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Sara Miglietti

Senior Lecturer in Cultural and Intellectual History

Research Interests: Renaissance intellectual history | History of political thought (ancient to modern) | Renaissance translation & Translation studies | History of philosophy | Book history | History of medicine (esp. 16C-17C) | Ecocriticism & Environmental humanities


Sara was educated in Italy, France and the UK, and taught for three years at Johns Hopkins University before joining the Warburg Institute in 2018. She is especially interested in intersections between moral and political thought, natural philosophy, and the history of medicine; the transmission, reception, and reuse of texts and ideas across geographical and chronological boundaries; and the afterlife of classical ideas in the early modern period. Sara studies these processes through a combination of close textual analysis, book history, and translation and reception studies, and with a special attention to the languages and contexts of early modern knowledge-making. Sara’s recent and ongoing projects include a book on early modern “climate theories” (currently under review) and a multi-year project on philosophical and scientific self-translation in Renaissance Europe. 

MA (Hons), History of Philosophy, University of Pisa, 2008

MA (Hons), History of Philosophy, Scuola Normale Superiore, Pisa, 2010

PhD, History of Philosophy, Scuola Normale Superiore and Université Paris Descartes, 2012

PhD, Renaissance Studies, University of Warwick, 2016


Sara’s work is broadly concerned with early modern European intellectual history (c. 1500 – c. 1700) and the history of philosophy. Sara strives to situate early modern thought in the longue durée, by reconstructing its debts to ancient and medieval traditions and its legacy on modern and contemporary culture. Her research is strongly transnational and looks at the circulation and reappropriation of texts and ideas across geographic and linguistic borders, particularly through the medium of translation.

Many of Sara’s publications revolve around the French philosopher Jean Bodin, who lived in the period of the French wars of religion (1562-1598) and was active in many fields, from ethics and politics to natural philosophy, history, and theology. Sara has studied Bodin’s thought extensively, writing on various aspects of his oeuvre and also editing two of his most important works: the Methodus ad facilem historiarum cognitionem (a treatise on historical method, of which she gave the first genetic edition in 2013); and the République / De Republica (a self-translated political treatise in six books, the last two of which Sara is currently editing with Mario Turchetti for Garnier). This work has led her to develop a broader interest in philosophical self-translation, which is the topic of her next book project: Self-Translation in Renaissance France: Writing Bilingually from Calvin to Descartes (under contract with Routledge).

Sara’s recent work has centred primarily around early modern environmental ideas and their connections to actual environmental practice. She has a book forthcoming on this topic (The Empire of Climate: Early Modern Climate Theories and the Problem of Human Agency, currently under review) as well as several recent publications, including Governing the Environment in the Early Modern World: Theory and Practice (co-edited with John Morgan, 2017) and Climates Past and Present: Perspectives from Early Modern France (2017). As part of this broader work, Sara has become interested in the complex relationship between Christian theology and environmental attitudes, and she intends to explore this issue further in the future through the lens of early modern Biblical exegesis.

Methodus and facilem Historiarum cognitionem book cover

Governing the Environment in the Early Modern World book cover








Sara’s teaching at the Warburg focuses on the history of philosophy (particularly ethics and politics), Renaissance intellectual history, and historical methodology in general.

In the Autumn, Sara co-teaches on the Cultural, Intellectual and Visual History core module “Reviving the Past”, where she lectures on subjects such as humanist scholarship and the Reformations; the Bible and science; translation and the rise of the vernaculars; and the cultural impact of the geographical discoveries. She also convenes the first half of the core module “Methods and Techniques of Scholarship: Reading and Writing History”, which introduces MA, MRes, and first-year PhD students to the nuts and bolts of becoming an historian.  

In the Spring, Sara teaches her own option module on “Renaissance Political Thought”, which explores connections between political ideas and broader philosophical worldviews from the late Middle Ages to the early Enlightenment. She also convenes the second half of “Methods and Techniques of Scholarship: Reading and Writing History”, which guides our MA and MRes students through the early stages of working on their dissertations. 

In the Summer, Sara supervises MA dissertations appropriate to her research interests and expertise.

PhD Supervision

Sara welcomes inquiries from prospective PhD students working on Renaissance / early modern topics in one of her research areas: intellectual history; the history of political thought; translation studies; the history of medicine; the history of philosophy; book history; ecocriticism & the environmental humanities. 

Current supervisees:

First supervisor for: George Brocklehurst (Convivial spaces in Giovanni Pontano’s dialogues and poetry), Daniel Samuel (The Passions in English Medicine and Science, 1600-1680), Guillermo Willis (Gassendi and the English Anatomists).

Second supervisor for: Marisa Addomine (Clockmaking in Renaissance Florence: The Della Volpaia Manuscripts), Merlin Cox (Theurgy in the Renaissance), Dimitrios Roussos (Gnothi Kairon: The Shape of Time in Renaissance Italy), Elisa Stafferini (Women in Arms: Armed Women in 16C and 17C Italian Art and Literature).

