Robert C. Davis
- The Ohio State University
"Italian Outlaws" researches the social breakdown and extreme violence that characterized central Italy from 1550-1650, focusing on the widespread banditry of those years. Using archival sources in Rome and Umbria (trial records, depositions, police reports, state edicts, and private diaries) I plan to establish the actual extent of brigands and their victims, while examining the state policies that produced and dealt with the social collapse. My main concern is the cultural construct of brigandage, as a blending of revenge ethos, hyper-masculinity, and anti-authoritarianism. I aim to create an ethnography of brigand violence, showing its instrumental and symbolic applications, its efficacy in welding group identity, and its role in the language of rural rebellion.