The Project

The aim of the present project is to create a European Network for Baroque Cultural Heritage that should grow over the long term and, after a period of experimentation, achieve permanent status and financial independence.

Its main tasks will be a) the elaboration of a multiple-approach pattern for promoting the knowledge of the European baroque cultural heritage and b) the elaboration of innovative strategies for disseminating historical consciousness not only among scholars and academics, but among school teachers, primary and secondary schools students, life-long education structures, policy makers, civil servants and a wider public in general. The ENBaCH is designed since the proponents are persuaded that, more than the Renaissance, the 17th century, after the terrible experience of the wars of religion, is the age during which – thanks to a huge increasing mobility – a common awareness of the European plural identities is construed and developed, together with a raising consciousness of a common background.

At the core of the project there is a network of European historians of different disciplinary specializations. One of its first purposes will thus be to elaborate an innovative interdisciplinary approach to the study of past events, that will cut across traditional disciplinary partitions, such as those dividing social history from art history or literary history and so on. The proponents are in fact centres, groups and individual scholars actually working within the boundaries of different disciplinary and methodological fields that can be synthesized as follows:

  • Art
  • Literature
  • Natural philosophy
  • Theology and religious practices
  • Political theory and political institutions
  • Economic and social interactions

These researchers are nonetheless unified by the fact of working on a same historical period, usually defined as “baroque age”, approximately coinciding with a “long 17th century”. Each of the just mentioned disciplinary fields is indeed characterised by its own “epistemological canon”, fashioned through a continuous process of sedimentation that organizes the fundamental questionings, the hierarchies of the scientific issues and the methodological approaches. The point is thus to use these plural disciplinary approaches to better understand the ways in which European cultures and identities were formed in a crucial period for the history of Europe. However the objective of the ENBaCH is not to construct an artificial unity among these different issues and approaches and their results, intending to reach a unified and coherent image of the Baroque, similar to what has long been the image of Renaissance. The aim is not to utilize the empirical data collected though decades of research to construct a typical-ideal pattern of baroque society and culture, and to scrutinize its genesis in a specific context, as well as its dissemination in different geographical and political areas of Europe along with their multiple variants. Rather, the objective of the ENBaCH is to let the above mentioned different disciplinary approaches and scientific results interact, in the double aim of:

1. stressing the correlations among the different scientific fields in order to recompose a reality arbitrarily split by the dissimilar disciplinary canons;

2. exploiting the coherences and the contradictions emerging from the different classes of phenomena to reach a deeper knowledge of the society and culture under scrutiny.

A great deal of work has already been done, for example on the correlations between art and literature, rhetoric and political discourse, law, morals and economic practices, literature and the material history of the book, aristocratic ethics and the organization of sciences and so on. The objective of the ENBaCH is to widen this interdisciplinary cooperation and adopt an approach that rejects arbitrary compartments of necessarily interconnected social and cultural phenomena.

Moreover the ENBaCH intends to analyse the circulation at European level of ideas, aesthetics, institutions, cultural artefacts, social practices, etc. and to investigate the different media of this circulation, from human beings to things. To reach these ambitious goals the proponents intend to elaborate an original and innovative research method, capable to cope with the complexity of the approach and the multiplicity of the interconnections among the phenomena under scrutiny, as well as with the simultaneous use of heterogeneous series of data. The idea is not only to improve the analysis of any coherent series of data with the suggestions coming from a contiguous research field but, more ambitiously, to generate – through the systematic dialogue/confrontation between phenomena traditionally dealt with within different frameworks – new interpretive instruments.

The objective is to reach the possibility of reconstructing baroque society and culture without relying on the usual grand narratives, but letting room for contradictions and integrating them into the analysis, so that cultural heritage may really succeed in showing how peoples and societies with different political, religious, and cultural histories were the outcomes of contacts, exchanges and mutual influences, as well as of rivalries, challenges and fighting.

The objectives of the project will be achieved in three stages:

I. The first one will be devoted to research and data collection. The proponents are indeed persuaded that knowledge is a cumulative process and no innovative achievement can be reached without a preliminary recognition of what has been previously done and a thorough research for new data and empirical evidences. It will start with a kick-off workshop to be held in Rome at the very beginning of the project, to publicize the plan in its whole and the different envisaged activities and, at the same time, to coordinate the methodologies and initiatives of the different partners. As a first step in the general dissemination plan, it will be open to scholars, researchers and students, but also to schoolteachers, policy-makers and economic operators

II. The second stage will be devoted to dissemination since the aim of the project is to enhance historical consciousness in the wider public and to achieve a better understanding, fruition and protection of the European cultural heritage through the widest diffusion of knowledge. These goals should be reached through a multiple-approach methodology and a multi-media series of measures: a historical atlas and a dictionary of baroque culture are envisaged, together with a series of exhibitions, of tourist circuits and of documentary movies and radio emissions, as well as an interactive website for the younger audience.

III. The third stage of the project will finally be devoted to the institutionalization of the project, through the creation of a European Institute for Baroque Cultural Heritage. The Institute is intended to become a permanent organization and achieve financial independence through public and private contributions and also through part of its own initiatives. It will thus constitute a European landmark for all the initiatives concerning the baroque age and an agency for coordinating and developing actions of research, dissemination and protection of the cultural heritage.

