Alessandro Buono

325c8399c54ad2b88b530dbf83256390Marie Skłodowska-Curie Fellow



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Current Research Project: “Global Inheritances”

The aim of “Global Inheritances” (Marie Skłodowska-Curie IF 2014) is to study the ways in which the institutions of the early modern Spanish Empire identified the legitimate heirs of mobile individuals coming from the Iberian peninsula who died suddenly, often without making a will, while they were in the monarchy’s extra-European territories, thousands of kilometres away from their home towns.

In the context of a global scale empire, and in the absence of reliable official documentation such as civil and property registers and technologies such as photography or biometric identification, both the property and identity of these mobile individuals was extremely uncertain. Who were the deceased? What property did they own? Who and where were their heirs? When they died thousands of kilometres away from Europe, how did the institutions transmit the inheritance to their legitimate heirs? How could the courts be sure who they were? How could heirs demonstrate their identities in order to safeguard their rights to succession?

For those hundreds of thousands of subjects of the Catholic monarchy on the move around four different continents – and for their families too – identifying themselves and demonstrating their identities was an urgent and growing need. Demonstrating their identities in court was a fundamental pre requisite for heirs claiming inherited property and, even more importantly, ensuring legitimate property inheritance was a central priority of the institutions themselves.

Over the course of the sixteenth century, in fact, the Catholic Monarchy set up specific courts, the so-called Juzgados de Bienes de Difuntos (courts charged with handling the estates of the dead), to take temporary possession of goods left without owners and for the purposes of identifying their legitimate heirs. This project will analyse the extraordinary documentation produced by these courts, in order to reexamine some historical and, in general, social sciences paradigms by contributing in an innovative way to debates on personal identification procedures and socio-political belonging.

Short CV

After graduating with merit in history at the University of Milan in 2004, I had my PhD at the University of Florence (2005-2008) in Early Modern and Modern Age Historical Studies. My PhD dissertation was awarded best doctoral thesis in the humanities at Florence University in 2008 and was thus published in 2009 by Firenze University Press.

In addition to my previous studies in Humanities, in 2008 I added study experience in Political Science faculties to my interdisciplinary training with a Postgraduate International Master Degree in History and Comparative Studies of Political and Legal Institutions in Mediterranean Europe (University of Messina, University of Milan, University of Cordova). From 2008 to 2011 I took summer schools in Spain (Universidad de Córdoba, Universidad Autónoma de Madrid) and a two year specialisation fellowship abroad at Madrid’s Universidad Nacional de Educación a Distancia.

In 2012-13 I was awarded a year’s post-doctoral fellowship at University of Milan and in 2014 a year’s post-doctoral fellowship at University of Padua (March 2014-February 2015).

In 2015 I was awarded a three year’s post-doctoral fellowship at CIDEHUS-University of Évora (Portugal) and the Marie Skłodowska-Curie Fellowship at École des hautes études en sciences sociales (Paris, France).

I have been taking part in Italian research projects funded by MIUR-Ministero dell’Università e della Ricerca (PRIN, FIRB) since 2005 and am currently involved in the GDRI Progect (Groupement de recherche international, CNRS) “Appartenance locale et communauté politique : relations sociales, droits, revendications”. I take part in international research networks (Red Columnaria; ‘MaTriX. Laboratorio di Storia, Sociologia e Scienza delle Istituzioni’; CEPOC, for which I set up and act as webmaster for the <> portal) and I am a member of academic associations (SISEM, ASPHS).

I have taught at Ca’ Foscari University of Venice and at University of Milan and I am a member of the editorial committee for the peer-reviewed Società e Storia journal and the ‘MaTriX. Laboratorio di Storia, Sociologia e Scienza delle Istituzioni’ (QuiEdit, Verona) book series.

My initial research interests were the history of political and military institutions in the early modern period. My doctoral thesis enquired into the birth of the barracks in the early modern period and systems of military billeting relating military phenomena with fiscal and institutional ones with special attention to relationships between army, state and society in Spanish Lombardy (the results of this research were published in a 2009 monograph). I have also examined the early modern border history, seventeenth and eighteenth century aristocracies, professional confraternities in the Venetian Republic, prisoners of war and the history of battle (the subject on which I co-edited a book published in 2014).

Since the end of 2010 my main field of research has been the history of identification procedures, property and inheritance rights in Italy and in the Spanish Empire, a subject on which I have written a number of essays and Italian and international conference papers.

