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Dr. Christian G. De Vito

Researcher and Coordinator of Research Group "Punishment, Labor, Dependency"

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University of Bonn

Bonn Center for Dependency and Slavery Studies

“Punishment, Labor, Dependency”

Genscherallee 3

D-53113 Bonn

E-Mail: cdevito[at] 


1995 - 2001    BA and MA in History, University of Florence, Italy
2002 - 2008    PhD in History, Scuola Normale Superiore, Pisa, Italy
2013 - 2019    National Scientific Habilitation (Abilitazione Scientifica Nazionale) as Associate Professor in the
                       Italian academic system.

Academic Positions:

2013 - 2018   Research Associate on the ERC project “The Carceral Archipelago. Transnational Circulations in 

                      Global Perspective, 1415-1960”, University of Leicester, UK

2016 - 2017   Lecturer, University of Utrecht, The Netherlands

2011 - 2015   Honorary Fellow, International Institute of Social History, Amsterdam, The Netherlands

Participation in Centres and Collaborative Projects:

Co-supervisor on the project “Four Centuries of Labour Camps. War, Rehabilitation, Ethnicity”, International Institute of Social History (IISH) and Netherlands Institute for War, Holocaust and Genocide Studies (NIOD), Amsterdam, The Netherlands. 

Additional Academic Activities:

  • Co-coordinator of the working group Free and Unfree Labour of the European Labour History Conference (ELHN);
  • Co-chair of the Labour Network of the European Social Science History Conference (ESSHC);
  • Editor of the series “Work in Global and Historical Perspective” (De Gruyter), since 2017;
  • Vice-president of the International Social History Association (ISHA);
  • Editor asociado of the Revista Brasileira de História;
  • Lecturer on the MA course “Global Labour Study”, University of Milan-Bicocca, Italy.
  • Member of the working group Free and Unfree Labour of the Italian Society for Labour History (SISLav).


My research lies at the cross-roads of the histories of punishment, labour and the empire. My on-going study – Punishment and Empire – addresses the entanglements between punishment, labour and empire- and state-building in the Spanish monarchy and in post-colonial Latin America and the Philippines (18th-19th centuries). The following aspects are especially investigated: the legal, social and cultural processes by which individuals of different social status, gender and ethnic background were turned into convicts; the spatiality of various forms of punishment (banishment, transportation, incarceration) and their relationship with the structure of empires; the employment of convict labour in the construction of empires and nations; and the continuities and discontinuities between the colonial and post-colonial periods.

In my research I adopt a micro-spatial approach that combines the epistemological complexity of micro-history with the spatial awareness of global history.

Third-Party Funding:

Netherlands Organization for Scientific Research (NWO), Free Competition grant; Santander Travel Awards.

Selected Publications:

  1. ‘The Spanish Empire, 1500-1898’. In: Clare Anderson (ed.), A Global History of Convicts and Penal Colonies, Bloomsbury, 2018, [in print].
  2. (with Anne Gerritsen), eds., Micro-spatial Histories of Global Labour, Palgrave, 2018.
  3. ‘Convict Labour’. In: Karin Hofmeester and Marcel van der Linden (eds.) Handbook The Global History of Work, De Gruyter Oldenbourg, 2018, pp. 345-362.
  4. ‘Labour flexibility and labour precariousness as conceptual tools for the historical study of the interactions between labour relations’. In: Karl Heinz Roth ed., On the Road to Global Labour History, Brill, 2017, pp. 219-240.
  5. ‘Connected singularities. Convict labour in late colonial Spanish America (1760s-1800)’. In: C.G. De Vito and A. Gerritsen eds., Micro-spatial Histories of Global Labour, Palgrave, 2017, pp. 171-202.
  6. (with Helen Grevers and Ralf Futselaar), eds., Incarceration and Regime Changes in and around WWII, Berghahn, 2016.
  7. ‘Convict labour in the southern borderlands of Latin America (c. 1750-1910s). Comparative perspectives’. In: M. van der Linden and M. Rodriguez García eds., Coerced Labour, Brill, 2016, pp. 98-126.
  8. (with Alex Lichtenstein), eds., Global Convict Labour, Brill, 2015.
  9. ‘Punitive entaglements. Connected histories of penal transportation, deportation and incarceration in the Spanish empire (1830s-1898), International Review of Social History, special issue edited by Christian G. De Vito, Clare Anderson and Ulbe Bosma, [forthcoming, August 2018].
  10. (with A. Lichtenstein), Writing a Global History of Convict Labour, “International Review of Social History”, 58, 2 (August 2013), pp. 285-325.


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