Christian Giuseppe De Vito
© Christian De Vito

Dr. Christian Giuseppe De Vito

Research Area D Speaker and Coordinator of Research Group
"Punishment, Labor and Dependency"

University of Bonn
Bonn Center for Dependency and Slavery Studies
Adenauerallee 18–24
D-53113 Bonn


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 (Eighteenth to Nineteenth 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.

Current Position

  • 2019–present            Researcher and Coordinator of Research Group "Punishment, Labor, Dependency", Research Area D, Bonn Center for Dependency and Slavery Studies, University of Bonn, Germany


  • 2013–2019                National Scientific Habilitation (Abilitazione Scientifica Nazionale) as Associate Professor in the Italian academic system
  • 2002–2008                Ph.D. in History, Scuola Normale Superiore, Pisa, Italy
  • 1995–2001                B.A. and M.A. in History, University of Florence, Italy

Academic Positions

  • 2016–2017                Lecturer, University of Utrecht, The Netherlands
  • 2013–2018                Research Associate on the ERC project "The Carceral Archipelago: Transnational Circulations in
                                         Global Perspective, 1415–1960", University of Leicester, UK
  • 2011–2015                Honorary Fellow, International Institute of Social History, Amsterdam, The Netherlands

Participation in Centers 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

Other 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)

Third-Party Funding

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

Membership in Projects of Other Institutions

Worlds of Related Coercions in Work

The COST Action "Worlds of Related Coercions in Work" (WORCK) calls for a radical change of perspective in labour history. It links the stories of work and production with those of violence, expropriation and marginalisation.

By studying the persistence and transformations of coercion and bondage across gender orders, geographic regions and historical eras, WORCK shifts the focus of labour history: Neither the male-breadwinner model nor the free wage labourer or the capitalist mode of production can form the blueprint for this new history of WORCK. Instead, a deeper understanding of the mechanisms of coercion in all work relations throughout history is the pivot of this endeavour.

Members: Dr. Claude Chevaleyre222; Dr. Christian de Vito; Dr. Hanne Østhus333

More information444222

Selected Publications

  • The Spanish Empire, 1500–1898. In: Clare Anderson (ed.): A Global History of Convicts and Penal Colonies. London 2018.
  • with Anne Gerritsen (eds.): Micro-spatial Histories of Global Labour. London 2018.
  • Convict Labour. In: Karin Hofmeester, Marcel van der Linden (eds.): Handbook The Global History of Work. Berlin, Munich and Boston 2018, 345–362.
  • Punitive Entaglements: Connected Histories of Penal Transportation, Deportation and Incarceration in the Spanish Empire (1830s–1898). In: Christian G. De Vito, Clare Anderson, Ulbe Bosma (eds.): International Review of Social History 63, Special issue S26 (2018), 169–189.
  • 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. Leiden 2017, 219–240.
  • Connected Singularities: Convict Labour in Late Colonial Spanish America (1760s–1800). In: C.G. De Vito, A. Gerritsen (eds.): Micro-spatial Histories of Global Labour. London 2017, 171–202.
  • with Helen Grevers, Ralf Futselaar (eds.): Incarceration and Regime Changes In and Around WWII. New York 2016.
  • Convict Labour in the Southern Borderlands of Latin America (c. 1750–1910s): Comparative Perspectives. In: M. van der Linden, M. Rodriguez García (eds.): On Coerced Labour. Leiden 2016, 98–126.
  • with Alex Lichtenstein (eds.): Global Convict Labour. Leiden 2015.
  • with A. Lichtenstein (eds.): Writing a Global History of Convict Labour. In: International Review of Social History 58/2 (August 2013), 285–325.
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