Filippo Soramel



In 2014, Filippo Soramel left his hometown of Udine, Italy, for a BA in Russian and History at the School of Slavonic and Eastern European Studies, University College London. As part of his degree, he spent one academic year in 2016-2017 in Saint Petersburg, Russia, before graduating in 2018 with a dissertation on jurist Gottfried Lengnich (1689-1774). Between 2018 and 2020/2021, he studied at Mansfield College, University of Oxford, graduating with an MPhil in British and European History 1700-1850, with a dissertation on noble associationism in Habsburg Gorizia between 1740 and 1790. He is now a doctoral candidate at the DSHCS and contributes to the research clusters on State, Politics, Governance in Historical Perspective, and Social and Economic Spaces. Under the supervision of PD Dr Petr Maťa and Asst.-Prof. Dr Federico D’Onofrio, he focuses on 18th-century agricultural societies and their role in the rise of modern statehood in the Habsburg monarchy and the Venetian Republic.

Research interests: Long 18th Century in Central and Central-Eastern Europe, Social and Legal History of the European Enlightenment, State-building, Noble Associationism, Patriotic, Economic, and Agricultural Societies, Epistemic Communities, Reader-Response Criticism.
Filippo Soramel focuses on state-building in Central and Central-Eastern Europe during the long 18th century. In particular, he explores the connections between landownership, noble associationism, cultural production, and socio-economic policies.

Current research project: Property, Citizenship, and Landscape: Agricultural Societies and State-building in the Eastern Alps (1762–1797)
The project explores a neglected group of agricultural societies between the Venetian Republic and the Habsburg Monarchy. Based on the most recent research on the Enlightenment as a practical and diffused phenomenon and opposed to more traditional national contexts and central-state viewpoints, he analyses the agricultural societies founded in Udine (1762), Klagenfurt, Gorizia (1765), Graz (1766), and Ljubljana (1768) as neither derivative nor peripheral elements of wider state-building processes. Aiming to assess their individual raison d’être, purpose, and policies, he analyses them, instead, as ‘epistemic communities’ in themselves. The study of such consortia as sustained by common beliefs, norms, and textual reception and production practices shall result in the delineation of an ‘epistemic continuum’ of agricultural societies with strong intertextual and interpersonal links. On the back of extensive research in Italian, Austrian, and Slovenian archives, this project shall demonstrate how these agricultural societies were primarily expression of local noble elements willing to cooperate in state-building policies with either the Habsburg Court or the Venetian Senate in defence of their own, threatened socio-economic interests. Based on preliminary research, the hypothesis of this thesis is that these societies focused on the implementation of private property as basis for the public good of the state, on the ensuing transformation of owners into abiding citizens as units of state-building policies, and on their active manipulation of the rural landscape. Indeed, as spaces of (self-)homogenising cultural practice, these societies underwent the same transformation they were advocating for, thus possibly contributing to the privatisation of feudal nobilities as a component of modern statehood in the Eastern Alps.