Dr James Shaw
M.A. (Edin.), Ph.D. (E.U.I. Florence)
Department of History
Senior Lecturer in History
+44 114 222 2591
Full contact details
Department of History
1 Upper Hanover Street
I joined the History Department at the University of Sheffield in 2005. Before this I was an undergraduate at the University of Edinburgh and completed my Ph.D. at the European University Institute in Florence (1998). I subsequently held a British Academy Postdoctoral Fellowship at the University of Oxford, for a research project examining petty crime and small claims litigation in early modern Venice. This research won a British Academy Competition for Postdoctoral Monographs and following publication in 2006 as The Justice of Venice: Authorities and Liberties in the Urban Economy, 1550-1700, was awarded The Gladstone Prize of the Royal Historical Society.
In collaboration with Prof. Evelyn Welch, I was Postdoctoral Researcher for the Wellcome Trust project Selling Health in Renaissance Italy from 2002 to 2005, based at the University of Sussex and subsequently Queen Mary University of London. The project examined how pharmaceutical remedies were bought and sold in Renaissance Italy. Through quantitative analysis of the accounts of an apothecary shop, it showed how such businesses acted as intermediaries between changing medical theories and contemporary practice. At the same time, the project emphasized how exchange in this period was strongly embedded in personal connections. This research was published in 2011 as Making and Marketing Medicine in Renaissance Florence. See the reviews in the Oxford, Cambridge and Chicago Journals.
Additionally, I won a Senate Award for Excellence in Learning and Teaching in 2009.
- Research interests
My research focuses on the relationship of legal structures (laws, practices, institutions) to the daily practices of economic life. During 2009-10, I examined credit disputes in early modern Florence through close study of supplications for justice. These sources are invaluable for presenting credit disputes embedded in a narrative of personal circumstances, providing rich evidence of market practices, laws and ethics, as well as key aspects of the operation of justice, authority and power in the early modern state.
My new project applies this approach to early modern Venice using denunciations for fraud. Here plaintiffs typically made a moral case that their contractual relations must be interpreted with regard to personal circumstances, in contrast to the normally dry and formal records of debt litigation. I aim to use these records to explore what ethical and legal concepts meant in practice for those operating in the market.
I am presently seeking to develop a research group with interests in the operation of markets, laws and ethics in the early modern period. I welcome contacts with other researchers working in this field, particularly where the approach spans legal, economic and social history.
- Making and Marketing Medicine in Renaissance Florence. Editions Rodopi B.V..
- The Justice of Venice: Authorities and Liberties in the Urban Economy, 1550-1700. OUP/British Academy.
- Guido Alfani and Matteo Di Tullio. The Lion’s Share: Inequality and the Rise of the Fiscal State in Preindustrial Europe.. The American Historical Review, 125(5), 1992-1993.
- The Lion's Share: Inequality and the Rise of the Fiscal State in Preindustrial Europe. AMERICAN HISTORICAL REVIEW, 125(5), 1992-1993.
- "CONTRACTS DAMNED BY GOD AND BY THE WORLD" LITIGATING THE JUST PRICE IN XVIITH CENTURY VENICE. QUADERNI STORICI, 55(1), 185-210.
- Helen Fulton and Michele Campopiano, eds., Anglo-Italian cultural relations in the later middle ages (York: York Medieval Press, 2018. pp. xii+212. 2 figs. ISBN 9781903153697 Hbk. £60). The Economic History Review, 72(1), 398-399.
- The Informal Economy of Credit in Early Modern Venice. The Historical Journal, 61(3), 623-642. View this article in WRRO
- Was the renaissance a new age? Assessing the early modern period. Modern History Review, 19(2).
- Writing to the prince: Supplications, equity and absolutismin sixteenth-century tuscany. Past and Present, 215(1), 51-83.
- Zanobi Machiavelli, Battista Strozzi and the high altar of the Badia Fiesolana. The Burlington Magazine, 153(1305), 794-796.
- MONIQUE O'CONNELL. Men of Empire: Power and Negotiation in Venice's Maritime State. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press. 2009. Pp. viii, 253. $55.00.. The American Historical Review, 115(2), 631-632.
- Agents of empire: Spanish ambassadors in sixteenth-century Italy.. HISTORY, 92(305), 115-116.
- A dialogue on spying in 17th-century Venice 1. Rethinking History, 10(3), 323-344.
- Retail, Monopoly and Privilege: The Dissolution of the Fishmongers' Guild of Venice, 1599. Journal of Early Modern History: contacts, comparisons, contrasts, 6(4).
- Market ethics and credit practices in sixteenth-century Tuscany. Renaissance Studies.
- «Contracts damned by God and by the World»: Litigating the Just Price in Early Modern Venice. Quaderni storici.
