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Friedrich-Alexander-Universität Erlangen/Nürnberg
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A History of Early Modern Communication

Leitung institutsintern : Prof. Dr. Daniel Bellingradt
Projektstatus : laufend
Projektdauer : 2018-2020
Drittmittelgeber : Istituto storico italo-germanico Trento / Italienisch-Deutsches Historisches Institut Trient
Projektpartner : Istituto storico italo-germanico Trento (I)


This project aims to approach and discuss possible answers to the broad question “What is the history of communication?”, focusing on Early Modern Europe (1400-1800).


The project's conference “A History of Early Modern Communication: German and Italian Historiographical Perspectives” will take place in Trent, Italy from December 6th-7th, 2018, at the Istituto storico italo-germanico at Trent.

What is the history of communication? This conference aims to approach and discuss possible answers to this question, focusing on early modern Europe (1400-1800). While being a forum for discussing recent and on-going research on this broad topic, the conference highlights especially approaches and trends within German and Italian historiography.

Although there is as yet no chair for the history of communication either in Germany, Austria, Switzerland, or Italy (‚Storia della comunicazione’ – ‚Kommunikationsgeschichte’), communication history is a well established field of research within historiography. In fact, an early modern history of communication remains to be written: the scope and limits of a communicational approach to historiography are still unclear and under-theorized.

Some aspects of communication history have been addressed fruitfully, both on an empirical and theoretical level. These components derive from different historiographical backgrounds and schools of thought, for example ranging from narrow perspectives on certain forms of media only (e.g. on speeches, newspapers or books) to wider examinations into the intermediality of the communication landscape, or from the ‘public’ dimension of certain acts of communication to the accompanying non-public or clandestine aspects.


By adopting a wide understanding of ‘communication’ this conference sets out to evaluate the scope, concepts, and approaches of an inclusive history of (early modern) communication. The event is funded and organized by the Institute for the Study of the Book at Erlangen-Nuremberg University and the Istituto storico italo-germanico at Trent.

Organizing committee: Massimo Rospocher (Trent) and Daniel Bellingradt (Erlangen)



 Conference Schedule

(6th December)

15.00-15.30 Introduction: What is the history of communication?

Daniel Bellingradt (Erlangen) - Massimo Rospocher (Trento)




Rudolf Schlögl (Constance): Public Sphere in the Making in Early Modern Europe

Mario Infelise (Venice): Information and communication in Early Modern Europe: from national historiographies to a European model


(7th December)

9.30-13.00 Intermediality of Communication

Alexandra Schäfer-Griebel (Mainz): News on the French Wars of Religion. An intermedia perspective

Chiara De Caprio (Naples): A linguistic perspective on intermediality in Early 

Modern Italy. The Regno, 1450-1700

Carla Roth (Basel): Speaking of Print: Oral Informants on the Marketplace of News

Sabrina Corbellini (Groningen): Shaping Religious Literacies in the Long Fifteenth Century: Intermediality of Communication

Comments by Jan-Friedrich Missfelder (Zurich)


14.30-17.30 Communication as Information Acquisition

Paola Molino (Munich-Padua): From street to paper? Language, translation and communication in late Renaissance German and Italian newsletters

Andreas Flurschütz da Cruz (Bamberg): The Republic of Venice and the German Princes as Military Allies: A German-Italian History of Communication in Times of War (17th and 18th century)

Davide Boerio (Cork-Teramo): Communication and Emergency: Information gathering in times of crisis in the early modern period

Isabella Lazzarini (Molise): Tutto serve a sapere: gathering, ordering and using information in diplomatic communication (Italy, 1350-1520 ca.).

Comments by Matthias Pohlig (Münster)


17.30-18.30 Roundtable coordinated and with comment by Heiko Droste (Stockholm)