– Antiquarians and polymaths are part of a universal, redemptive project in which man participates in the transformation of his own environment (Nuncius, 2016).
Forms of organization and notation of scientific knowledge
Natural history in the early modern period
History of collecting and print culture
Historiography and critical traditions of classical antiquity
Mediterranean circulation of ideas
Intellectual and information networks
Click here to view my full CV.
I am currently a fellow at the New Europe College in Bucharest: this appointment in Romania’s institute for advanced studies follows another post as a visiting professor in the department of history of philosophy at the University of Bucharest, and a post-doctoral research fellow in the framework of their Institute for Research in the Humanities.
Previously, and most recently, I collaborated with Ca' Foscari in Venice on a cycle of lectures, and taught for a few years at the City University of New York. I have been working since at least 2004 on early modern forms of knowledge production and organization (most notably, material culture and its relation with rhetoric), on the idea of genre as epistemic vehicle, and on the humanist movement at large and its impact on Latin philosophy and the development of ethical thought. These ideas already emerged in my PhD thesis of 2009, largely dedicated to the Renaissance polymath Leon Battista Alberti, but they are even stronger in the book I am finishing now, which is about the Galilean method and the tradition of the household academy. My present research expands on the dynamics of Aristotelian natural philosophy from antiquity to the seventeenth century, and on the ways in which scientific ideas were disseminated both within scholarly communities and across different social milieus, namely Central Europe and the Mediterranean, as with the 17th-century neo-Hellenism.
I would describe my historical research as a field intersecting two discrete intellectual traditions: history of philosophy and history of science. In turn, I would characterize my methodology as intensely multidisciplinary, not only because I am less interested in the shape that questions take when the sources are interrogated from a single, institutional point of reference, but even more precisely because I accept a radically material conception of the historian's job, which, as Gianna Pomata and Nancy Siraisi noted, was ascending at least since the sixteenth century. This is directly related to my experience that contextualizing certain kinds of artifacts, or giving thick descriptions of locally and temporally situated phenomena, brings to the fore the necessity of a nexus—as that between between natural history and antiquarian practices such as collecting, note-taking, displaying, etc.
So, too, in my own work the historia of things, i.e. the effect wrought onto a tradition by its reception in the early modern period, is at the same time a historical object of study and a historical format of experimental report.
My thinking has been spurred, at increasing junctures, by Ian Maclean's traversal of European ideas through print culture, by the solicitation of humanist methods of reading and writing of Anthony Grafton, Ann Blair, and Richard Yeo, by Peter Miller's way of turning survivals into evidence and finally by Mordechai Feingold's habit of locating cultural paradigms in the bedrock of the history of universities. This, however, is just a sample of influential readings that is meant to convey the idea that while the tools of knowledge are often traditional and philological, my publications (see below) and the various projects I describe elsewhere try to turn them into something intellectually encompassing and fresh, whether I focus more on procedures (writing history, staging a play-text, debating, assembling a library, annotating Pliny or Euclid, etc.) or rather on products themselves (maps, secrets, automata, proverbs and other such sign-bearing artifacts).
I consider as a serendipitous twist of events the fact that I am allowed to teach and do research, at least for a while, in East Central Europe, which is precisely where most of my thinking and writing has gone in recent years. Being there is not only a personal form of reward, but also a powerful way to re-orient, based on my other pursuits in life, what I do as a scholar. In the last few months I have been occupied with two research projects: “Galileo's People: Mapping Scientific Networks and Reading Practices in Early Modern Italy” (in Bucharest) and “The Ethics of Natural Knowledge: The European Reception of Aristotelian Meteorology, 1450-1650” (in Wolfenbüttel).
