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HCTS Lecture by Carlo Ginzburg

Jun 23, 2015

Prof. Dr. Carlo Ginzburg (UCLA/Pisa) spoke on Monday, June 22, in the great hall of Heidelberg University (Alte Aula). The renowned historian and proponent of the field of microhistory gave a lecture with the title "Unintentional Revelations. Reading History Against the Grain". The event was hosted by the Heidelberg Centre for Transcultural Studies (HCTS).

In his posthumously published methodological reflections (Apologie pour l’histoire, ou Métier d’historien), Marc Bloch regarded the historian’s approach to evidence against the intentions of those who produced it "as a victory of intelligence over mere factuality." Ginzburg's lecture dealt with the long term history of this approach, as well as with its implications.

Carlo Ginzburg received his PhD from the University of Pisa and held teaching positions at the Universities of Bologna and California, Los Angeles (UCLA). Today, he is professor emeritus at UCLA and Scuola Normale Superiore di Pisa. He was awarded the 2010 Balzan Prize and elected an International Member of the American Philosophical Society in 2013. Ginzburg is a pioneer in the field of microhistory, which emerged in the late 20th century, and focuses in his work on Italian Renaissance and Early Modern European History. He has published widely in the field of history and is well known for his book "The Cheese and the Worms: The Cosmos of a Sixteenth Century Miller" (1980). Further book titles include "The Night Battles: Witchcraft and Agrarian Cults in the Sixteenth and Seventeenth Centuries" (1983), and "The Judge and the Historian. Marginal Notes on a Late-Twentieth-century Miscarriage of Justice" (1999).

The talk entitled "Unintentional Revelations. Reading History Against the Grain" took place on June 22 at 6 pm in the main auditorium "Alte Aula" of Heidelberg University. The event was initiated by Research Area C "Knowledge Systems" as part of the HCTS lecture series, that brings scholars working on topics related to transcultural studies to Heidelberg.

The Heidelberg Centre for Transcultural Studies (HCTS), founded in 2013, is a central institute of Heidelberg University. Building on the structures established by the Cluster of Excellence "Asia and Europe in a Global Context", it assembles outstanding scholars from all over the world and from any discipline to engage in an interdisciplinary dialogue with a focus on the dynamics of global transcultural processes.


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  • Carlo Ginzburg during his lecture

  • Audience in the great hall

  • Pablo Blitstein introducing Prof. Ginzburg