Project Lead

Dr Francesca Billiani Senior Lecturer in Italian

Professional Biography

I am the Principal Investigator of the Dialectics of Modernity project.

My work is interdisciplinary, since it is mostly concerned with the interconnections between cultural, aesthetic and historical moments. Specifically, my research focuses on the Fascist period, the late nineteenth-century Italian novel, translation theory, censorship, literary journals, Modernism, history of publishing, and intellectual history.

My publications include a monograph on the politics of translation in Italy (1903-1943), Culture nazionali e narrazioni straniere (Florence, 2007), one collection of essays on translations and censorship, a co-edited volume on the Italian Gothic and Fantastic, and several articles in international journals. Most recently, I have contributed a chapter on the skyscraper for The Microhistory of Futurism (Legenda, 2017), which blends literary studies with architecture as well as an article on the novel in the 1930 discussing similar issues (Italian Studies, 2016). I have completed as co-investigator an AHRC large collaborative project on literary journals in Italy from 1940 and 1960. For this project, I have co-edited three special issues of journals on politics entitled 'Mediating Culture in the Italian Literary Field 1940-1960' (Journal of Modern Italian Studies, 2016) 'Journals and Intellectuals in Italy: Political, Cultural and Transnational Legacies’ (Modern Italy, 2016), and ‘Patterns of Continuity and Rupture in the Italian Literary Field 1930s-1950s’ (Italian Studies, 2018). Finally, I have contributed a chapter on the novel in the Fascist system of the arts for the catalogue of the Post Zang Tumb Tuuum. Art Life Politics. Italia 1918-1943 exhibition at the Fondazione Prada (Milan, 2018).

For a full list of publications, including those associated with this project, see my Research website.

Research Assistant

Dr Laura Pennacchietti

Professional Biography

I am Research Associate in the project The Dialectics of Modernity and teach Italian language and culture at the University of Manchester. My research interests lie in the field of twentieth-century Italian culture, history, and the arts.

My doctoral thesis—Translating the Postcolonial. Anglophone Novels in the Italian Literary Marketplace, 1950-2010— focused on the Italian publishing industry in the post-1945 period, and looked at publishers’ reception, translation, and circulation of ‘postcolonial’ literature, relating these processes to Italy’s Fascist and colonial experience. My research therefore engages with the intersection between artistic and cultural production, history, politics, and the cultural industries.

I have published on Italian practices of literary translation in the post-war period, and have presented elements of my research at numerous conferences and symposia around Europe. A short monograph I co-authored with Dr Francesca Billiani, Architecture and the Novel under the Italian Fascist Regime, will appear for Palgrave Macmillan in 2018.

Between 2013 and 2016, I sat on the Executive Committee of the Society for Italian Studies as Postgraduate Representative.

Research Assistant

Anna Lanfranchi

Professional Biography

I am Research Associate in the project The Dialectics of Modernity, while attending a doctoral program in Translation and Intercultural Studies at the School of Arts, Languages and Cultures, University of Manchester.

I am currently researching the relations and connections between the Italian and the British publishing milieus in the first half of the twentieth century.

My research project intersects the fields of Book History, Italian Studies and Translation Studies, and it draws on archival research in repositories of Publishing Firms and Literary Agencies. Furthermore, my research interests encompass Digital Humanities and History of printing.

Research Consultant

Dr Silvia Colombo

Professional Biography

I am involved in the project The Dialectics of Modernity as consultant and author for the architecture, painting and sculpture sections.

My research interests lie in the fields of the arts, museum and memory studies within a historical-political perspective. Art historian and museum specialist, in 2014 I earned a PhD in Conservation of Architectural Heritage at Politecnico di Milano, where I am still guest lecturer.

Currently, I work at Norrbottens Museum and I am member of the artist-in-residence network ‘Swedish Lapland AiR’ run by ArtNorth, Luleå (Sweden). As a freelance editor and art critic, I regularly contribute to various art journals, websites and catalogues.

Research Associate

Dr Gianmarco Mancosu

Professional Biography

I am Research Associate in the project The Dialectics of Modernity, and I acted as consultant and author for the sections of the project dedicated to cinema.

I am currently completing my PhD in Italian Studies at the School of Modern Languages and Cultures, University of Warwick. My current research investigates the representations of Italian decolonisation featuring in documentaries and newsreels produced in the aftermath of WWII.

My research interests include Italian history and culture, colonialism and decolonialisation, Fascism, film studies, configurations of national and transnational identities, Sardinian migrations and related forms of Transinsular belonging. I have published several articles and contributions on these topics.