Lectures, conversations, performances

Storia notturna and the End of the World

With Giulia Damiani, Carlo Ginzburg, Ulrich van Loyen, Erhard Schüttpelz, Dorothy Zinn and others

Sat, Dec 10, 2022
Auditorium
2–7.30 pm
Free admission

In English

Updates and program information:
HKW Newsletter

Mariana Castillo Deball, Coatlicue, 2010, courtesy the artist

In Storia notturna: Una decifrazione del sabba (1989), historian Carlo Ginzburg deploys his historiographic method of “microhistory" in order to give voice to marginal communities otherwise omitted from established narratives of history. At the same time, the book constitutes an experiment in “macrohistory," exploring relationships between morphology and history, and identifying interpretive issues at work within Western epistemologies. Anthropologist and historian of religions Ernesto de Martino also examined these contradictions in his final work La fine del mondo (1977), framing the twentieth century as an existential crisis, which he termed “the end of the world.” The end of capitalism and the dominance of Western culture does not, he asserted, preclude the possibility of another and better civilization.

2 pm
Bag Pipe Concert Performance
Alberico Larato with his sons Guglielmo Larato and Giuseppe Mattia Larato

2.20 pm
Welcome & Introduction
Anselm Franke

2.30 pm
Lecture by Erhard Schüttpelz

3 pm
Lecture
Storia Notturna
Carlo Ginzburg

Storia notturna. Una decifrazione del sabba (1989) (in English: Ecstasies. Deciphering the Witches’ Sabbath; in German: Hexensabbat. Entzifferung einer nächtlichen Geschichte) has been alternatively described as a peculiar example of microhistory, or as an experiment in macrohistory. Carlo Ginzburg’s first book, I benandanti (1966) (in English: The Night Battles; in German: Die Benandanti) analyzed a series of 16th century Inquisition trials against some Friulian peasants, men and women, who claimed to fight against witches. This case raised a series of general questions about the history of witchcraft, which were tentatively answered in Ecstasies, shifting from Friuli to Eurasia. This shift, as well as the interaction between morphology and history which was at the center of it, have been hotly discussed.

Lecture by Dorothy Zinn

Ernesto de Martino (1908-1965) was an influential Italian intellectual. His early speculative research and subsequent fieldwork in Southern Italy informed his unfinished project, La fine del mondo (The End of the World), a book in which de Martino examines apocalypse across history and cultures. Through a comparative analysis embracing modern literature and art, psychiatry, religious history, ethnology and philosophy, La fine del mondo sketches an original theory of human Dasein and culture.

5pm
Lecture
Neapolitan diplomacies: A devotion and its afterlife
Ulrich van Loyen

The Neapolitan cult of the “Anime del Purgatorio” serves as a critique of patron-client-relationships and church religion by introducing an idealized model of reciprocal gift exchange. The cult also provides an idea of the unity of the city and functions as a remedy against the loss of kinship ties. It repairs lacerations, while it is itself based on negativity: the human remains which lead to adopt the dead are of anonymous origin. Loyen explores the transformation of the negative into a resource and how this becomes a poetic strategy for urban life in general. Referring to his ethnography on the subject he will also discuss theoretical perspectives and methodological insights by Ernesto de Martino and Carlo Ginzburg.

Conversation with Ulrich van Loyen and Dorothy Zinn, moderated by Elisa Giuliano

6.30 pm
Performance by Giulia Damiani

Bag Pipe Concert Performance
Alberico Larato with his sons Guglielmo Larato and Giuseppe Mattia Larato