In 2018, I also started a new investigation at the University of California on the intellectual contribution of the Greek diaspora in the Mediterranean and Reformation Germany, which specializes on the historical application of network analysis in the study of the book trade and on how business structures sustain knowledge transfer.
awards & fellowships →
2019 (three months: tentatively scheduled July - September). Research fellowship at the Herzog August Bibliothek of Wolfenbüttel to work on the project The Baltic Polymath Nicolaus Andreae Granius (c. 1569-1631): Late Humanism, the Politics of Knowledge, and Aristotle’s Science of Nature in Seventeenth-Century Helmstedt (value of €9000)
2018-2019. One year scholarship (UEFISCDI award) from the New Europe College in Bucharest to join their roster as a fellow, lead seminars, and renew the research I have undertaken in Romania on Galileo’s knowledge communities and forms of intellectual coordination (approximate value of €35,000)
2018 (February - March). Research fellow at the Tsakopoulos Hellenic Collection of the State University of California in Sacramento to execute the project “The Printer's Wine-Dark Sea: Venetian Book Trading and the Greek Diaspora.“
2017 (December). Invited stay as a Gastwissenchaftler at the Herzog August Bibliothek of Wolfenbüttel for a preliminary exploration of Aristotelian printed and manuscript materials from East-Central Europe, sponsored by a research consortium based at the University of Göttingen (value of €2000).
2017 (October - November). Visiting professorship at the Institute for Research in the Humanities at the University of Bucharest for a multi-level teaching schedule and to study both household structures and humanist methods of reading in Galileo’s Padua (approximate value of €6000).
2015 (April). Recipient of a honorarium and travel funding from the Freie Universität, Berlin to participate in a ERC-funded project entitled Net Structures and Agencies in Early Modern Drama (value of €2000).
2015 (January). Recipient of travel funding from the University of California, Davis, to be a panel respondent of the Mediterranean Seminar.
2009 (October - December). Short-term residential fellowship at the Newberry Library in Chicago to execute the project “Traveling Empire: Spain and the Book Culture in Venice, 1509-1571.“
2009 (July). Summer stipend from the National Endowment for the Humanities, University of Virginia, Charlottesville.
2005 (June - August). College of Arts and Sciences Dissertation Research Fellowship granted by Indiana University, Bloomington, to work on my doctoral thesis at the Bodleian Library in Oxford (value of €4000).
2004. Lander MacClintock memorial award for excellent academic performance, Indiana University, Bloomington.
2002-2006. Four years scholarship to pursue a PhD at Indiana University, Bloomington.
2001 (October). Fellowship awarded by the Centro di Studi sul Classicismo, San Gimignano, to participate in a workshop on the commented edition of Leon Battista Alberti’s works.
2001 (February). Fellowship awarded by the Centro di Studi sul Classicismo, San Gimignano, to participate in a workshop on textual scholarship and Renaissance humanism.
Education & employment →
2017. Visiting Professor (History of Philosophy), University of Bucharest.
2010-2016. Lecturer (Italian, History) at the City University of New York.
2009. Ph.D. in Renaissance Studies, Indiana University, Bloomington.
2006-2009. Visiting Assistant Professor (departments of Classics, History, Italian, Philosophy, and School of Drama) at Colgate University, Washington University in St. Louis, and Loyola College in Maryland.
2004. Master's degree in Italian Literature, Indiana University, Bloomington.
2002. Bachelor of Arts in Medieval Latin, University of Milan.
publications (1998 – present)
I. BOOKs & arTICLEs →
32 individual titles, including 3 monographs (one currently under review), 9 book chapters, and 20 peer-reviewed essays (two under review and four scheduled to appear in the next six months or so).
work in progress
Click here to get an overview of my new output.
iI. reviews & encyclopedia Entries (selected) →
2019. “Dialogue and Comedy: On the Ethics and Pragmatics of Humor in Quattrocento Humanism,“ under review at MLN.
2019. “Menippean Encyclopaedism: Engines of Copia from Rabelais to Gessner,“ in Coping with Copia: Epistemological Excess in Early Modern Art and Science, eds. Fabian Kraemer and Itay Sapir, in preparation.
2018. Peripatetic Houses: Domesticating Aristotelian Learning in Seventeenth-Century Padua. Out for review at Bloomsbury (for the series “Studies in the Aristotelian Tradition”).
2018. “The Aristotelian Problems in the Erasmian Adagia,“ Erasmus Studies 38.2: article commissioned.
2018. Senses in Dialogue: Physiological Practice and Expert Communities in Early Modern Europe, 1540-1640, collections of essays co-edited with Marlene Eberhart, forthcoming.
