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First Semester 
Teaching style
Lingua Insegnamento

Informazioni aggiuntive

Course Curriculum CFU Length(h)


The overall objective of the course is to guide students from general aspects in the history of the Modern Era to the analysis of a specific topic through its sources and different chronological, geographical and cultural contexts. 
Specific objectives:
1. Familiarity with the issue of the power of the press and of censorship in relation to the Ancien Régime society, from the XVI to the XVIII century.
2. Ability to understand changes in the relationship between censorship and public opinion, both over time and in relation to different institutional, cultural and geographical contexts across Ancien Régime Europe.


Students are required to be familiar with general issues in European institutional history of the Modern Era, dealt with in the Modern History 1 course.


The course will focus on ‘Power and censorship’, analysing the instruments of censorship implemented by Monarchies and the Church in the Ancien Régime society, as well as public opinion, its contrastive force, where it starts, how it organizes itself and spreads in a world that is very different from the contemporary one. Close attention will be given to the different local contexts throughout Europe, to XVIII century France and to the current controversial historiographical debate.

Teaching Methods

- Lectures
- A few hours of seminar activities concerning the current historiographical debate on public opinion

Verification of learning

The final exam comprises:
a) an optional written mid-course exam on M. Infelise’s text, Libri proibiti. Students who successfully pass this exam will not be tested again on this part of the course in the final exam. 
b) a final oral exam.
c) Marks will be out of 30 (pass marks from 18 onwards). The final mark of the students who have taken the mid-course exam will be the average of the two marks obtained in the two parts, the written one and the oral one.

Students will have to prove:
1. that they are familiar with the issues of censorship and public opinion in the Modern Era, referring to materials listed by the teacher;
2. that they are able to compare various situations arisen in different local contexts (Spain, France, England and Germany) regarding these issues, as well as understand the changes in this phenomenon throughout the Modern Era, from the XVI to the XVIII century;
3. that they are able to explain how different ways to address the issue of censorship in the Modern Era have determined cultural differences in contemporary Europe;
4. that they are able to communicate the issues discussed during the course, both to experts and non-experts, using specialized language.


1. M. Infelise, I libri proibiti da Gutenberg all'Encyclopédie, Laterza;
2. R. Chartier, Le origini culturali della Rivoluzione francese, Laterza, chapter four: I libri fanno le rivoluzioni?, pp. 69-93;
3. Illuminismo. Dizionario storico, a cura di V. Ferrone e D. Roche, Laterza, the following parts: E. Tarantolo, Opinione pubblica (pp. 283-291);
R. Darnton, I libri proibiti, Mondadori.

More Information

Students who are unable to attend should contact the teacher about possible changes in the exam schedule.

Questionnaire and social

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