Removing and breach attempts in the process of nation building in Tunisia. The case of devotional Islam, by Leila El Houssi
In the Maghreb, and in Tunisia in particular, there is an Islam parallel to the institutional one: that of religious confraternities who have developed a religiosity from below that is deeply linked to the cult of Saints, carrying out a precious socio-religious function over the centuries. The strong local rooting of this tradition has prevented the attempt of removal by the former President Bourguiba and later led his successor Ben Ali to authorize the opening of numerous zâwiya encouraging the pilgrimage to the tombs of the saints. Since the uprising of 2011 and in particular between 2012 and 2013, we are witnessing, however, numerous desecrations and attacks against many mausoleums throughout Tunisia. It is the Salafi movement that has targeted devotional practices related to devotional Islam. The attempts to remove and violate the devotional Islam seem to refer to the process the Tunisian writer Abdelwahab Meddeb defined “desertification of memory” of a community. Despite the difficulties, the Islam of the confraternities would seem to be a powerful antibody against radical forms.
Keywords: Tunisia, Sufism, Zawiya, Islam, Politica Islam, North Africa.

The aqbāt al-mahjar and the internationalization of the Coptic question from the 1970s to the Mubarak regime, by Alessia Melcangi
Starting from the analysis of the migratory phenomenon that has involved the Coptic Christians of Egypt in the last decades, this article intends to understand how it has contributed to the internationalization of the “Coptic question”, thanks to the activism of the associations and churches born within the communities abroad. The role played by the so-called aqbāt al-mahjar, (the Copts of the diaspora), has helped to break down the taboo about the political, social and economic condition of the Christians in Egypt, the so-called “Coptic question”, bringing out the severity of the incidents of violence recorded, and raising the international public awareness of the human rights issue in contemporary Egypt. However, the impact of this activism has generated various contrasts in the motherland, making the cohabitation of the Coptic Christians and the Muslims even more difficult. Starting from these premises and going through the main historical phases, from the seventies to the presidency of Hosni Mubarak (1981-2011), this contribution will focus on the analysis of the actors involved in the internationalization process of the Coptic problem, looking at inter-religious relationships between the two community, and between the Christian communities and the Egyptian state.
Keywords: Egypt, Coptic question, Islam, Inter-religious relationship.

The Jewish communities of the Maghreb, their emigration, their current situation, by Filippo Petrucci
The Jewish presence in North Africa was a constant, finished only after the access to the independence of the various North African countries; Jewish communities lived from Morocco to Egypt and were an important element within the various countries. The situation changed after the creation of the state of Israel and even more after the national independences. This contribution means to outline the framework of the Jewish presence in the French-speaking countries of North Africa at the contemporary time (and the effect of the French presence on the inter-community relations), focusing on the changes that took place in different countries, after the independences and the birth of Israel (giving space on Zionist activity). The article will end with an analysis of how the remaining Jewish communities are still living in Morocco, Tunisia and Algeria
Keywords: North Africa, Jews, Decolonization, Zionism, Israel.

North Africa between political and cultural protest: the Berber case, by Marisa Fois
North African and Middle Eastern societies are distinguished by their stratification and plurality. Therefore, in attempting a schematization of such countries, alongside the so-called Arab majority–which should obviously not be considered monolithic–it is possible to retrace minority or, taking into account different groups, minorities. Thus, this article aims to historically retrace the approach to the Berber minority by the institutions as well as the colonial and independent states in Algeria, Morocco and Tunisia. In these countries, the so-called Berber question is certainly different, as it is also linked to numerical data and the ability to influence national debate. At the same time, the article provides an analysis of the most representative examples of the cultural and political Berber claim, within the framework of international politics and transnationalism, and considering recent changes in the Mediterranean basin.
Keywords: North Africa, Berbers, Minorities, Politics, Arab Nationalism.

State for all, God for everyone: the Christian minority in Syria from the independence to the civil war, by Benedetta Panchetti
This article aims to analyse the reality of Syrian Christians since the struggle for the independence until the outbreak of the war in 2011. Starting from the analysis of the political contribution given by some Christian politicians in developing the political ideas of “Syrian nation” and “Syrian state”, this paper intends to stress Christian contribution building the Syrian Republic as an independent, multi- confessional and Arab state. Then, the focus will be on the Christian support on the Ba’athist secular and pan-Arab ideology before and after Ba’ath party took the power in 1963. The last part of the article focuses on Christians under the Al Asad’s regime since 1970 to the war, underling four main aspects: how Christians interacted with the government on the political level, their relations with the Muslim population, the inter-Christian relations, their attitude towards the regime and the oppositions during the war.
Keywords: Christians, Secular State, Ba’ath party, Syrian Arab Republic, Jihadism.

Sharecropping and rural life in the Valdarno farms of the Serristori (XVII century), by Andrea Zagli
The long-term prominence of Florentine’s patricians has produced a great range of sources, widely originated by the transmission along the time of social roles, political and religious careers, economic interests and heritages, concerning land ownership above all. Necessity of economic administration, but furthermore, of transmitting property and land richness – and memory of these – is the main reason because the private archives of Tuscan gentle families are full of precious primary sources for the study of the country and, more widely, for rural history from Middle Age to XX century. The aim of this paper is focusing on these documentary sources and present a first research’s account about the family’s archive of the Serristori. The case study is limited to the second half of XVII century. In a way, it’s a methodological survey in a particular type of primary source: the private letters about administration and exploitation of rural properties between the padroni and their agenti. The Casato, from the native Figline, was full integrated in the Florence’s aristocracy by the XIVXV centuries but maintained strong economic interests and a great social influence in the native Valdarno. These letters – exchanged on a weekly or daily basis – are very important to highlight mentality (“paternalism”) and social and economic strategies about the wide rural tenancies from Valdarno to Valdichiana lead by the padroni according to their peripherals agents. But more widely the dense correspondence also contains lively and direct evidences of rural life in a typical Tuscan sharecropping rural area.
Keywords: Rural history, Sharecropping in Tuscany, Serristori; Private family’s archives.

At the origins of a welfare for the middle classes. The International Institute for the middle classes and Italy in the early 19th centuryI, by Elisabetta Caroppo
Between the end of the 19th and the beginning of the 20th centuries a “movement for the defense of the middle classes” developed in Europe against the crushing effects of monopoly capitalism and the great industrial concentration. In this context, the International Institute for the Middle Classes was established in Stuttgart in 1903 with its operational headquarters in Brussels. Various governments of the time participated in the Institute with the aim of studying and proposing strategies to remedy the problems of the middle classes. In publications and at national conferences and international congresses, much attention was devoted to the subject of social security. This paper focuses on the relationship of the International Institute for the Middle Classes to the first forms of social protection and social security designed in Europe. Specific attention is focused on the case of Italy, a key protagonist in international debate and among the primary countries inspired by the German model.
Keywords: Middle Classes, Internationalism, Welfare, Government policies; Social History.

The fictional history. Public History and historical imaginary in TV series, by Giancarlo Poidomani
Since many years television has assumed a fundamental role in the process of production, dissemination and reception of stories and memories and in the creation of a historical collective imaginary. In America, public conflict over history is an integral part of national ideology. Americanism, like all other nineteenth-century national idealisms, narrates the collective events of the country by implementing a link between past and future. Some TV series (like The Walking Dead, The Simpsons, Timeless) often succeed in conveying a “public” history and determining a “common historical sense”, a collective and performative historical imagery of national identities, succeeding in representing the complexity of great contemporary issues and involving not only an educated elite but also a more popular audience.
Keywords: Tv Series, Historical Imaginary, United States of America, Public History.