Digital and public history

Digital Humanities and public engagement are deeply transforming historical research and the historian’s work. Our goal is exploring and adopting new ways of studying and presenting history, together with the relevant theoretical debate and the role played by digital and public historians in the changing landscape of the historical discipline. The digital and public approaches are applied to ancient, medieval, modern and contemporary history. Our objectives include the use of different kinds of digital tools (from digital edition of historical sources to network analysis, from text mining to mapping and visualization) and the involvement of the public beyond the classroom in the different phases of the historical research (from source-gathering to elaboration and analysis to dissemination). Specific sectors of the area:

  • Digital Tools, Methods and Resources for History
  • Uses of the Past, Public Memory, Oral History
  • Museum, Archives and Heritage Centres
  • Historical Communication through Popular Writing, Internet, Social Media and Mass Media 

Fellowship projects

'I conti con la storia' - 'Confronting History'. Italian Racial Laws: Memory, Television, Historiography

WebDoc + Research article, carried out by Leonardo Campus

What happened in Fascist Italy against Jews starting in 1938 is a recurrent subject, even in the mainstream media and in the current political debate. But this has not always been the case. Also the interpretations varied. Thus investigating the different ways in which national public TV programs have dealt with that black page of Italian history, and relating them also with the main academic accounts of the subject, contributes to shed some light on the ways national memories and perceptions take shape and evolve through time.

The outcome of the research project has been two-folded, both traditional and digital, aiming to provide a presentation of the findings that might be effective for both academia and the general public. The traditional outcome is a research article, published in the peer-reviewed, A-ranked scientific journal "Ventunesimo secolo", 50, 2022, pp.130-161, titled "Schermi di memoria: le leggi razziali tra televisione e storiografia".

The digital outcome is a WebDoc, titled "I conti con la Storia: le leggi razziali tra televisione e storiografia": an interactive journey through seven decades including previously unknown extracts from Italian TV programs on the subject and street interviews to the general public realized for the occasion. This webdoc, accessible in both Italian and English languages, has been used as a source among historians and as a didactic tool in schools. Italian main newspaper "Il Corriere della sera" has reviewed it as "unmissable".
Italian website: 
English website: 

Member / Department of Humanities projects

Archivio per le fonti orali 

Principal investigator: Alessandro Casellato
Status: ongoing

The Oral History Archive will contain the audio or video interviews, with their metadata and descriptions, produced during oral history research carried out by scholars and students who decide to deposit them, in order to guarantee their preservation and - case by case - access to other scholars. The project was launched in early 2020 and also includes:

  • the recovery and digitization of some oral archives already produced and currently dispersed and at risk,
  • the definition of protocols and good practices for archiving oral history interviews,
  • the creation of a web portal in which to give an account of oral collections and allow - case by case - online access, within the limits set by current legislation.

The Falconieri project

Principal investigator: Stefano Dall'Aglio
: ongoing

The Falconieri Project is carried out in collaboration with the Medici Archive Project in Florence. It revolves around the scholarly study and the creation of an online digital database of a newly discovered corpus of letters written by prince and cardinal Leopoldo de’ Medici to his agent in Rome Ottavio Falconieri in the second half of the seventeenth century. This correspondence lies at the intersection of cultural history, social history, art history, book history and history of science, and includes many of the main historical figures of the time. The letter transcriptions are being entered into an innovative digital platform that will be made freely accessible to scholars and the general public worldwide. Every letter will have a document record including not only the full transcription but also one or more digitized images, a synopsis, and all the relevant metadata.


Principal investigator: Massimo Warglien (in cooperation with Simon Levis Sullam Minello, Deborah Paci)
Status: ongoing

The Horizon 2020 Project ODYCCEUS stands for "Opinion Dynamics and Cultural Conflict in European Spaces". It seeks  conceptual  breakthroughs  in  Global  Systems  Science,  including  a  fine-grained representation of  cultural  conflicts  based  on  conceptual  spaces  and  sophisticated  text  analysis,  extensions  of game  theory  to  handle  games  with  both  divergent  interests  and  divergent  mindsets,  and  new  models  of  alignment  and  polarization  dynamics. The project will also develop an open modular platform, called PENELOPE  that integrates tools for the complete pipeline, from data scraped from social media and digital sources, to visualization of the analyses and models developed by the project. “Odycceus Historical Study Case: French anti-Semitism 1789-1989” in particular is carried on by Deborah Paci using network analysis and topic modelling to study the social networks and social/cultural categories that supported the anti-Semitic movement in the 1880s and 1890s.


Principal investigator: Sabina Crippa
Status: ongoing

The project is the result of an international series of seminars started in 2013 during the academic course “History of Religions” of the Department of Humanities at Cà Foscari University. The activities are characterized by an interdisciplinary methodology connecting to the historical, anthropological and other fields, that makes it possible to actively involve teachers, researchers, and students. Poikila’s purpose is the implementation of an area for debate on topical questions concerning ancient and modern history/ies. In this sense, such issues as “body”, “rituality”, and “voice” will solicit us to focus on the relation between Norm and the construction of the human being. The final aim of the project is the publication and dissemination of the scientific results collected, also through the creation of a website which will include an open access archive.

