Project Updates

October 2019

  • New Letters Found in Vienna
    During an archival visit to Vienna, we found new letters between Maria Carolina and her brother Emperor Franz II/I (as well as some letters between Maria Carolina and other individuals) in an unusual section of the Haus-, Hof-, und Staatsarchiv. These new letters are extremely valuable given the scant amount of letters from Franz to Maria Carolina. These new finds will be incorporated into the forthcoming online edition of our project.

  • Presentation in Budapest
    Project member Jonathan Singerton presented a paper entitled "The Mirror of Habsburg Reform in the Austrian Netherlands and Hungary: Maria Carolina's Ideal Governance and its Opposition in Naples-Sicily 1775-1814
    " as part of the 'Pamphlets and Patriots: Oppositional Movements in the Austrian Netherlands and Hungary in 1789-1790 at the Thomas Molnar Institute for Advanced Studies at the National University of Public Service in Budapest. His paper spoke about how Maria Carolina's own reform agenda in Naples-Sicily mirrored that of her brother Joseph in the Habsburg Monarchy and about the similarities of the oppositional movements against these reforms both in Central Europe and in southern Italy. His participation was kindly supported by the Österreichisches Kulturforum - Budapest.


September 2019

  • Discoveries at the British Library and the The National Archives at Kew
    After the workshop below, project member Jonathan Singerton travelled to London in order to carry out research for the project at the British Library and the National Archives at Kew. The British Library holds a number of valuable materials relating to Naples at the time of Maria Carolina's reign, such as the personal papers of the British ambassador Sir William Hamilton, but also preserves dozens of her private letters with the British Consul Robert Fagan. As one of her only allies during her turbulant disputes with the British ambassador Lord William Bentinck, Fagan's correspondence with the Queen provides us with a rare window into her distressed state prior to her exile from Sicily.

  • Presentation at the University of Oxford
    As a participant in the Emering Scholars in the Humanities workshop, project member Jonathan Singerton presented his latest research and introduced the project in a talk entitled "Experiencing the Age of Revolutions in the Habsburg Lands 1763-1814." The workshop was hosted by Mansfield College, Oxford and was sponsored and organised by the University of Notre Dame. It aimed at spotlighting the research of early career scholars and former participants of the Global Dome PhD Accelerator programme.

  • Workshop on MaxQDA Programming
    In early September, all project members attended a starter workshop at the University of Innsbruck led by Anna Oberrauch on the MaxQDA software. The potential of this digitial tool in coding and analysing the letters will be paramount to the development of the online edition and represents one of the core aims of this project: to provide historians and humanities scholars with a fully-accessible database of Maria Carolina's correspondence that will allow for greater research insights and interrogation. By using MaxQDA, we will be able to codify data points such as persons, places, and themes within the correspondence which will make the database more than simply a edited collection of letters for users.

August 2019

  • Database Milestone Reached
    During the summer, the team completed the processing of the letters of Maria Carolina held in the Haus-, Hof-, und Staatsarchiv and the Archivio di Stato di Napoli. This allows us to announce that we currently have at least 2,452 letters between Maria Carolina and Leopold, Marie Therese, and Franz in our database.

July 2019

  • Discoveries in the Scottish Archives
    Whilst they attended and presented at the International Society for Eighteenth-Century Studies (ISECS) conference in Edinburgh, team members Ellinor Forster and Jonathan Singerton gathered new material relevant to Maria Carolina at the local archives. This included her correspondence with British ministers during the difficult years in exile first in Sicily and then in Vienna and are a valuable, if underused, source for the project and the wider history of revolutionary Naples.

  • Prize Award to Giovanni Merola
    On July 9th the Swarovski Foundation officially presented project member Giovanni Merola with a research prize worth €5,000 to enable the further development of his focus on the political iconography of Maria Carolina and to incorporate this within the final database. The Swarovski Foundation generously awards ten of these highly competitive prizes to young researchers at the University of Innsbruck each year. We are delighted that Giovanni and the project was selected as the only humanities discipline in the competition.

  • First Team Visit to Naples
    For one week, between July 1st and 5th, all four members of the project visited Naples. We spent most of our time at the Archivio di Stato di Napoli where we copied thousands of pages of material relevant to our project ranging from Maria Carolina's correspondance with ministers and other family members to the speeches of Ferdinand IV and their mariage contract. These documents enable us to better contextualise the project and to cross-reference entries in the database. As part of our trip we also visited the places where Maria Carolina lived such as the Royal Palace of Naples (Palazzo Reale di Napoli) and the Royal Palace of Casserta (Reggia di Caserta) just outside Naples. In these palaces we saw many contemporary portraits of Maria Carolina.  


      June 2019

  • Major Archival Find in Paris
    In mid-June, project member Jonathan Singerton travelled to the Archives Nationales in Paris where he discovered a number of pertinant letters relevant to the project, including correspondance of Maria Carolina which may have not survived elsewhere.


 May 2019

  • Participation in Digi-Day at the University of Innsbruck
    On 16 May 2019, the four project members presented the project at the third Austrian Digi-Day, an annual event organised by one of our cooperation partners, the Austrian Society for the Study of the Eighteenth Century (ÖGE18), to showcase the latest in digital historical research and methods in Austria. The event was held under the auspices of (another cooperation partner) the Research Centre for Digital Humanities at the University of Innsbruck and was well attended. Using various devices, we hosted an interactive 'station' where other participants could learn about our project's aims and try out our test database.

  • New Website Launched
    In early May, our new website was launched where we outline out project's aims and rationale, chart our progress with blogs and updates like this as well as list our cooperation partners, team members, and scholarly output.


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