Philip Cooke


  • United Kingdom

Accepting PhD Students

Personal profile

Personal Statement

I joined Strathclyde University as a lecturer in Italian in 1993, after 8 years at Edinburgh University where I took a first degree in Italian with Russian Studies. I took Italian from scratch at Edinburgh having studied French and Spanish at school. I came to Scotland from the South of England in 1984, and have lived here ever since, apart from several years living in various cities in Italy (Rome, Milan, Siena and, above all, Florence where I have done a lot of my research and collaborate with the history journal Passato e presente). I was promoted to Senior Lecturer in 2000 and to Professor of Italian History and Culture in 2013. I teach Italian Language, History, Film and Literature at all levels. I am particularly interested in the interaction between history and culture and in the 'political use of history'. This means that my courses are interdisciplinary in nature, and try to understand contemporary Italy from a variety of different angles and approaches. Recently I have developed interests in the History of Science and within it the history of medicine. I am particularly interested in how knowledge, ideas and concepts circulate. 

At Strathclyde I have had a number of administrative roles, including Director of Research for the School of Humanities. I am currently Subject Leader in Italian, and UoA co-ordinator for history.



Research Interests

My research centres on the long-term impact of the Italian Resistance movement and, more generally, on 20th Century Italian social and cultural history. My publications range from analyses of literary texts, Fenoglio’s binoculars, Johnny’s eyes (New York, 2000) to social/protest movements Luglio 1960: Tambroni e la repressione fallita (Milan, 2000) and Italian partisan exiles living clandestinely in Czechoslovakia (various articles). My most recent books are The Legacy of the Italian Resistance (New York, 2011) and Ending terrorism in Italy (Routledge, 2012 – co-authored with Professor Anna Cento Bull). I was also co-editor (with Professor John Foot) of the journal Modern Italy (2010-2015) and co-editor (with Ben Shepherd) of The European Resistance (Pen & Sword, 2013). I am a co-founder of RESnet, a group of academics and museum experts which aims to understand - and influence - the way the Resistance is represented in museums in Europe.

I am currently working on several projects: the Florence flood of 1966 which I am studying from a range of perspectives (issues surrounding cultural capital, social and political impact, memory); multilingualism; and, in a recent development, the history of medicine in Italy in the 18th and 19th century. With the support of a Wellcome Trust Grant I have been studying their collection of Italian manuscripts which provide unique insights into the circulation and transmission of medical ideas. This research has involved a lot of challenges - doctors also have bad handwriting in Italy - but has led me to many exciting discoveries.

Expertise & Capabilities

  • Modern Italian Culture (literature, film, art, 'popular culture')
  • Italian Politics
  • Italian History
  • Language Teaching and Language Teaching Policy

Teaching Interests

I teach Italian language at all levels and particularly enjoy teaching beginners as they learn a lot very quickly. I teach translation into English to third year and honours students, as well as 'writing skills' and interpreting. I also teach courses on Modern Italian history and film, and at honours level I teach classes which closely reflect my research interests: The Resistance movement and Terrorism. At Masters level I teach a course entitled 'Setting Europe Ablaze' - on the Resistance in Europe.

I have supervised many PhD students who have worked on a range of topics in Italian history and culture including: Pasolini, The Italian Communist Party, the Mafia. My current PhD students are working on: Leonardo Sciascia and Visual Culture, the Resistance, Translation Studies, Terrorism and Performance. I have also supervised in other areas such as: industrial heritage, the community arts movement in Scotland.

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 10 - Reduced Inequalities
  • SDG 16 - Peace, Justice and Strong Institutions

Education/Academic qualification

Doctor of Philosophy, 'Fenoglio's binoculars, Johnny's eyes: history, language and narrative technique in Fenoglio's Il partigiano Johnny’ , University of Edinburgh

Award Date: 1 Jan 1994

Master of Arts, University of Edinburgh

Award Date: 1 Jan 1988

External positions

Chair of ASMI, ASMI (Association for the Study of Modern Italy)

1 Nov 2019 → …


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