Disciplining History. Censorship and Historiography in Early Modern Europe (2012-2014)

Historical literature has a conspicuous presence at the indices of forbidden and expurgated books of the sixteenth century. However, the study of the ecclesiastical censorship of historiography in Early Modern Europe has been neglected by historians of historiography and historians of book censorship alike, specially if we consider it in comparison to the research devoted so far to the prohibition and expurgation of other genres as, for instance, religious literature and fiction. The main objective of this project is to satisfy this long-felt need and provide a thorough and systematic survey of the ecclesiastical censorship of historical literature in the Early Modern Age. Such a survey means to determine and classify the wide variety of historical works included in the indices, but it also aims at exploring the reasons behind this presence and the effects that the censorship of historical literature had on the conception and development of the discipline. Thus, this study will be focused on the theoretical premises and effective consequences of censoring history, but it will also be concerned about the material and methodological consequences of censorship for the idea and practice of historical scholarship in the sixteenth century. So, the project will approach the formation of the discipline from a new perspective, assuming that censorship of historical literature, that is, the need of suppressing, controlling and shaping historical discourse, may imply a whole set of significant ideas about the ends, effects and power of history as a branch of knowledge. By analyzing historical scholarship from this disregarded point of view, this study may fill a relevant gap too in the history of early modern historiography.