Italian Paleography Online Course (The Medici Archive Project)
The Medici Archive Project is currently accepting applications for enrollment in its first Online Course in Italian Paleography and Archival Studies. Made possible by a grant from The Samuel H. Kress Foundation, this free-of-charge pilot course is designed to increase access to the wealth of information contained in manuscript historical materials, particularly those from late fifteenth- through seventeenth-century Tuscany. Participants in this 13-week online course will not only acquire skill in reading historical Italian writings, but they will also receive a broad introduction to the nature of Italian archives. From the letters of Michelangelo to the inventories of the Medici family, the digitized documents used to train the course’s participants in paleographic skills will also expose them to a wide range of document types useful for art historical research.
Structure of Course
The course, conducted in English, will run from October 12, 2009, to January 10, 2010. Organized into a sequence of eleven online lessons, each lesson lasts one week except for the final lesson, which will extend over the last three weeks of the course. With every lesson, the students are asked to transcribe a digitized document dating from the fifteenth through the seventeenth century; the featured document is contextualized with supporting materials also available online. Specific guidance in reading and interpreting the document will be provided by the course instructors in the form of explanatory comments posted on a restricted-access Forum. Throughout the week, course participants will be able to obtain individual help in these exercises by posting their questions on the Forum; both their questions and the instructor’s responses will be available for all course participants to view. At the end of each weekly lesson, students will e-mail to the instructor a transcription of the document; they will be expected to make improvement progressively, developing skills to read incrementally more challenging documents as the course proceeds. Students will be assessed at the end of the course on a pass/fail basis, and passing students will receive a statement from the Medici Archive Project attesting to their successful achievement of the course’s goals (a letter of recommendation may also be requested).
Father Luciano Cinelli, O. P., completed a laurea (cum laude) in Literature at the University of Rome "La Sapienza" in 1995 with a thesis entitled, "Oratoria e politica a Roma nel Quattrocento. I panegirici di S. Tommaso d’Aquino alla Minerva." The following year, on September 29, 1996, Father Luciano Cinelli took the Domincan Habit. In 2000, he earned a B.A. in Philosophy (magna cum laude) at the Studio Filosofico Bolognese, and in 2005 he was awarded a License in Theology from the University of Fribourg. His diploma from the Scuola di Archivistica, Paleografia e Diplomatica “Anna Maria Enriquez Agnoletti” at the State Archive in Florence was granted in 2007. His articles appear in numerous scholarly journals including Memorie Domenicane, Quaderni medievali, and Divus Thomas. He has also contributed essays to the following books: San Pietro martire da Verona domenicano (1220c-1252), Convegno storico nel 750° anniversario della sua morte (Centro culturale “Alle Grazie”); La città degli angeli (Ermes, 2003); and Osanna Andreasi da Mantova (1449-1505), Convegno internazionale di studio (Casandreasi, 2006). His entries on “Mannelli, Luca”, “Mansueti, Leonardo”, “Massimino da Salerno”, and “Mattei, Leonardo da Udine” are published in the Dizionario Biografico degli Italiani. Father Cinelli currently serves as chief archivist of the Provincia Romana di Santa Caterina da Siena, which includes the archive of Santa Maria sopra Minerva (Rome); he is editor-in-chief of the historical journal Memorie Domenicane; and he is director of the Biblioteca Domenicana at Santa Maria Novella (Florence).
Dr. Sheila Barker (B.A., 1993, Amherst College; M.A., 1996, Columbia University; M. Phil., 1997, Columbia University; and Ph. D., 2002, Columbia University) is an art historian specializing in sixteenth- and seventeenth-century Italian art. Since completing her dissertation, “Art in a Time of Danger: Urban VIII’s Rome and the Plague of 1629-1634,” her post-doctoral research has been supported by an Allen Whitehill Clowes Curatorial Fellowship at the Indianapolis Museum of Art (2003), a Smithsonian American Art Museum Post-Doctoral Fellowship (2005), a Samuel H. Kress Curatorial Fellowship (2005, renewed 2006), and a Medici Archive Project Fellowship (2007). Her article, “Poussin, Plague, and Early Modern Medicine,” (Art Bulletin 86, n.4), was awarded the College Art Association’s Arthur Kingsley Porter Prize. In addition, she has contributed essays to the following books: Hope and Healing: Painting in Italy in a Time of Plague, 1500-1800, exh. cat. (Worcester Art Museum, 2005); La Peste a Roma, 1656-1657 (Roma moderna e contemporanea, 2006); Piety and Plague: From Byzantium to the Baroque (Truman State University Press, 2007); The Papacy since 1500: from Italian Prince to Universal Pastor (Cambridge University Press, in press); and Invisible Women (The Florentine Press, in press).
Computer Requirements, Selection Criteria and Application Process
The online course will be operated using an open-source Course Management System called Moodle. While this is a user-friendly system, should participants require technical support, the MAP’s Technology Director, Lorenzo Allori (firstname.lastname@example.org), will be available to answer questions.
The program can be used with both Microsoft (Windows) and Apple (Mac) operating systems.
For optimal performance the following software programs must be installed:
1) Web browser Firefox, at least version 3.x
2) Flash player
3) Adobe Reader 8
4) MS Office 2007 or previous version with file converters, or OpenOffice (latest version) Fileconverters for MS Office 2007 docx files can be downloaded at:
Enrollment is limited to twenty students. Priority will be given to graduate students, post-graduate scholars, and museum curators with demonstrated interest in art history or Tuscany’s Granducal period. Knowledge of Italian is required.
Applications will consist of:
1. A brief letter of introduction explaining the motivation for taking the course; if the skills taught in this course will be applied towards the execution of a specific research project of scholarly import, the applicant should describe that project.
2. A curriculum vitae that details linguistic aptitude and (if applicable) archival experience.
The deadline for receipt of all application materials is September 30th. Applicants will be notified of the decision on their acceptance on or before October 5.
Please email applications to: Dr. Sheila Barker, email@example.com
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