Dr. Asker Pelgrom

Dr. Asker Pelgrom

Director of Studies in History
+39 06.326962.31

Discipline and Specialization:
History and Art History, Italian Cultura and History

Utrecht University

Period in Rome:

upon appointment

Asker Pelgrom studied History at the Università degli Studi di Pisa and the University of Groningen, where he specialized in modern Italian cultural history. After receiving his degree, he worked as a Ph.D student in Groningen, as Director of Policy & Research at the Nexus Institute (Tilburg) and as Curator at the B.C. Koekkoek-House in Cleves, Germany. In 2011 he defended his dissertation entitled Storie italiane. Romantic historical culture between urban traditions and national consciousness. Milan and Florence, 1800-1848. Since then, he has been teaching Cultural History at Utrecht University in the Department of History and Art History and – from 2015 – at the Italian Language and Culture program in the Department of Languages, Culture and Communication as well. His research expertise and interest concern the cultural history of the Risorgimento at large, in particular its historical culture, and the image of Italy in modern Dutch culture, especially among the Dutch artists in Rome during the nineteenth century. He has been on the editorial board of the journals Nexus and Incontri. Rivista europea di studi italiani and was a board member of the Dutch/Belgian association for Italian studies (WIS). As a (doctoral) student and university teacher, he has stayed at the Royal Netherlands Institute several times before.
In his research, Asker Pelgrom focuses primarily on Italian and Dutch cultural history during the ‘long nineteenth century’. His scientific interests cross the boundaries between historiography, art, literature and politics. Asker’s current research projects can be divided in two different categories.

Firstly, he is engaged in the so-called ‘historical culture’ of Italian Romanticism, when a new passion for the past caused an unprecedented blossoming of historical genres, not only in the earliest scientific historiography but more significantly in historical literature, painting, music etc. Elaborating on his dissertation Storie italiane he investigates the Italian historical interest from the point of view of the city, problematizing the relation between the older urban historical traditions and the new, burgeoning national historical consciousness. In addition to Milan an Florence (topic of his previous research), other cities will be investigated as well. Furthermore, a number of themes prominently present in romantic historical representations will receive further attention, such as violence, martyrdom, patronage, cultural heritage and gender.

A second area of interest concerns the image of Italy in Dutch nineteenth-century culture (and, more indirectly, in Belgian culture). Research focuses primarily on the crucial part played by Dutch artists, writers and translators in interpreting both older Italian culture and heritage and modern Italian culture, politics and society and transferring them to a Dutch audience. Italy often appeared to be a mirror room for Dutch culture, in other words an important (and often neglected) frame of reference for its own cultural and political needs. The point of departure for this line of research will be a critical and illustrated edition of the Roman memoirs of the painter Jan Philip Koelman (1818-1893), to be published in two separate Dutch and Italian editions.

Asker Pelgrom teaches on the history and culture of modern and contemporary Italy and Rome, primarily from 1800-present.
At the KNIR, Asker Pelgrom supervises students and Ph.D candidates in the field of history and, as the occasion arises, adjacent disciplines.
Publications and papers

A.R. Pelgrom (red.), Gemalt für den König. B.C. Koekkoek und die luxemburgische Landschaft, B.C. Koekkoek-Huis Kleve / Musée national d’histoire et d’art Luxembourg, 2012, 224 pp.

Storie italiane. Romantische geschiedcultuur tussen stedelijke traditie en nationaal besef. Milaan en Florence, 1800-1848, dissertation University of Groningen 2011, 428 pp. [Storie italiane. Romantic historical culture between urban traditions and national conciousness. Milan and Florence, 1800-1848]


Articles and papers

‘Visual arts : Italian’, Encyclopedia of Romantic Nationalism in Europe, ed. Joep Leerssen (electronic version; Amsterdam: Study Platform on Interlocking Nationalisms,, paper version (University of Chicago Press) in print.

‘Narrative literature (historical) : Italian’, Encyclopedia of Romantic Nationalism in Europe, ed. Joep Leerssen (electronic version; Amsterdam: Study Platform on Interlocking Nationalisms,, paper version (University of Chicago Press) in print.

‘Belgian artists in the mirror hall of the Risorgimento 1830-1870’, conference Relazioni di viaggio. Artisti belgi in Italia nel XIX secolo, Academia Belgica Rome, 16 June 2016.

‘Ziehier het Colosseum, het Forum, de Palatijn… en gravin Lovatelli’ in: Incontri. Rivista europea di studi italiani 31/1 (2016), 42-44, review of Floris Meens, Archeologe en muze. Ersilia Caetani-Lovatelli en het culturele leven in Rome tijdens het Fin de siècle, proefschrift Radboud Universiteit Nijmegen, 2015

‘Dutch artists and Rome (1840-1870): the Risorgimento as a reference culture’, conference Another Horizon. Northern Painters in Rome, 1814-1870, Accademia di Danimarca / Istituto Svedese di Studi Classici a Roma, 20 October 2015.