2018. “A 1509 List of Euclid Aficionados: Antiquarianism and Early Science in Sixteenth-Century Venice,” under review at Early Science and Medicine.
2018. “Castiglione’s ‘Green’ Sense of Theater,” in Poetics and Politics: Net Structures and Agencies in Early Modern Drama, ed. J. Küpper et al. Berlin, de Gruyter, in press (scheduled for March).
2017. “Atticism and Antagonism: Scholarly Networks and the Career of the Sophist Alcidamas in Sixteenth-Century Venice,” Philosophical Readings 9: forthcoming (October).
2017. “Diego Hurtado de Mendoza and the Shifting Telos of Traveling Libraries,” Pacific Coast Philology 52: forthcoming (October).
2017. “Folengo's Baldus and Orlandino,“ in MLA Approaches to Teaching Ariosto and the Italian Romance Epic Tradition, ed. Jo Ann Cavallo, in press (October).
2017. “Rabelais at Saint-Victor: Archival Practice and Antiquarianism in the Age of François Ier,” Actes du Colloque François Ier (17-19 Sept 2015), ed. F. Rouget. Paris, Classique Garnier, pp. 351-99.
2017. “'The Ethics of Typography in the Erasmian Festina lente,” Erasmus Studies 37: 68-108.
2016. “Printing and Instrument Making in the Early Modern Atlantic, 1520-1600: The Origin and Reception of Pedro da Medina’s Navigation Manual,” Nuncius 31: 129-162.
2015. “The Origins of Agonistic Drama: Sophistic Disputation from Roman to Early Humanistic Comedy,” Humanistica 10: 235-246.
2015. “The Paduan Rebbi. A Note on Galileo’s Household and Mediterranean Science in the Seventeenth Century,” Philosophical Readings 7: 43-52.
2015. “First Notes on Francesco Patrizi’s Methods of Argumentation,” in Francesco Patrizi: Philosopher of the Renaissance, eds. Tomáš Nejeschleba and P.R. Blum. Olomouc: Palacký University Press, pp. 118-142.
- Review: Dominique Couzinet, Bruniana & Campanelliana 20 (2015): 603-605.
2014. “Ruscelli’s Book of Secrets in Context: A Sixteenth-Century Venetian ‘Museum in Motion’,” Society and Politics (Special issue on Experimental Practices and Philosophical Traditions, eds. Doina-Cristina Rusu and Dana Jalobeanu), 8: 8-22.
2014. “The Tale of the Gentlewoman, the Gallant Man, and the Friar (III.3),” in The Decameron Third Day in Perspective, eds. Francesco Ciabattoni and Pier Massimo Forni. Toronto, University of Toronto Press, pp. 44-67.
2012. “Scaffolding Folengo: Sites, Artifacts, and the Rise of Macaronic Design in Print Culture,” in Folengo in America, ed. Massimo Scalabrini. Ravenna, Longo, pp. 153-195.
- Reviews: Paolo Valesio, Renaissance Quarterly 66 (2013): 1095-1096; Dalila Colucci, Italica 91 (2014): 312-315.
2011. “Spatial Traffic: Cognitive Ecologies of Bibbiena’s Calandra,” Studi rinascimentali 9: 115-127.
2010. “(S)omnia ostendere: Folengo e Bruno a Venezia,” Quaderni Folenghiani 6-7: 113-134.
2009. “Attribuzioni comiche nel Riccardiano 149,” Interpres 28: 21-38.
- Review: Marco Faini, La Rassegna della Letteratura Italiana 117 (2013): 153-154.
2008. “L’Arcadia sulla luna: un’inversione pastorale nell’Orlando furioso,” MLN, 123-1: 160-178.
2008. “Un innesto virgiliano nelle Scintille di Tommaseo (e la sua tradizione moderna),” Giornale storico della letteratura italiana, vol. 184, n. 608: 582-597.
2006. “Ambiguità della forma breve da Boccaccio all'Umanesimo,“ Heliotropia 3: 1-15.
2005. “Il proemio ellenizzante della Silva di Matteo Maria Boiardo,” Interpres 24: 58-77.
