Research projects, centres and networks in Italian Studies.
In the latest Research Excellence Framework - REF 2021 - our research in Italian Studies was submitted in Modern Languages and Linguistics (Panel D - Arts and Humanities; Unit of Assessment 26).
The results reaffirm Edinburgh’s position as one of the UK’s leading research universities - third in the UK.
As published in Times Higher Education's REF power ratings, this result is based on the quality and breadth of our research in Modern Languages and Linguistics.
Selected research centres and networks
Research centres and networks range from formal collaborations to informal groups of researchers working together on a theme or challenge.
A number are based in - or are affiliated with - Italian Studies; others are based elsewhere in the School of Literatures, Languages and Cultures (LLC), the University of Edinburgh, or the wider academic community, but involve our staff and students.
The groups provide opportunities for researchers at all career stages to work together with partners and stakeholders in organising events, workshopping publications, engaging audiences outside the academy, and exploring ideas for future projects and funding bids.
Spanning a range of disciplines in European, Islamic, American and Asian studies, including medieval literatures and cultures, the Centre brings together around 70 researchers across the University of Edinburgh.
Initially funded by an AHRC Research Network Grant (2015-2017), this collaborative network led by Professor Marion Schmid brings together an international team of researchers and artists from France, Belgium, Austria, Romania, and the UK to forge new directions in the study of cinematic intermediality. Its particular focus is the ways in which the moving image is shaped and revitalised by artistic cross-fertilisation.
Selected research projects
David Rizzio (1533-1566), musician and courtier, is a highly romanticised historical figure. He has long been represented in the Scottish arts for his close relationship with Mary Queen of Scots, his murder at the hands of her husband and other Protestant lords, and his association with the religious conflicts that marked the Scottish Reformation. Despite his fame, neither his political and cultural role nor his artistic influence have been studied in any scholarly detail. Through a series of workshops, Dr Emanuela Patti is aiming to fill this gap, providing the first comprehensive account of Rizzio’s life, career and impact.
The project brings together experts from multiple disciplines, including History, Divinity, History of Art, Italian, Scottish Literature, and Music. As well as uncovering the political role Rizzio played in religious conflict, it looks at his personal relationships with Mary Queen of Scots and Lord Darnley and how they affected the dynamics of the 16th century Scottish Court. It also looks at Rizzio's artistic contribution to Scottish literature and music, including how he has been appropriated and fictionalised in literature, cinema, music and theatre. Working with schools, libraries and museums, the project asks what this legacy tells us about the cultural interpretation of Scottish history across time.
Funded by a Royal Society of Edinburgh Workshop Award: November 2022 to November 2023
LLC team: Dr Emanuela Patti (Principal Investigator)
Italian Great War literature is an extraordinarily diverse corpus in terms of genres, agents, and ideological backgrounds. Fatherland as Motherland was one of the first research projects to explore the conflict’s gendered nature, especially the interplay between nationalism and gender. The project combined methodologies from literary studies, political history, and gender and cultural studies to examine both fiction and non-fiction, including diaries, letters and memoirs. It excavated the layered site of invention of Italian Great War literature, interpreting between the lines of its various conflicting masculine discourses and representations.
Fatherland as Motherland studied the female icon of the motherland in Italian Great War literature by analysing its unstable symbolic contents and rhetorical features and comparing them with nationalist propaganda. It proposed a new interpretation of the exploitation of the literature in fascist nationalist culture by analysing edited collections of war writings published in the 1920s and 30s. Overall, the project marked the centenary of World War I by fostering a better understanding of the gendered character of modern nationalism and its cultural roots against the backdrop of European integration. Findings were published in the 2020 book 'Mobilizing Cultural Identities in the First World War: History, Representations and Memory', and shared in various papers and talks.
Funded by a Marie Skłodowska-Curie Actions Individual Fellowship: September 2015 to August 2017
LLC team: Dr Cristina Savettieri (Marie Skłodowska-Curie Fellow), Professor Federica Pedriali (Supervisor)
Postgraduate research and supervision
Doctorate-level study is an opportunity to make an original, positive contribution to research in Italian Studies.
Join our interdisciplinary community and undertake your PhD under the guidance of our experienced and well-published supervisors. We also offer a one year Masters by Research degree, which is a good stepping stone between undergraduate and doctoral study.
Italian has been studied at the University of Edinburgh since the eighteenth century. The first lectureship in the subject was established in 1919 and, today, it is a broad area of study involving a sizeable community of teaching and research staff, language tutors, and PhD students. To mark our centenary, we hosted the Biennial Conference of the Society for Italian Studies.
Beyond the books
Beyond the Books is a podcast that gives you a behind-the-scenes look at research in the School of Literatures, Languages and Cultures and the people who make it happen.
In Series 2 - Episode 8 host Emma Aviet talked to Dr Emanuela Patti about research at the intersection of literary, media, and cultural studies. The conversation had a particular focus on Emanuela's work on the late Pier Paolo Pasolini and, latterly, on electronic literature.