Event type
European History 1500-1800
Event dates
, 5:15PM - 7:00PM
Online- via Zoom
Rosa Salzberg (University Warwick), Luca Scholz (Manchester University)
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Rosa Salzberg, Associate Professor of Italian Renaissance History

Infrastructures of Mobility in Early Modern Venice and its Empire 

Recent literature inspired by the ‘mobility turn’ has drawn attention (back) to the importance of the infrastructures that underpin, shape and channel the movement of people over distance. Infrastructure, especially in the early modern period, needs to be conceived not just as ‘top-down’, state-planned and built structures. Transport systems, inns and lodging houses, postal services, identification regimes: all of these required significant local interaction from ordinary people in order to function, both in major urban hubs of mobility and peripheral transit areas. This paper considers some of the intertwined infrastructures that facilitated and controlled mobility in early modern Venice and its empire, focusing particularly on hospitality, communication and disease control.

Luca Scholz, Lecturer in Digital Humanities, University of Manchester

Old Regimes of Movement. Borders and Passports in the Holy Roman Empire 

A plethora of boundaries make it easy to recognize the Holy Roman Empire on maps. This paper asks what impact, if any, borders had on different forms of mobility in the Old Reich. I will argue that borders played a crucial role in jurisdictional and other disputes, but that their impact on trade flows and everyday forms of mobility was relatively limited up until the mid-eighteenth century. One instrument that did play an important role for channelling human mobility in the Empire were passports. In practice, however, the issuance of passports and letters of passage implied a bureaucratic burden and a symbolic subjection that mobile populations were not always willing to accept. The paper will conclude by suggesting alternative ways of understanding the relationship between political authority and human mobility in the heartlands of old-regime Europe.

All welcome: This event is free, but booking is required.