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• “Prisonnier de guerre ou prisonnier d’Etat? D. Duarte de Bragance au Château de Milan (1642-1649)”, in Les prisonniers de guerre à l’époque moderne. (Seconde moitié du XVIe-1815), edited by Y. Lagadec, Rennes, Presses Universitaires de Rennes

• “El “gobierno de la necesidad” y la lealtad de los vasallos: guerra, élites y cuerpos territoriales en el Estado de Milán durante el reinado de Felipe IV”, in La Monarquía de Felipe IV, edited by J. Martínez Millán, M. Rivero Rodríguez, Madrid, MAPFRE [under peer review]


Esercito, istituzioni, territorio. Alloggiamenti militari e «case herme» nello Stato di Milano (secoli XVI e XVII), Firenze, Firenze University Press, 2009 [DOWNLOAD]

Edited Books

Battaglie. L’evento, l’individuo, la memoria, a cura di Alessandro Buono e Gianclaudio Civale, Palermo, Associazione Mediterranea, 2014 [DOWNLOAD]

Journal Articles and Book Chapters

• “The construction of a professional minority. “Istrian pilots” in early modern Venice (15th-18th centuries)”, in People and goods on the move. Merchants, Networks and Communication Routes in the Medieval and early Modern Mediterranean, edited by Ö. Çaikent, L. Zavagno, (4th International Conference of Mediterranean Worlds, Istanbul – Sept. 2012), Fisciano (SA), ICSR Mediterranean Knowledge, 2016 [in press]

• “Representation of interests and institutional changes in the State of Milan across the 17th and 18th centuries. Notes and possible avenues of research”, in The Transition in Europe between XVII and XVIII centuries. Perspectives and case studies, edited by A. Álvarez-Ossorio, C. Cremonini, E. Riva, Milano, FrancoAngeli, 2016 [DOWNLOAD]

• (with Matteo Di Tullio and Mario Rizzo) “Per una storia economica e istituzionale degli alloggiamenti militari in Lombardia tra XV e XVII secolo”, in Storia Economica, 1, 2016, pp. 187-218. [DOWNLOAD]

• «El hereditario buen gusto de aquella familia». Los Silva de Biandrate: asientos militares y estrategias de ennoblecimiento en el Estado de Milán entre los siglos XVII y XVIII, in Estrategias culturales y circulación de la nueva nobleza en Europa (1570-1707), edited by G. Muto and A. Terrasa Lozano, Aranjuez, Ediciones Doce Calles, 2015, pp. 45-71 [DOWNLOAD]

• “La manutenzione dell’identità. L’identificazione degli eredi legittimi nello Stato di Milano e nella Repubblica di Venezia (secoli XVII e XVIII)”, Quaderni Storici, 148/1, 2015, pp. 231-266 [DOWNLOAD]

• “Il governo straordinario e la “pazienza dei vassalli”. Riflessioni attorno alla “crisi politica generale” del Seicento”, in Strategie politiche e governance delle istituzioni, a cura di G. Ambrosino, L. De Nardi, Verona, QuiEdit Editrice, 2015, pp. 57-76 [DOWNLOAD]

• “Le procedure di identificazione come procedure di contestualizzazione. Persone e cose nelle cause per eredità vacanti (Stato di Milano, secc. XVI-XVIII)”, in Procedure, metodi, strumenti per l’identificazione delle persone e per il controllo del territorio, (atti del seminario internazionale, Università di Messina, 10-11 dicembre 2010), a cura di L. Antonielli, Soveria Mannelli, Rubbettino, 2014, pp. 35-65 [DOWNLOAD]

• “Identificazione e registrazione dell’identità. Una proposta metodologica”, Mediterranea. Ricerche storiche, 30, aprile 2014, pp. 107-120 [DOWNLOAD]

• (with Gianclaudio Civale) “Introduzione”, in Battaglie. L’evento, l’individuo, la memoria, a cura di A. Buono e G. Civale, Palermo, Associazione Mediterranea, 2014, pp. 7-16 [DOWNLOAD]

• (with Massimo Petta) “Il racconto della battaglia. La guerra e le notizie a stampa nella Milano degli Austrias (secoli XVI-XVII)”, in Battaglie. L’evento, l’individuo, la memoria, a cura di A. Buono e G. Civale, Palermo, Associazione Mediterranea, 2014, pp. 187-248 [DOWNLOAD]

• “Amministrazione militare e gestione dell’esercito in uno stato ‘pre-amministrativo’. Il caso della Lombardia spagnola (sec. XVII)”, Archivio Storico Italiano, CLXVII, 621 (3), 2009, pp. 521-551 [DOWNLOAD]

• “Guerra, élites locali e monarchia nella Lombardia del seicento. Per un’interpretazione in chiave di compromesso di interessi”, Società e Storia, XXX, 123, 2009, pp. 3-30 [DOWNLOAD]

