Egidio Priani


Egidio PrianiI completed my Bachelor of Arts degree (Laurea in Filosofia) in 2006  at the University of ‘Ca’ Foscari’ in Venice. My undergraduate thesis was in the field of the History of Sciences and Clinical Epistemology and was entitled “Auscultum: lineamenti per una storia epistemologica dell’ascolto psichiatrico” [“Outlines for an Epistemological History of Listening in Psychiatry”].

From October 2006 to February 2009 I was employed as a research assistant at the Archives of the Fondazione San Servolo: Istituto per le Ricerche e gli Studi sull’Emerginazione Sociale e Culturale (I.R.S.E.S.C), the former Venice insane asylum, part of a project directed by Prof. Mario Galzigna (Department of Anthropology, Ca’ Foscari University, Venice). The research there focused on the evolution of clinical taxonomy (psychopathological categories) in psychiatry as practised in Venice during the 19th century, on the basis of the study of the clinical (patient) records of the asylum, as well as a range of other archival sources. Initial outcomes of the research project were presented in February 2009 at a workshop held at San Servolo and organised by some of the most influential Italians historians of psychiatry and psychiatrists.

I wish to devote my research to the  fields of  history and epistemology of the ‘Psy’ branch of knowledge: psychiatry, psychology, psychoanalysis, as well as anthropology  and life sciences, connecting theoretical understanding with clinical practice.

An essential element of the ‘Rough Skin’ project is the creation of a data set based on the clinical files of the San Servolo and San Clemente psychiatric hospitals in Venice, which will be my main contribution to the project. Initial findings and experiences with the data set will be presented at an upcoming meeting of the Swiss ‘Science, Technology and Society’ group, to be hald at the University of Lausanne on the theme of ‘Big data’ (Feburary 2014).


  1. "Auscultum: per una storia epistemologica dell’ascolto psichiatrico”. Degree thesis, published in “Psychiatry on-line”, , section “Epistemologia e Storia”, 2006
  2. “Il trattamento della follia nel morocomio veneziano di S. Servolo (1840-1860): cura fisica e cura morale” [The treatment of insanity at the Venetian pyschiatric hospital of San Servolo], in Lo sguardo psichiatrico, R. Panattoni, ed. (Milan: Bruno Mondadori, 2009).
  3. “Les archives de l’ancien asile psychiatrique de San Servolo (Venise), 1840-1904: trames, classifications, sujets”, Revue d’histoire des sciences (forthcoming 2014).

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