Research Stream

Umberto Grassi

Umberto Grassi is a postdoctoral associate researcher at the Sydney node of the ARC Center of Excellence for the History of Emotions (directed by dr. Juanita F. Ruys). His project is part of the Meaning program, led by professor Andrew Lynch.

Grassi graduated (MA) in Early Modern History in 2002 at the University of Pisa. His dissertation focused on the control of sodomy in Early Modern Italy. Grassi continued studying this topic as a PHD student, under the supervision of prof. Adriano Prosperi. His PHD thesis was awarded within a LGBTQ studies contest, and it has been published in 2014. In 2012 Grassi joined the FIRB project “Beyond the Holy War”, as a research fellow based at the Scuola Normale Superiore of Pisa. Focused on the interactions between Christians and Muslims in the Early Modern period, the project included other Italian Universities (La Sapienza of Rome and the University of Palermo), and promoted cooperation with renowned international research centres.

Garssi is currently part of EMoDiR (Early Modern religious Dissents and Radicalism), an international research network focused on the study of religious dissent across Europe. The group brings together a variety of research projects on the cultural and social history of religious dissent in early modernity ( He is also a member of the research centre of Gender and Sexuality Studies Politesse (Politics and Theories of Sexuality), based at the University of Verona, which is today a pioneering experience in Italy (



Ambiguous Boundaries: Sex Crimes and Cross-cultural Encounters in the Early Modern Mediterranean World


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

Selected Edited Volumes

Grassi, U. and 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, XII-XX centuries).

Selected Articles in Peer-Reviewed Journals

Grassi, U. 'Identita' sessuale e medicina: Grassi legge Barbagli'. Storica (2015):61-62.

Grassi, U.'Omosessualità islamiche e relazioni tra cristiani e musulmani: nuove prospettive di ricerca'. «Storica» 30.60 (2014):51-89. (Islamic Homosexualities and  Christian islamic Interactions: New Perspectives of Research)

Grassi, U. 'L'Offitio sopra lʼHonestà. La repressione della sodomia nella Lucca del Cinquecento (1551-1580)'. «Studi Storici. Rivista trimestrale dellʼIstituto Gramsci» 48.1 (2007):129-59. (The Offitio sopra lʼHonestà: the Repression of Sodomy in 16th Century Lucca Republic)