• “Frontiere politiche, fiscali e corporative dello Stato di Milano. La conquista ed il mantenimento del presidio di Vercelli (1638-1650)”, in Alle frontiere della Lombardia. Politica, guerra e religione nell’età moderna, a cura di C. Donati, Milano, Franco Angeli, 2006, pp. 151-176 [DOWNLOAD]

Minor Writings

• “Discussione”, in L. Antonielli (a cura di), La polizia sanitaria: dall’emergenza alla gestione della quotidianità [Seminario di Studi, Messina, 12-13 dicembre 2008], Soveria Mannelli, Rubbettino, 2015, p. 255 [DOWNLOAD]

• Coordination of the Panel: “Linguaggi e pratiche dell’identità. Le procedure di identificazione e la pubblica fama tra Europa e Nuovo Mondo durante l’età moderna”; conference: “Attraverso la Storia – III Edizione: Spazi, reti, linguaggi. In ricordo di Elena Fasano Guarini” (Roma, 23-25 ottobre 2014) [DOWNLOAD]

• “Discussione”, in L. Antonielli (a cura di), Polizia Militare. Military Policing, Soveria Mannelli, Rubbettino, 2013, pp. 340-341 [DOWNLOAD]

• Coordination of the Panel: “La complessità di Marte. Percorsi di ricerca e linee di indagine sulla storia del «militare»” (paper “Modelli e tecniche amministrative nella gestione del mantenimento degli eserciti di antico regime”); conference: “Attraverso la Storia. Seminario SISEM di giovani studiosi e studiose dell’Età Moderna” (Arezzo, 23-25 settembre 2010) [DOWNLOAD]

Book Reviews

• “R. Bizzocchi, I cognomi degli italiani. Una storia lunga 1000 anni, Roma-Bari, Laterza, 2014”, Società e Storia, [forthcoming]

• “A. Addobbati, R. Bizzocchi, G. Salinero (a cura di), L’Italia dei cognomi. L’antroponimia italiana nel quadro mediterraneo, Pisa, Pisa University Press, 2012”, Società e Storia, 145, pp. 562-564

• “C. Lucrezio Monticelli, La polizia del Papa. Istituzioni di controllo sociale a Roma nella prima metà dell’Ottocento, Rubbettino, Soveria Mannelli, 2012”, Società e Storia, 142, 2013, pp. 805-807

• “P. Anselmi, “Conservare lo Stato”. Politica di difesa e pratica di governo nella Lombardia spagnola fra XVI e XVII secolo, Milano, Unicopli, 2008”, Società e Storia, 127, 2010, pp. 190-192

• “B. Yun Casalilla (a cura di), Las Redes del Imperio. Élites sociales en la articulación de la monarquía hispánica, 1492-1714”, Archivio Storico Italiano, CLXVIII, 625 (3), 2010, pp. 591-594

• “K. Schlögel,  Leggere il tempo nello spazio. Saggi di storia e geopolitica, Milano, Bruno Mondadori, 2009”, Archivio Storico Italiano, CLXVIII, 624 (2), 2010, pp. 420-421

• “C. Donati e B.R. Kroener (a cura di), Militari e società civile nell’Europa dell’età moderna (secoli XVI-XVIII)”, Archivio Storico Italiano, CLXVII, 620 (2), 2009, pp. 409-410

• “E. De Cristofaro, La sovranità in frammenti. La semantica del potere in Michel Foucault e Niklas Luhmann”, Archivio Storico Italiano, CLXVII, 619 (1), 2009, pp. 191-192

• “F. Benigno e L. Scuccimarra (a cura di), Il governo dell’emergenza. Poteri straordinari e di guerra in Europa tra XVI e XX secolo”, Archivio Storico Italiano, CLXVII, 619 (1), 2009, pp. 183-184

• “D. Maffi, Il baluardo della corona. Guerra, esercito, finanze e società nella Lombardia seicentesca (1630-1660)”, Archivio Storico Italiano, CLXVI, 618 (4), 2008, pp. 788-790


• L. Ribot García, “Soldati spagnoli in Italia. Il castello di Milano alla fine del XVI secolo”, in Militari e società civile nell’Europa dell’età moderna (XVI-XVIII secolo), Atti della XLVII settimana di studio, Trento, 13-17 settembre 2004, a cura di C. Donati e B.R Kroener, Bologna, il Mulino, 2008

• X.L. Barreiro Rivas, “L’identità politica emergente nella penisola iberica (secoli VIII-XIV)”, in Europa in costruzione. La forza delle identità la ricerca di unità (secoli IX-XIII), Atti della XLVI settimana di studio, Trento 15-19 settembre 2003, a cura di G. Cracco, J. Le Goff, H. Keller e G. Ortalli, Bologna, il Mulino, 2007

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