Research

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.

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: 60 months (until October 2024), 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.

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

Researcher: Stefano Gasparri, Lenght: 42 months (until 17/09/2023), 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. 

PROPEL - Prophecy, Public Sphere and Emotions in Late Medieval and Renaissance Tuscany: From Dante to Savonarola

Researcher: Antonio Montefusco (Fellow: Michele Lodone), Length: 36 months (until 31/08/2023), Grant: € 251.002,56 (H2020 - Marie Sklodowska-Curie Individual Fellowship)

In Medieval and Renaissance Europe, prophecy was one of the most incisive means for proposing or opposing alternative models of political and religious order. A large number of short prophecies circulated then throughout the continent, which have never received a thorough analysis. Combining material philology, media studies and history of emotions, PROPEL will be the first systematic investigation of the prophetic texts which circulated in Florence and in Tuscany, from the age of Dante (d. 1321) to the death of Girolamo Savonarola (1498).

Michele Lodone works at the Department of Humanities of Ca’ Foscari with Prof. Antonio Montefusco, and at the University of Chicago - US, with Prof. Justin Steinberg.

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

Researcher: Anna Marinetti, Length: 42 months (until 19/07/2023), 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.

“Sexual nationalism” Emerging sexual nationalism in the context of the “refugee crisis”: a comparative study between Western and Eastern Europe

Researcher: Petra Andits,  Length: 36 months (until 17/03/2023), Grant: € 120.000 (SPIN 1)

SEPO is a systematic project that merges the fields of sexual nationalism, populism, and Islamophobia. Research on sexual nationalism produced  significant works on homonationalism and femonationalism during the last decade, however, the link to populism remained under-explored. In this project, I examine the ways in which gender-and-sexual normativities are incorporated into politics within the populistic narrative. I specifically look at right-wing populism and chose Hungary, Poland, and Latvia as my case study, due to its leading populist tendencies in the Euro-Atlantic world. In order to clarify the boundaries of the project, I trace the development of sexual populism in Hungary, Poland, and Latvia in the context of the current refugee crisis. The choice of this context is significant: Normative discourses about sexual behavior have been subject to intensified debate since the start of the refugee influx in 2015. Research shows that anti-immigrant voices in several places are adapting sexual and gender equality discourses for use against the (Muslim) refugees, making these prominent parts of the anti-immigrant narrative. In this way, sexual nationalism is transnational in scope. Here I aim to understand how these transnational processes are adapted and transformed in specific and unique ways to the Hungarian, Polish and Latvian populistic narrative. Through this lens, I try to create theoretical frameworks that are non-totalizing or universalist. The project utilizes a cutting-edge methodology, netnography, and target user-created content on social media, more precisely Facebook.

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.

VERTEXCULT - Vernacular Textual Cultures in Dante’s Tuscany: Education and Literary Practices in Context (ca. 1250 - ca. 1321)

Researcher: Tiziano Zanato (Fellow: Luca Lombardo), Length: 36 months (until 31/11/2022), Grant: € 237.768 (H2020 - Marie Sklodowska-Curie Individual Fellowship)

The project undertakes the first systematic investigation of the vernacular literary texts used for the intellectual education of secular people in north-western Tuscany between the half of the 13th and the first twenty years of the 14th century in order to clarify the cultural context of Dante’s formation in Florence, on which almost nothing is known yet. While the lyrical poetry in late-medieval vernacular has been much studied, the doctrinal literature (both in poetry and prose) flourished in Italy in the same years is often unpublished and almost never made the object of critical studies, nor its function was connected to the formation of secular intellectuals such as Dante. The project aims to define as accurately as possible the vernacular, namely, the non-Latin, cultural context and texts circulation in Florence and north-western Tuscany during the span of about seventy years, between the death of the empereor Frederick II (1250), which ideally marks the end of the Sicilian Poetic School and the displacement of the fulcrum of the Italian vernacular literature in the “municipal” Tuscany, and the death of Dante Alighieri (1321). The chronological limits depend on the crucial role of the Florentine poet, who within this historical context had reached the highest cultural dignity of the vernacular as the literary language of the legal-notary ruling class before Petrarch and Humanism marked a radical return to the Latin, indeed parallel to the decline of the figure of the “municipal intellectual” (Dante himself and other distinguished members of this specific secular and bourgeois environment as the mercant Chiaro Davanzati, the banker Monte Andrea, the judge Bono Giamboni, the notary Brunetto Latini, and the public officials Guido Cavalcanti and Dino Compagni).

