debated divine epithet, through which several Venetic inscriptions identify the role of some of the most important local deities from the ancient Venetia region.

Stele of goddess Hārītī found in temple B, Barikot, Swat (ca. mid III century AD). Courtesy by ISMEO/Ca' Foscari Italian Archaeological Mission in Pakistan

MALIWI – ‘Making libations of wine from golden cups’

Social, ritual, and ceremonial use of wine in the Gandharan area, from the Achaemenids to the Kushans

Researcher: Claudia Antonetti, Lenght: 24 months (until 31/10/2023), Grant: € 48.000 (SPIN 2021), Website: SPIN projects

MALIWI project aims to analyze the constant cultural exchanges that occurred in the Gandharan area – an important geographic and cultural junction between central Asia and the Indian subcontinent – through the lens of the wine culture. The period under study spans from the Achaemenid era to the Kushan age (ca. 6th cent. BC – 3rd cent. AD). Evidence on winemaking and consumption are collected and analysed starting from an interdisciplinary approach that involves textual, archaeological, and ethnographic materials to trace the production techniques and the social and convivial uses of this extraordinary drink that is present in the history of man for millennia.
MALIWI, born from the collaboration of the DSU with the DSAAM of the Ca 'Foscari University, is part of the network of projects on Central Asia and Gandhara active at the University of Venice which enjoy the support of the Italian Archaeological Mission in Pakistan (IAM), directed by L.M. Olivieri.

Project website: MALIWI

Ruling in hard times. Patterns of power and practices of government in the making of Carolingian Italy

Researcher: Stefano Gasparri, Lenght: 48 months (until 17/03/2024), Grant: € 182.286 (PRIN 2017)

This research project aims at investigating the patterns of power and practices of government during the consolidation of the Carolingian domination in Italy. It will focus more particularly on the years of Lothar I’s reign (822-850). The project intends to analyse from a top-down perspective the strategies, tools, levels of innovation and ways of representation of political rule and, from a bottom-up approach, the mutual interaction between central authority and local power. Such an interaction was an expression of the real nature of Carolingian governance. In order to achieve this, a prosopographical open-access and open-source database will be designed, which will record basic and specific information on the officials and other agents of power - including their roles, itineraries and mutual relations - to be represented by chronological maps and socio-political network diagrams. In this way, we hope to fill the gap which, over the last twenty years, has often cut off Italian medievalists from the international debate, both in terms of historiographical approaches, and in relation to open access research tools.

Project website: Ruling in hard times

The Nuncio's Secret Archives: Papal Diplomacy and European Multi-denominational Societies Before the Thirty Years War

Researcher: Dorit Raines, Lenght: 42 months (until 17/09/2023), Grant: € 159.320 (PRIN 2017)

Through a pioneering approach integrating Digital Humanities and traditional research, the project aims to reorganize for the first time an extraordinary private archive, now divided between Italy and Kansas, decisive for reconstructing the history of papal diplomacy in the crucial period between the peace of Augsburg (1555) and the Thirty Years War. The archive, created by two of the most high-ranking diplomats of the late 16th century, G.F. Commendone and A.M. Graziani, will be valorized through the portal Graziani Archives, which, in addition to providing a reference model for the interrogation and study of private political archives of modern age, will give access to unpublished documentation, mostly informal and very different from the official and already known one, describing with unprecedented richness and depth the vast networks activated by papal diplomats, their relationship with the regular orders and the clash between papacy and multi-confessional space. The construction of the portal, combined with a rigorous historical-archival investigation, will activate a research laboratory that will give an impulse to a new interpretive perspective, capable of finally including the history of papal diplomacy in the European historiographical debate on multi-confessionality.

MapAeg - Mapping the Aegean: Cristoforo Buondelmonti's Liber insularum (15th century) and the Origins of Classical Archaeology

Researcher: Antonio Rigo (Fellow: Benedetta Bessi), Length: 36 months (until 31/08/2023), Grant: € 269.002,56 (H2020 - Marie Sklodowska-Curie Individual Fellowship)

Mapping the Aegean is a project funded by a Marie Sklowdoska-Curie Global fellowship and it aims at the study of the Liber Insularum Archipelagi (1420) by the Florentine traveler Cristoforo Buondelmonti, the first example of isolarium (book of islands) and a fundamental text for the rediscovery of ancient Greece and the birth of classical archaeology. The Liber  is also an important document of the geopolitical situation of the Aegean and its islands during the years immediately before the fall of Constantinople. The project is carried out under the supervision of Prof. Antonio Rigo from the DSU and Prof. Giovanna Cesarani from the Classics Department at Stanford University.  The digital humanities component, which includes an edition and a commentary of the text, is implemented in collaboration with the Venice Center for Digital and Public Humanities (VeDPH) and the Center for Spatial and Textual Analysis at Stanford (CESTA). 

