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Personal profile

Personal Statement

I was educated in comprehensive schools in England and worked in Italy for my gap year before studying for a BA (Hons) in Italian with French 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 Italian Opera at Leeds University. I was awarded my doctoral thesis in Italian women writers from the University of Warwick, and before joining Strathclyde I was a Research Fellow for three years at Lucy Cavendish College, Cambridge. I specialise in representations of middle-class women by women, for women, in late nineteenth- and turn-of-the-century literary culture, and see the connection between my active research and teaching as vital for my students. My first book, Italian Women Writers: Gender and Everyday Life in Fiction and Journalism, 1870-1910 was published by the University of Toronto Press in 2014. Currently, I am writing my second book on the emergence of a 'female gaze' among middle-class gendered theatre, opera, and early cinema spectators.

At Strathclyde I am a member of the University's Feminist Network, and the AHRC's Peer Review College. I am also a Carnegie Research Assessor for the Carnegie Trust for the Universities of Scotland, and have sat on the judging panel for the Undergraduate Awards Languages and Linguistics category. From 2011 to 2014, I convened the School of Humanities Languages & Literatures Research Seminars, and during the academic year 2015-16 I established and chaired the School of Humanities Athena SWAN self-assessment team. I currently sit on the University Senate and Court committees and coordinate the University's Society & Policy research theme sub-theme, Communication, Language and Translation. In 2018 I am the PI leading a Royal Society of Edinburgh-funded collaborative project with the Society of Antiquaries of Scotland to establish the Scottish Network for Nineteenth-Century European Cultures.

I welcome prospective PhD students in modern Italian culture, especially in relation to women and gender.

Research Interests

My interdisciplinary research specialism on Italian women as agents of cultural change (e.g. as writers, performing artists, readers and spectators) draws on gender studies, women's studies, literary studies, opera studies, theatre studies, feminist film studies and cultural studies in late C19th and early C20th Italy.

I am the author of Italian Women Writers: Gender and Everyday Life in Fiction and Journalism, 1870-1910 (Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 2014), co-editor of Women and Gender in Post-Unification Italy (Oxford: Peter Lang, 2013), and recently co-edited special issues of the journal Italian Studies on The Diva in Modern Italian Culture (2015) and The Italianist (Rethinking Neera, 2010). I am currently writing a second monograph, provisionally entitled Gender, Writing, Spectatorships: Evenings at the Theatre, Opera and Early Cinema in Italy, 1853-1915, and collaborating with Dr Ursula Fanning (UCD) and Prof. Gabriella Romani (Seton Hall University, NJ) on an edited book, to be published with Classiques Garniers (Paris, forthcoming in 2019), entitled 'Matilde Serao Beyond National Fame: Reframing the Neapolitan Writer’s Reception and Networks'. I am PI on the RSE-funded project 'Establishing SNNEC' which is hosting a series of workshops in 2018 with a view to establishing a Scottish Network for Nineteenth-Century European Cultures. I am also working in collaboration with Prof. Gabriella Romani, Dr Morena Corradi (Queen's, CUNY) and Dr Silvia Valisa (Florida State University) to co-found the Interdisciplinary Network for Nineteenth-Century Italian Studies.

From January 2019, I will be a Visiting Fellow at St. Catharine's College, Oxford.

Research publications since REF 2014

'Priming Spectators for Pirandello's Sei personaggi in cerca d'autore (1921) through Puccini from 1884', in Pirandello studies 37 (2017)

with Danielle Hipkins, ‘Le traviate: Suffering heroines and the Italian state between the 19th and 21st centuries’ in Prostitution and Sex Work in Global Visual Media: New Takes on Fallen Women, eds Danielle Hipkins and Kate Taylor (Palgrave Macmillan, 2017), 195-217

Ottocento Italian Dive Between the Woman's Stage and Page’ in Women and the Public Sphere in Modern and Contemporary Italy. Essays for Sharon Wood, eds Simona Storchi, Marina Spunta and Maria Morelli (Leicester: Troubadour, 2017), 1-13

‘Evenings Out: Female Spectators of Opera and Theatre in Late Nineteenth-Century Italy’, eds Jennifer Burns and Gabriella Romani, The Formation of a National Audience: Readers and Spectators in Italy, 1750-1890 (Fairleigh Dickinson University Press, 2017), 259-80

