Religion and Ideas in Southern Italy: the Thin Line Between Erudition and Heresy. 16th-18th Century.

Isabel Harvey's picture
Call for Papers
February 28, 2019
Subject Fields: 
Italian History / Studies, Humanities, Early Modern History and Period Studies, Religious Studies and Theology, Intellectual History


Panel organized for the 2019 Conference of the Canadian Association for Italian Studies (CAIS)

Orvieto (TR) Italy

June 13-16 2019


            As part of the Spanish Empire, the Kingdom of Naples was not under the secular government of the Pope, but was intimately connected to its spiritual power. The lands of Southern Italy were a frontier space for the Counter-Reformation Church. Rome sent missions to the south in order to solve what they viewed as threats for the control of the Catholic faith: misuses of ecclesiastical benefits, lack of discipline among the regular clergy, errors of faith and heresies. This large-scale attempt at daily control opened many encounters and frictions between secular authorities and the ecclesiastical hierarchy, especially when the time came to settle the distinction between what would be an effervescent intellectual life and what would instead be pursued and condemned as an incubator of heretic thought. 


            This call for papers invites abstracts that address issues of intellectual life and ecclesiastical control in Southern Italy during the early modern period. 


Possible topics include:

  • Circulation of ideas 
  • Circulation of books and writings
  • Networks of authors/thinkers
  • Intellectual life in religious orders
  • Cultural environments in southern cities
  • Ecclesiastical control of books/libraries
  • Disputes between secular and Church authorities
  • Roles of women in the diffusion of ideas/writings
  • Latin/vernacular translations
  • Boundaries between acceptable and unacceptable writings


We are particularly interested in papers that analyze an unedited, newly founded, or little-known source (manuscripts or printed books, letters, archival documents), in papers describing a singular cultural and intellectual milieu and giving attention to prosopographical reconstructions, or papers that present a social network analysis. 


Papers should be 15-20 minutes. 


Please email your abstract (max 300 words) and a short CV (max 1 page) in English, French, or Italian to Isabel Harvey ( and Milena Sabato ( by the deadline of February 28, 2019

Contact Info: 

Isabel Harvey ( and Milena Sabato (