Dr Sara Miglietti

Contact details

Dr Sara Miglietti
PhD Philosophy 2012 (Scuola Normale Superiore, Pisa); PhD Renaissance Studies 2016 (University of Warwick)
Senior Lecturer in Cultural and Intellectual History
Warburg Institute
Woburn Square WC1H 0AB London
Email address:

Research Summary and Profile

Research interests:
Classics, Colonies & Colonization, emigration & immigration, Early Modern, History, History of the book, Language and Literature (French), Language and Literature (Italian), Manuscript studies, Philosophy, Politics
Research keywords:
Intellectual History, Renaissance Studies, Translation Studies, Book History, History of Political Thought, Environmental Humanitiies, History of Philosophy
Caribbean, Europe, North America, South America, United Kingdom
Summary of research interests and expertise:
I am an intellectual historian with primary expertise in Renaissance and early-modern Europe (esp. Italy and France). My interests include the history of political thought, natural and moral philosophy, book history, translation studies, the relationship between Latin and vernacular cultures, Christian theology, and the history of environmental ideas. In 2013 I published a genetic edition with Italian translation of Jean Bodin's "Methodus ad facilem historiarum cognitionem" (1566-1572). Recent publications include a special issue of History of European Ideas on "Reading Publics in Renaissance Europe" (2016, with Sarah Parker), the edited volume "Governing the Environment in the Early Modern World" (Routledge 2017, with John Morgan), and a special issue of Modern Language Notes on "Climates Past and Present: Perspectives from Early Modern France" (2017). I am currently working on two books: one on early-modern theories of environmental influence and their relationship to modern forms of geographic "determinism"; the other one on bilingual writing in 16th- and 17th-century France, looking at philosophers, theologians, doctors and scientists who translated their own works across Latin and French, and asking how, why, and for whom these authors pursued the practice of self-translation, and what this practice tells us about changing language dynamics and (trans)national cultures in early modern Europe.
Spoken Written
German - Intermediate
Italian Fluent Fluent
Latin - Fluent
Portuguese - Intermediate
French Fluent Fluent
Spanish - Fluent
Other: Classical Greek - Intermediate reading knowledge Dutch - basic reading knowledge
Publication Details

Publications available on SAS-space

Research Projects & Supervisions

Research projects:

Antiquity and Its Uses: Reception and Renewal

A programme of meetings, mutual visits, and exchanges (including both academic staff and PhD students) around the topic ‘Antiquity and its Uses: Reception and Renewal’, between Warwick's Centre for the Study of the Renaissance and Johns Hopkins University's Charles Singleton Center for Pre-Modern History. The project ran between 2015-2017. PI: David Lines (Warwick). CIs Ingrid De Smet (Warwick), Sara Miglietti (JHU), Eugenio Refini (JHU)

Self-Translation in Renaissance Europe

A study of philosophers, doctors, scientists and theologians translating their own works between Latin and vernacular in Europe, c. 1450-c. 1700; with the double goal of better appreciating 1) the role of language dynamics in knowledge production and exchange in early modern Europe, and 2) the constitution of the authorial "self" in early modern non-literary writing. The project is divided into two stages: stage 1 (2018-2022) will take France as a case study, examining the work of self-translators and other borderline figures from John Calvin to René Descartes. The results will be collected in a monograph entitled "Self-Translation in Renaissance France: Writing Bilingually from Calvin to Descartes" (under contract with Routledge). A second phase of the project will extend the investigation to Italy and England, while a range of collaborative events will explore parallel developments in German-speaking, Dutch-speaking, and Spanish-speaking areas.

The Empire of Climate, c. 1550-c. 1750

This project examines the long history of 'climate theories' (i.e. theories of environmental influence) and the ways in which people in early modern Europe sought to cope with the perceived impact of place and climate on their character and behaviour. The results will be shared in a book tentatively entitled 'The Empire of Climate: Early Modern Climate Theories and the Problem of Human Agency'. This book will offer the first monographic discussion of climate theories and their practical applications in medicine, colonial expansion, and environmental engineering, from the Renaissance to the Enlightenment. A spin-off of this project looks at the ethical and theological implications of environmental intervention in early modern Europe, focusing on the work of natural theologians such as William Derham and Johann Jakob Scheuchzer.

Current PhD topics supervised:

Dates Details
The Passions of the Soul in Early Modern England: Health, Virtue and Salvation

Daniel Samuel - in progress

Women in Arms: Female Warriors in Italian art, 1500-1700

Elisa Stafferini - in progress

Gnothi kairon: The Shape of Individual Time in the Italian Renaissance

Dimitrios Roussos - in progress

Scientific Instruments and Clocks in a Florentine Workshop: the Della Volpaia Family

Marisa Addomine - in progress

AlAll Tomorrow’s Parties: Mutations of the Greek Symposium in Modern Latin Convivial Literature

George Brocklehurst - in progress

The Renaissance of Platonic Theurgy from Ficino to Agrippa

Merlin Cox - in progress

Pierre Gassendi and the Epicurean Anatomists, 1620-1680

Guillermo Willis (deferred start January 2021)

The Visual Rhetoric of the Literature of the French Wars of Religion

Claire Konieczny (Johns Hopkins University) - in progress

Available for doctoral supervision: Yes

Professional Affiliations

Professional affiliations:

Name Activity
Renaissance Society of America Discipline Representative for Philosophy


Name Type Activity Start date End date
From East to West, and Back Again: Student Travel and Transcultural Knowledge Production in Renaissance Europe (c. 1470- c. 1620) Advisory board 2020
The Archaeology of Reading Advisory board 2015 2019
Relevant Events

Related events:

Date Details
01-Feb-2019 Interventions: The Intellectual History Podcast

Episode on "Bodin, self-translation, and the environment in early modern Europe"

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