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SISS Meets Early Careers
Martedì 30 Aprile 2024, 17:00 - 19:00
Visite : 302

Online Seminar 'SISS Meets Early Careers'

A reminder that the next seminar session on Labour, Technologies and Gender will take place on 30th April, 5-7pm (CET).

All seminars are held online on Zoom:


Organizer: Dr Lavinia Maddaluno (Ca’ Foscari University of Venice).



30th April 2024, 5-7pm (CET)

Labour, Technologies and Gender

Chairs: Lavinia Maddaluno (Ca’ Foscari University of Venice), Violeta Ruiz (CSIC- Institució Milà i Funtanals, Barcelona)

Andreas Lingg (University of Witten/Herdecke), “Sola civium industria”: on Ideas of Productivity and Craftsmanship in 16th century Nuremberg

Gabriele Marcon (Warburg Institute/Villa I Tatti), Hidden Figures? Women’s Work in Early Modern Mining

Eóin Philipps (La Salle - Ramon Llull University, Barcelona), “They’ve the Concrete Master Race to keep you in your Place”: Canals, Work and the Canal System in the Imperial Meridian.


Bios and Abstracts: 

Andreas Lingg (University of Witten/Herdecke), “Sola civium industria”: on ideas of productivity and craftsmanship in 16th century Nuremberg. 

In the 15th and 16th centuries, Nuremberg was one of the most influential cities in the Holy Roman Empire, both economically and politically. In particular, its role in the metal trade, its intermediary position between the mining districts of Central Europe and important commercial centers such as Antwerp, contributed to its rise. Far more than just through the export of raw metals, the city benefited from the large number of talented craftsmen who processed this material. Nuremberg's goldsmiths and silversmiths were famous throughout Europe for their skill. As early as the beginning of the 16th century, references to a new understanding of 'industria' emerged in this context, which had previously been dated much later in research. This article explores this conceptual shift - and searches for traces of this transformation at the intersection of humanist circles, mining and artisans.

Bio: Andreas Friedolin Lingg is a postdoctoral researcher at the University of Witten/Herdecke. His research mainly deals with the history of economic ideas, economic history and philosophy as well as the history of knowledge. He studied in Friedrichshafen, Berlin and Munich. He has authored several articles and book chapters. His first monograph Die Entdeckung der Wirtschaft('Discovering the Economy') investigates the interaction of early modern mining and economic discourses and imagination in Germany. It won the Hans Christoph Binswanger Prize 2023.

Gabriele Marcon (Warburg Institute/Villa I Tatti), Hidden Figures? Women’s Work in Early Modern Mining. 

Early modern mines ranked among the most populated workplaces of preindustrial Europe. Both men and women engaged in mining activities. Yet women’s work, which historians have either scarcely documented or considered irremediably lost, was part of a paradox. On the one hand, early modern mines were segregated workplaces for women. In sixteenth- and seventeenth-century Europe, women were deemed unfit for mining labour, and perceived to lack the necessary strength and skills to carry out risky, unhealthy, and physically demanding activities. As a result, employers and subcontractors organized work and allocated tasks to women by following traditional gender differences in male and female labour outputs. On the other hand, while continuities of gender inequality persisted at various stages of their work, female agency challenged this gendered working environment. Women contributed to various economic, scientific, and labour activities of preindustrial mining. For instance, they participated in the industry as heads of money lending institutions in the mines, and worked in high-skilled positions such as surveyors, metalworkers, and labour supervisors. This presentation aims to shed new light on women’s work in early modern mines through the lens of the labour history of science. First, it surveys how humanist writers associated women with Nature, and how this connection underpinned technical discourses that excluded women’s bodies from mining activities. Second, it analyses how sixteenth-century texts on mining and metallurgy supported this scholarly tradition while also recognizing women’s participation in the mines as discoverers of new metal deposits. Finally, the presentation draws some preliminary conclusions by presenting new archival material on the scientific knowledge of German and Italian female labourers in the working community of the Medici mines in sixteenth-century Tuscany.

Bio:Gabriele Marcon is Warburg/I Tatti Joint Fellow 2023/2024 at I Tatti – The Harvard University Center for Italian Renaissance Studies (Florence, Italy). His current project investigates women’s work in the mines of the Medici family in sixteenth-century Tuscany. Before joining I Tatti, he held positions as Lecturer in Early Modern European History at Durham University (UK) and as Teaching Fellow at the University of Padova. In 2022, He received his PhD from the European University Institute (Florence) with a thesis titled “The Movements of Mining: German Miners in Renaissance Italy (1450s-1550s)”. His research focuses on the social and economic history of mining in early modern Europe, with a particular emphasis on labour migration, women’s work, and resources in Renaissance Italy. Marcon has authored numerous articles and book chapters exploring topics such as wage negotiation, coercion, and labour mobility. Currently, he is working on his first monograph, tentatively titled Renaissance Underground: Labour and Science in the Mines of Early Modern Italy.

Eoin Philipps (La Salle - Ramon Llull University, Barcelona), ‘They’ve the concrete master race to keep you in your place’: canals, work and the canal system in the Imperial Meridian

This paper will explore the relationship between work, imperial-technological projects and scientific representations of this relationship in the context of the extensive canal and dock building projects pursued by the British state in the period 1760-1820. A recurring feature in British historiography of industrialisaion and enlightenment has been the division between political and imperial transformation on the one hand and industrial revolution on the other. The historiography of British canal and dock building has followed this pattern: dominated as it is by what might be called 'dry' accounts of their development: 'dry' in the sense that they have largely been told as stories of national industrial/economic development and separated from the expanding European maritime expansion from the Atlantic to the Pacific and Indian Oceans; 'dry' too, because through this separation, the political and social dimensions of their development have been ignored. This paper will show the changing strategies, management and representations of canal building projects in contrast with the experience of those groups of workers who built, worked and managed these extensive waterways. This paper will attempt to show how examples of oceanic and colonial management came to be used as resources for an emerging group of plantation owners, engineers, mathematicians and astronomers to promote canal and dockyard schemes as the means for a form of labour control and discipline that situated technological systems as the means to transform the customary organisation of work of typically itinerant workforces. Importantly however, this paper will stress the means to which these projects were always resisted and that historians dependence on certain forms of representation - particularly enyclopaedias - has led to the experience of canal and dock builders and workers - as well as the forms of unpaid labour with which they were compared - as separate from the technological developments in which their role was central. As such, the paper attempts to show not only the ways through which we might approach a labour history of science and technology, but also to suggest that this must be done through situating the achievements of 'dry' European innovation in the context of 'wet' schemes of colonial management and imperial expansion.

Bio: Eóin Phillips is an historian and sociologist of science and technology and assistant professor at La Salle - Ramon Llull University where he co-directs the Observatory of Quantum Technologies. His work explores the social, economic and political development of calculative technologies and regulatory regimes, from the eighteenth century to the present day. He is currently completing a book about the transformation of European artisanal social relations in the context of the imperial meridian and the rise of the 'calculative state'. His new project waterways is an attempt to offer a 'global history from below',  exploring the relations between state planning, models of economic development and the formation of class identity with relation to canals, coasts, and inland river ways.