‘The Risorgimento and the Sea’ in: Sicily and the Sea Amsterdam/Zwolle 2015) Diederik Burgersdijk e.a. (eds.), exhibition catalogue, Allard Pierson Museum, Amsterdam, 9 October 2015-17 April 2016, 162-165.

‘Sublieme vaderlandsliefde. Michelangelo Buonarroti en de romantische verbeelding van het Beleg van Florence (1530)’, lecture in a interuniveristy series entitled Licht op Italië, Nijmegen, 10 April 2015.

‘Het pittoreske tussen privé en politiek B.C. Koekkoeks Luxemburgse landschappen voor Willem II’ in: De Negentiende Eeuw 2014/1, 1-22.

‘A Dutch artist’s funeral in 1846’ in: Newsletter of the Friends of the Non-Catholic Cemetery in Rome 27 (Summer 2014) 3.

‘Nawoord/Afterword’ bij: Mario Rigoni Stern, Sergeant in de sneeuw. Herinneringen aan de aftocht uit Rusland (Utrecht/Amsterdam/Antwerpen 2013), translation Asker Pelgrom, 155-168.

‘Domänen der Kunst. B.C. Koekkoek und seine luxemburgische Landschaften für Wilhelm II.’ in: Idem (red.), Gemalt für den König. B.C. Koekkoek und die luxemburgische Landschaft, Kleve/Luxemburg 2012, 12-39.

‘Über Koek en zopie und die Slibberachtigheyt van s menschen leven. Die Winterlandschaft in der niederländischen Malerei von Bruegel bis Schelfhout’, B.C. Koekkoek-Haus Kleve, 26 February 2012.

‘Ludovico il Moro nell’800, o le due facce del Rinascimento nel Risorgimento’ in: Incontri. Rivista europea di studi italiani 2011/2, 83-98.

‘Pennello e baionetta. Johan Philip Koelman, il Risorgimento e l’Olanda’, op het congres Italia, Olanda, Europa. Il Risorgimento e le prospettive internazionali, Sapienza Università di Roma, 13 May 2011.

‘Instorting en uitverkoop. Over klassiek erfgoed in Italië’, in het kader van de Week van de Klassieken, Museum het Valkhof, 14 April 2011.

‘150 jaar Italië: het Risorgimento door Nederlandse ogen’, Wereldmuseum Rotterdam, 30 January 2011.

(with R. C. Rittersma), ‘The Netherlands’ in: Ilaria Porciani en Lutz Raphael, eds., Atlas of the European Historiography. The making of a profession 1800 -2005 (Basingstoke, Palgrave Macmillan, 2010) 141-144, with maps and data collected by the authors on 2-69.

‘Mnemosyne & parrèsia. Salvatore Settis tussen Oudheid en actualiteit’, Preface to Salvatore Settis, De toekomst van het ‘klassieke’ (’s Hertogenbosch, Uitgeverij Voltaire, 2010) 9-33.

‘Una sceneggiatura movimentata. Bozze per la fortuna cinematografica di Garibaldi’, lecture at the Domus Mazziniana Pisa, 14 May 2007, published online:

‘”Le città e la memoria” Intervista a Laura Cerasi’ (interview met dr. Laura Cerasi over het project ‘Memory and place in the twentieth-century Italian city’ en haar film over Porto Marghera), in: Incontri. Rivista europea di studi italiani 2008/2, 159-169.

‘The Risorgimento on Screen. Shapes of History in Italian film, 1905-2007’, lezing Nederlands Instituut voor Oorlogsdocumentatie, Amsterdam, 13 December 2007.

‘The Lombard League Traditions in Northern Italy’ in: L. Eriksonas en L. Müller, red., Statehood before and  beyond Ethnicity: Comparative and Trans-National Perspectives in Europe (Brussel, p.i.e./Peter Lang, 2005) 175-204.

‘”Painting in that old birth-land of all art”. Giuseppe Mazzini en de moderne schilderkunst in Italië’ in: Groniek: historisch tijdschrift 166 (2005) 43-59.

Brutii toscani. La congiura dei Pazzi nella cultura storica del primo Ottocento’, Kunsthistorisches Institut in Florenz, 14 April 2004.

‘Gli europei del Nord: l’Olanda, la Scandinavia e i Paesi baltici’, congres La città e il libro III. Eloquenza silenziosa: voci del ricordo incise nel cimitero ‘degli Inglesi’, Florence, 3-5 June 2004.

‘Hoe Gioberti zijn stempel op de geschiedschrijving van de Italiaanse literatuur drukte’ [recensieartikel] in: Incontri. Rivista europea di studi italiani 19/1 (2004) 107-113 (review of Wim Sosef, De afdruk van het Italische stempel. De literaire kritiek van Vincenzo Gioberti en de wording van de nationale literatuurgeschiedenis, proefschrift, Amsterdam 2002).

