28252 - Social History (1) (LM)

Academic Year 2023/2024

  • Teaching Mode: Traditional lectures
  • Campus: Bologna
  • Corso: Second cycle degree programme (LM) in History and Oriental Studies (cod. 8845)

Learning outcomes

At the end of the lessons the student will acquire the ability to recognize the methodological and interpretative choices involved in a social-historical research, placing them in the historiographical tradition of this peculiar discipline. Through direct reading of documents and texts to investigate specific themes, he/she will have an adequate knowledge of the sources of social history. Finally, the student will know how to critically evaluate the historiography on social history by recognizing the different approaches used in research.

Course contents

In the first place, we don’t like to be called “refugees.” We ourselves call each other “newcomers” or “immigrants.” Our newspapers are papers for “Americans of German language”; and, as far as I know, there is not and never was any club founded by Hitler-persecuted people whose name indicated that its members were refugees. A refugee used to be a person driven to seek refuge because of some act committed or some political opinion held. Well, it is true we have had to seek refuge; but we committed no acts and most of us never dreamt of having any radical opinion. With us the meaning of the term “refugee” has changed. Now “refugees” are those of us who have been so unfortunate as to arrive in a new country without means and have to be helped by Refugee Committees. (H. Arendt, We refugees, 1943).

With the rise of national monarchies, exile and expulsion became widespread political practices. The conclusion of the Spanish Reconquest in 1492, on the one hand, and the Reformation, on the other, are the two events that made religious refugees a mass phenomenon. After an introduction to social history, its methods, and its object of study, the topic of refugees in the early modern period will be addressed through three examples: Jews, Moriscos, and Huguenots.

The main topics covered will be:

- The concept of refugee and diaspora

- The Reformation and religious dissent

- The society of persecution

- Refugees in the age of mercantilism

- Diaspora and global trade

- Tolerance and coexistence

- Expulsions and the rise of national monarchies

- Communities imagined by refugees

- Exile and creativity

- 1492 and the expulsion of the Jews

- The Moriscos

- The Huguenots between policies of tolerance and expulsion


All students should bring:

-Nicholas Terpstra, Esuli religiosi nell’Europa moderna, Bologna, il Mulino, 2019.

And two texts to choose from:

  • Bruno Pomara Saverino, Rifugiati. I moriscos e l’Italia, Firenze, FUP, 2017.
  • E. Benbassa e A. Rodrigue, Storia degli Ebrei sefarditi. Da Toledo a Salonicco, Torino, Einaudi, 2002.
  • Jonathan Israel, Gli ebrei d’Europa nell’età moderna (1550-1750), Bologna, Il Mulino, 1996.
  • Alessandro Vanoli, La Spagna delle tre culture. Ebrei, cristiani e musulmani tra storia e mito, Roma, Viella, 2006.
  • Peter Burke, Espatriati ed esuli nella storia della conoscenza, Bologna, il Mulino, 2019.
  • Emanuele Pagano (a cura di), Immigrati e forestieri in Italia nell’età moderna, Roma, Viella, 2020.
  • Lucetta Valensi, Stranieri familiari. Musulmani in Europa (XVI-XVIII secolo), Torino, Einaudi, 2013.

Or one text to choose from

  • Dagmar Freist and Susanne Lachenicht, Connecting Worlds and People. Early modern diasporas, London and New York, Routledge, 2017.
  • F. Trivellato, Il commercio interculturale. La diaspora sefardita, Livorno e i traffici globali in età moderna, Roma, Viella, 2016.
  • Mathilde Monge and Natalia Muchnik, Early Modern Diasporas. A European History, London and New York, Routledge, 2022.

The no-attending students should bring also:

Claudia Pancino, Storia sociale. Metodi, esempi, strumenti, Venezia, Marsilio, 2003.

Recommended, but not obligatory reading for all:

  • H. Arendt, Noi Rifugiati, Torino, Einaudi, 2022
  • D. Anderson, Comunità immaginate. Origini e fortuna dei nazionalismi, Bari-Roma, Laterza, 2018.

Teaching methods

The teacher will use texts and images to get the students able to reading the sources and to understanding the representations in social history. Any teaching materials will be made available online in the appropriate section of the University's website.

Assessment methods

Students who attend at least 75% of the lessons are considered to be attending. The oral examination will take place in the exam sessions provided at the end of the course.To evaluate the exam, the teacher will take into account the student's ability to master the contents of the course, to understand the historical concepts, to orientate himself in the bibliography, to know how to read a source, to connect the informations acquired, to expose what he has learned in a synthetic way and with an appropriate language. The student who will meet these demands will have an excellent mark. The student who will simply repeat the informations acquired in a mnemonic way and with a language not entirely adequate will have a discreet evaluation. The student who will show that he knows the contents superficially and with some gaps, using an inappropriate language, will have a sufficient evaluation. The student unprepared and incapable of orientation in the subject will have a negative evaluation.

Instead of studying the texts adopted for the exam, attending students can choose to write a paper (max 5,000 words) on a topic covered in the course, that should be sent to the teacher a week before the exam date. The evaluation of the essay will depend on its originality and its critical depth.

Teaching tools

Presentations in Prezi format, sources, essays, online repertoires can be provided by the teacher. The materials will be made available in the specific section of the University website.

Office hours

See the website of Guido Bartolucci