Global Categories; Local Contexts

Carlo Ginzburg is professor emeritus in History of European Cultures in Scuola Normale Superiore in Pisa, Italy. A distinguished historian with a remarkable career, Ginzburg is known for his microhistorical research approach. His most well-known book The Cheese and the Worms: The Cosmos of a Sixteenth Century Miller follows clues from seemingly small and inconsequential cases and details, in order to illuminate the bigger picture, the richness and complexity of historical phenomena. Other publications include Ecstasies: Deciphering the Witches SabbathClues, Myths and the Historical Method, and The Judge and the Historian: Marginal Notes on a late-twentieth century miscarriage of justice.

The Religious Studies Project had the opportunity to interview Ginzburg at the annual conference of the European Association for the Study of Religions in Groningen, the Netherlands. Ginzburg was one of the keynote speakers of the conference, and his lecture “Traveling in Spirit: From Friuli to Siberia” dealt with interpretative categories and their “wandering beyond the original context.” As a case study, Ginzburg reflected on his own research and the realization that his own work on the Friulianbenandanti was profoundly affected by the work of S.M. Shirokogoroff.

After the keynote, Hanna had a chance to meet professor Ginzburg and hear about his career, his work and his advice for students who wish to pursue the microhistorical research.

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