Project Updates

May 2020

Letters from the Quarantine: Then and Now
Inspired by Dr. Jonathan Singerton's interview "Quarantine is Nothing New" in the local Bezirksblätter, the pupils of the local Bundesrealgynasium Innsbruck at Adolf-Pichler-Platz created their own versions of Maria Carolina's letters from her own quarantine in Odessa in 1813.  We are grateful that the pupils of Dr. Stephan Scharinger's classes chose to share their wonderful renditions with us, which we recently compiled in a blog on our project website. Certainly, Maria Carolina could never have imagined that her personal letters to her nephew Emperor Franz would serve as a model to students facing similar conditions to her quarantine over two-hundred years later.

Bundesrealgymnasium Innsbruck Adolf-Pichler-Platz

Bundesrealgymnasium Innsbruck Adolf-Pichler-Platz (© Dr. Scharinger 2020)

April 2020

COVID-19_LAND_TIROL

Statistics for COVID-19 in Tyrol (© Land Tirol 2020)

The Project Continues under Lockdown
During April and May, the Maria Carolina team continued to work from home due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. All University of Innsbruck staff were required to stay at home whilst the province of Tyrol and the rest of Austria remained under lockdown. The beginning of April witnessed the highest amount of new confirmed cases with around 2,000 per day but this thankfully this began to abate by the end of the month following stringent measures and public cooperation. The overview of the COVID-19 outbreak in Tyrol is visible here.

March 2020

Campus Closure and Home-Office 
In mid-March, the University of Innsbruck along with other businesses and public buildings in Tyrol closed on account of the global Covid-19 pandemic. As a result, the four members of the Maria Carolina Project have been working from home since then. The measures are likely to continue throughout April and into May. We have, however, stayed in contact with our weekly meetings (see right) and pressed on with our work.  

Maria Carolina's Quarantine in the News 
For our monthly blog, Dr. Jonathan Singerton wrote about Maria Carolina's own period in isolation during her exiled return to Vienna in 1813 where she spent 41 days in quarantine in the city of Odessa. Our example has since then been picked up by various press outlets and Dr. Singerton has given several interviews including the Innsbruck Bezirksblätter, South Tyrol's Salto.bz and shortly appearing the in the nationwide Kurier

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The Maria Carolina team videoconferencing during the Covid-19 pandemic (© Private 2020)


February 2020

Eine Habsburgerin kämpft gegen Napoleon

"Eine Habsburgerin kämpft gegen Napoleon" in DAMALS (© DAMALS 2020)

Article in DAMALS Magazine
Written by Dr. Jonathan Singerton and Prof. Ellinor Forster, the article "Eine Habsburgerin kämpft gegen Napoleon" is now available online. The original article featured in the January edition of the popular German-language magazine, DAMALS. The article details Maria Carolina's international outlook during the Napoleonic Wars, discussing her relations with Great Britain, Russia, the Holy Roman Empire, and of course France. It shows Maria Carolina to be an astute politician on the European stage during a critical period.

January 2020

International Fellowship Awarded
At the beginnging of the year, project member Dr. Jonathan Singerton has been awarded a fellowship by the BritInn Academic Network, a new exchange intiative at the University of Innsbruck. As part of this fellowship, he will be based at the University of Cambridge during the Autumn semster 2020 where he will present the latest results of our research project to the Cambridge New Habsburg Studies Network.

New Letters Found at the Austrian National Library
During a quick archival trip Jonathan visited the Österreichische Nationalbibliothek (right) to scout out further material for our project. He was able to uncover new material relevant for our work among the collections of the Manuscripts Department including a previously unknown letter sent from Emperor Joseph II to his sister Maria Carolina and letters between Giovanni (John) Acton and King Ferdinand IV of Naples-Sicily.

 

Augustiner Lesesaal ÖNBThe Augustine reading room of the Austrian National Library (Österreichische Nationalbibliothek)

December 2019

Maria Carolina British Museum

Maria Carolina by Marie Anne Bourlier, 1807 (British Museum, 1982 U-3034)

Archival Visit in London
At the end of the year, project member Jonathan Singerton revisited the National Archives at Kew in order to collect additional material pertaining to the project. This included primary sources from the British envoys at Naples and the domestic correspondence with Neapolitan ministers. Included within this material were original letters of Queen Maria Carolina to Lady Hamilton, the wife of the British ambassador Sir William Hamilton. This material will be beneficial to the overall project with a focus on the British involvement in Naples-Sicily from 1811 to 1814. Dr. Singerton also visited the British Museum which holds multiple material objects relating to Maria Carolina and Naples during the reign of her husband Ferdinand IV.

 

2nd Edition Milestone
Following the 100th collated letter in each of Maria Carolina's correspondence with Emperor Leopold and Emperor Franz, the team reached another with over 500 transcribed letters in December and 250 collated letters by the start of the Christmas holidays. As we reach each milestone, it provides us with time to reflect on what we have before us, what we have learned, and what still lies ahead in an endlessly fascinating collection of letters.

 


November 2019

1st Edition Milestone
After completing the processing of the archival material in the summer, the team began working through our manuscripts for the edition of Maria Carolina's correspondence. This involves team members Giovanni Merola and Jonathan Singerton arranging and transcribing the letters before jointly-collating the transcriptions with fellow team member Anne-Sophie Dénoue. In November, we reached our first milestone as we have collated over one hundred letters each in the correspondences of Maria Carolina with Emperor Franz and Emperor Leopold.

 

Presentation at the University of Innsbruck
Team members Ellinor Forster and Jonathan Singerton presented a joint-paper as a part of the 2nd Workshop of the Doctoral College Austrian Studies at the University of Innsbruck entitled "Histoire Croisée in den Schuhen Johann Wolfgang von Goethes auf seiner Reise nach Italien - und was daran 'österreichisch' ist" which used a histoire croisée approach to the Naples portion of Goethe's famous Italian soujourn. Prof. Forster then extrapolated the meaning of 'Austria' within Goethe's journey.

Innsbruck
Alpine views from our offices
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.

National_University_Budapest

The National University of Public Service, Budapest

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 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.

The_National_Archives_at_Kew

The National Archives at Kew, UK

Mansfield_College

Mansfield College at Night.

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.

MaxQDA_Workshop

Learning by seeing, MaxQDA Workshop

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

NLS_Edinburgh

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.

View from the reading room of the National Library of Scotland

 

                                                                   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.


Giovanni_Preis

Giovanni Merola (front: second from left)

Archivio di Stato di Napoli

Inside the Archivio di Stato di Napoli

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.

Archives_Nationales

The Archives Nationales in Paris, France

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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