I am currently Head of History (until July 2018). I joined History at Nottingham in August 1990.
University College London (BA 1981-4; PhD 1985-89)
Lecturer at University of Sheffield (1988-89).
Rome Scholar in Italian Studies (1989-90) at the British School at Rome (for which I am now an Ambassador).
2015-present: Fellow of the Society of Antiquaries of London (elected).
2014-present: Co-editor of the Medieval Church Studies book series for Brepols.
2010-11: Donald Bullough Visiting Fellow in Mediaeval History (elected) at the University of St Andrews.
2004-present: Fellow of the Royal Historical Society (elected)
2004-2010: Co-editor (with Karen Adler Nottingham) of Gender & History)
4 books and over 50 articles and chapters, in leading journals including Archeologia medievale, Early Medieval Europe, Gender & History (including the most-downloaded article in 2008), History, History Workshop Journal, Landscape History, Landscape Studies, Mélanges de l'École française de Rome, Nottingham Medieval Studies, Past & Present, Rural History, Times Literary Supplement, and I have given papers in Genoa, Brussels, Vienna, Glasgow, Rome, Isernia, San Marino, Siena, and London, Oxford, Sheffield, Edinburgh, Leeds, York, Cambridge, Southampton, Bristol, Birmingham, St Andrews and Nottingham.
Funding and research projects
British Academy, AHRC, Leverhulme Trust, University of St Andrews, Paul Mellon Foundation for Studies in British Art, and the Scouloudi Foundation.
Leverhulme Trust Research Project Grant 'British amateur topographical art and landscape in NW Italy 1835-1914', co-investigator (2016-2019). Nottingham Dante Alighieri Society, a local group of Italian enthusiasts, which has always proved a source of interesting comments and reflections on my work. They helped a good deal with my recent exhibition, Grand Tourists and Others.
I have supervised 8 doctoral students to completion and am currently supervising 6 more in diverse aspects of History (see below). I welcome proposals from potential doctoral students, most especially in the history of early medieval Europe (especially gender and sexuality), and the history of Liguria (Italy) since the Roman period. A specific project is the Anglican presence in Victorian Italy, focusing on a combination of archival and fieldwork (surviving buildings on the Italian Riviera and non-Catholic cemeteries in Genoa and Livorno). Three of my current students are funded by the AHRC via the Midlands3Cities Doctoral Training Partnership
PLEASE NOTE: I will be Head of History from August 2015 and therefore will teach only a part of my usual commitments between 2015 and 2018. For the year 2018/19 I will be on research leave and not… read more
Dark Age Liguria, was published by Bloomsbury on 28 March 2013.
I am currently finishing The Lands of Saint Ambrose: Monks and Society in Early Medieval Milan (Brepols). This book has been submitted and is being prepared for publication.
'Chestnuts in charters: evidence for specialised production in early medieval Genoa and Milan', in Italy and Early Medieval Europe: Essays Presented to Chris Wiickham, co-edited by Ross Balzaretti, Julia Barrow and Patricia Skinner, to appear as a Past & Present Supplement (OUP) in 2018.
'Early Medieval Genoa', in Carrie Benes (ed.), Companion to Medieval Genoa (Brill, Leiden).
CURRENT RESEARCH PROJECT (Leverhulme Research Project Grant)
British amateur topographical art and landscape in NW Italy 1835-1915, with Charles Watkins and Pietro Piana
INTERNATIONAL JOURNAL EDITORSHIP
I was editor of Gender & History for six years (2004-2010), as part of a team with Karen Adler (Nottingham), Ruth Karras, Regina Kunzel and Sarah C. Chambers (Minnesota), having been on its editorial collective since 1993. I continue to act as coordinator for medieval submissions.
BOOK SERIES EDITORSHIPS (Brepols)
Currently co-editor of the Brepols series, Medieval Church Studies, which is now based
in the History Department at Nottingham. Proposals for monographs and edited volumes are welcomed.
I was a founder editor of Studies in the Early Middle Ages (SEM), published by Brepols.
DOCTORAL RESEARCH STUDENTS - 14 to date
Completed (8): Dr Faye Taylor, Dr Theresa Tyers, Dr Robert Hearn.
Dr Rachel Middlemass, Dr Teresa Phipps, Dr Pietro Piana, Dr Lucila Mallart, Dr Rebecca Maryan.
In progress (6): Laura Grazia di Stefano, Michele Baitieri, Chiara Ravera, Timothy McManus, Marco Panato, David Robinson.
Dr Raffaella Bruzzone, Marie Curie Fellow, arrived at Nottingham in May 2014. She is working across Geography and History, on the project 'The circulation of naturalistic knowledge in Modern Europe (1500-1850): a micro analytical perspective (CIRCKNOW)'. I am involved in mentoring this project alongside Prof Charles Watkins in Geography. Project website
Dr Roberta Cimino, Leverhulme Early Career Fellow from February 2015. Her project is called 'The royal fisc in Carolingian and Post-Carolingian Italy'. Roberta is based in History and I am the principal mentor for this project.