Step by Step

ENBaCH will be developed in 3 steps:

1.Research and data collection. The different local groups will survey the existing scientific literature in each disciplinary field. This survey will also include the numerous web sites dedicated to texts, images and documents of the early modern age. The different local groups will then process the best scientific results in the various disciplinary fields, that is they will digitally reproduce texts and images that will thus be available for the website and for circulating among the local units. The different groups will exploit their earlier activities, both in terms of expertises and of data collection. Scholars of the various disciplines participating in the different local groups, will also discuss the criteria for collecting unpublished sources. The next step will be to identify significant local and extra-local bodies of unpublished sources that are the most suited to fulfill the project’s requirements. Archival and field surveys will be organized. Within each local group and in supra-local cooperation, scholars with different training (in art, literature, law, science, religion, social and political history) will exchange information and data in view of clarifying the complex relationships existing between these different disciplinary fields and restore their complexity to social phenomena.

2.Development of an integrated system of acquisition, exhibition, fruition and dissemination of a deeper historical consciousness of the European cultural heritage. A mid-term wider-public workshop will be held in Warsaw in Spring 2011.

The envisaged outcomes of phase 1 are:

1. A Historical Atlas of 17th century sites (organizer: University Greifswald) will show the spreading of social phenomena through a sequence of historical maps. This action will rest on a firm theoretical foundation of processes of cultural transfers and hybridisation (Peter Burke, Wolfgang Schmale) that will enable a comparative perspective related to the other European regions scrutinized by ENBaCH. The Atlas will especially focus on the diffusion of Baroque culture (architecture, libraries, art, literature) across the Baltic Sea, considered as an outstanding example for the spreading of Baroque culture from the South and Southwest to the North Europe.

2.    Exhibitions:
a) The Viceroys of Naples – Under the Shadow of Vesuvius (organizer University of Barcelona): divided in 4 sections, the exhibit will gather artefacts coming from Italy and Spain concerning life-style of the Spanish Viceroys, in order to support by evidence the “double-source” (that is Italy and Spain) of the Spanish Baroque presence in 17th Century Europe.
b) Baroque European Fantasies: Creating Exotic Space (organizer: University of Dresden): the exhibit shows the reconstruction of the personal library of Matthäus Daniel PÖPPELMANN (1662-1736), Dresden court architect and designer of the Zwinger, as an example of the ideal building forms of the time and the baroque architectural fantasies of the Saxon kings.
c) Baroque Bodies (organizer University of Wien): The exhibition will focus on the perception of the human body in the 17th C. – deeply influenced by contemporary political events – by gathering texts, artifacts, instruments, paintings, sculptures and evidences of the “silent language” of every day life and “ordinary people” dealing with their body perception.

3. On-line tourist circuits:
a) “Baroque” North Germany and the Southern Baltic Sea (organizer University of Greifswald): will offer the opportunity of highlighting the rich seventeenth-century heritage of the entire region. It will contribute to enhancing trans-national tourism, which is of great importance especially for the less industrialized regions such as Pomerania, Northern Poland and the Baltic States. At first, computer-animated virtual sightseeing-tours will be developed displaying not only former historical sites, but simultaneously offering an insight into the life of former times. In a second step, a real tourist circuit will be created around the Southern Baltic Sea region. A “Route of the Northern European Baroque” will be interlinked with the already existing tourist circuits and other circuits to be created by ENBaCH. A close cooperation with the local economy (hotels, travel-agencies, tourist-associations) will be implemented.
b) The Iberian and Spanish-Italian compound (organizer University of Teramo): will create an on-line tourist circuit of Baroque sites in the Iberian and Spanish-Italian compound, with particular attention to the circulation of cultural patterns and to the mutual influences between the different territories. This on-line circuit (the «Route of Spanish-Italian Baroque») will connect with the already existing tourist circuits  but will focus not only on the capitals cities (Madrid, Milan, Naples, Cagliari and Palermo) and their role as courts, political, administrative, economic and religious but also on the main centres of local development of the baroque culture. Especial attention will be paid to the tourist promotion of the sites where the mutual influence of artistic and cultural patterns from Spain to Spanish-Italian areas  is more relevant and to all the interesting sites that are little or not at all known in the actual tourist circuits.

4. Radio emissions (organizer University of Warsaw):  a series of radio transmissions aimed at a wide public, prepared in collaboration with professional teams experienced in cultural radio programs, highlighting the image of Central Europe as an area tightly linked to Western Europe but in the same time specific and peripheral, a transitional zone between European West and East. These transmissions will consist of talks with experts or teams of experts in different fields and will be illustrated with music, poetry and drama fragments presented by professional artists.

