EMoDiR (Early Modern Religious Dissents and Radicalism) is an international research group dedicated to the study of religious differences, conflicts and plurality in Europe during the early modern period.

The group was first constituted at Pisa by a group of European scholars based in France, Germany, Italy, Switzerland, the USA and the UK in 2007. After four years, during which the members of the group met regularly and organized a series of workshops in Italy, EMoDiR has formally instituted a scientific organization, based in Verona in 2011. Since then, scholars from a wide range of universities and research centers located in Europe, North America and Australia have joined the group and a series of formal institutional partnerships have been established.

The aim of the research group is to examine the early modern discursive constructions of religious dissent and the socio-cultural practices of radical movements and religious minorities transcending traditional historiographical boundaries (notably national and/or confessional). Since the ‘construction of the dissenter’ is the outcome of a complex process, it is necessary to analyze this process both in terms of internal and synchronic dynamics, and of external and diachronic ones.

We understand religious dissent as discourses, practices, attitudes, or habits that express tension with, or rejection of, the dominant socio-cultural dynamic, whether openly, clandestinely or unconsciously. Study of such dissent must be connected with a thorough reflection about the categories that inspire and structure the researchers’ own terminologies.

From its very beginning EMoDiR has promoted research into the social networks of individuals and specific groups, as well as on the dynamics involved in constructing socio-cultural identities. By considering dissent as a socio-cultural construction rather than a doctrinal position, the first objective of the group consists in deconstructing and historically contextualizing such commonly used categories as dissent, radicalism, dissidence, libertinism, heresy, heterodoxy as prerequisite to a critical and problematic use of them.

Therefore EMoDiR is committed to gathering together a variety of research projects on early modern religious culture conceived as a multi-faceted and dynamic system. This religious culture, moreover, was essential in forging complex identities and encouraging dialogue between them. Analysis, both at local and transnational level (from a predominantly but not exclusively European perspective) is intended to contribute to a cultural and social history of dissent.


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