The DisComPoSE project participated in the 37th edition of the Futuro Remoto event, organized in Città della Scienza in Naples.

The meeting on November 23rd, entitled European Research: sharing the passion with those who work at the borders of knowledge, provided an opportunity for students to meet in person four researchers leading ERC projects: Domenico Cecere, P.I. of DisComPoSE, Roberta Marchetti, P.I. of Glycoswitch, Flaviana Di Lorenzo, P.I. of DebuggingLPS and Michele Petrone, researcher of European Qu’ran.

The young audience raised many questions. For example, they asked Cecere why researchers in the humanities are interested in natural disasters and what contribution the humanities and social sciences can make to the study of natural phenomena and their effects.

In his speech, the professor explained how historical research allows us to overcome the oxymoron “remote-future” that gives its name to this exhibition, bridging the gap between an increasingly distant past and a future that we cannot see.

The link between the natural disasters of the past and the present has become obvious. The intensification of volcanic and seismic activity in the Phlegrean area has made some issues very current, such as the perception of risk and the management of emergencies related to natural disasters. The increasing attention on the phenomena taking place in the region of Campania has increased the need to learn about these problems also in their historical dimension, to understand their evolution in the present and to plan for the future.

The professor clarified that the data provided by historians, philologists and art historians can be useful for volcanologists, seismologists and biologists to understand the evolution of certain natural phenomena in the past and to try to predict, integrating this information with other data, what may happen in the future.

The role of the DisComPoSE team, however, is not limited to providing data to seismologists and volcanologists, or helping them to interpret sources to imagine future scenarios. The project looks first and foremost at the political, social, cultural and religious aspects of disasters. This research is mainly aimed at understanding how disasters were interpreted by women and men of the pre-industrial age, and how their impact influenced the evolution of cultural frameworks, social relationships and power structures in those societies.

Moreover, the disasters that occurred in the period between the Renaissance and the Enlightenment generally led to an explosion of testimonies and narrations, but also poems, paintings and engravings, sermons and scientific reports, which were primarily intended to provide an interpretation of the collective tragedy experienced. This explanation could be of a scientific character but also of a religious or moral nature.

The DisComPoSE team works on these testimonies, some quite well known and others not, collected in archives and libraries all over Europe. The study of these sources allows us to understand how the societies of the past interpreted disastrous phenomena, and  to identify which responses they devised to manage the emergency, mitigate the damage and defend themselves from future catastrophes.

Go to the program of this event

Go to an on line article about this event

This post is also available in: Italian Spanish

0 replies

Leave a Reply

Want to join the discussion?
Feel free to contribute!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *