The Gendered Geography of Violence in Bologna, Seventeenth to Nineteenth Centuries
This chapter highlights the necessity in historical research on urban space to combine time and space in a gendered approach. It tries to discern the contours of the gendered geography of violence in Bologna between 1650 and 1903. Committing a violent act often reveals a deep connection with the surrounding space. Serving as the judicial arm of papal absolutism until the mid-nineteenth century, the Tribunale del Torrone was the only criminal court in Bologna from around 1600 onwards and accordingly dealt with a wide range of offences, from petty theft to murder. Both men and women used urban spaces for all kinds of activities, whether legal or criminal. The question is to what extent, and how, the geography of violence was gendered. Bologna's economic stagnation in the eighteenth century saw increasingly large groups of unemployed people wandering the city, offering their services as day labourers, drunkenly starting trouble on the streets or living off small thefts.