CAIS 2021: CfP Panels "Religion and Ideas in Southern Italy: the Thin Line Between Erudition and Heresy. 16th-18th Century."

Isabel Harvey's picture
Call for Papers
March 1, 2021
Subject Fields: 
Early Modern History and Period Studies, Italian History / Studies, Literature, Modern European History / Studies, Religious Studies and Theology


Call for Papers for the annual conference of the Canadian Association for Italian Studies (CAIS), online, June 4-5 and June 11-12 2021.


           How it could be possible today to rethink the religious history and historiography of Southern Italy? On the one hand, writing an history of Southern Italy means giving a great attention to the distinctive features of the territory, and illustrating its particular forms of religion and worship, its experiences of spiritual life and its aspects of doctrinal reflection, its artistic production, its iconography, as well as the popular religiosity. On the other hand, however, the history of Southern Italy needs also to be projected into a broader context: the Italian peninsula, but also Europe and the World. An undertaken of contextualization that is necessarily hard to reconcile with the founding concept of southern “specificity.” This panel will address this paradoxical duality of Southern Italy historiography through the lens of a specific topic, the relation between religion and ideas either inside the institutional Church as in the secular world.  


Possible topics include:

  • Historiography and new trends in religious history of Southern Italy
  • Disputes between secular and Church authorities
  • Boundaries between acceptable and unacceptable writings
  • Religion and ideas in parishes/role of lower clergy
  • Intellectual life in religious orders (male and female)
  • Cultural environments in southern cities
  • Circulation of ideas 
  • Circulation of books and writings
  • Roles of women in the diffusion of ideas/writings
  • Dialogue and exchanges between religions: Hebraism and Islam


We are particularly interested in papers addressing issues of historiography, in papers that analyze an unedited, newly founded, or little-known source, or in papers that present a social network analysis. This call for papers is a second step in a research journey we started at the 2019 Orvieto CAIS conference, where we presented a successful trio of panels about the issues around religion and ideas in Southern Italy. With this second edition, we aim to publish the proceedings of these panels in the form of an edited collection. To geographically equilibrate the essay collection we strongly encourage papers offering a sigh over the whole territory of Southern Italy, or analyzing cases from the actual Molise, Basilicata and Calabria.


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 March 1, 2021

Contact Info: 

Isabel Harvey (Institut für Geschichtswissenschaften, Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin) :

Milena Sabato (University of Salento) :