2003. (with Ettore Zanola) “Il glossario del Baldo padano di Giuseppe Tonna,“ Quaderni Folenghiani 4: 102-120.
2003. “La bucolica all’inferno,” Quaderni Folenghiani 4: 13-47.
2002. Edited volume: Teofilo Folengo, Il libro degli epigrammi. Arezzo, Edizioni degli Amici.
- Reviews: Alessandro Fo, “La Stampa“ (February 1, 2003); Patrizia de Corso, Giornale storico della letteratura italiana 184 (2004): 153.
2001. “Discussioni e proposte testuali sulla nuova edizione del De magnalibus Mediolani di Bonvesin da la Riva,“ in Le cronache medievali di Milano, ed. Paolo Chiesa. Milan, Vita e Pensiero, pp. 29-37 (30-32).
2000. “Nel paese dei diavoli. Per un nuovo commento a Baldus, XXI, 1-51,” Atti e Memorie dell’Accademia Nazionale Virgiliana ns vol. 68: 157-177.
1998. “All’ombra del faggio: il peso della tradizione virgiliana nella formazione del mondo macaronico,” in Folengo in Sicilia, eds. G. Bernardi Perini and Claudio Marangoni, and Rodolfo Signorini. Padua, Imprimitur, pp. 219-233.
2018. “Peter Martyr Vermigli,” “Automata,” “Traiano Boccalini” and “Secrets” in the Encyclopedia of Renaissance Philosophy, ed. Marco Sgarbi. Berlin, Springer, forthcoming.
2018. Battista Guarino, Sermone del cane e del cavallo, ed. Gianluca Valenti, Renaissance Quarterly, piece commissioned.
2017. The Aristotelian Mechanics: Text and Diagrams, Joyce van Leeuwen, British Journal for the History of Science, forthcoming.
2017. Italian Academies and Their Networks, 1525-1700: From Local to Global, Stefano Testa, Sixteenth Century Journal, forthcoming.
2016. Medieval Robots: Mechanism, Magic, Nature, and Art, E.R. Truitt, published on-line on www.history.ac.uk/reviews.
2013. Matteo Maria Boiardo, Amorum libri tres, ed. Tiziano Zanato, Italian Poetry Review 6: 339-341.
2013. “W.G. Sebald, il flâneur malinconico” (review of Soggiorno in una casa di campagna), published on-line on Samgha.
2011. Humanist Tragedies, ed. Gary R. Grund, Renaissance Quarterly 64: 1199-1200.
2009. Teofilo Folengo: Baldo, vols. I-II, Renaissance Quarterly 62: 1210-1211.
2009. Valla e Napoli. Il dibattito filologico in età umanistica. Atti del convegno internazionale, Annali di Italianistica 27: 473-475.
2009. Giusto de’ Conti di Valmontone. Un protagonista della poesia italiana del ’400, Italo Pantani, Renaissance Quarterly 62: 512-513.
2007. “Paolo Giovio,” “Heroic-Comic Poetry,” “Scholasticism,” and “Alessandro Tassoni” for the Encyclopedia of Italian Literary Studies, eds. G. Marrone, P. Puppa, and L. Somigli (New York: Routledge), vol. I, pp. 854-856; vol. I, pp. 932-934; vol. II, pp. 1702-1705, and vol. II, pp. 1842-1844.
2007. “Stagione,” “Musa/Ispirazione,” and “Oggetti Desueti” for the Dizionario dei temi letterari, eds. R. Ceserani, F. Domenichelli and P. Fasano (Torino: U.T.E.T.), vol. II, pp. 1567-1569, and pp. 1721-1723.
2007. Retorica della diffrazione. Bembo, Aretino, Giulio Romano e Tasso: letteratura e scena cortigiana, Fabio Finotti, Italica, 84: 870-871.
2003. Eric MacPhail, ”Ariosto and the Prophetic Moment,” La Rassegna della letteratura italiana 68: 263-264.
2000. Dialoghi col Tasso, Franco Fortini, Poesia 145: 57-58.
talks & lectures →
Scholarly papers delivered
48, including 18 as an invited speaker and 1 keynote address (in San Francisco, 2009).
