4. A Digital Exploration of 16th-Century Heretical Networks in the Italian Medical Context: Methodological Challenges and Research Perspectives

  • Alessandra Celati


After the Reformation began in 1517, Protestant ideas soon crossed the Alps and spread out of Italian cities, fascinating (especially, but not exclusively) the humanists and scholars who were part of the late-Renaissance intellectual environment. In particular, between the 1530s and the 1590s a great number of Italian physicians absorbed, promoted, and re-elaborated, often in radical terms, the reformed and heretical discourse.

In this article I am presenting some research perspectives and methodological challenges concerning the application of social network research and digital humanities tools to the history of 16th-century religious dissent. In particular, I will discuss and examine the reconstruction, out of a sample of 200 cases, of a network of dissident physicians who faced religious repression and opposed dogmatic confessional boundaries in Italy, and in their European diaspora, as a part of my own ongoing interdisciplinary research.


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