The Limits of Identity: Early Modern Venice, Dalmatia, and the Representation of Difference
Karen-edis Barzman, Binghamton University
This book considers the production of collective identity in Venice (Christian, civic-minded, anti-tyrannical), which turned on distinctions drawn in various fields of representation from painting, sculpture, print, and performance to classified correspondence. Dismemberment and decapitation bore a heavy burden in this regard, given as indices of an arbitrary violence ascribed to Venice’s long-time adversary, “the infidel Turk.” The book also addresses the recuperation of violence in Venetian discourse about maintaining civic order and waging crusade. Finally, it examines mobile populations operating in the porous limits between Venetian Dalmatia and Ottoman Bosnia and the distinctions they disrupted between “Venetian” and “Turk” until their settlement on farmland of the Venetian state. This occurred in the eighteenth century with the closing of the borderlands, thresholds of difference against which early modern “Venetian-ness” was repeatedly measured and affirmed.