CFPs in Renaissance Intellectual History

Neighborhoods in Early Modern Italy (1300-1700)


Source of Information: FICINO 2000-05-25
Date of Event: 2001-04-17 to 21
Location of event: Toronto, Canada
Deadline for abstracts etc.: 2000-09-05




From:   Linda Pellecchia <Lpell2000@CS.COM>


Below please find the description of a session I have organized for the 
Annual Meeting of the Society of Architectural Historians to be held in 
Toronto from April 17-21.   If you are interested in participating, please 
send a proposal and a resume or CV  by Sept. 5 to:

Linda Pellecchia
Dept. of Art History
University of Delaware
Newark, DE 19716


Neighborhoods in Early Modern Italy (1300-1700)

The concept of neighborhood has fascinated and frustrated social historians 
of  Italian Renaissance and Baroque cities.  How do we define the sense of 
shared values embodied in our word "neighborhood?"  What forces "economic, 
familial, political, or religious" create an atmosphere of community or 
destroy it?  How does the study of architecture and urban space help define 
issues of social cohesion and exclusion in early modern cities?  This session 
aims to stimulate an exchange between architectural and social historians 
concerned with issues of urban community.

The Italian city in the Early Modern period can be defined as a series of 
overlapping, permeable, and sometimes transitory areas of social interaction. 
 Defined by class, gender, religion, economic interest or political 
allegiance, neighborhoods are both public and private arenas.  The space of 
neighborhood can create enclaves of privilege or unite groups across social 
and economic boundaries.  In Florence, the district (gonfalone), in which tax 
burdens are assessed and political eligibility determined, is often 
synonymous with patrician neighborhoods.  Parishs, which can overlap the 
boundaries of gonfaloni, provide the focus for the working class.  
Neighborhood rarely means mere physicial proximity.  Yet in some cases, 
imposed proximity creates a "neighborhood."  Would prostitutes in Rome have 
chosen to live in a ghetto?  What was the result of forcing Jews to live in 
restricted areas of the city?  What results when clusters of artisans or 
foreigners create specialized enclaves within a city. Thus, social groups, 
both transgressive and mainstream, define the neighborhood.   Even transitory 
events can have an impact: if only for a day, the public space in front of 
patrician palaces can be transformed"by groups such as the potenze of 
Florence"into working-class "Kingdoms".  Ephemeral architecture associated 
with religious feste or political entries create temporary spatial foci 
within the city.  Religious and secular processions, such as the possesso, 
unify neighborhoods across class boundaries while restrictions on women 
create gendered pathways between patrician palaces and parish churches. 

This session welcomes papers that explore the concept of  neighborhood in its 
broadest terms.  Topics might address: neighborhoods that change over time; 
urban planning for transients and tradesmen; the role of institutions 
(religious, political, etc.) in shaping social space; neighborhoods as seen 
in maps or catastal records; the effect of ritual space on the image of the 
city; the social containment of women.