Since the very beginning of my graduate work, I developed a profound interest in the history of cross-cultural encounters, particularly interactions between sub-Saharan Africa and the Western world. As I conducted preliminary dissertation research, I became intrigued by the complexity of Ethiopian-European relations in the early modern era.
I began to develop an approach that did justice to both African and European agency and told the story of the encounter from both viewpoints. Since completing my doctorate, I maintained and further developed my interest in transcultural dealings between individuals and societies of the Horn of Africa and their interlocutors in the Red Sea, Mediterranean and Indian Ocean worlds. My historiographical method is heavily dependent on archival research as I privilege primary sources over theory: in recent years, I found myself investing more and more time in contacting and visiting a variety of archives and rare books collections. There is nothing as exciting as unearthing unknown sources and stories waiting to be told.
If there is an order to my scholarly production, it would be the following: The Ethiopian Age of Exploration offers both a chronological and a thematic introduction to my scholarship and in particular my monograph, which can be read next. If one wants to know more about one of the most intriguing characters in my volume, Yohanness or Giovanni Abissino, read the biographical article in the Journal of African History. My monograph ends where the Jesuit mission begins: while other scholars have written much more complete accounts of the Jesuit mission to Ethiopia two of my articles discuss its inception and the Jesuit discourse on Ethiopians and their Christianity. Finally, this article in Northeast African Studies offers a brief discussion of further attempts to bring Catholicism to Ethiopia after the failed Jesuit mission.
If you are only looking for a general introduction to Ethiopian-European relations before, during and after the Jesuit mission, consult my article in the Oxford Research Encyclopedia of African History.
Mostly unconnected to my body of work on early modern Ethiopian-European relations, and representative of my training in modern Ethiopian history are two articles from my graduate school years. One is dedicated to the Ethiopian intellectual Gäbre-Heywät Baykädañ (1886-1919); the other to the early days of Italian colonialism in the Horn of Africa and the role played by Società Geografica Italiana
“It is my professional estimation that his research has made important and in some respects groundbreaking contributions to the history of the Horn of Africa and the Red Sea region, especially in terms of its inter-regional and diasporic connections.”
"Dr. Matteo Salvadore’s scholarly contributions can be summed up as follows: ground- breaking, innovative, insightful, painstakingly researched and with a deep understanding of the actors, institutions and power relations that produced the numerous encounters between medieval and early modern Ethiopians and Europeans.”
“In future, he will be seen as an early innovator, when attention to Africa’s fashioning of Europe finally takes its rightful place as a more dominant feature of humanities scholarship.”