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Political knowledge as teamwork: The Academy of Zamość print shop (1594-1627)

Periodic Reporting for period 1 - PrinTeam (Political knowledge as teamwork: The Academy of Zamość print shop (1594-1627))

Reporting period: 2016-07-01 to 2018-06-30

The aim of this project was to provide the first comprehensive analysis of the collective effort behind the production of new political theories and ideas, focusing attention on one of the most famous early modern Polish universities: the Academy of Zamość.
The main objectives of my action were:
1. the analysis of Zamość publications and the academic curricula of their creators;
2. the study of the political and philosophical issues most frequently addressed in the publications and in the manuscripts, and their relation to the teaching activities;
3. the examination of the interactions between the academics.
The idea that knowledge is constructed jointly, through a collective effort, is an ancient concept that dates back to the classical age. It was, however, in the early modern age that it became the basis of a programmatic plan for a number of institutions, such as academies, universities and symposia. The joint dissemination of political theories and practice in Zamość in the first decades of its activity (1595-1627) was a significant early example of the collective construction of knowledge, and an illuminating forerunner of similar experiments which materialised several decades later. Therefore, the activity of this Academy in the early modern age can act as a touchstone for the interpretation of other European contexts, shedding new light on the importance of teamwork among intellectuals in the building of new knowledge.
"During the fellowship, I completed all the tasks as described in the Work Plan, in the relevant Gantt Chart of the proposal (Part B), and in the Career Development Plan established at the beginning of the Fellowship.
In order to fully understand the manuscripts stored in the National Library in Warsaw, I attended a 10-hours course on palegraphy. Moreover, I took part in weekly round tables focused on the features of Polish Humanism and the history of Polish philosophy in the 16th and 17th centuries, which were both managed by the scientist-in-charge within the programme of his five-year project on Aristotelianism in Polish late Renaissance; I attended the seminars on the ""History of Philosophy and Ideas in the Modern Age"", and I was qualify as one of the visiting scholars of the Graduate School for Social Research of the institute, where I also presented a one-day seminar within the PhD programme. Moreover, I took part in the meetings in the field of sociology. In addition to this, I had unrestricted access to the resources of the library of the institute which comprises the largest collection in Poland of works related to philosophy and sociology.
To consolidate integration within my new academic community, teaching activities also included the creation and management of a research group called “Migrations and Knowledge in Early Modern Europe”. This group is focused on a particular kind of migration which occurred largely in early modern times, taking place with a view to enhancing the mobility of knowledge. To develop my management and networking skills, I organized in liaison with the scientist-in-charge and Dr Matthias Roick the International Conference “Teaching Ethics at Early Modern Universities,1500-1700”, held at my institute in June 2018. Even to improve my networking, I attended conferences in London, Padua, and Venice.
Furthermore, I profited from the support for researchers available at the Polish Academy of Sciences, attending two workshops (in Warsaw and in Vienna) on the ERC-CoG programmes of Horizon 2020. These workshops were essential for optimising my career opportunities, enabling me to apply for an ERC grant.
During my secondment in Germany, I gained new skills for the creation of a digital database of the Zamość publications and manuscripts. This database was a crucial factor in the project, since it is the consultation and interface with the database that bring out the interaction between the various figures involved in the creation of knowledge at Zamość.
The main research results were disseminated through:
- the already mentioned database, entitled “Educational Paths in Early Modern Universities”, now hosted in the website of my institute
- a monograph in English, entitled “Knowledge transfer and the early modern university: Statecraft and philosophy at the akademia zamojska (1595-1627)”, and submitted to an international publisher in May 2018
- a chapter in English of an academic book (written in liaison with the scientist-in-charge)
- an article in Italian for the journal “Rinascimento”
- a review in English for the journal “Odrodzenie i reformacja w Polsce”
- Finally, I created a blog on the project development, with a connected Facebook page.
As part of the teaching programme, I also disseminated the results of my research through a series of lectures dealing with the contents of my project and the problems addressed during the investigation. They were presented in Germany at the Herzog August Bibliothek in Wolfenbüttel, and in Italy, respectively at the University of Florence and at the Polish Academy of Rome. On the same topic, I also presented four papers at international conferences in Chicago (US), Verona (Italy), Warsaw and Zielona Góra (Poland).
The most tangible result of the fruitful collaboration with the institute was the Polish Academic Qualification process (habilitation), which has be attained at the end 2017, followed by a national contest through wh"
My project achieved a number of fundamental accomplishments. Firstly, the results of my research was relevant to historical studies in general and those dealing with groups of individuals, such as prosopography. My research also opened up a broad area of comparative reflections on the ways heterogeneous intellectual elites have interacted in modern Western history. Moreover, the interdisciplinary character of my project introduced a new methodology, not merely in early modern scholarship, but also in the history of both printing and political thought, overriding the traditional separation between these different research fields. In addition to this, the results impact contemporary issues, since the collective production of knowledge has recently become a very hot topic, spurred by the growth of web tools such as collaboratively-edited encyclopaedias, which allow an ever-broader community to take part in knowledge creation and transfer. My project focused an analogous phenomenon that occurred at the apex of European cultural history, thus the research can offer a new interpretation of the current scenario, as well as stringing up thought-provoking bridges between historians and communication experts.
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