Foto del docente

Monica Azzolini

Associate Professor

Department of Philosophy and Communication Studies

Academic discipline: M-STO/05 History of Science and Technology

Research

Keywords: history of science; history of medicine; environmental history; history of astrology; history of gender and sexuality; Leonardo da Vinci

My research interests lie at the intersection of the history of science and the cultural, political, and religious history of Italy in the period ca. 1450-1750. Thematically, I am particularly interested in how 'scientific' knowledge is produced and circulates in early modern societies. I am also keen to explore how this knowledge shaped the lives of early modern men and women in practical ways. Within this broader framework I recently concentrated on the practice of astrology within Italian Renaissance courts to illustrate the many ways in which astrological counsel was used to shape both public and private action. The outcome of this research has now appeared in The Duke and the Stars: Astrology and Politics in Renaissance Milan (Harvard University Press, 2013) and a series of related articles.

My new research project, which is at the core of a planned second monograph, explores the relationship between the environment and society in early modern Italy, with a focus on how early modern Italians understood and responded to natural disasters such as earthquakes, volcanic eruptions, floods and other dramatic weather phenomena. Within this framework, I am concentrating particularly on the nexus religion-science and on the circulation of 'scientific' knowledge within and outwith the Italian peninsula.

I am also very keen to apply the methods of historical anthropology and environmental history to current debates about the environment and I have collaborated with human geographers, seismologists, colleagues in Digital Education, and NGO staff to study the way historical knowledge could contribute actively to enhancing disaster risk response and resilience among affected populations both in Italy and in non-European countries.