Sara Miglietti

Senior Lecturer in Cultural and Intellectual History

Sara Miglietti

Research Interests
Renaissance intellectual history | History of Philosophy | History of political thought (ancient to modern) | History of science
Translation studies | French wars of religion | Translation and reception studies | Genetic Criticism | Environmental humanities 



Sara was educated in Italy, France and the UK, and taught for three years at Johns Hopkins University (USA) before joining the Warburg Institute in 2018. Her teaching at the Warburg focuses on the history of philosophy (particularly ethics and politics) and Renaissance intellectual history. Sara is especially interested in the circulation, reception, and reuse of texts and ideas across geographical and chronological boundaries, and in the afterlife of classical ideas in the early modern period. Her publications include a genetic edition of Jean Bodin’s Methodus ad facilem historiarum cognitionem, three edited volumes, and articles on various aspects of early modern European cultures. She is currently at work on two books, one on early modern climate theories and one on philosophical and scientific self-translation in Renaissance France. 

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. She is especially keen to situate early modern intellectual cultures within a wider genealogy, by reconstructing their debts to ancient and medieval thought and their legacy on modern and contemporary cultures, but also by examining the circulation and reappropriation of texts and ideas across geographic and linguistic borders. Her interest in the transmission and reception of texts has led her to investigate phenomena such as censorship, annotation, authorial revision and self-translation, theoretically as well as historically.

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 many 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 treatise on political philosophy in six books. For the past few years, Sara has been working with Mario Turchetti (Fribourg) on a bilingual edition of Books 5 and 6 (expected for publication in 2020). This work has also led her to develop a broader interest in philosophical self-translation in Renaissance France, which is going to be the topic of her next book project, tentatively entitled The Bilingual Muse.

Sara’s current work bears primarily on early modern environmental ideas and their ties to moral, political, and religious thought. She has a book in progress on this topic (The Empire of Climate) and a number of recent or forthcoming publications in journals and edited volumes. She also edited two collections of essays on this topic, both of which came out in 2017: a book (co-edited with John Morgan) entitled Governing the Environment in the Early Modern World: Theory and Practice and a special issue of Modern Language Notes entitled Climates Past and Present: Perspectives from Early Modern France.

Methodus and facilem Historiarum cognitionem book cover

Governing the Environment in the Early Modern World book cover











Sara teaches a core module called “Techniques of Scholarship: Reading and Writing History”, which introduces all MA students to the nuts and bolts of scholarly work in Renaissance cultural history. The module runs in both Terms 1 and 2.

Term 1, “Reading History”, introduces the students to a range of historiographical classics that exemplify different approaches to late-medieval and early-modern cultural history. Authors discussed include Frances Yates, Carlo Ginzburg and Michel Foucault. The goal is to familiarise the students with fundamental theoretical questions involved in historical research as well as with important trends in 20th- and 21st-century cultural history-writing. The module covers topics such as periodisation, evidence, interpretation, commensurability, translatability, canonicity, agency, and teleology. Throughout the term, students gain new critical-analytical skills that they can then apply to their own research and writing.

Term 2, “Writing History”, is a workshop that guides the students in choosing, developing, and researching a topic that will form the subject of their final dissertation. The workshop covers topics such as: “Identifying a research question”, “Identifying an ‘archive’”, “Compiling a bibliography”, “Writing an abstract & dissertation plan”.

In term 3, Sara supervises dissertation appropriate to her research interests and expertise.


PhD Supervision

Second supervisor for Helena Avelar. Dissertation title: ‘The Making of an Astrologer in Fifteenth-Century France: The Notebooks of S. Belle: Lisbon, MS 1711 and Paris, NAL 398.’



Books and edited volumes:

The Empire of Climate: Mastering Environmental Influence in Early Modern Europe and the Colonial Atlantic. In progress.

The Bilingual Muse: Philosophical and Scientific Self-Translation in Renaissance France. In progress.

Jean Bodin, Les Six livres de la République/De republica libri sex. Livres 5-6. Text, critical apparatus, and commentary by Mario Turchetti and Sara Miglietti (Paris: Garnier, expected 2020).

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

Climates Past and Present: Perspectives from Early Modern France, ed. Sara Miglietti. Special issue of Modern Language Notes (French Issue), 132 (2017)

Reading Publics in Renaissance Europe, 1450-1650, ed. Sara Miglietti and Sarah E. Parker. Special issue of History of European Ideas, 45/3 (2016). 

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, ed. Jean-Louis Fournel and Ivano Paccagnella (Geneva: Droz, 2019, forthcoming).

‘“En langage latin et françoys comuniqué”: Antoine Mizauld’s Astro-Meteorological 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 (forthcoming 2019).

“‘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, forthcoming).

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

‘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.

(With William Barton) ‘An Eighteenth-Century Thought Experiment on Climate Change: Johann Jakob Scheuchzer’s “De ignis seu caloris certa portione Heluetiae adsignata” (1708).’ Lias: Journal of Early Modern Intellectual Culture and its Sources 42/2 (2015): 135-166.

‘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.

‘Meaning in a Changing Context: Towards an Interdisciplinary Approach to Authorial Revision.’ History of European Ideas 40/4 (2014): 474-494.

‘Le souverain remède. Letture machiavelliane della crisi in Francia (1573-1579).’ Rinascimento 53 (2013): 73-110.

‘Reading from the Margins: Some Insights into the Early Reception of Bodin’s Methodus.’ In The Reception of Bodin, ed. Howell A. Lloyd (Leiden: Brill, 2013), 193-217.

Book reviews:

‘Berns: une généalogie de la souveraineté au service de son dépassement (Review of Thomas Berns, Souveraineté, droit et gouvernementalité. Lectures du politique moderne à partir de Bodin, 2005). Materiali Foucaultiani 1 (2010), online. URL:


Curriculum Vitae