Projects per year
I am a feminist media, literary, and cultural studies scholar with a specialism in Italian middle-class women and gender from the 1870s to the 1920s. In 2021 I was elected Fellow of the Royal Historical Society and the Society of Antiquaries of Scotland.
I was educated at state schools in the East Midlands, and worked in Italy during a gap year before studying for a BA (Hons) in Italian with French Literatures and Languages at the University of Leeds. I then taught English in Finland, followed by several years in Arts Administration working for major opera companies in London, Sydney and Melbourne while studying for an MA by Research in nineteenth-century Italian opera and gender at Leeds. I was awarded my PhD in nineteenth-century Italian women writers from the University of Warwick, and before joining Strathclyde I was a Junior Research Fellow at Lucy Cavendish College, University of Cambridge.
Monographs and edited volumes:
Gender, Writing, Spectatorships: Evenings at the Theatre, Opera and Silent Screen in Late Nineteeth Century Italy and Beyond (London: Routledge, 2022)
Matilde Serao: International Profile, Reception, and Networks (Paris: Classiques Garnier, 2022), edited with Gabriella Romani and Ursula Fanning
Italian Women Writers: Gender and Everyday Life in Fiction and Journalism, 1870-1910 (Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 2014)
Women and Gender in Post-Unification Italy (Oxford: Peter Lang, 2013), edited with Helena Sanson
The Diva in Modern Italian Culture, Italian Studies 70:3 (2015), edited with Clorinda Donato
Rethinking Neera, The Italianist 30, sup. 1 (2010), edited with Catherine Ramsey-Portolano
I have held six prestigious Visiting Fellowships, including at the University of Oxford (Harris Manchester College (Michaelmas Term) 2022; St. Catherine's College (Hilary Term), and at Harris Manchester College (Trinity Term) 2019), Seton Hall University, New Jersey (2014), California State University, Long Beach (2014), and the University of Bologna (2014), and sit on the Editorial Board of Italian Studies and the Advisory Board of Gender/Sexuality/Italy. I was a member of the AHRC's Peer Review College from 2012-20, and in 2021 I was elected to the Society for Italian Studies Executive Committee. I regularly discuss gender equality issues on BBC Radio Scotland.
In 2018, I was the PI leading a Royal Society of Edinburgh-funded collaborative project with the Society of Antiquaries of Scotland on Scottish and European inter-cultural and transnational exchanges in the long nineteenth century, and in 2020 published a report as the director of the Scottish Network for Nineteenth-Century European Cultures under the Scottish Archaeological Research Framework housed at National Museums of Scotland.
At Strathclyde, I am Director of Postgraduate Research (History/Modern Languages) for the School of Humanities, a member of the University's Feminist Network and coordinator of the University's Society & Policy research theme sub-theme Communication, Language and Translation.
I welcome prospective MRes and PhD students in any aspect of modern Italian/European cultural history, media and literature, particularly in relation to women and gender and/or contemporary gender issues/celebrity culture.
My interdisciplinary research on Italian middle-class women as protagonists, performers and spectators (of "women's opera, theatre and silent film" in the context of melodrama), draws on gender studies, women's studies, literary studies, opera studies, theatre studies, media studies, feminist film studies and cultural studies in late C19th and early C20th Italy and beyond (France, Britain and North America). I also have interests in contemporary celebrity culture and gender, as well as gender issues in the media.
I am currently working on the figure of Matilde Serao (1856-1927) as the first major female screenwriter and spectator of silent film in Italy. Drawing on material evidence in film and women's journals, as well as accounts of stars and evidence in life writings (diaries, letters, biographies and autobiographies) from 1915 to 1926, I am investigating her contribution and the ten screenplays she authored.
My most recent book, Gender, Writing, Spectatorships: Evenings at the Theatre, Opera and Silent Screen in Late Nineteenth-Century Italy and Beyond (London: Routledge, 2022) examines middle-class Italian women as protagonists and consumers of literature, theatre, opera, and film. Using personal writing, journalism, and canonical texts, it analyses female performance and women’s responses. Its interdisciplinary analysis of female relationships involving admiration illuminates a vibrant Italian female culture industry during early feminism.