IDENTIS - Identity-scapes of Sardinia: productivity, burials, and social relationships of AD 100-600 west-central Sardinia

Researcher: Sauro Gelichi  (Fellow: Mauro Puddu), Length: 36 months (until 31/08/2023), Grant: € 257.209,92 (H2020 - Marie Sklodowska-Curie Individual Fellowship)

IDENTIS studies the material traces of the past in order to expose its complex identity-scapes. Inspired by the current debates held all over Europe on identity – a concept often used in a homogenizing way – the project aims to implement the quality of the identity-discourse by providing a vertical perspective on time.
IDENTIS focuses on an aspect that can be crucial when aiming at a fluid definition of identities: human relationships captured in their material dimension. Through the nalyses of funerary and settlement contexts of Roman-period rural Sardinia, IDENTIS highlights the signs of practices held by communities in the island in order to maintain their social relationships, either healing them when broken by challenging events, or creating new ones by interacting with the remains of the past.
This research, supervised by professor Sauro Gelichi, involves the collaboration with the Museum of Broken Relationships , Zagreb, where together with director Olinka Vištica I will organize an exhibition that will provoke thoughts on the idea that human relationships underpinned dynamic identities also in antiquity. 

IDENTIS Symposium will be held in Venice on the 26th and 27th May 2022. For further information please check the IDENTIS Symposium website.

Languages and Cultures of Ancient Italy. Historical Linguistics and Digital Models

Researcher: Anna Marinetti, Length: 48 months (until 20/07/2024), Grant: € 271.420 (PRIN 2017)

The project Languages and Cultures of Ancient Italy. Historical Linguistics and Digital Models aims to study the languages and cultures of Ancient Italy (8th century BC-1st century AD) by combining the traditional methods of epigraphy and historical linguistics with digital tools adapted to the highly fragmentary nature of the epigraphic documentation of such languages. Due to the experimental nature of the project, at the moment we are focusing on four languages: Cisalpine Celtic, Venetic, Faliscan, and Oscan. The expected results of the project are a digital corpus of the inscriptions and a computational lexicon, linked with each other.  The project, funded by the Italian Ministry of University and Research as a research project of relevant national interest (PRIN 2017), involves a consortium between the University Ca’ Foscari of Venice, the University of Florence, and the Institute for Computational Linguistics of the National Research Council of Italy, with the collaboration of historical linguists and computational linguists.

InProV - An inventory of the prosimetra in vulgar tongue in the early centuries of Italian Literature (1250-1500)

Researcher: Tiziano Zanato (Fellow: Matteo Favaretto), Length: 36 months (until 31/11/2022), Grant: € 251.002,56 (H2020 - Marie Sklodowska-Curie Individual Fellowship)

The project aims to provide an inventory of the prosimetra written in volgar tongue (InProV) from the origins of Italian literature to the end of the fifteenth century (1250-1500). There exists an abundance of critical bibliography on specific major works written in prosimetrum, from Dante’s Vita Nova to Sannazaro’s Arcadia. However, this peculiar form consisting of prose and metre, which has customarily received cursory treatment in the history of Italian literature, appears only recently to have attracted scholarly attention (cf. Il prosimetro nella letteratura italiana, eds Comboni and Di Ricco, Trento 2000). Yet a thorough investigation resulting in a detailed inventory of the extant texts has not hitherto been attempted. In keeping with other works recently published (such as the Atlante dei canzonieri in volgare del Quattrocento, eds Comboni and Zanato, Florence 2017), the inventory will provide a useful instrument to gain a deeper understanding of the employment of the prosimetrum in the early Italian literary tradition when its use represented a third alternative to the literature either in verse or in prose before evolving into an imitative expedient or a literary exercise. The prosimetra included in the inventory will be examined according to specific criteria concerning textual tradition, typology (lyric, pastoral, philosophical, etc.), metre and subject-matter. The inventory will be published as a hard-copy and on-line, thus enabling researchers in different disciplines (Italian literature, comparative studies, philology, linguistics) to have easy access to extensive information on the prosimetra. Further, it will be possible to update the on-line version in accordance with potential new research findings in this field. The fellowship will give me the opportunity to bolster my academic career and to acquire new competencies in the analysis of early literary texts under the supervision of high-profile scholars in Renaissance studies.

Political prisoners: a transnational question in 19th century Italy

Researcher: Simon Levis Sullam (Fellow:  Elena Bacchin), Length: 36 months (until 30/09/2022), Grant: € 251.002,56 (H2020 - Marie Sklodowska-Curie Individual Fellowship)

This research project is a transnational historical investigation which examines the international role and representations of Italian political prisoners during the 19th century. Its goal is to investigate how and to what extent political prisoners were key figures not only in the construction of an Italian nationalist discourse, but equally in the foreign understanding of and commitment for the Italian Risorgimento. Moreover it will delineate how humanitarian debates operated in the commitment towards a national political cause. The project will place political detainees beyond legal and political history, and insert them in the context of the new questions raised by transnational and cultural history, and by the history of humanitarianism. I argue that political prisoners acted as political and patriotic agents at home as well as abroad. Not only did the experience of imprisonment influence the detainees’ political activities and identities, and help to create a sense of national community; but it influenced the representation of the Italian national movement abroad. The project will offer a new approach in studying political imprisonment emphasising its international and humanitarian dimension and will challenge the current state-of-theart, highlighting how political prisoners were an international concern already in the 19th century. Finally the research will help to understand the historical evolution of a European sensitivity and a commitment towards political detainees, refugees and people persecuted for political opinions and the evolution of international protection and humanitarian discourses. There is a running thread between these historical issues and questions concerning political prisoners in the world today and the international awareness and concern about them. The research project is a multi-lingual and multi-archival study that will employ an interdisciplinary and a transnational approach.