‘Beauty Italian Style: Gendered imaginings of, and responses to, stage divas in early post-Unification literary culture’, in ‘The Diva in Modern Italian Culture’, eds, Katharine Mitchell and Clorinda Donato, special issue of Italian Studies 70:3, (2015), 330-46

with Clorinda Donato, eds, ‘The Diva in Modern Italian Culture’, special issue of Italian Studies 70:3 (2015)

‘Literary and Epistolary Figurations of Female Desire in Early Post-Unification Italy, 1861-1914’ in Italian Sexualities Uncovered: The Long Nineteenth Century,eds, Valeria Babini, Chiara Beccalossi, and Lucy Riall (Palgrave Macmillan, 2015)

Italian Women Writers: Gender and Everyday Life in Fiction and Journalism, 1870-1910 (Toronto: Toronto University Press, 2014) -- ‘In this groundbreaking study, Mitchell analyzes some domestic fiction and some non-fiction pieces – especially journalism and essays – of three middleclass Italian women who were professionally active between 1870 and 1910’. (C. De Santi, Choice Magazine, vol 52:2 (2015)

Forthcoming research publications 

Gender, Writing, Spectatorships: Evenings at the Theatre, Opera, and Early Cinema in Italy, 1853-1915 (in preparation)

‘Pleasuring Female Spectators: Responses in the French Press to the Parisian Staging of Matilde Serao’s Dopo il perdono (1906)’, in Matilde Serao Beyond National Fame: Reframing the Neapolitan Writer’s Reception and Networks, eds Ursula Fanning, Katharine Mitchell, and Gabriella Romani (Paris: Classiques Garniers, 2018)

‘Cultural Movements and Taste’ in the Oxford Handbook to Europe in the Long Nineteenth Century, 1789-1914, ed. by Michael Rapport (Oxford, OUP, 2018) 


Teaching Interests

I am convenor of all Level 3 classes and teach undergraduate and postgraduate classes on celebrity culture, theatre, opera and film spectatorships, and women writers in post-Unification Italy. I also teach Italian grammar, writing skills and translation classes at all levels.

Taught Undergraduate Classes

Yr 1: Basic Italian Language; Italian Literature and Film.

Yr 2: Translation into English; Modern Italy Through Film.

Yr 3: Writing in Italian; Italian Stage and Screen.

Yr 4: Women, Celebrity Culture, and Emancipation in Post-Unification Italy; Translation into English. 

Taught Postgraduate Classes

MLitt in Literature, Culture and Place (2012-13) Women Writers of the Anglo- and Italospheres in the Long Nineteenth Century, 1789-1914.

MSc in Applied Gender Studies (2018-ongoing), Gender and Employment in Italy.


Expertise & Capabilities

  • 19th & 20th-century Italian middle-class women writers of domestic fiction
  • Italian tragic realist opera
  • Literary and cultural representations of gender & sexuality
  • 19th-century celebrity culture, including theatre, opera and early cinema spectatorships

Education/Academic qualification

Doctor of Philosophy, University of Warwick

1 Oct 20031 Apr 2008

Master of Research, University of Leeds

1 Oct 200030 Jun 2002

Bachelor of Arts, University of Leeds

2 Sep 199530 Jun 1999

External positions

Junior Research Fellow, University of Cambridge

1 Oct 20088 Jan 2011


  • Italian women writers
  • Italian tragic opera
  • representations of gender & sexuality in nineteenth- and twentieth-century Italian culture
  • domestic fiction
  • female performing artists
  • female spectatorship
  • journalism

Fingerprint Fingerprint is based on mining the text of the person's scientific documents to create an index of weighted terms, which defines the key subjects of each individual researcher.

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Italy Social Sciences
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Projects 2012 2016

Selected Research Output 2005 2017

1 Citations

Neera's refiguring of hysteria as nervosismo in Teresa (1886) and L'Indomani (1890)

Mitchell, K. Jul 2010 In : Italianist. 30, supplement 1, p. 101-122 22 p.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

collective consciousness

Activities 2008 2018

American Association of Italian Studies

Mitchell, K. (Participant)
16 Jun 2018

Activity: Participation in conference

AAIS Annual Conference

Mitchell, K. (Participant)
14 Jun 201818 Jun 2018

Activity: Participation in conference