This series aims at highlighting the stories of many Italian artists, scientists, and intellectuals who were forced to leave Italy for political reasons, or after the proclamation of the racial laws, and moved to the United States. The focus of the conversations is on how their exile has changed their personal lives, and also influenced the Italian and American cultural scene, in between the two wars.
The last event of the series is a conversation between two of the most renowned historians of our time: Carlo Ginzburg and Saul Friedländer.
Carlo Ginzburg (April 15, 1939 – Turin, Italy) is a noted Italian historian, the son of Natalia Ginzburg, a novelist, and Leone Ginzburg, a philologist, historian, and literary critic. Ginzburg received a PhD from the University of Pisa in 1961. He subsequently held teaching positions at the University of Bologna, at the University of California, Los Angeles (1988–2006), and st the Scuola Normale Superiore in Pisa. His fields of interest range from the Italian Renaissance to early modern European history, with contributions to art history, literary studies, and the theory of historiography.
He is best known for Il Formaggio e i Vermi – The Cheese and the Worms (1976), which examines the beliefs of Menocchio, a 16th century miller twice undergoing trial by the Roman Inquisition. In this book, Ginzburg highlights, on the basis of an analysis of the trial’s papers, the different aspects of the surprisingly varied universe of Menocchio’s cultural, philosophical, political and religious orientations, only to a small extent due to the influence of a “higher” culture. In 1966, he published The Night Battles, an examination of the benandanti’s visionary folk tradition found in sixteenth- and seventeenth-century Friuli in northeastern Italy. He returned to looking at the visionary traditions of early modern Europe for his 1989 book Ecstasies: Deciphering the Witches’ Sabbath.
In the eighties he directed the “Microstorie” series published by Einaudi, with Giovanni Levi. He is part of the scientific council of the magazine Communications. He is Academic Correspondent of the Academy of Arts of Drawing, in Florence, and honorary member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. He received the Prix Aby Warburg in 1992 and, in 2005, the Feltrinelli Prize of the Accademia dei Lincei, for Historical Sciences. From the Accademia dei Lincei, in 2010, he was awarded the Balzan Prize. His books are translated into more than twenty languages.
Saul Friedländer (October 11, 1932) is an Israeli/American historian and currently Professor Emeritus of History at UCLA. From 1953-55, he studied Political Science in Paris; in 1963, he received a PhD from the Graduate Institute of International Studies in Geneva, where he taught until 1988. Friedländer also taught at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem and at Tel Aviv University. In 1969 he wrote a biography of Kurt Gerstein. Since 1988 he has been Professor of History at the University of California, Los Angeles.
He is considered one of the world’s premier historians in the field of the Holocaust, and the author of the definitive book Nazi-Germany and the Jews 1933-1945, thst has transformed our understanding of this period by weaving into a coherent whole the perspectives of ordinary Germans, party activists, military and political figures, and, most importantly, victims and survivors. Drawing from documents, films, recollections, and his personal experience, he reconstructs these events with a judicious tone that defies the nature of the subject and demonstrates the interplay of memory and representation in the interpretation of historic events. Friedländer shows that a rational and many-sided reinterpretation of the evidence deepens a reader’s understanding of the nature, meaning, and complexity of the Holocaust.
His works include Pius XII and the Third Reich, (1965), History and Psychoanalysis (1979), When Memory Comes (1979), Reflections on Nazism (1984), Nazi Germany and the Jews, Volume One: The Years of Persecution, 1933-1939 (1997), and Nazi Germany and the Jews, Volume Two: The Years of Extermination, 1939-1945 (2008).
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