Associate Professor of Italian Studies & History:
Phone: +1 401 863 2098
Caroline Castiglione examines how seemingly marginalized individuals challenged systems of power in Italy during the period 1500-1800. Her book, Patrons and Adversaries, examined how villagers successfully contested urban rule through the strategies of adversarial literacy. She now investigates the intersection of mothering and politics in seventeenth-century Rome. Her studies illuminate how subaltern groups used judicial means to change their position in society and in the family.
Caroline Castiglione writes about the political and cultural history of early modern Italy (1500-1800). She earned a B.A. in French in 1985 from Trinity University and a Ph.D. in history from Harvard University in 1995. Before coming to Brown in 2005, she taught history at the University of Texas at Austin, where she won the first prize awarded for excellence in teaching writing (2003). Her book Patrons and Adversaries: Nobles and Villagers in Italian Politics, 1640-1760 (Oxford, 2005) won the Helen and Howard R. Marraro Prize from the Society for Italian Historical Studies in 2005. In addition to her publications on politics in early modern Italy, she has also published articles related to her new project, Accounting for Affection: Mothering and Politics in Rome, 1630-1730, which examines the symbiotic evolution of politics and mothering in early modern Rome, where mothers did not hesitate to turn to the expanding judicial system if the future of their children were at stake. She teaches courses on microhistory, women's history, and law courts in early modern Italy.
Caroline Castiglione is a historian in the departments of Italian Studies and History. Her research interests are political, cultural, and women's history in Italy during the period 1500-1800. Her book, Patrons and Adversaries: Nobles and Villagers in Italian Politics, 1640-1760 (Oxford University Press, 2005) furthered our understanding of how vitally important governing was to every class of society in early modern Italy, including nobles and villagers. She focused on central Italy, specifically on the Roman countryside, typically viewed as a site of contestation between great aristocratic families and an expanding papal political regime. Patrons and Adversaries demonstrated that one prestigious aristocratic family, the Barberini, was not squeezed out of governing by the extension of the papal bureaucracy, but rather became increasingly engaged with it between the late seventeenth and mid-eighteenth centuries. Through their activities in the rural commune, villagers in an extensive territory belonging to the family also became active participants in governing the countryside. Villagers cultivated and exploited interference from the aristocratic family and the papal government, but they also kept urban elites at bay, defending their rights through the strategies she called "adversarial literacy." Villagers cobbled these literate practices together from their mastery of their constitutions, from debating in the village assembly, from dragging their feet in the payment of dues and dragging their lords into papal courts. In its later manifestations, adversarial literacy involved villagers writing and interpreting sources for themselves in order to challenge the monopoly on text-making claimed by ruling elites in Rome. A lost world of increasingly savvy villagers, irate nobles, and exasperated bureaucrats is analyzed to illustrate how villagers challenged who controlled the rural world, using texts and ideas that urban elites had exported to the countryside for other purposes.
Prof. Castiglione has published articles related to her current research project, Accounting for Affection, which examines the symbiotic evolution of politics and mothering in early modern Rome, where mothers did not hesitate to turn to the expanding judicial system if the future of their children were at stake. By examining comparatively a range of maternal sources -- women's legal activities, their letters, and their daily routines of caring for children -- Castiglione uses a microhistorical approach to analyze the intersection of maternal affection, female advocacy, and family conflict in the papal city.
In both projects she has been concerned with how seemingly marginalized individuals were able to challenge the systems of power relations that in theory left them without a voice. Both projects required archival sleuthing in obscure places rarely utilized village archives or sources not always well catalogued because they pertained to women. Such archival excursions further our understanding of the ways that subaltern groups used non-violent judicial and literate means to broaden received beliefs about their rights in society and in the family. In both teaching and writing, she emphasizes the gradual and collective elements of this process and the irrecoverable anonymity of many who contributed to it.
2009-2010: American Council of Learned Societies Fellowship
2009-2010: Howard Foundation Fellowship
2007: Salomon Award, Brown University
2005: Helen and Howard R. Marraro Prize from the Society for Italian Historical Studies (for Patrons and Adversaries: Nobles and Villagers in Italian Politics, 1640-1760)
2003: Prize for Excellence in Writing Instruction, University of Texas at Austin
1999: American Council of Learned Societies Fellow
1999: Gladys Krieble Delmas Fellow
American Historical Association
Society for Italian Historical Studies
Renaissance Society of America
Caroline Castiglione teaches history courses (cross-listed in Italian Studies and History) that cover the history of Italy from the Renaissance to the Enlightenment. With Prof Evie Lincoln in History of Art and Architecture, she team teaches an interdisciplinary undergraduate course, "Word, Image, and Power: Italy in the Renaissance." She has also taught courses that examine legal evidence (Truth on Trial), a first-year seminar on Machiavelli, courses on Renaissance and Early Modern Italy, and graduate courses on microhistory and methodology.
Research Funding since 1999:
2011 Curricular Grant, Brown University
2009-2010 American Council of Learned Societies Fellowship
2009-2010 Howard Foundation Fellowship
2007 Salomon Award, Brown University
2004 Summer Research Assignment, University of Texas at Austin
2002 Texas Humanities Institute Fellow, University of Texas
Travel Grant, Office of the Dean, College of Liberal Arts, University of Texas
2001 Dean's Fellowship, College of Liberal Arts, University of Texas
Special Research Grant, University of Texas
2000 Research Grant, University of Texas
Proposal Award, Office of the Dean, College of Liberal Arts, University of Texas
1999 American Council of Learned Societies
Gladys Krieble Delmas Fellow
Faculty Research Assignment, University of Texas
Special Research Grant, University of Texas