A lecture by
Diego Pirillo, University of California, Berkeley
The establishment of permanent embassies in fifteenth-century Italy has traditionally been regarded as the moment of transition between medieval and modern diplomacy. This talk proposes an alternative history of early modern diplomacy, centered not on states and their official representatives but around the figure of "the refugee-diplomat." Through a trove of diplomatic and mercantile letters, inquisitorial records, literary texts, and marginalia, the talk recovers the agency of religious refugees in international affairs, revealing their impact on the emergence of early modern diplomatic culture and practice.
Diego Pirillo (Ph.D., Scuola Normale Superiore) is Associate Professor of Italian Studies at the University of California, Berkeley. He is the director of REMS and affiliated faculty in the Center for the Study of Religion, the Institute of European Studies, and the Program in Critical Theory. Prof. Pirillo specializes in the cultural and intellectual history of early modern Europe and the Atlantic world, with an emphasis on Italy, England and early America. His latest book The Refugee-Diplomat: Venice, England and the Reformation (Ithaca: Cornell University Press, 2018) won the 2019 MLA Aldo and Jeanne Scaglione Prize in Italian Studies.