My first book, Italian Women Writers: Gender and Everyday Life in Fiction and Journalism, 1870-1910 (University of Toronto Press, 2014), adopted a new historicist approach to look at the domestic fiction and journalism of three of the most significant women writers of the period (La Marchesa Colombi; Neera; Matilde Serao). I showed how in spite of their anti-feminist public declarations, their work offered an implicit feminist intervention and a legitimate means of approaching and engaging with the burning social and political issues of the day regarding the "woman question". It won a Finalist place in the Edinburgh Gadda Prize 2019 (Vittorio Group).
I teach and supervise across undergraduate and postgraduate classes/projects in Italian, Gender Studies and Journalism, Media and Communication on gender issues in the media, celebrity culture, as well as translation.
I have over 20 years’ experience of teaching Italian literature, culture, and language in UK Universities (Leeds, 2000-01; Warwick, 2003-8; Manchester, 2008; Cambridge, 2008-10; Strathclyde, 2011-). In 2021, I was nominated by my students for my fourth Strathclyde Students’ Union Teaching Excellence Award (previous nominations were in 2012; 2013; 2017 & 2021) and for a HaSS Faculty Teaching Excellence Award in the category ‘Effective Sustained Contribution’.
I am the external examiner in Italian at Royal Holloway, University of London, and have externally examined MPhil theses (University of Glasgow, 2019; University of Birmingham, 2022). I recently co-supervised to completion (50%) an MRes dissertation on 'Denied and Disowned Motherhood in the Works of Annie Ernaux and Dacia Maraini'. I regularly supervise Masters dissertations for the MLitt in Media & Communications and the MSc in Applied Gender Studies.
I have taught classes internationally at California State University, Long Beach, and at Seton Hall University, New Jersey, during my time as a Visiting Fellow in 2014.
Expertise & Capabilities
- Gender and Feminism in Italy
- Female Screenwriters in Early Italian Film
- The 'Fallen Woman' trope
- Female Spectatorships
- Celebrity Culture
- Nineteenth-Century Transnationalism
Expertise related to UN Sustainable Development Goals
In 2015, UN member states agreed to 17 global Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to end poverty, protect the planet and ensure prosperity for all. This person’s work contributes towards the following SDG(s):
Doctor of Philosophy, University of Warwick
1 Oct 2003 → 27 Apr 2007
Award Date: 27 Apr 2007
Master of Research, University of Leeds
1 Oct 2000 → 30 Jun 2002
Award Date: 14 Aug 2002
Bachelor of Arts, University of Leeds
2 Sep 1995 → 30 Jun 1999
Award Date: 14 Jul 1999
Junior Research Fellow, University of Cambridge
1 Oct 2008 → 8 Jan 2011
- Italian women writers
- Italian tragic opera
- representations of gender & sexuality in nineteenth- and twentieth-century Italian culture
- domestic fiction
- female performers
- feminine spectatorships
- realist fiction
- 1 Similar Profiles
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Select a country/territory to view shared publications and projects
Publication Grant for Monograph
Scotland and Europe: Politics, Culture, and National Borders
Project: Knowledge Exchange (Conference / Seminar Hosting)
La Duse, Aleramo et Serao spectatrices de la scène et du cinéma italiens au tournant du XXe siècle: rencontres parisiennes
Mitchell, K., 1 Sep 2022, Spettatrices! : La femme au spectacle de l’Antiquité à nos jours. Paris, p. 95-112 18 p. Translated title of the contribution: Italian Stage and Screen Spectators at the Turn of the Twentieth Century and Parisian Encounters: Duse, Aleramo, Serao
Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceeding › Chapter (peer-reviewed) › peer-review
Matilde Serao: International Profile, Reception, and NetworksRomani, G. (ed.), Fanning, U. (ed.) & Mitchell, K. (ed.), 24 May 2022, Paris.
Research output: Book/Report › Book
3-Year Competitively Awarded Postdoctoral Position at Lucy Cavendish College, University of Cambridge (Sutasoma Research Fellow - JRF)
Mitchell, Katharine (Recipient), Apr 2008
Prize: Fellowship awarded competitively
Awarded a British Academy Small Research Grant
Mitchell, Katharine (Recipient), Jul 2012
Prize: Fellowship awarded competitively
Book Launch, Oxford: Gender, Writing, Spectatorships
Katharine Mitchell (Speaker)16 May 2022
Activity: Talk or presentation types › Invited talk
Gender, Writing, Spectatorships: Katharine Mitchell
Katharine Mitchell (Speaker)28 Apr 2022
Activity: Talk or presentation types › Oral presentation