Among many other things (!) I identify as a historian specializing in the history of religion and sexuality in the Early Modern Mediterranean world. I graduated and completed my PHD at the University of Pisa (Italy) with a thesis on homosexuality in Renaissance Italy. After a postdoctoral fellowship at the Scuola Normale Superiore of Pisa within the FIRB project “Beyond the Holy War” I moved to Australia for 2 and a half years, where I worked at the University of Sydney as a postdoctoral research associate for the Australian Research Council Centre of Excellence for the History of Emotions.

The current research project brought me to the United States, at The University of Maryland, where I am staying for two years before going back to the University of Verona, the Institution that is carrying out the action. I am enjoying a wonderful time at UMD’s History Department, a welcoming and stimulating work environment that is helping me focus on my research objectives and understand how things works in a US University. When I will be back to Italy, I will continue my work within PoliTeSse (Politics and Theories of Sexuality), the first institutionalized research center working on Gender and Sexuality studies in Italy.


2008-2010. PhD in Early Modern History. University of Pisa, Italy


Single-Authored Books

U. Grassi, Sodoma. Persecuzioni, affetti, pratiche sociali (V-XVIII sec.), Roma, Carocci: 2019 (Sodom: A History of Homosexuality, 5th-18th centuries).

U. Grassi, LʼOffitio sopra l’Onestà. Il controllo della sodomia nella Lucca del Cinquecento, Milano: Mimesis, 2014 (The Office upon Honesy. The Control of Sodomy in the 16th-Century Lucca Republic).

Critical Editions

D. Bartoli, L’Asia: Istoria della Compagnia di Gesù, edited by U. Grassi, E. Frei (co-editor), with an introduction by Adriano Prosperi, 2 vols., Torino: Einaudi, 2019.

Edited Books

U. Grassi, V. Lagioia, G.P. Romagnani (eds). Tribadi, sodomiti, invertite e invertiti, pederasti, femminelle, ermafroditi… Per una storia dell’omosessualità, della bisessualità e delle trasgressioni di genere in Italia, Pisa: ETS, 2017 (Tribades, Sodomites, Inverts, Pederasts, Sissies, and Hermaphrodites. A History of Homosexuality, Bisexuality, and Gender Transgressions in Italy).

U. Grassi, G. Marcocci, eds., Le trasgressioni della carne. Il desiderio omosessuale nel mondo islamico e cristiano, sec. XII-XX, Roma: Viella 2015 (The Transgressions of the Flesh: Homosexual Desire in Muslim and Christian Worlds, 12th-20th centuries).

Book Chapters

U. Grassi. “Emotions and Sexuality: Regulation and Homoerotic Transgression,” in The Routledge History of Emotions in Europe (1100-1700), edited by S. Broomhall and A. Lynch, London/New York, Routledge, 2010, pp. 133-150.

U. Grassi, “Il frutto proibito. Eresia, emozioni e peccato originale nell’Italia moderna,” in “Infami macchie”. Sessualità maschili e indisciplina fra XVII e XVIII secolo, edited by F. Alfieri and V. Lagioia, Roma: Viella, 2017 (The Forbidden Fruit: Heresy, emotions and Original Sin in Early Modern Italy), pp. 51-86.

Articles in Peer-Reviewed Journals

U. Grassi, “Ambiguous Boundaries: Sex Crimes and Cross-Cultural Encounters in the Early Modern Mediterranean World,” Studi e Materiali di Storia delle Religioni 84.2 (2018), pp. 513-528

U. Grassi, “Sex and Toleration: New Perspectives of Research on Religious Radical Dissent in Early Modern Italy,” Intellectual History Review 29.1 (2019), pp. 129-144

U. Grassi, “Acts or Identities? Rethinking Foucault on Homosexuality,” Cultural History 5.2 (2016), pp. 200-221

U. Grassi, “Identità sessuale e medicina: Grassi legge Barbagli,” Storica 61-62 (2015), pp. 271-282 (Sexual Identity and Medicine: Grassi reads Barbagli)

U. Grassi, “Omosessualità islamiche e relazioni tra cristiani e musulmani: nuove prospettive di ricerca,” Storica 60 (2014), pp. 51-89 (Islamic Homosexualities and Christian Islamic Interactions: New Perspectives of Research)

U. Grassi, “L’Offitio sopra lʼHonestà. La repressione della sodomia nella Lucca del Cinquecento (1551-1580),” Studi Storici. Rivista trimestrale dellʼIstituto Gramsci 48.1 (2007), pp. 129-159. (The Office upon Honesty: The Repression of Sodomy in 16th-Century Lucca Republic)

Blog Posts


Project SPACES (Sex, disPlacements and cross Cultural EncounterS). Horizon 2020. Marie Skłodowska Curie Action. Project n. 795514



Since 2014: Member of EmoDiR – Early Modern Religious Dissents and Radicalism), international research group (www.emodir.net)

Since 2015: Member of the research center PoliTeSse – Politics and Theories of Sexuality (www.politesse.it)

2016-2017: Member of the Global Middle Ages Research Group of The University of Sydney (http://sydney.edu.au/arts/research/global_middle_ages/)

Since 2018: Honorary Fellow of the ARC Centre of Excellence for the History of Emotions. University of Western Australia



Umberto Grassi

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