Angelo Torre is Full Professor of Early Modern History at the Università del Piemonte Orientale (Italy). He has held teaching positions at the Universities of Turin, Palermo, Genoa, and research fellowships at the Shelby Culhom Davis Center for Historical Studies, Princeton University (1989). He was granted the Einaudi Chair at Cornell University (2000), and Directeur d’études associé at the EHESS Paris (1990, 1994, 1997, 2003, 2009, 2010). Since 2013 he has been Editor in chief of the international journal Quaderni storici. His last book, Luoghi. Produzione di località nell’età moderna e contemporanea, 2011, addresses a microhistorical approach to space (2nd revised edition and translation : Routledge, 2019).
History of historical writing, methods of local history, historical anthropology, micropolitics, Catholic popular religion, legal pluralism, methods of applied history, commons and heritage studies.
Claiming the common good? Local resources, culture of possession and social bodies in the Old Régime
My project aims to study the problem of the commons between the 15th and the 19th century as local resources. It approaches the topic in a new historical perspective based on the convergence of manifold disciplines: history of law, geography, historical ecology, anthropology and history, the discipline that I am professionally trained in. I investigate resources and practices in a "situated" way, that is without dissociating them from the people who used them, their motivations and aspirations. This approach has the merit of separating the analysis of "common goods" from ideological superstructures – communism, liberalism, cooperation, government etc. – that have conditioned their analysis until now. Such “emic” approach is possible today thanks to the plural rethinking of basic categories of current juridical science, such as private, public and common, and to the recognition of new “institutional” properties of action. At the same time, it tries to refigure historical categories of the local: the spatial turn allows us to rethink local societies beyond the sociological concept of community and /or the administrative commune. New protagonists come to the surface, and new uses of history in the contemporary world can be imagined.