• United Kingdom

Accepting PhD Students

PhD projects

I welcome prospective MRes and PhD students in any aspect of modern Italian culture, especially in relation to women and gender and/or contemporary gender issues.

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Personal profile

Personal Statement

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.

My interdisciplinary research examines real and represented women performers, writers, readers, spectators and journalists, drawing on studies in celebrity culture, theatre, opera, silent film, print culture and life writings. 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 am Director of Internationalisation and Year Abroad (Erasmus+) coordinator 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 sit of the Editorial Board of Italian Studies and the Advisory Board of Gender/Sexuality/Italy, and regularly discuss gender equality issues on BBC Radio Scotland. 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. 

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.

I welcome prospective MRes and PhD students in any aspect of modern Italian/European cultural history and/or literature and media, particularly in relation to women and gender and/or contemporary gender issues.

Research Interests

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 am the author of Gender, Writing, Spectatorships: Evenings at the Theatre, Opera and Silent Screen in Late Nineteeth Century Italy and Beyond (London: Routledge, 2022) and Italian Women Writers: Gender and Everyday Life in Fiction and Journalism, 1870-1910 (Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 2014). I am also co-editor of Matilde Serao: International Profile, Reception, and Networks (Paris: Classiques Garnier, 2022), Women and Gender in Post-Unification Italy (Oxford: Peter Lang, 2013), and co-guest editor of special issues of the journal Italian Studies on The Diva in Modern Italian Culture (2015) and The Italianist (Rethinking Neera, 2010).

In 2018, I was Principal Investigator on the RSE-funded project 'Establishing SNNEC: Scotland and Europe Then (1789-1914) and Now', which hosted a series of academic and public workshops and events and established the Scottish Network for Nineteenth-Century European Cultures. In 2019, together with Prof. Gabriella Romani, Dr Morena Corradi (Queen's, CUNY) and Dr Silvia Valisa (Florida State University), I founded the Interdisciplinary Network for Nineteenth-Century Italian Studies.

I have held five prestigious Visiting Fellowships, including at the University of Oxford (2019 - at St. Catherine's College, Hilary Term, and at Harris Manchester College, Trinity Term), Seton Hall University, New Jersey (2014), California State University, Long Beach (2014), and the University of Bologna (2014). 

Teaching Interests

I teach and supervise across undergraduate and postgraduate classes/projects in Italian, Gender Studies and Journalism, Media and Communication on gender, celebrity culture, theatre, opera and film spectatorships, 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 have been external examiner for an MPhil thesis (University of Glasgow, 2019) and have internally examined several PhDs and an MPhil. I recently supervised to completion (50%) an MRes dissertation on Denied and Disowned Motherhood in the Works of Annie Ernaux and Dacia Maraini.

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
  • The Fallen Woman trope
  • Female Spectatorships
  • Celebrity Culture
  • Nineteenth-Century Transnationalisms

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):

  • SDG 3 - Good Health and Well-being
  • SDG 5 - Gender Equality
  • SDG 10 - Reduced Inequalities

Education/Academic qualification

Doctor of Philosophy, University of Warwick

1 Oct 200327 Apr 2007

Award Date: 27 Apr 2007

Master of Research, University of Leeds

1 Oct 200030 Jun 2002

Award Date: 14 Aug 2002

Bachelor of Arts, University of Leeds

2 Sep 199530 Jun 1999

Award Date: 14 Jul 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 performers
  • feminine spectatorships
  • journalism
  • melodrama
  • realist fiction


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