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Guillaume Postel and the East: Universalism in the Global Renaissance


The overarching objective of the PostelEast project is to provide the first in-depth philosophical and historical analysis of the political and religious universalism of the 16th-century French polymath Guillaume Postel (1510-1581) in his first main work, “De orbis terrae concordia” (1544). Postel theorized a peaceful political union between the East and the West, i.e. between Muslims, Jews, and Christians, under the renewal of an ancient and universal faith. Nonetheless, a comprehensive analysis of his universalistic theory and its intellectual context is still missing, since scholarship has focused on his Kabbalistic ideas. By ascertaining the crucial role of his interests in the Ottoman culture and the humanist milieu, this study will reconstruct the historical and philosophical roots, assumptions, and impact of Postel’s universalism, through the analysis of: (1) his first travel across the Ottoman Empire and its ideological implications; (2) the humanistic sources (familiar to Comacchi thanks to her past research), which orient Postel’s understanding of the Ottoman culture and religion; (3) his “De orbis terrae concordia;” (4) the transcultural transfer to which he contributed by bringing rare oriental books to Europe. Thus, the project will unearth his contribution to Western religious tolerance, cosmopolitanism, and orientalism. The three-year project will bring Dr. Comacchi at Indiana University Bloomington, Università Ca’ Foscari Venezia, and, during a secondment, at the Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona. Comacchi, who has international experience in Italy, Germany, and France, is confident that the Action will profoundly impact her career. She will acquire knowledge in the field of Renaissance studies from a global perspective, new skills, establish new fruitful relationships, and disseminate results among specialists and a wider audience, which will enable her to become a leading scholar in the field of the Renaissance history of philosophy and ideas.

Call for proposal

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Funding Scheme

MSCA-IF-GF - Global Fellowships
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Dorsoduro 3246
30123 Venezia
Activity type
Higher or Secondary Education Establishments
EU contribution
€ 251 002,56

Partners (1)

United States
Po Box 1847
47402 Bloomington
Activity type
Higher or Secondary Education Establishments