Spazio pubblico e crisi della modernità. L’arte di ridurre al silenzio l’avversario

22-24 January 2024

Public space and the crises of modernity
The art of silencing the opponent

Como, 22nd-24th January 2024

Inspired by the current mutation of the forms of public debate and by the interdisciplinary renewal of approaches to conflictuality within the City, the project aims to propose a discontinuous history of the agonistic construction of modern public space. Combining the social history of political and religious conflict, the history of rhetoric and the history of the media, it aims to bring to light some of the paradoxical forms of the construction of modern public space, through criticism, competition and agonistic confrontation. This will be done through a comparative analysis of two historical configurations: the religious confrontations of the 16th century, and the political revolutions of the 17th and 18th centuries. These two idealistic configurations are marked by the multiplication and radicalization of confrontations – disputes, controversies, pamphlet wars, press campaigns, parliamentary debates – whose protagonists forge new rhetorical tools to silence their adversaries. While the actors and discourses are not always the same, there are nevertheless common structures, processes and issues that call for a comparative, transdisciplinary approach: the emergence of new media supports – print, pamphlet, daily press – ; the irruption of new entrants into the sphere of public debate who attempt to bend its rules: secularists, those excluded from citizenship, the working classes, women, etc.; the invention of a new language or rhetoric: the use of the vernacular, the use of insults, recourse to pseudonyms and keyed texts, invention of new page layouts or formatting.

A broad topic, covering several centuries, has been deliberately chosen to encourage comparison and exchange between specialists and doctoral students from different geographical areas and disciplines. The ambition is that participants (doctoral and post-doctoral students) will reflect on these themes from a broad, global perspective; that they will become familiar with the need to place at the center of their research phenomena that transcend traditional normative, cultural and linguistic barriers; and that they will recognize the importance of the forms and actors of the international circulation of ideas and concepts. In this sense, confrontation with different historiographies will be crucial to enriching their knowledge base. The future of research on these subjects often lies at the frontier between different historiographical approaches.

The Como 2024 workshop is part of a wider three-year project funded by the Swiss National Science Foundation, directed by prof. O. Christin, entitled Le républicanisme en Europe méridionale fin XVIIIe
début XIXe siècle (espaces italophones, francophones et hispanophones): Transferts, réseaux, enjeux, concepts and PRIN 2017, directed by prof. A. De Francesco, whose title is Genealogie Rivoluzionarie: discorsi storici, costruzione dell’esperienza e scelte politiche nelle rivoluzioni di età moderna, of which it is one of the concluding events; it was preceded by a Summer University in Ascona (Switzerland) in June 2021 and a similar initiative in Madrid (Spain) in July 2021, as well as another workshop in Milan (Italy) in June 2022. For this reason, one of the aims of the three-day meeting in the magnificent setting of the Villa del Grumello, on the shores of Lake Como, will be to offer more space to Italian historiography and historians, with a view to a comparison with other academic and geographical areas. One of the aims will be to illustrate the results of the two research projects mentioned above to doctoral and post-doctoral students, as well as to colleagues participating in the project, and to re-launch, on the basis of the results obtained so far, the debate on these subjects on an international scale. The choice of different formats (conferences on the results obtained, conferences on possible research developments, workshops where subjects will be explored in greater depth with the direct participation of the young researchers present) pursues the ambition of multiplying opportunities for discussion and debate. Organization and program: The aims of the workshop are to bring together a group of junior and senior researchers from different academic backgrounds, to confront them with the historiographical proposals set out in the argument and to gather their reactions in order to enrich the repertoire of topics proposed and explored.

under the patronage of

A beautiful location

Lake Como School of Advanced studies is located c/o Fondazione Alessandro Volta in the beautiful setting of Villa del Grumello, in Como, Italy

Venue & Accommodation

The Lake Como School of Advanced Studies is an international research facility. We run fellowships, short term programmes on a wide range of interdisciplinary subjects, that share a common focus on complex systems.