Department of History

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David Laven

Associate Professor, Faculty of Arts


Research Summary

My principal interests lie in the field of Italian history from the late eighteenth century to Fascism. I have two principal areas of research at present, both growing out of my earlier work on… read more

Recent Publications

Current Research

My principal interests lie in the field of Italian history from the late eighteenth century to Fascism. I have two principal areas of research at present, both growing out of my earlier work on nineteenth-century Venice and its mainland (Venice and Venetia under the Habsburgs, 1815-1835, Oxford University Press, 2002) : on the one hand, I am completing a general history of Italy from 1700 to unification, which emphasises both local perspectives transnational contexts for publication in 2012; I am also writing (with Elsa Damien) under the auspices of an AHRC research grant a study of Venetian identity as imagined and narrated by historians of the defunct Venetian Republic in the years between the fall of Napoleon and the Fascist seizure of power. Venice remembered focuses on the difficulties of dealing with multiple identities (municipal, regional, national, imperial, religious) when writing the history of a city-based, transnational, republican empire during a period when Italy was being unified and facing the task of 'making Italians'. The research deals not only with Venetian historians such as Romanin and Molmenti, but also with non-Italians ranging from Daru and Sismondi to Ranke and Rawdon Brown.

I have recently published an article in the new on-line journal MDCCC on the legacy of Byron and Daru for Anglophone understanding of Venice.

Past Research

My previous research has focused on Venice in the nineteenth century, and especially under the so-called dominazione austriaca when it fell under Habsburg rule. As well as my Oxford University Press monograph, I have published extensively on such aspects as the administration and policing of the Venetian provinces, the Venetian economy and the university of Padua, as well as more general pieces on Venice after unification with the rest of Italy in 1866. I have also published on British attitudes to Napoleonic and Risorgimento Italy, on questions of Italian national identity, nineteenth-century historiography of the twelfth-century Lega Lombarda, and on the thought of Machiavelli.

Future Research

I am currently planning two strands of research. One will focus on the sometime curious politics of the great twentieth-century Italian novelist and journalist Curzio Malaparte, using him as a window to explore the ambivalent and contradictory nature of Italian political life in the period between the Great War and the 1950s. The other will address attitudes to Italian masculinity and soldiering in the longue durée from Machiavelli to the Fascist era.

  • 2015. Nineteenth-century historians and the Venetian Archivio di Stato Storia della Storiografia. 68(2), 89–106
  • DAVID LAVEN and LAURA PARKER, 2014. Foreign rule? Transnational, national, and local perspectives on Venice and Venetia within the “multinational” Empire Modern Italy. 19(1), 5–19
  • LAVEN, D. and DAMIEN, E., 2013. Empire, city, nation: Venice’s imperial past and the 'making of Italians' from unification to fascism University of Nottingham eRepository. Available at: <>
  • LAVEN, D., 2011. Venice 1848–1914: the Venetian sense of the past and the creation of the Italian nation. In: WHYTE, W. and ZIMMER, O., eds., Nationalism and the reshaping of urban communities in Europe, 1848-1914 Palgrave Macmillan. 47-73
  • LAVEN, D., 2011. The fall of Venice: witnessed, imagined, narrated Acta Histriae. 19(3), 341-358
  • LAVEN, D., 2010. The Lombard League in nineteenth-century historiography, c. 1800-c. 1850. In: LORENZ, C. and BERGER, S., eds., Nationalizing the past: historians as nation builders in modern Europe Palgrave Macmillan. 358-383
  • DAVID LAVEN, 2010. Elites in the Kingdom of Lombardy-Venetia. In: MARCO BELLABARBA, ELLINOR FORSTER, HANS HEISS, ed., Eliten in Tirol zwischen Ancien Regime und Vormaerz 83-91
  • DAVID LAVEN, 2009. What patriots wrote and what reactionaries read Nations and Nationalisms. 15,
  • DAVID LAVEN, 2008. Border Regions and Identity European Review of History. 15(3), 255-275
  • DAVID LAVEN, 2006. Italy: The Idea of the Nation in the Risorgimento and Liberal Eras. In: TIMOTHY BAYCROFT, MARK HEWITSON, ed., What is a Nation? Europe 1789-1914 Oxford university Press. 255-271
  • LAVEN, D, 2003. Mazzini, Mazzinian Conspiracy And British Politics In The 1850S. Bolletino Storico Mantovano. 2, 266-282
  • LAVEN, D, 2002. Venice And Venetia Under The Habsburgs, 1815-1835 Oxford university Press.
  • LAVEN, DAVID, ed., 2000. Napoleon's Legacy: Problems Of Government In Restoration Europe Berg, Oxford.
  • LAVEN, D, 1997. Austria's Italian Policy Reconsidered: Revolution And Reform In Restoration Italy. Modern Italy. 3,
  • DAVID LAVEN, 1996. Law and Order in Habsburg Venice 1814-1835 Historical Journal. 383-403
  • DAVID LAVEN, The Fall of Venice: Witnessed, Imagined, Narrated Acta Histriae. 19(3), 341-358

Department of History

University of Nottingham
University Park
Nottingham, NG7 2RD

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