"Cristo Pantocratore", Monastero di Patmos, XVII secolo

Repertorium Auctorum Polemicorum (RAP / Pinakes database)

Principal investigator: Alessandra Bucossi (Research fellow: Luigi D’Amelia)
Status: ongoing

The project RAP – Repertorium Auctorum Polemicorum (financed by the VeDPH and Ca’ Foscari University of Venice - SPIN 2019 Misura 2) conducts the first systematic cataloguing of the Greek polemical writings against (or in favour of) the Latin Church (9th-13th century) published to date. The result of this systematic investigation will be the first online repertorium dedicated to the most conspicuous part of Byzantine literature: the polemical literature against the Latins. The online repertorium will be integrated into the Pinakes database, which is the largest existing online catalogue of Greek manuscripts, freely accessible ( [FRA]).

“Roma al femminile, tra storia antica e presente” (Roman women, between ancient history and contemporary times

Principal investigator: Alessandra Valentini
Status: ongoing

The project aims to make enlighten the history of Roman women and through the better understanding of their lives explain some aspects of our times i.e. the links existing between patriarchal society and violence against women; the relationship between women’s education and their emancipation; the cultural origin of some discriminations toward women and their marginalization in many professional fields (such as achievement, remuneration) and in the politics. The project includes the organization of a series of lectures directed to a wide audience on these topics and on the transmission of historical contents to the wide public through television, the historic contemporary novel and magazines with specific subjects. An open access section of the GIEFFRA’s [ITA] website will be dedicated to studies on female characters most exposed to historical distortions: the aim will be to rebuild the female reality showing how stereotypes could affect their historical memory.

With these targets, different actions were carried out:

Three series of conferences: "È sempre la stessa storia! Roma antica tra Ricerca Scientifica e Public History", in a.a.2020/2021; in a.a. 2021/2022; in a.a. 2022/2023
by F. Rohr Vio and A. Valentini

With the Centre in Digital and Public Humanities of the Department of Humanities and the GIEFFRA’s Research Network (Groupe International d'Études sur la Famille et la Femme dans la Rome Antique).

These meetings, addressed to high school students, university students, PhD students, teachers, and to the wide public, aimed to focus on these questions:

To whom can Roman history speak today? Why does antiquity have an interest for us? What are the methods of transmitting this memory to an audience other than the academic one, in terms of content and forms? How should history be translated into products other than scientific communication, such as fiction and fiction? What is the relationship between research and scientific dissemination? Speakers: 2020-2021: M.L. Leone, M. Blasi, L. Capponi; 2021-2022: A. Callipo, M. Blasi, V. Palumbo, A. Roncaglia, E. Todisco and L. Zadra, 2022-2023: A. Mongatti, D. Campanile, G. Lupi, F. Cenerini, L. Alfieri.  The dialogue with authors of different fiels such as historical novels and plays, journalists of national newspapers, historical consultants of television serials, authors of school and university books, scholars with specific interest on public history, editor of publishing companies, professors, has been useful to understand how they treated these issues using their working experience to communicate to the wide public the achievements of their scientific research making them heritage for all the community.

Workshop: "Women’s Lives Women’s Histories”.  Edition I (a.a. 2021-2022); Edition II (a.a. 2022-2023)
by: F. Rohr Vio, A. Valentini, S. Borrello

The workshop is promoted by the Groupe International d'Etudes sur les Femmes et la Famille dans la Rome Antique (GIEFFRA).

What did matrons in ancient Rome talk about in public contexts? Do the sources keep memory of their words? And were they allowed to intervene with their own voice in political matters? What relevance do these experiences of communication have to our time?

The workshop aimed to explain to the wide public (Public History) the biographies of women of the roman elite between late republic and early empire with specific attention to historic stereotypes. The selected profiles are investigated through two perspectives: on the one hand the portrait of matrons in ancient sources through stereotypes (Laboratorio a.a. 2021-2022); on the other hand the political action of matrons and the use such women made of the public speech (Laboratorio a.a. 2022-2023). Although tradition established that only men, holders of power through public and military offices, could speak in public places, women sometimes could intervene with in public contexts, showing that the late republic and the early empire was affected by great cultural changes and transformations.

The workshop is intended for students of master’s degree who wish to acquire skills in the field of scientific dissemination of ancient history. The creation of videos was the aim of Edition I; The scientific communication through podcasts addressed to non-specialistic audience.

With the Master Course in Women’s History in the Roman World (Ca' Foscari University), three new sections have been created on the GIEFFRA [ITA] website for the scientific dissemination of the history of Roman women: one with hypertexts dedicated to female characters more exposed to distortions showing how stereotypes connoting many female portraits in antiquity are presents still today; one with articles on biographies of women of republican and imperial Rome; one with videos explaining the story of some Roman women.

IV National Conference of AIPH Public History

Venice-Mestre, 27-31 May 2022

PANEL: The voices of the Roman Women in our time. Forms of communication of women in our society

F. ROHR, Listening to the voice of women: experiences in cultural associations, high schools, university courses.

Listening to Women: Experiences in Cultural Associations, High Schools, University Courses