MAT-MED Materia Medica in Transit. The Transforming Knowledge of Healing Plants

Researcher: Mario Infelise (Fellow: Sabrina Minuzzi), Length: 36 months (until 30/09/2022), Grant: € 251.002,56 (H2020 - Marie Sklodowska-Curie Individual Fellowship)

The MAT-MED in Transit project focuses on the circulation of scientific knowledge related to the medicinal virtues of 'simples' (mainly plants) in early modern Italy through archival records and an in-depth study of two vernacular textual genres, herbals and recipe books, produced both in manuscript and printed form between the 16th and the early 17th centuries. The project will reconstruct the use of plants/substances with the awareness that Italy represents a segment of the more global transit of medical matter between European countries and between Europe and the West and East Indies. MAT-MED in Transit aims to ascertain who were the consumers of the huge production of printed books and manuscripts of vernacular Materia Medica and the women's role in this process of appropriation; why and how, not only professionals but ordinary people, read books and penned manuscripts on local and exotic Materia Medica; how the circulation and use of Materia Medica affected their practices of healing and the underlying theoretical framework. Through a novel interdisciplinary approach that builds on the applicant’s dual expertise in History of Medicine and Book History, MAT-MED in Transit looks at the past Materia Medica with the ultimate aim of raising current awareness of the value of Nature as a resource for our everyday life. A close collaboration between the Center for Digital Scholarship (CDS) at Brown University, the Consortium of European Research Libraries (CERL) and the new Ca’ Foscari’s Center for Digital Research in Humanities, will allow the creation of innovative digital tools that can be supplemented in the future by other European sources, with the goal of exploring new digital methods for historical research.

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.

WoMent - Mad for Him. Women, Religion and Mental Illness in the Late Middle Ages and in the Early Modern Age

Researcher: Antonio Montefusco (Fellow: Mattia Zangari), Length: 34 months (until 30/06/2022), Grant: € 237.768 (H2020 - Marie Sklodowska-Curie Individual Fellowship)

This research will analyse the biographical and autobiographical texts of late-medieval and early modern women who were deemed to be mystics, blessed, or saints. The main objective is to determine to what extent extreme religious experiences (ecstasies, visions, physical sensations) might be attributable not to unexplainable relations with the Godhead, but to very explainable medical causes. What their contemporaries saw as mystical experiences can, from our modern perspective, be characterized in medical terms. Questions at the basis of the project are, therefore: what is the boundary between illness and sanctity? Is it possible to draw a demarcation line between alleged miracles and mental illness? What do biographical texts tell us about this? Where, how, and when have these texts come down to us and who has transmitted them? This research will consider five cases of mental illnessess (anorexia, visions, hysterical pregnancies, folie à deux and post-partum depression) in biographical texts of six religious women: St.Lutgardis of Aywières †1246, St.Angela of Foligno †1309, the Bl.Giustina of Arezzo †1319, St.Margareta Ebner †1351, Margery Kempe †1438, Bl.Colomba of Rieti †1501. These six women may well illustrate a broad spectrum of diseases. This research is important because: a) biographical texts that reveal how women saints lived their daily lives marked by ecstasies and mental alterations, that have not yet been fully investigated; b) similar studies exist, but they focused only on a single nervous disease and were limited mostly to Italian women saints; c) current studies have not taken into account the fundamental iconographic sources.