- Women, Credit and Dowry in Early Modern Italy In Dermineur E (Ed.), Women and Credit in Pre-Industrial Europe, 1400-1800 (pp. 173-202). Turnhout: Brepols. View this article in WRRO
- Introduction: Markets, Ethics, Practices In Middleton S & Shaw JE (Ed.), Market Ethics and Practices, c. 1300–1850 Routledge
- Interessi privati e polizia dei mercati a Venezia, sec. XVI-XVII In Antonielli L (Ed.), La polizia del lavoro: il definirsi di un ambito di controllo (Messina, 30 novembre-1 dicembre 2007) (pp. 23-36). Soveria Mannelli: Rubbettino.
- Liquidation or Certification? Small Claims Disputes and Retail Credit in Seventeenth-Century Venice In Blondé B, Stabel P & Stobart J (Ed.), Buyers and Sellers: Retail circuits and practices in medieval and early modern Europe (pp. 277-296). Brepols Publishers
- Institutional Controls and the Retail of Paintings: The Painters' Guild of Early Modern Venice In Marchi ND & Miegroet HJV (Ed.), Mapping markets for paintings in Europe 1450-1750 (pp. 107-122). Brepols Pub
- Justice in the Marketplace: Corruption at the Giustizia Vecchia in Early Modern Venice In Goldgar A & Frost RI (Ed.), Institutional culture in early modern society (pp. 281-316). Leiden: Brill Academic Publishing.
- Anglo-Italian cultural relations in the later middle ages. ECONOMIC HISTORY REVIEW, 72(1), 398-399.
- La révolte des boules de neige: Murano face à Venise, 1511, by Claire Judde de Larivière. The English Historical Review, 132(556), 695-697.
- Nourrir la ville: Ravitaillement, marché et métiers de l’alimentation à Venise dans les derniers siècles du Moyen Age. Fabien Faugeron. Bibliothèque des Écoles françaises d’Athènes et de Rome 362. Rome: École française de Rome, 2014. xxv + 886 pp. €59.. Renaissance Quarterly, 68(4), 1386-1387.
- The Hero of Italy: Odoardo Farnese, Duke of Parma, His Soldiers, and His Subjects in the Thirty Years' War. French History, 29(2), 264-264.
- Tim Carter and Richard A. Goldthwaite. Orpheus in the Marketplace: Jacopo Peri and the Economy of Late Renaissance Florence.. The American Historical Review, 119(5), 1795-1795.
- Sandra Cavallo and Tessa Storey, Healthy Living in Late Renaissance Italy. Social History of Medicine, 27(4), 813-814.
- Cultures of Plague: Medical Thinking at the End of the Renaissance. ENGLISH HISTORICAL REVIEW, 127(524), 164-166.
- Sandra Cavallo and David Gentilcore (eds), Spaces, objects and identities in early modern Italian medicine, Oxford, Blackwell in collaboration with the Society for Renaissance Studies, 2008, pp. 123, illus., £19.99 (paperback 978-1-4051-8040-5).. Medical History, 54(3), 403-404.
- Men of Empire: Power and Negotiation in Venice's Maritime State.. AM HIST REV, 115(2), 631-632.
- Information and Communication in Venice: Rethinking Early Modern Politics. The English Historical Review, CXXIV(511), 1487-1488.
- Crime and Justice in Late Medieval Italy - By Trevor Dean. History, 94(315), 391-392.
- Civic Christianity in Renaissance Italy: The Hospital of Treviso, 1400–1530 By David M. D’Andrea. History, 93(311), 422-423.
- Living on the Edge in Leonardo's Florence: Selected Essays. The English Historical Review, CXXIII(501), 451-452.
- Guilds and association in Europe, 900–1900 – Edited by Ian A. Gadd and Patrick Wallis. The Economic History Review, 61(1), 252-253.
- Florence and Tuscany, XIVth-XIXth centuries: Dynamics of an Italian state. ENGLISH HISTORICAL REVIEW, 123(500), 183-184.
- Renaissance Florence: A Social History - Edited by Roger J. Crum and John T. Paoletti. History, 92(308), 570-572.
- Abandoned Children of the Italian Renaissance: Orphan Care in Florence and Bologna - By Nicholas Terpstra. History, 92(306), 259-260.
- Women, Sex and Marriage in Early Modern Venice By Daniela Hacke. History, 91(303), 453-453.
- Research group
I welcome applications from postgraduate students with an interest in the history of early modern Italy, particularly projects adopting social, economic and legal approaches.
- Current Students
- Completed Students
- Philip Back - ‘If you build it, they will come': the origins of Scotland’s Country Parks.
- Richard Scott (second supervisor) - Dreams and Passions in Revolutionary England.
- Teaching activities
- HST202 - Historians and History
- HST2010 - The Myth of Venice
- HST3085/86 - Art, Power and History: Ideals and Reality in Renaissance Florence
- HST3304 - Debt, Money and Morality
- HST6055 - Microhistory and the History of Everyday Life