Global Dispersal: Extra-European Peoples and Goods between Renaissance Lisbon and Florence - 2.11.2017

Workshop with Prof. Kate Lowe (Queen Mary University of London)

At first glance, Renaissance Florence might appear an unlikely place to find traces of the worldwide Portuguese trading empire that by the mid sixteenth century encompassed the whole of Africa, India and the Far East. Florentine involvement may be categorised as largely indirect, but it took the form of ‘new’ peoples and goods being quickly inserted into the culture, fabric and spaces of fifteenth and sixteenth-century Florence. This workshop will examine the trajectories of Lisbon and Florence side by side. It will look at connections between the two cities, and at the effects of empire in both places, by focusing on selected parts of the population, types of object and specific global sites within the cities. For instance, whereas 10% of the population of Lisbon was estimated to be from sub-Saharan Africa by 1500, Florence had a much smaller, but highly visible, black population, imported from Lisbon as domestic slaves. The terminology used in relation to these peoples and objects – particularly with regard to their presumed places of origin – will also be analysed and compared.

When & Where

Thursday, 2 November


Block 1: 9.30 -11.00 am
Coffee break: 11.00 -11.30 am
Block 2: 11.30 am - 1.00 pm
Lunch: 1.00 – 2.00 pm

On Wednesday, 1 November 2017, 6 - 8 pm, Prof. Kate Lowe will give a lecture in the Research Seminar "Vormoderne".

Department of History, Hirschgässlein 21, 4051 Basel, Seminar Room 2


Kate Lowe is Professor of Renaissance History and Culture at Queen Mary University of London, and Co-director of the Centre for Renaissance and Early Modern Studies (CREMS). Her research is centred on fifteenth and sixteenth-century Italy, but she is also interested in Renaissance Portugal. Her current project concerns sub-Saharan Africans and African objects in Southern Europe between 1440 and 1650. Much of her previous research has been interdisciplinary in nature, and she is especially interested in history with a visual or material culture component. She is fellow of the Basel Graduate School of History in late October and early November 2017.


For all participants, no later than 19 October via this registration form.

For doctoral students of the University of Basel aiming to achieve 1 ECTS point: additionally via MOnA.