Sie sind hier: FRIAS School of History Fellows Prof. Dr. Edoardo Tortarolo

Prof. Dr. Edoardo Tortarolo

Università del Piemonte orientale

Freiburg Institute for Advanced Studies (FRIAS)
School of History
D-79104 Freiburg im Breisgau


Born 1956; 1980 MA, University of Turin, 1981-1982 Fellowship , Fondazione Luigi Einaudi; 1982 Fellowship, John Carter Brown Library, Brown University; 1983 Fellowship, European University Institute; 1985 Fellowship, Institut für Europäische Geschichte; 1987 PhD in History, University of Turin; 1988-1991 Fellowship, Alexander von Humboldt-Stiftung, TU Berlin and Freiburg University; 1990 Federico Chabod Prize, Accademia dei Lincei; 1992-2000 Associate Professor of Early Modern History, University of Turin; 1991-present main Editor of Storia della Storiografia; 1995- 2000 secretary general, Commission de théorie et d'histoire de l'historiographie (CISH); 1997-98, Leibniz-Professor, Universität-Leipzig; 1998 Fellowship, Zentrum Europäische Aufklärung; 2000-present  Full Professor of Early Modern History, University of Eastern Piedmont; 2001 Fellowship, Mario Einaudi Centre for European Studies Fellowship, Cornell University; 2001- 2004 Dean, Faculty of Letters and Philosophy, University of Eastern Piedmont; 2006 Member, Institute for Advanced Study, Princeton; 2009 Visiting Lecturer, IUSS, Pavia; 2010 Fulbright Distinguished Lecturer in Italian History, Northwestern University; 2011Visiting Professor, Department of History, Northwestern University; 2012-2013 FRIAS Fellowship

PUBLICATIONS (10 selected)

  • Illuminismo e rivoluzioni. Biografia politica di Filippo Mazzei, Milano 1986
  • La ragione sulla Sprea. Coscienza storica e cultura politica nell'illuminismo berlinese, Bologna 1989
  • Laicismo, Bari 1998
  • L'Illuminismo. Ragioni e dubbi di una modernità europea, Roma 1999
  • Gelehrsamkeit in Deutschland und Italien im 18. Jahrhundert. Kontakte, Übersetzungen, Institutionen/Letterati, erudizione e società scientifiche negli spazi italiani e tedeschi del ’700, Tübingen 1999 (co-editor with Giorgio Cusatelli, Maria Lieber, Heinz Thoma)
  • La ragione interpretata. La mediazione culturale tra Italia e Germania nell’età dell’Illuminismo, Roma 2003
  • Der Garten und die Moderne. Epikureische Moral und Politk vom Humanismus bis zur Aufklärung, Stuttgart 2004 (co-editor with Gianni Paganini)
  • Diesseits and Jenseits der Alpen. Deutsche und italienische Kultur im 18. Jahrhundert,  Leipzig 2011
  • L’invenzione della libertà di stampa. Scrittori e censura nel Settecento, Roma 2011
  • The Oxford History of Historical Writing: Volume 3: 1400-1800, Oxford 2012 (co-editor with J. Rabasa, M. Sato and D. Woolf)



"A European History of the Revolutionary Transition (1770-1820): Religion and Politics"

This research is interested in reinterpreting the development of a crucial phase of the social differentiation that is supposed to be the central element of the secularization theory. Rejecting a teleological view of the secularization process, the aim of this research is to focus on the revolutionary period 1770-1820, when a major attempt was made to redefine the nexus binding politics and the traditional understanding of religion. The peculiarity and coherence of this experiment as well as its impact have been overlooked: in fact, historical assessments have most recently stressed its intrinsic fallacy or its manipulative and devastating effects on the popular tradition, as a form of domestic imperialism.  This research intends to raise the question to what extent the distinctive European tradition of the interaction between the civil power and the religious hierarchies went through a significant transformation in those 50 years and to what extent it has contributed to a specific European identity. In fact, it can hardly be denied that the separation of different spheres of human activity was consistently enhanced by a variety of civil institutions, interested in breaking the monopoly that to varying degrees Christian churches still pursued in relation to the intellectual notions that shaped social activities as diverse as the practice of justice, education, marriage, science. While it is fair to stress that this experiment in redefining the boundaries between the civil and the religious has been highly controversial, from a historical perspective it has marked an innovative reinterpretation of the dispute over the foundations and legitimate exercise of political authority and has had an impact on European intellectual mindset until now.