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Centre for Modern Italian History

The University of Reading is the United Kingdom’s leading centre for the study of modern Italian history. It is the only university in the United Kingdom to have a designated post for an historian of modern Italy. Its library holdings on Italy are unique, and comprise more than 20,000 volumes, over 130 periodical titles, and important archive and newspaper collections. The Centre for Modern Italian History (CMIH) has been set up to utilise these holdings to the full, promote postgraduate study of modern Italian history in Britain, and foster links with scholars in Italy and other overseas countries. 
The CMIH is located jointly within the departments of History and Italian Studies, and replaces the earlier Centre for the Advanced Study of Italian Society. It has an Executive Committee consisting of a Director, a Deputy Director and two additional members. There is also an Advisory Committee: this brings together the many scholars in the University of Reading – in such departments as Italian, History, Politics, Sociology, Economics, Art History, Classics, and Archaeology – working on aspects of modern Italy. It also draws on expertise in other universities, both in Britain and abroad.
The CMIH aims to foster interest and research in modern Italian history through its postgraduate programme, and through seminars, conferences, and lectures. It also seeks to encourage joint research and teaching initiatives with other universities in Britain and abroad.


The research environment

The CMIH benefits from a lively and multidisciplinary research environment. In recent years the departments of Italian and History have between them had more than twenty doctoral students at any one time, and a large body of MA and MPhil students. The Department of Italian Studies (awarded a 5* in the 2001 Research Assessment Exercise) participates in a unique Joint Programme of research training with University College London and Royal Holloway, London. This constitutes the largest postgraduate forum for Italian Studies in Britain, and offers students the chance to present research findings to, and learn from, peers and established scholars alike. It also allows them to meet other students working on Italian history and related areas of Italian studies.
The University of Reading provides a full research training programme, access to computer facilities, and use of the Library’s extensive resources. The University of Reading is located close to the libraries of Oxford and London, and the Public Record Office at Kew.

Research degrees


The CMIH offers supervision for MPhils by research (2 years full-time) and doctorates (3 years full-time). For the full range of expertise available, see below. Dissertations may be written in either Italian or English. Funding is available through the research councils or the University of Reading’s Research Studentship schemes. The departments of Italian and History have some limited funds available for help with research costs.

MA in Modern Italian History  

Full-time: 12 months
Part-time: 24 months
This is designed both as a free-standing degree for those wishing to extend their knowledge of modern Italian history and also as a preparation for research. Students can, as part of the MA, take a course in Italian (or other foreign) language, or, in the case of overseas students, a course in advanced English language.
The MA consists of a core module (historical skills and language option; key themes in Italian history and historiography) and a compulsory module on either 19th or 20th century Italian history. There is also a dissertation and one additional module chosen from a broad range of MA courses offered within the University of Reading in subjects related to modern Italy.

Entry requirements

For both research degrees and the MA, the entry requirement is a first or good upper-second class degree or its equivalent. A reading knowledge of Italian is desirable but not mandatory. Overseas students wishing to do the MA should have a good reading and writing skills in English. In the case of research degrees, however, a more limited knowledge of English is acceptable, as dissertations may be submitted in Italian.

Areas of expertise in Italian history:

Prof. John Cantwell: history of large Italian firms; Italian regionalism
Dr Marina Della-Giusta: issues of gender in Italy; macro-economic policy and social development
Prof Christopher Duggan: 19th and 20th century Italian political history; history of Sicily; the Sicilian mafia
Prof Roberto Franzosi: the sociology of fascism
Dr David Laven: the Risorgimento; the Habsburg administration; history of Venice
Dr Jeremy Lester: Italian politics; comparative European politics
Dr Athena Leoussi: art and national identity
Prof Giulio Lepschy:  history of the Italian language
Dr Francesca Medioli: Italian women’s history; 17th and 18th century Italian social history
Dr Anna Gruetzner-Robins: modernism in European art
Dr Shirley Vinall: Franco-Italian relations in the late 19th and early 20th centuries; Futurism
Chris Wagstaff: history of the Italian cinema; Futurism
Dr Maria Wyke: the reception of ancient Rome in popular culture


For all information relating to the Centre for Modern Italian History, please contact:
Prof Christopher Duggan
Department of Italian Studies
University of Reading
Reading RG6 6AA
e-mail: c.j.h.duggan@reading.ac.uk
Tel: (0044)-(0)118-9318403/9318400
Fax: (0044)-(0)118-9316797


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Page last updated February 25, 2008
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