Research in Italian Studies

Since its foundation, the research of the Italian strand of the Department of Modern Languages and European Studies has been multi-disciplinary. It covers not only Italian The Florence skylineliterature from the Middle Ages to the present, but also film, women's studies, and modern history: together with the university's Department of History, we have the largest group of modern Italian historians in the UK.

Italian Studies at Reading was ranked in the top four nationally in the last Research Assessment Exercise. It has an extensive postgraduate programme, attracting large numbers of postgraduate students from overseas as well as from this country. 

Italian Studies at Reading is also the lead institution of a regional consortium providing Postgraduate training in Italian Studies, together with Departments of Italian in Oxford, Cambridge, Royal Holloway University London, and University College London.

Italian Studies hosts the Centre for Modern Italian History and the Centre for Italian Women's Studies. It was also the first home of The Italianist, a multi-disciplinary journal with an international reputation, which was founded at Reading and is now edited jointly with the Departments of Italian at the Universities of Cambridge and Leeds.

Staff research interests

The main areas of staff research activity are given below.These are also the main areas in which we provide postgraduate research supervision.

Medieval literature and Dante

Renaissance literature

Nineteenth- and twentieth-century political, social, and economic history

Nineteenth- and twentieth-century Italian literature and culture

Italian cinema

Women's studies

Language, linguistics and Italian society

  • Dr Federico Faloppa

Staff research activities and collaborations

Professor Christopher Duggan, who has recently completed an AHRC-funded project, as Co-Investigator jointly with Warwick and RHUL (2007-11), entitled 'Cult of the Duce: Mussolini and the Italians 1918-2005, is currently developing a follow-on bid to the AHRC, with the same partners.

Dr Federico Faloppa is Co-Investigator for the AHRC network scheme 'Researching and Documenting Key Words in European Migration Discourses' the project being run by Dr Melani Schröeter. He is also Media Coordinator of the Leverhulme Trust-funded International Network 'Destination Italy'. Based in Oxford, the network brings together scholars working in the UK, Italy, New York, France, Australia, and Egypt. Dr Faloppa is regularly invited to guest lecture at, and has on-going research links with, the Universities of Turin, Bologna, and Sevilla.

Dr Francesca Medioli has on-going research collaborations with the University of Venice Ca' Foscari and has been appointed lauréate ICT 2011 (Laboratoire 'Identités Cultures Territoires' Paris 7-Diderot) de la Fondation Research in Paris (Marie de Paris). In 2010-11, she was research fellow at the University of Venice Ca' Foscari.

Dr Paola Nasti is a member of the international network 'Reviewing Dante's Theology' (funded by Leeds and the British Academy), has on-going research links with the Universities of Notre Dame and Naples, and is collaborating with staff at the Department of English at Bristol University for a conference and book on reception of The Song of Songs in medieval culture.

Dr Daniela La Penna is currently in conversation with the University of Pavia, Scuola Normale di Pisa and Bard College, Berlin, to stipulate agreements for co-supervisions and unfunded Postgraduate fellowships for PhD students working in Italian, French and German Studies. She is Principle Investigator for an AHRC-funded project (jointly with Manchester) on 'Mapping Literary Space in Post-War Italy: Publishing Institutions and Literary Journals'. She is also part of the Leverhulme international network, 'Diasporic Literary Archives', which has established partnerships with The Beinecke Rare Book Room and Manuscript Library at Yale University; Il Centro di Ricerca sulla Tradizione Manoscritta de Autori Moderni e Contemporanei in Italy; l'Institut Mémoires de l'Edition Contemporaine (IMEC) in France; The National Library and Archives Service of Namibia, and a prominent archivist from Trinidad and Tobago. In addition, she is a member of the advisory board for a project on the reception of German literature in post-war Italy, led by the Universities of Trento, Siena, and Roma La Sapienza, which has recently submitted a bid to the Italian Ministry for University Research (MUIR).

Dr Lisa Sampson is Co-Investigator (jointly with RHUL and the British Library) for an AHRC-funded project on Italian Academies. She has on-going research collaboration with Case Western Reserve University and New York University. Dr Sampson and Dr Medioli have been involved in discussions with Dr Laurie Stras from the University of Southampton (Music) about a future research project on an Italian manuscript volume.

Mr Christopher Wagstaff has an on-going advisory role for research projects in Italian Film Studies with the University of Rome III.

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