Lecture Series

All lectures – unless otherwise stated – take place at 6:25pm in room 13 and are followed by a light reception.

Vivivilla Zampini

#fashionbelloebuono: a tangible example of circular economy and sustainable fashion (for and with the new generations)

Tuesday, February 11

Vivilla Zampini started her career as a psychologist working with several companies and then became an entrepreneur by founding – together with her two sisters – a business that produces fashion. Since its start her company – # ilfashionbelloebuono #FBB – was hailed as one of the most innovative new hand-made-in-Italy brands, also because of its stated mission of combining fashion with social responsibility, sustainability and inclusiveness. Her innovative start-up is engaged in creating networks between companies, associations of citizens, institutions and young people. According to Vivilla, the mission of her company is in fact to show that ethical business is possible and it’s not just green or pink washing.

Jonathan Nelson

Black Africans in Italian Renaissance art: New Light on Filippino Lippi

Tuesday, February 18 (in collaboration with BHMF)

The first part part of the lecture addresses some of the ways that Fascists used Renaissance art to advance their racist agenda, focusing on a 1938 article in the journal ‘La difesa della razza.’ The second part shows the positive roles that black Africans often played in Italian Renaissance art, focusing on two works from the 1490s by Filippino Lippi.

Angelo Caglioti

(Re)covering the Empire. Environmental History and the Palimpsest of Italian Colonialism in the Horn of Africa

Tuesday, February 25 (in collaboration with BHMF)

The talk will describe the approach of environmental history as a method to recover the memory of Italian colonialism in the Horn of Africa. By drawing on the metaphor of the “palimpsest”, it will examine Italy’s colonial past as a set of moments and narratives that have been ‘overwritten’ by different regimes, thus covering the goals and strategies of Italian imperialism in the liberal, fascist, and republican period.

Samiya Bashir

MAPS a cartography in progress

Wednesday, February 26. Please note that this event will be held at Le Murate (in collaboration with BHMF)

What does it mean to simultaneously create and be created? MAPS :: a cartography in progress explores these questions as well as the interrogative cilia which burst from their branches. This work reflects our current moment forward to the next generation and back through those who brought us safely forth. Engaging questions of diaspora and movement, wrestling with her own familial history and the interlocking cultural and geographic threads of Motown, Mogadishu, and Rome, the artist builds a multimedia poetry, steeped in East African diaspora, which can be reshaped like culture to stretch across multiple platforms, a house made of poetry which can be moved and carried.

David Broder

A conversation on today’s Europe: Brexit, immigration, racism…

Tuesday, March 24


Brian Brege

The Ties That Bind: Florentines in the First Global Age

Tuesday, April 7

From the sugar plantations of Brazil to the markets and docks of Lisbon, Macau, and Goa, Florentines merchants and bankers swiftly grasped the possibilities of the First Global Age. In the new era of growing mercantilist empires and chartered trading companies, Florentine patricians capitalized on the flexibility of interlocking family partnerships to fund and facilitate global commerce. Able to circumvent political barriers, monopolistic restrictions, and the heavy hand of central bureaucracies, these families made global commerce work precisely because they were not committed to a national project. By contrast, Medici efforts to capitalize on this global-spanning network for the broader benefit of the Tuscan state were consistently stymied. The Tuscan state’s failure and the successes of Florentine families showcase the structural constraints that shaped engagement with the wider world.