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: 36 months (until 13/04/2022), 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: 24 months (until 31/03/2022), 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.

Website of the project: Liber

Bilingualism in Florentine and Tuscan Works - ca. 1260 - ca. 1416 (BIFLOW)

Researcher: Antonio Montefusco, Length: 69 months (until 30/09/2021), Grant: € 1.380.625,00 (Horizon 2020 - ERC Starting Grant)

The project will undertake the first systematic investigation of the various literary documents that circulated simultaneously in more than one language in Tuscany, and especially in Florence, between the mid-13th Century and the beginning of 15th Century, when Florence was both a prominent center for vernacular literature, and home to a renewal of classical Latin eloquence. This research, at the crossroad of several disciplines (literature, philology, linguistics and Medieval history), has a strong pioneering quality. It aims at reshaping our comprehension of Medieval Italian culture and of its passage to Humanism. ‘Biflow’ will produce the first catalogue of bilingual texts and manuscripts from the medieval Tuscany, as a database and a printed publication.
Project website [ITA], Research for Global Challenges portal

From Relative to Absolute Chronology: Steps for Integrating the Southern Caucasus into Near Eastern Archaeology

Researcher: Elena Rova, Length: 24 months (until 31/12/2021), Grant: € 59.000 (SPIN 2-Standard)

The project addresses one of the main problems of archaeological research in the Southern Caucasus: the lack of an agreed relative chronology and periodisation, as well as of a reliable absolute chronology, which hinders a complete integration of the region into Near Eastern archaeology. Recent field research by international teams yielded a large amount of relevant data, but these are still insufficiently published, and a general synthesis of them is missing. Its first aim is to complete the work initiated by the "Georgian-Italian Shida Kartli Archaeological Expedition" of Ca' Foscari for obtaining a renewed, 14C supported periodisation of the Shida Kartli province of Georgia from the Late Chalcolithic to the Early Iron Age (4th-early 1st mill. BC), based on the results of the excavations carried out since 2009 by the expedition, which yielded an almost complete sequence of stratified artefacts (in primis pottery) and associated 14C samples. Following a method successfully tested on the late 4th-early 3rd millennium data, results from the analysis of both datasets will be evaluated, combined following the principles of Bayesian modelling, and compared with those from the neighbouring sites. The second aim of the project is to implement already existing international collaborations - and to establish new ones - with expeditions excavating in the neighbouring countries (which are working on parallel sequences of archaeological data and 14C dates), and with scholars interested in the same topic. This will be mainly accomplished through a dedicated workshop, to be held in Venice during the second year of the project. Here, an attempt will be made to agree on a common methodology and to progress toward a first general synthesis of the data, and the possibility of launching, in the future, a large international project about the chronology of the Caucasian region and its synchronisation with those of the ancient Near East and of prehistoric Eurasia will be evaluated.

ODyCCEuS - Opinion Dynamics and Cultural Conflict in European Spaces

Researcher: Simon Levis Sullam with Marco Li Calzi and Massimo Warglien (coordinator), Length: 54 months (until 30/06/2021), Grant: € 600.813,00 (Horizon 2020)

Social media and the digitization of news and discussion fora are having far-reaching effects on the way individuals and communities communicate, organize, and express themselves. The ODyCCEuS project seeks conceptual breakthroughs in Global Systems Science, including a fine-grained representation of cultural conflicts based on conceptual spaces and sophisticated text analysis, extensions of game theory to handle games with both divergent interests and divergent mindsets, and new models of alignment and polarization dynamics. The project will also develop an open modular and open source community platform, called Penelope, to integrate tools for the complete pipeline (from data scraped from social media and digital sources, to visualization of the analyses and models developed by the project). Finally, the project will build two innovative participatory tools, the Opinion Observatory and the Opinion Facilitator, which allow citizens to monitor, visualize and influence the dynamics of conflict situations that involve heterogeneous cultural biases and non-transparent entanglements of multilateral interests.
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