2018. “Framing Christianity in Late Antique Syria: Social Networks and Rhetorical Agonism in the “School“ of Edessa,” workshop Inclusion and Exclusion in Late Antique and Early Modern Mediterranean, organized by Yaniv Fox and Peter Schadler, Dickinson College, Washington, D.C. Click here to read a description.
2017. “Prisca Historia: Rethinking Francesco Patrizi's Anti-Aristotelian Philology from Humanist Doxography to English Empiricism,” brown-bag seminar, IRH, Bucharest. Click here to read a description.
2017. “The Alcestis Effect: Warburg and the Religion of the Ancients in Imperial Hamburg,” ISIH conference, American University in Bulgaria.
2017. “Ottoman Cartography in the Veneto: A Reappraisal of the World Map of Hajji Ahmed,” Scientiae conference, University of Padua.
2017. “Gian Vincenzo Pinelli and the Rise of the Mathematical Practitioner in the Veneto,” workshop Beyond the Academy: The Practice of Mathematics from the Renaissance to the Nineteenth Century, organized by Philip Beeley and Christopher Hollings, British Society of History of Mathematics, York. Click here to read a description.
2016. “A 1509 List of Euclid Aficionados: Antiquarianism and Early Science in Sixteenth-Century Venice,” workshop Teaching mathematics in the early modern world, organized by Benjamin Wardhaugh, All Souls College, Oxford. Click here to read a description.
2016. “Imperial Bibliophilia: Mastering Information in the Venetian Years (1539-1546) of Diego Hurtado de Mendoza,” workshop Wars of Knowledge: Iberian Imperial Hegemony and the Assembling of Libraries, organized by Marta Albalá Pelegrín, PAMLA meeting, Pasadena.
2016. “Erasmus and Byzantium: A Reappraisal of the Influence of Greek Scholarship on the Origins of Early Modern Print Culture,” annual meeting of the Byzantine Society of America, Cornell University.
2016. “Atticism and Antagonism: Greek Antiquarianism, Scholarly Networks, and the Career of the Sophist Alcidamas in Renaissance Italy,” conference The Sophistic Renaissance, organized by Teodoro Katinis, Ca’ Foscari University, Venice.
2016. “The Memorialization of Impolite Humor in Galileo,” Scientiae conference, College of St. Anne, Oxford.
2016. “Bernardino Baldi and the Pseudo-Aristotelian Tradition,” RSA meeting, Boston.
2015. “A 1509 List of Euclid Aficionados: Antiquarianism and Early Science in Sixteenth-Century Venice,” IRH, Bucharest.
2015. “The role of Rationalized Synchronism in Manetho and Georgios Synkellos: Bridging Egyptian and Byzantine Antiquities,” annual meeting of the Byzantine Society of America, New York.
2015. “Early Modern Book Trading and Network Theory: A Sea-to-Inland Perspective,” conference (Re)Building Networks, University of Maryland.
2015. “Galileo e l’idea rinascimentale dell’accademia domestica,” conference Il volgare: idee, testi e contesti, organized by Marco Sgarbi, Ca’ Foscari University, Venice. Click here for a video of this talk.
2015. “Hapax Legomena: Imaginary Libraries, Antiquarianism, and Travel Writing in the Age of François I,” Colloque François I, organized by François Rouget, Queen’s University, Kingston, Canada.
2015. “Understanding Automata in the Early Modern Mediterranean,” CHAM conference, Universidade Nova, Lisbon.
2015. “Understanding Automata in the Early Modern Mediterranean,” Scientiae conference, Victoria College, Toronto.
2015. “Antiquarianism and Information Overload,” conference Coping with Copia: Epistemological Excess in Early Modern Art and Science, organized by Fabian Krämer and Itay Sapir, Montréal.
2015. “Castiglione’s Green Sense of Theater,” conference Net Structures and Agencies in Early Modern Drama, organized by Joachim Küpper, Freie Universität, Berlin.
