Science and Technology Studies


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Cristiano Turbil keynote lecture: Toward a physiology of national identity.

21 May 2021, 4:00 pm–5:00 pm


As part of the Building National Character workshop Cristiano Turbil will be giving a keynote lecture: Toward a physiology of national identity: The use of physiological analogies in the construction of national identity in post unified Italy (1861-1900).

This event is free.

Event Information

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Department of Science and Technology Studies

In the late nineteenth century, questions regarding hygiene and public health became central to the medical, cultural and political debates in Italy. Particularly during the first few decades after the unification (1861), public health campaigns, at both local and national levels, became a key element in the creation of the new nation-state. Specifically, new medical ideas were promoted using a variety of formats designed to engage with Italians, regardless of their class and political ideas. These included public debates and talks, the publication of medical and scientific almanacs, and even pedagogical and utopian novels.

By looking at these varied sources, this paper will explore how new medical and scientific ideas were used as a pedagogical and political tool to teach Italians how to be ‘doctors at home’ while also attempting to modernise the country. In doing so, it will also provide an overview of the circulation of medical knowledge in the post-unification Italian context and the importance this had in the complex process of forging a sense of citizenship among Italians. 

About the Speaker

Cristiano Turbil

at UCL

More about Cristiano Turbil