A Global History of 18th-Century Trieste: Materials, Methodology, Scales

David Do Paço's picture
June 28, 2019
Subject Fields: 
Early Modern History and Period Studies, Political History / Studies, Social History / Studies, Urban History / Studies, World History / Studies

In 2009, Jan Morris’ Trieste and the Meaning of Nowhere illustrated of a certain renouncement to analyze the history of the city in the historical context of its development. ‘An allegory of limbo, in the secular sense of an indefinable hiatus,’ Trieste seems as if it were an object in an offshore history between Central Europe, the Italian Peninsula, and the Balkans, without belonging to any.

However, the literary picture of Trieste is not the one of historians, whom, over the last two decades have been slightly emphasizing the complex economic, social and political history of the city and its territorio. This was particularly characterized by the two first volumes of the Storia economica e sociale di Trieste respectively published in 2001 and 2003. Economic historians have contrasted from each other the local, regional and global dynamics supporting the demographic and economic take-off of the city, and they particularly paid attention on maritime litigation settlement, the development of insurance companies, and mercantile practices in a cross-cultural context. At the social level, trading diaspora historians have provided a better understanding of the process of immigration; they have highlighted the flexible building of national communities and assessed the citizenship issue in an urban society strongly shaped by international mobility and trans-regional exchanges. As for them, Habsburg historians have tried to understand how the development of the free port of Trieste fitted in with the Austrian state-building, reflected the transition of the political economies elaborated in Vienna and how the city was concretely governed, paying a particular attention to the governor Karl von Zinzendorf. Today, the renewal of the history of Trieste in the 18th century is located at the cross-road between the new economic history of early modern free-ports, the history of cross-cultural Mediterranean circulations, and the socio-political history of empires. Over the last two decades, historians have strongly renewed the history of the city and its free port. Because of the large diversity of the materials that have been recently examined the history of Trieste appears kaleidoscopic, and, at some point, we still miss the global picture.

This workshop aims to put into the light the diversity of the materials available, and the necessity of criss-crossing the different Trieste deposits with the National Archives in Vienna or in other depots of former Habsburg capitals, the different consular collections in London, Paris or College Park, and private papers. Taking such valuable materials into account strongly challenges the promethean narrative of a self-made city, and the cosmopolitan one of the allegedly “city of nowhere”.

Focusing on the different and unexplored materials that can contribute to the history of Trieste in the 18th century, we have invited historians to confront these historiographical trends and to present, develop and disseminate new approaches.

We particularly have invited scholars to:

- engage with the methodological issue of the diversity of academic points views and national backgrounds to build a coherent history of Trieste. How to write a trans-national/trans-imperial history of rising city?

- question the classical chronology of the Trieste’s expansion. Was the creation of the free-port the beginning of the story? How and how much the old municipality participated to this process?

- examine the city’s fabrique and with it to analyze the relation between the citizens of the old municipality and the merchants of the free-port, the Habsburg subjects and the protected foreigners, the wealthy community and what Johann Kollmann named the Lazzaroni of the portal area.

The workshop will be held in Paris on 28 June 2019, 24 rue Lhomond, room E-314

8:30 Arrival of the participants

9:00 Introduction
David Do Paço (Sciences Po, CHSP) & Christine Lebeau, (Université Paris 1 Panthéon-Sorbonne, IHMC)

9:20 Panel 1 | Knowledge in Global Context

Chair : Markus Koller, Ruhr Universität (Ruh Universität, Bochum)

9:20 Giulia Deloglu & Antonio Trampus (Ca’ Foscari)
Trieste as a hub for the creation and the transfer of knowledge : port cities and free Ports in the global System

9:40 Klemens Kaps, Johannes-Kepler Universität (Johannes-Kepler Universität, Linz)
Trieste’s Place in early-modern Globalization : Methodological and Theoretical Reflections for studying Merchant Networks between the Habsburg Adriatic and the Spanish Atlantic in the 18th Century.

10:00 Discussion

10:30 Coffee break

10:50 Panel 2 | A Global City in an Imperial System

Chair : Guillaume Garner (ENS, Lyon)

10:50 Christine Lebeau, (Université Paris 1 Panthéon-Sorbonne, IHMC)
Trieste au croisement des routes impériales ? Le point de vue de la Compagnie orientale

11:10 Antonella Alimento (Università di Pisa)
Pasquale Ricci de Livourne à Trieste (provisional title)

11:30 Jonathan Singerton, Österreichische Wissenschaftsakademie (Vienna)
Jefferson’s Hammer and Austria Anvil : Trieste the American Revolution, and the demise of Austrian Atlantic

11:50 Discussion

12:30 Lunch

14:00 Panel 3 | Urban Minorities in a Global Context

Chair : David Do Paço (Sciences Po, CHSP)

14:00 Lois Dubin, Smith College (Smith College, Northampton, Ma)
Les communautés juives de Trieste : lien social et expériences urbaines

14:20 Zeynep Arslan, Ruhr Universität (Ruhr Universität, Bochum)
The Daily life of Ottoman Muslim Merchants in 18th and 19th Century Trieste

14:40 Derek Hattener, Humboldt Universität (Humbolt Universität, Berlin)
Kinship, Capital, and Enterprise : Early Multinationals in Habsburg Trieste

15:00 Discussion

15:40 Coffee Break

16:00 Panel 4 | Building and Bonding : Unity in Diversity

Chair : Christine Lebeau (Université Paris 1 Panthéon-Sorbonne, IHMC)

16:00 Kolja Lichy, Justus-Liebig Universität (Justus-Liebig Universität, Giessen)
Spéculations utiles - spéculations inutiles. Le problème des banques et des prêts à Trieste au xviiie siècle vu de Vienne

16:20 Adam Nemeth (Budapest University of Technology and Economics)
The urban grid as a governmental technique in the development of Trieste and Pest

16:40 David Do Paço (Sciences Po, CHSP)
Ruling a composite city : l’Osteria nell castello 1760s-1770s

17:00 Discussion

17:40 Conclusion
Daniele Andreozzi (Università degli Studi di Trieste)

Contact Info: 

David Do Paço, Asst. Prof.

Sciences Po, Centre d'Histoire