5. A virtual kit for the young historian (organizer University of Rome La Sapienza): an educational tool to provide primary and secondary school students and teachers of materials to learn and teach Baroque history “in laboratory”. Teaching/learning history in laboratory means to acquire skills for «reading» historical past, while discovering the «rules» of the historical game; that is to apprehend the language and the categories that the historian employs in making history, while replying them in laboratory with the teacher’s help. We will offer an on-line repository of different sorts of archives – of visual art artefacts, written documents, images of objects, collections of historical dates and personages, contemporary books, etc. – where the user will be able of surfing, collecting and putting together the items best suited for his/her research.

Step 2 will end with the Conference to be held in Wien (2012).

Step 3: Creating a European Institute for Baroque Cultural Heritage. The Institute is intended to become a permanent organization economically independent, that applies to be a European landmark for all the initiatives concerning the Baroque age and an agency for coordinating and developing actions of research, dissemination and protection of the Baroque cultural heritage.

Step 3 – and ENBaCH project – will end with a conference to be held in Rome (2013)

The Methodology

ENBaCH’s proponents are centers, groups and individual scholars working in different disciplinary and methodological fields: art, literature, natural philosophy, theology and religious practices, political theory and political institutions, economic and social interactions. Each of these fields has its own “epistemological canon” – the result of a long process of sedimentation – that organizes the fundamental questions, the hierarchies of the scientific issues and the methodological approaches of the field. We aim at elaborating an innovative interdisciplinary way of approaching the study of past events, that will cross disciplinary boundaries while keeping each discipline’s peculiarties.

ENBaCH’s goal is to reconstruct baroque society and culture without relying on the usual “grand narratives” but presenting baroque European peoples and societies, with all their different political, religious, and cultural histories, as the outcomes of contacts, exchanges, mutual influences, rivalries, challenges and conflicts. The interaction among different disciplinary approaches and scientific results serves this end by:

1. stressing the correlations among the different scientific fields in order to recompose a reality arbitrarily split by the dissimilar disciplinary canons;

2. exploiting the coherences and the contradictions emerging from the different classes of phenomena to reach a deeper knowledge of the society and culture at stake.

ENBaCH’s end is to widen the existing interdisciplinary cooperation and to adopt an approach that rejects arbitrary compartments of social and cultural phenomena that actually were a whole. Moreover, since ENBaCH aims at analyzing the circulation through Europe of ideas, aesthetics, institutions, cultural artefacts, social practices, etc. we must investigate the different media of this circulation. We thus intend to elaborate an original and innovative research method, able to cope with the complexity of the approaches and the multiplicity of the interconnections among the phenomena under scrutiny, as well as with the simultaneous use of heterogeneous series of data.

The idea is not only to improve the analysis of any coherent series of data with the suggestions coming from a contiguous research field but, more ambitiously, to generate new interpretive instruments through the systematic dialogue/confrontation between phenomena traditionally dealt with within different frameworks.

II ENBACH PARTNERSHIP MEETING – Barcelona, 5-6 November 2010

 AGENDA 

Friday 5  Morning

Arrival 

Friday 5,  h 14,30   

ENBaCH research and data-collection  

Plenary session

–         Initial objectives & state of advancement of the research (data collection, processing of data, design and management of data system, analysis and treatment of data-bases, etc.).

–         Presentation – by each partner – of:

–     main intermediate results

–     executive planning of further activities and corresponding budget allocations

Saturday 6, h 9.30  

ENBaCH intermediate results  

Working groups or Bi/Tri-lateral sessions:

–         Barcelona-Dresden-Wien: Exhibitions

–         Paris-Rome-Warszawa: Digital collections; Radio transmissions

–         Greisfwald-Teramo: Atlas; Tourists circuits 

Plenary session:

–         Web site management (editorial board) and implementation; Dissemination; Didactical activities

 Saturday  6, h 15,00

Enbach administrative and management aspects

–         Additional administrative aspects not yet included in the II Cooperat. agreem.: (communications to Eacea, authorizations to ask for, etc.)

–         Structure of local units,  first interim technical and administrative reports  (for 1st financial accountings)

–         Analysis of analytical templates of EACEA in attachment

–         Evidence of expenses to be sustained

–         Communication flows and future monitoring; 

Conclusions: 

–         Planning of travels and human resources for year 2011; next meetings and dissemination activities (mid-term conferences); 

–         corrective actions 

–         deadlines for official financial accountings with the auditors.

ENBaCH Kick-off Conference

Kick-off_Conference

Rome 22-23 October 2009
ENBaCH Kick-off Conference

22 October 9.30-18.30

Presentation Conference of the ENBaCH

9.30 – 11.15
1. Grant Agreement: discussion and approval
2. Deadlines, EC norms, timesheets

11.15-11.30 Coffee break

11.30-13.30
2. Activities of the local units:
website (Rome, Paris)
exhibitions (Barcelona, Dresden, Wien)
tourist circuits (Greifswald, Teramo)

13.30 – 14.30 Lunch

14.30 – 15.30
2. Activities of the local units:
atlas (Greifswald)
radio emissions (Warszawa)

15.30-17.00
3. Data collection and processing: criteria

17.00- 17.15 Coffee break

17.30-18.30
4. Cooperation with other Institutions
5. Related and/or useful websites

23 October  9.30-14.00

Presentation Conference of the ENBaCH