Series of lectures by Carlo Ginzburg
16:30 – 18:00
Schema and Bias: A Historian’s Reflection on Double-Blind Experiments.
Can double-blind experiments, used in medicine to test the effectiveness of a medicament, throw some light on the historian’s approach to evidence, objectivity and proof? The lecture will explore this tentative analogy through a few case studies, arguing that its implications suggest a new approach to some of the most debated aspects of Ludwik Fleck’s Genesis and Development of a Scientific Fact (1935) – a seminal book which famously inspired Thomas Kuhn’s The Structure of Scientific Revolutions (1962).
18:10 – 19:40
Aby Warburg's Scissors.
Among the notions put forward by Aby Warburg, the notion of Pathosformeln (formulas of pathos , formulas of emotion) has been arguably the most influential. The lecture will show, on the basis of new evidence, that the context in which the notion emerged throws an unexpected light on a crucial feature of Warburg’s entire oeuvre: a deep tension between a historical and an extrahistorical (morphological) perspective. An example taken from the Mnemosyne atlas will illustrate this point.
18:10 – 21:00
In his posthumously published metodological reflections (Apologie pour l’histoire, ou Métier d’historien) Marc Bloch regarded the historians's approach to evidence against the intentions of those who produced it "as a victory of intelligence over mere factuality". The lecture will deal will the long term history of this approach, as well with its implications.
18:10 – 19:40
On Small Differences: Ekphrasis and Connoisseurship.
Descriptions of real or imaginary works of art (ekphraseis) inspired a well known rhetorical genre which is part of the legacy of Greek antiquity to European culture. The lecture will explore a less known aspect of ekphraseis: their cognitive potential in connoisseurship. Two case studies will be discussed, dealing, respectively, with a short article by Philip Pouncey and a longer essay by Roberto Longhi. To what extent a verbal description can pave the way to the attribution of a visual artifact (a drawing, a painting, a sculpture)? Some general remarks on the relationship between words and images will follow.