I am an Italian of Indian origin, born in Rome in 1978. My field of research is the history of early modern Christianity in Asia, and in particularly in South India.


I have studied Political Science and International Relations at the University of Rome “La Sapienza”. My “laurea” thesis, defended in 2004, was a synthesis on the history of the Catholic missions in India during the Sixteenth century. In 2005 I was admitted to the doctoral programme of the European University Institute in Florence. At the Department of History and Civilization I worked at a dissertation (to be defended shortly) on the conflict on missionary adaptation known as the “Malabar Rites controversy”. In order to understand that historical problem I undertook extensive archival researches in Europe, Asia and America.

I have been awarded fellowships by the Fondazione Luigi Salvatorelli, the Deutscher Akademischer Austausch Dienst, the Andrew Mellon Foundation, the Fundação Calouste Gulbenkian and the Centro Universitario Cattolico.

In 2009 I was an Albin Salton short term fellow at the Warburg Institute, where I came again in January 2011 for a two-year Marie Curie Intra-European Fellowship on the early modern Catholic representations of Hinduism.
In 2013-2015 I have been a Marie Curie Fellow of the Gerda Henkel Stiftung, attached to the Chair of Church History of the Faculty of Protestant Theology at the Ludwig Maximilian University in Munich.

I am currently working as a Historical consultant.

Other Publications

I have published a book, the revision of my Laurea thesis, as “Il Cristianesimo Latino in India nel XVI secolo” (Milano: Franco Angeli, 2006), as well as various articles in Italian and English on the history of the Madurai mission, as well as on the racial, political and economical aspects of the Catholic missions to India during the 16th – 18th centuries.

Future publications will concern the history of early modern Christianity also in regions beyond South Asia.


I have started and I am about to complete four projects

– the history of the Malabar Rites controversy

– the early modern Catholic representations of Hinduism

– the impact of the Inquisition on the Goan native population

– the conflicts triggered by the presence of Carlo Tomaso Maillard de Tournon in Macao in 1707-1710.

Paolo Aranha

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