MeMuRu - Places of Remembrance in Muslim Russia: Islamic Heritage and Moral Landscapes

Researcher: Gianluca Ligi (Fellow: Matteo Benussi), Length: 36 months (until 31/08/2022), Grant: € 251.002,56 (H2020 - Marie Sklodowska-Curie Individual Fellowship)

The goal of this project is to map Islamic places of remembrance in Central Russia’s Volga region, and analyse their social, political, and affective life. The post-Soviet Islamic boom has raised acute concerns and generated debates on the place of Islam in Russia, home to an ancient Muslim community. So far, little fine-grained anthropological scholarship about Russia’s Muslim population has been produced. My project seeks to fill this gap in our knowledge by looking at the concrete places where the post-Soviet Islamic revival manifests itself. The past few years have witnessed the rediscovery – sometimes reconstruction – of numerous Islamic sites throughout the Russian Federation, along with the emergence of numerous locales where self-cultivation, ethnically inflected civic engagement, conflict, and compromise are played out by Muslims through the prism of remembrance. Anthropological methods of investigation shall be utilised to analyse how both institutional initiative and grassroots creativity are involved in the production of multi-scalar moral landscapes at the intersection of the nation-state, the ethnic community, and the ummah. Special attention will be devoted to social memory dispositifs, from institutional heritage projects to intimate practices of remembering. This project, built upon specialised skills and experiences I acquired as a graduate student, will offer fresh contributions to ongoing debates on post-socialist and Islamic personhood; memory, state-Muslim relations in Russia; and the spatial manifestations of religious life amongst Eurasian Muslims. This Fellowship will give me a unique chance to complete my maturation as a social scientist. At the Universities of Princeton and Venice, I will undertake specialised training, broadening my area expertise, my methodological repertoire, and my theoretical competencies across disciplines such as social and historical anthropology, Russian studies, and Islamic studies.

LANLOSS - Landscapes of Loss: Mapping the Affective Experience of Deforestation Among Diverse Social Groups in the South American Chaco

Researcher: Valentina Bonifacio (Fellow: Tamar Blickstein), Length: 48 months (until 12/06/2024), Grant: € 171.473,28 (H2020 - Marie Sklodowska-Curie Individual Fellowship)

Environmental upheavals generate losses across diverse sectors of society, and can heighten risks of social conflict (UNCCD 2017). Mapping the histories, memories and affective experiences of such losses among impacted communities could help expose incipient social tensions before they escalate. In the South American Gran Chaco, the rate of deforestation – which is among the highest in the world – is impacting the landscapes and livelihoods of indigenous, peasant, and white settler groups in both shared and competing ways. By working together with satellite data researchers, this multi-disciplinary project proposes an innovative collaborative approach to mapping the lived social and affective experience of rapid deforestation in the Gran Chaco through participatory memory-mapping: a process where local communities with antagonistic histories are invited to interact with the satellite data themselves, generating their own narratives of the various landscapes they have lost through a technique I call “affective mapping.” This collaborative approach enables both multi-disciplinary researchers as well as locals to develop new comparative understandings of how deforestation impacts communities in both shared and unequal ways, thus providing contexts for better understanding incipient tensions over resources and land.

Liber - The King’s Librarians at Work. Applying Machine Learning and Computer vision to the study of scribal marks on cuneiform tablets

Researcher: Paola Corò, Length: 37 months (until 30/04/2023), Grant: € 72.500 (SPIN 2 - Standard)

Among the 30,000 cuneiform tablets that make up the famous Library of Ashurbanipal, a substantial number of literary and scholarly texts include holes placed on the surface alongside the written text and/or the edges. Different theories on their function have not led so far to a systematic study of these marks. The project aims at continuing a preliminary investigation that suggests the existence of different set of holes and a possible meaningful connection with the textual content of the tablets where they appear. The understanding of their genesis and function will also shed light on the procedures and mechanisms underpinning the Library's formation, its ordinary management by the king's librarians and the scribes’ work. The project, which will take advantage of the application of Machine Learning and Computer Vision to the study of these holes on cuneiform tablets, will be carried out in partnership with the Center for Cultural Heritage and Technology of the IIT, and the The Ashurbanipal Library Project (PI Jon Taylor, curator at theDept. of Middle East of the British Museum) and it  has received funding from Ca' Foscari University under the SPIN call for proposals 2019 - Measure 2.

Project website: Liber