2015. “Writing History in the Age of Francesco Patrizi,” roundtable, RSA meeting, Berlin
2014. “Ruzante in Villa: A Sixteenth-Century Soundboard,” conference The Early Modern Villa: The Senses and Perceptions versus Materiality, organized by Barbara Arciszewska, King Jan III’s Palace, Warsaw.
2014. “Book Trading from Provincial to International Horizons: The Case of Giordano Bruno,” ISIH conference, Victoria College, Toronto.
2014. “The Spider’s Plan: Patrizi’s Rhetoric and Lucretian Physics,” conference Francesco Patrizi: Philosopher of the Renaissance, organized by Tomáš Nejeschleba, Palacky University, Olomouc.
2014. “Nautical Knowledge and Social Experience in the Early Modern Atlantic World,” Scientiae conference, Wien.
2014. “Aretino, Tintoretto, and the Venetian Poligrafi: For a Cultural Diagram of the Poor Style,” RSA meeting, New York.
2012. “A Printer’s Tale: Global Exchange and Street Culture Between Spain and Venice,” Fordham University, New York.
2012. “The Urban Sensorium of the Roman Celestina (1506),” RSA meeting, Washington, D.C.
2011. “Erasmus’ Hand: A Graphic Problem of Renaissance Humanism,” MMLA meeting, St. Louis.
2011. “Ruscelli, the Books of Secrets, and a Sixteenth-Century Venetian Museum in Motion,” AAHM meeting, Philadelphia.
2010. “La carrera de Celestina: Itinerarios urbanos y comercio del libro en Venecia (siglo XVI),” Asociación Internacional de Hispanistas, Rome.
2010. “The Birth of the Renaissance Bookshop,” plenary session of the project Making Publics, Montréal.
2010. “Comedies for Commodities: The Exotic in Andrea Calmo,“ RSA meeting, Venice.
2009. “Sparsa semina, or whether Ciceronianism is disputable on both sides,” 17th Biennial Conference of the International Society for the History of Rhetoric, Montréal.
2009. “Teofilo Folengo and Giordano Bruno from Venice to London: Theater, City Culture, and the Print Market,” symposium Folengo in America, organized by Massimo Scalabrini, Bloomington.
2009. “Bembo and the Pessimus Agricola: Nature and Culture in Renaissance Italy,” RSA meeting, Los Angeles.
2007. “Roman Ecotopia: Virgil, Tacitus, and the Ethnographical Tradition,” Institute for Environmental Studies, Colgate University.
2006. “A Pre-History of Bembo’s Prose della volgar lingua,” Trinity College, Hartford.
2006. “L’attribuzione come laboratorio interdisciplinare,” conference of the American Association for Italian Studies, Genoa.
2006. “Montaigne and exemplum,” Indiana University, Bloomington.
2005. “La silva, il teatro, e la satira nella tradizione italiana,” conference of the American Association for Italian Studies, Washington, D.C.
2005. “Dante and the Rhetorical Use of Macrobius’s Saturnalia,” 40th International congress on medieval studies, Kalamazoo.
2004. (with Marco Pacioni) “Fra impicci e pasticci. Lessico e forma-romanzo in Manzoni e Gadda,” Indiana University, Bloomington.
2004. “Il pantografo dei fossi: il genere eroicomico nell’età galileiana,” graduate student colloquium, Ohio State University.
2004. “Tifi Odasi and the ‘Demonic’ Physiology of the Woman’s Body,” graduate student colloquium, Brown University, Providence.
2003. “Ricerche filologiche e interpretative sugli Apologi dell’Alberti,” seminar in romance philology, organized by Giovanni Orlandi, University of Milan.
2002. “La trasmissione testuale delle Lettere personali di Abelardo,” seminar in romance philology, organized by Giovanni Orlandi, University of Milan.
conferences organized →
2016. The Translation of Knowledge in Early Modern Italy and Central Europe: Rhetoric, Medicine, and Cosmology, panel co-organized with Teodoro Katinis for the Scientiae conference, Oxford. Click here to read a description.
2009. The Protagorean Renaissance, panel co-organized with Eric MacPhail for the 17th Biennial Conference of the International Society for the History of Rhetoric, Montréal. Click here for a description.