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Reinhardt, Nicole

Visiting Fellows


The fundamental question driving my research agenda is to investigate the social, religious, and intellectual dimensions of the ‘project of modernity’. My approach is European and comparative, addressing the problem from angles that challenge modernization theory and paying attention to how the ‘government of others’ affects and interlocks with the government of the ‘self’. Since my PhD, which analysed the contribution of personal networks to state-building (Macht und Ohnmacht der Verflechtung. Rom und Bologna unter Paul V., 2000, 481pp), I have expanded my quest to the link between notions of conscience and politics in seventeenth-century Catholic Europe: I integrated moral theology into the analysis of political ideas and connected concepts of political counsel with the analysis of counsel institutions in a ground-breaking comparison of the French and Spanish monarchies (Voices of Conscience, 2016, 448pp). From this vast comparative project, I now turn to an interrogation of the understanding of tradition and innovation amongst natural philosophers at the University of Bologna, one of Europe’s major centre of traditional Aristotelianism, at the cusp of the “scientific revolution”. I am particularly interested in the links that existed between natural philosophy and political theory, as well as in the question how scholars understood themselves as political beings within the city and as subjects of the very peculiar papal monarchy. For this project, I have begun to conduct research in Bolognese archives and libraries and to explore the Ranuzzi Manuscript Collection at the Harry Ransom Center at the University of Texas at Austin (USA). Currently, I plan to conduct this investigation along two intertwined strands: one is concerned with the intellectual ambition and friendships that sustained the sixteenth-century Accademia degli Oziosi; the second examines the works and social milieu of the seventeenth-century philosopher Camillo Baldi. Both strands are connected through their presence within the Ranuzzi Manuscript Collection, pointing to the question of the collection, circulation and conservation of Bolognese Aristotelianism as a third level of investigation.

From: Jul 01, 2019 To: Jul 31, 2019

Structure Department of History (Professor (Early Modern European History))

University of Durham

United Kingdom