Starting from the determination that the questione meridionale – the southern Italian question – has lost its former centrality in the Italian debate, this article suggests new avenues of research and gives an example of the results that such perspectives can provide. The first section of the article outlines some key positions in the political and historiographical debate on the questione meridionale and identifies the reasons underlying the decline of interest in the history of Italy’s North-South divide in recent years. Based on this analysis, the second part presents new potential prospects for research on the history of Southern Italy, principally by connecting it to recent scholarship in global and international history. The final section of the article applies the proposed research methodology to the specific instance of the Centro studi sullo sviluppo economico, a research centre founded in the mid-1950s to disseminate the Southern Italian economic development model in the Mediterranean and Latin America. The analysis of the history of the Centro studi, born out of a collaboration between the Italian Svimez and the American Ford Foundation, illustrates the ambiguity of the relationship between Italian and American development economists and the way in which the knowledge acquired through economic intervention in Southern Italy became a tool to foster contacts between Italy and other ‚southern‘ countries.
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