Recent publications

Books and edited volumes:

The Empire of Climate, c. 1550 – c. 1750: Early Modern Climate Theories and the Problem of Human Agency. Submitted and under review.

Governing the Environment in the Early Modern World: Theory and Practice, ed. Sara Miglietti and John Morgan (Abingdon and New York: Routledge, 2017).

Jean Bodin, Methodus ad facilem historiarum cognitionem. Text, translation, genetic apparatus, and commentary by Sara Miglietti (Pisa: Edizioni della Normale, 2013).

Articles and book chapters:

Un caso di autotraduzione medico-scientifica nel Rinascimento: Il Pourtraict de la santé / Diaeteticon Polyhistoricon di Joseph Duchesne (1606). In: Traduire à la Renaissance / Tradurre nel Rinascimento, ed. Jean-Louis Fournel and Ivano Paccagnella (Geneva: Droz, 2021, forthcoming).

Ambiente. In: Le parole dei moderni. Continuità e cambiamento fra ’400 e ’700, ed. Simonetta Bassi (Rome: Carocci, 2021, forthcoming).

Flood, Fire, and Tears: Imagining Climate Apocalypse in Scheuchzer’s “De portione” (1707/1708). In: Natural Disasters in the Early Modern World: Reflections, Representations, Interventions, ed. Ovanes Akopyan and David Rosenthal (Abingdon: Routledge, 2021, forthcoming).

Jean Bodin’s République. In: Reading Texts on Sovereignty: Textual Moments in the History of Political Thought, ed. Stella Achilleos and Antonis Balasopoulos (London: Bloomsbury, 2021, forthcoming).

Environmental Ethics for a Fallen World: Johann Jakob Scheuchzer (1672-1733) and the Boundaries of Human Agency. Earth Sciences History 39/2 (2020): 447-473

Between Nature and Culture: The Integrated Ecology of Renaissance Climate Theories. In: Early Modern écologies, ed. Pauline Goul and Phillip Usher (Amsterdam: Amsterdam University Press, 2020), pp. 137-160.

Jean Bodin on Action and Contemplation: A Reappraisal. In: Penser et agir à la Renaissance / Thought and Action in the Renaissance, ed. Philippe Desan and Véronique Ferrer (Geneva: Droz, 2020), pp. 283-312.

Climate Theory: An Invented Tradition? In: Spreading Knowledge in a Changing World, ed. Charles Burnett and Pedro Mantas-España (Córdoba and London: UCO Press and The Warburg Institute, 2019 [but 2020]), pp. 205-224.

“En langage latin et françoys communiqué”: Antoine Mizauld’s Astrometeorological Self-Translations (1546-1557).  In: In Other Words: Translating Philosophy in the Fifteenth and Sixteenth Centuries, ed. David Lines and Anna Laura Puliafito. Special issue of Rivista di Storia della Filosofia 2 (2019): 213-231.

New Worlds, Ancient Theories: Reshaping Climate Theory in the Early Colonial Atlantic. In: Translating Nature: Cross-Cultural Histories of Early Modern Science, ed. Jaime Marroquín Arredondo and Ralph Bauer (Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 2019), pp. 203-220; 318-323.

Sovereignty, Territory, and Population in Jean Bodin’s République. French Studies 72/1 (2018): 17-34.

Introduction: The Past and Present of Climate Theories. In: Climates Past and Present: Perspectives from Early Modern France, ed. Sara Miglietti. Special issue of Modern Language Notes (French Issue) 132 (2017): 902-911.

Debating Greatness from Machiavelli to Burton. In: Early Modern Philosophers and the Renaissance Legacy, ed. Cecilia Muratori and Gianni Paganini (Dordrecht: Springer, 2016), 239-258.

The Censor as Reader: Censorial Responses to Bodin’s Methodus in Counter-Reformation Italy (1587-1607). In: Reading Publics in Renaissance Europe, 1450-1650, ed. Sara Miglietti and Sarah Parker. Special issue of History of European Ideas 45/2 (2016): 707-721.

Wholesome or Pestilential? Giovanni Battista Doni (1594-1647) and the Dispute on Roman Air. In: The Renaissance Dialogue, ed. Roberta Ricci and Simona Wright. Special issue of NeMLA Italian Studies 38 (2016): 203-220.

Book reviews:

Review of Lydia Barnett, After the Flood: Imagining the Global Environment in Early Modern Europe (Baltimore, MD: Johns Hopkins University Press, 2019), ISBN: 9781421429519. American Historical Review 125/5 (2020): 1951-1952.

Review of Howell A. Lloyd, Jean Bodin, ‘This Pre-eminent Man of France’: An Intellectual Biography (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2017), ISBN 978-0-19-880014-9. History of Political Thought 41/4 (2020): 676-680.


Podcast interview for Interventions: The Intellectual History Podcast, with Christa Lundberg and Valentina Mann, 9 February 2019.

Video interview for the Archaeology of Reading project, 25 January 2019. 

Curriculum Vitae