For a Human-Centered AI

History across geographical and chronological borders

February 7, 2023

The latest issue of ARO, the quarterly online journal which aims to offer a wide selection of reviews of recently published books on history from the early modern period to today

The journal – much like the Italian-German Historical Institute to which ARO belongs – has a particular emphasis on the Italian and German-speaking territories, but also focuses on European and global history at large. Moreover, the journal aims to cross not only geographical borders but also chronological and thematic ones: the books reviewed in ARO span the entire time period from the early modern to the contemporary era, and focus on a variety of topics.

The latest issue  of ARO has just been published online. As always, the issue opens with a Forum that focuses on a topic that is particularly relevant for the current historiographical debate. This time, that topic is fascism. Two reviewers have each written their reflections on two recently published books: L’ombra del duce: Il fascismo italiano in Germania by Wolfgang Schieder, and Rethinking fascism: The Italian and German dictatorships, edited by Andrea Di Michele and Filippo Focardi. The reviewers use their discussion of these books also as a way to reflect on the historiographical tendencies in research on fascism – a topic that has never lost its importance, but that has received even more attention during the centenary of the March on Rome in 2022.

ARO’s focus not only on topics from different time periods, but also on topics that span multiple periods at once, is clear already by looking at ARO’s various sections. In addition to the chronological sections “Early modern history“, “19th century”, and “Contemporary history”, ARO also has a section entitled “Cross-epochal“. Here, the reader can find books focusing on topics that would be impossible to contain within a specific time period. In the latest issue of ARO, this section contains reviews of books regarding topics such as the history of the Jews of Venice before the foundation of the ghetto, 1250-1516 (Renata Segre, Preludio al Ghetto di Venezia: Gli ebrei sotto i dogi, 1250-1516), the origins of Europe’s commercial society and the development of the capitalist system (Francesca Trivellato, Ebrei e capitalismo: Storia di una leggenda dimenticata), abuse in the Church from the early modern period to the present (Lorenzo Benadusi and Vincenzo Lagioia eds., In segreto: Crimini sessuali e clero tra età moderna e contemporanea), and the history of German communities outside Germany from 1750 to today (H. Glenn Penny, German history unbound: From 1750 to the present).

In geographical terms as well, the latest issue of ARO crosses many different borders. Just a few examples are the books that analyze the origins of the research policy of the European Union (Veera Mitzner, European Union research policy: Contested origins), the involvement of the Habsburg empire in the Mediterranean between 1500 and 1800 (Stefan Hanß and Dorothea McEwan eds., The Habsburg Mediterranean 1500-1800), Russian-German relations in the 20th century (Stefan Creuzberger, Das deutsch-russische Jahrhundert: Geschichte einer besonderen Beziehung), or the encounters between European travelers and Native American people in the 18th century (Giulia Iannuzzi, Geografie del tempo: Viaggiatori europei tra i popoli nativi nel Nord America del Settecento).

In addition to reviews of books on specific topics from political, social, economic, and cultural history, ARO also has a section on books concerning the practice of historiography: ‘Theory, methodology, teaching.’ For example, the book Public in public history (eds. Joanna Wojdon and Dorota Wiśniewska) provides a detailed overview of the many different ways in which historians nowadays engage with an audience of non-specialists. One of these ways of doing public history is the topic of another book review: the book Hidden cities (eds. Fabrizio Nevola, David Rosenthal, and Nicholas Terpstra) focuses on the use of a smartphone application to communicate historical research to a large audience.

The examples mentioned here are only a small part of the reviews featured in this latest issue of ARO. Indeed, the issue contains 25 book reviews, written by scholars from Italy, Belgium, France, and the United Kingdom. The journal is entirely available in Open Access. For more information, visit the website.

The author/s