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Interdisciplinary Approaches to the Study of Sanctuary Foundation Legends in Early Modern History (1450-1750)


Interdisciplinary Approaches to the Study of Sanctuary Foundation Legends in Early Modern History (1450-1750) 

Edited by Marco Papasidero (University of Palermo)


In most media on the development of equestrian culture in history, the prevailing narrative follows the Western generic standard for hHagiographic narratives containing the foundational legends of places of worship serve as a privileged observatory for comprehending historical-devotional dynamics and constitute a valuable source for cultural and social history. The accounts of miraculous events on which is based the history of a sanctuary—such as the miraculous weeping of an image, the apparition of the Virgin, the rediscovering of relics or ancient icons, etc.—are often followed by a list of miracles, generally healings, with the description of rituals and practices. These hagiographic traditions, documented in ‘official’ hagiographic records, collected by local erudite people, or portrayed in pictorial cycles, result from the accumulation of historical information, hagiographic topoi, witnesses’ testimonies, and folkloric traditions. While historiography has extensively studied medieval foundation legends, those from the early modern period, often tied to the prevailing Marian cult, still necessitate more substantial research.

This book, part of the activities of the PNRR project ITSERR (Italian Strengthening of the ESFRI RI RESILIENCE), aims to enrich the reflection on the foundation legends of sanctuaries composed—and whose narration is staged—during the early modern period (1450-1750). Among the areas in which we are most interested are: the analysis of legends from a comparative perspective; historical-medical and devotional dynamics; legends as a source for the history of the landscape, animals, and natural elements; magical-folkloric practices and beliefs; the relationship between texts and images.


Proposals may encompass the examination of foundation legends in the form of hagiographic texts and/or images (such as cycles of paintings, painted panels, etc.) within a global perspective not only limited to Italy and Europe, but also open to Latin America and Asia. Given the interdisciplinary nature of the proposal, scholars from diverse research fields, including history of religions, history of Christianity, modern history, history of medicine, folk studies, art history, material history, cultural history, are particularly encouraged to participate.


Interested scholars can send a short proposal including a title, an academic biography, and a 300-word abstract to marco.papasidero [at] by 31 July 2024. The email address is also available for further information. Scholars whose abstracts are selected will be invited to submit full chapters by 1 December 2024.


The volume will be published by Trivent Publishing in the book series History and Art (ISSN 2631-0562) edited by Gerhard Jaritz and Monica Ann Walker Vadillo, within Trivent Medieval Imprint.


For any questions, please contact the editor at marco.papasidero [at] or the publisher at publishing [at] 

Download the Call for Papers HERE.

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