Ove la musica ha patria. Theaters en opera in het Risorgimento’ in: Incontri. Rivista europea di studi italiani 18/1(2003) 65-70.

‘De canon van de natie’ [recensieartikel] in: Incontri. Rivista europea di studi italiani 18/2 (2003), 175-179 (review of Alberto M. Banti: La nazione del Risorgimento. Parentela, santità e onore alle origini dell’Italia unita, Turin 2000)

‘Cesare Fracassini’s I Martiri Gorgomiensi (1867). Religieus en seculier martelaarschap tussen protestantisme en katholicisme’ in: Amore Romae. Bulletin van de vrienden van het Nederlands Instituut te Rome v (2002) 23-52.

Review of L’istruzione universitaria (1859-1915) G. Fioravanti, I. Porciani and M. Moretti eds., (Rome, Ministero per i beni e le attività culturali, Ufficio centrale per i beni archivistici, 2000) and three other publications on the history of the university in modern Italy in: Nieuwsbrief universiteitsgeschiedenis 2002/2, 56-58.

‘Questo matrimonio non s’ha da fare. Alessandro Manzoni en het dilemma van de historische roman’ in: Incontri. Rivista europea di studi italiani 17/1 (2001) 19-42.


Translations – Books

Salvatore Settis, De toekomst van het ‘klassieke’ (’s-Hertogenbosch, Uitgeverij Voltaire, 2010), translation and introduction.

Mario Rigoni Stern, Sergeant in de sneeuw. Herinneringen aan de aftocht uit Rusland (Amsterdam / Antwerpen, Uitgeverij De Arbeiderspers 2013), series Oorlogsdomein nr. 24, translation and afterword.


Translations – Essays, short stories and chapters

Tommaso Landolfi, ‘Een herfstvertelling’ (fragment), voor het Schwob-fonds van het Nederlands Letterenfonds (publicatie online aanstaande)

Andrej Longo, ‘Obers’ in: De stedenverzamelaar. Italiaanse auteurs en hun stad (Amsterdam, Serena Libri, 2012).

Nicola Lecca, ‘We gunnen ons geen respijt. De verloren liefde voor het wachten’ in: Nexus 61 (2012) 104-115.

Claudio Magris, ‘De eclips van het burgerdom en het einde van de beschaving’, opdrachtgever: Nexus Instituut.

Carlo Ginzburg, ‘Vervreemding. Voorgeschiedenis van een literair procédé’, opdrachtgever: Nexus Instituut en tijdschrift Nexus, July 2012.

Federico Fellini, fragment uit: Fare un film (1980), opdrachtgever: Nexus Instituut, June 2011.

Cristina Campo, ‘Lofzang op de sprezzatura’ in: Nexus 58 (2011) 126-137.

Norberto Bobbio, ‘Lof der zachtmoedigheid’ in: Nexus 58 (2011) 101-116.

Giovanni Gentile, ‘Manifest van de fascistische intellectuelen’ in: Nexus 56 (2010) 123-125.

Benedetto Croce, ‘Manifest van de antifascistische intellectuelen’ in: Nexus 56 (2010) 126-129.

Benedetta Craveri, ‘De kunst van het mens worden van Whitman tot Mann’, opdrachtgever: Nexus Instituut, 2010.

Carlo Ossola, ‘Bobbio en de welgetemperde mildheid’ (opdrachtgever: Nexus Instituut) 2010.

Pietro Metastasio, fragment uit: Didone abbandonata (1724), opdrachtgever: Gergiev Festival, 2010.

Paolo Flores d’Arcais, ‘Fascisme en berlusconisme’ in: Nexus 56 (2010) 130-153.

(met een vertalerscollectief) Claudio Magris, ‘Tagore en de bloem zonder geur’ in: Filter. Tijdschrift over vertalen 16/3 (2009) 31-32.

Cristina Campo, ‘De fluit en het tapijt’ in: Nexus 51 (2009) 153-175.

Ugo Dotti, ‘Een gesprek in de Eliseïsche Velden tussen Machiavelli en Petrarca’ in: Nexus 50 (2008) Europees humanisme in fragmenten. Grammatica van een ongesproken taal, 166-182.

Daniela Bini, ‘De last van de waarheid. De actualiteit van Carlo Michelstaedter’, in: Nexus 50 (2008) Europees humanisme in fragmenten. Grammatica van een ongesproken taal, 243-256.

Nicola Lecca, ‘Bijna alles ontgaat ons’, in: Nexus 48 (2007) 37-43.

Carlo Ginzburg, ‘Representatie. het woord, het idee, het ding’, in: Feit & fictie 3, jaargang vi (2006) 83-96.