CISPEA is the first Italian and European inter-university consortium for the study of the history and politics of the United States. Founded by US historians from the participating universities, its main goals are both promoting scholarly research and contributing to the public conversation on the United States and its relationship with Europe. The founding group, aware of the significance of historical studies for the humanities, is also conscious of the role history might play in the public debate and therefore believes in the necessity to promote its knowledge and understanding. In order to accomplish its objectives, the Centre supports scientific research and advanced teaching, and aims at enhancing an informative debate within and beyond national boundaries.
“The Atlantic Connection”: a constantly changing relationship.
Since the XVIII century, the relationship between the US and the European countries have been so deep, intense and complex that its historical understanding imposes adopting a broader Atlantic framework and using a more ambitious World-history approach.
The origins of the main conflicts and long-term dynamics that have transformed the world we live in lie also in the Atlantic exchanges. As a consequence, be it from an economic, political or socio-cultural perspective, Euro-American relations stand out as terms of reference in scholarly research as well as in the public debate.
After 1989, changes in the international system, institutional transformations, European evolving self-representations, and, finally, new definitions of the national interest in the United States have all converged in challenging the basic assumptions of the Atlantic connection.
History and culture have become strongholds holding values considered to be specific and exclusive, thus contributing to conflicts and tensions between the two sides of the Atlantic. Current historical transformations are challenging consolidated categories. Hence, there’s a growing necessity to focus extensively on transatlantic relations as well as well as rethink its intellectual and theoretical underpinnings. As historians, we regard transatlantic relations, both in their historical and contemporary development, as a useful analytical tool to unravel the complexities of the political, social, cultural and economic history at the global level.
As citizens, we also attach great value to produce analyses enabling the understanding of present and future challenges.
Objectives of the Centre
CISPEA promotes the public debate on such themes and the circulation of scholarly research. The Centre was founded by a group of Italian historians of the United States, but it is also open to the contribution and of European and American scholars who are interested in transatlantic relations from multiple perspectives. We believe history to be crucial to the understanding of current issues and our goal is thus to investigate the present state of the transatlantic relationship and its historical roots in many different areas and with a variety of research tools: organizing seminars and conferences; publishing monographs, essays collections, etc; and developing efforts to promote the teaching of US studies at graduate and post-graduate level. We also sponsor collaborations with our Italian and foreign colleagues in the humanities, social and economic studies, international relations, and cultural and communication studies.