HEARN, R., BALZARETTI, R. and WATKINS, C., 2015. The wolf in the landscape. Antonio Cesena and attitudes to wolves in sixteenth-century Liguria Rural History: Economy, Society, Culture. 26(1), 1-16
BALZARETTI, R., PIANA, P. and WATKINS, C., 2015. Travelling in Italy during Turner's Lifetime Available at: <http://www.tate.org.uk/art/research-publications/jmw-turner/ross-balzaretti-pietro-piana-and-charles-watkins-travelling-in-italy-during-turners-r1176438>
PLEASE NOTE: I will be Head of History from August 2015 and therefore will teach only a part of my usual commitments between 2015 and 2018. For the year 2018/19 I will be on research leave and not teaching.
My teaching is research-led. I am also an advocate for student-led teaching, especially in seminars. Currently I am teaching Year 1 Learning History; Year 2, Sexuality in Early Medieval Europe; Year 3 Victorians in Italy; Landscape History of Liguria; MA Power and Authority in the Medieval World; Palaeography.
LIGURIA FIELDTRIP (1994-present)
Since 1994, I have taught the landscape history of Eastern Liguria (with Prof. Charles Watkins in Geography) with an annual field trip to the small town of Varese Ligure. This module is unique in Britain, and has been favourably received in Italy. The module is 'The Landscape History of Liguria' (L83218). See: www.heacademy.ac.uk/hca/resources/detail/students_as_front_line_researchers
Students from Geography and History research collaboratively in small teams and produce a final, individual, 6000 word research project. More than 400 of these now exist and form a unique archive of field research in the area, which is actively used by Italian scholars. The projects are housed in the Museo contadino, in Cassego, Varese Ligure, which is directed by Don Sandro Lagomarsini. A wide range of fields have been investigated by students, including river management, fishing history and policy, local wine tradition, tourism, place name studies, archival work using parish registers, vegetation surveys, terrace management and much more besides.
Video made by Myles Grover of the trip in 2014: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9R_ybc68HDI
Many colleagues have collaborated with us notably Diego Moreno (University of Genoa), Don Sandro Lagomarsini (Museo contadino di Cassego), Roberta Cevasco (University of Alessandria), Susanne Seymour (Geogaphy, Nottingham), Georgina Endfield (Geography, Nottingham), Mark Riley (Geography, Liverpool). Many local people have given their time to helping us in interviews and in other ways. In particular we are grateful to the former Mayor of Varese, Michela Marcone, for long-standing help and support.
EAST MIDLANDS CENTRE FOR HISTORY TEACHING AND LEARNING
I am a founder member of the EMC, a group which links colleagues in the History departments of of the universities of De Montfort, Derby, Leicester, Lincoln, Loughborough, Northampton and Nottingham. It was set up to share best pedagogical practice across the East Midlands. Details of workshops, training events and online teaching resources can be found on the website. My colleagues Dr Joe Merton and Dr Nick Thomas are also active participants in the management of the Centre.
Exhibition: Grand Tourists and Others
Curator of 'Grand Tourists and Others: Travelling Abroad before the Twentieth Century', 29 April-6 August 2016, Weston Gallery, University of Nottingham. This exhibition draws on the extensive archival collections of Manuscripts and Special Collections at Nottingham to investigate travel in Europe in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. There is a focus on the travel of Nottinghamshire and Derbyshire residents. The exhibition is accompanied by a public events programme. It is part of Season 2 of The Grand Tour. 140 people attended the opening (28 April) when the show was formally opened by the explorer and author Levison Wood, who graduated in History in 2004 and took my final year Special Subject 'The English in Italy'. Levison is an Alumnus Laureate of this university. 104 people attended the first lunchtime talk (5 May). The film showing was attended by 147 people. The second lunchtime talk on the Fanshawe sisters (14 June) was sold out (200 people) as was the final talk (by Dr Sarah Goldsmith on 14 July). Dr Sarah Lutton (BFI) hosted a screening and lively post-show discussion of Rossellini's Viaggio in Italia.
An online legacy exhibition can be viewed on the Manuscripts and Special Collections website.
2007-2017: invited conference papers/lectures at ACCORDIA, London; University of Edinburgh; University of Bologna; University of Leeds, IMC; University of Padua; Institute of Historical Research, London; University of Genoa; University of Nottingham (Institute for the Study of Slavery; Gender & History; Venetian seminar); Free University, Brussels; London Medieval Society; St Andrews; York; University College London.
British amateur topographical art and landscape in NW Italy 1835-1915
Three-year (2016-2019) Leverhulme Project Research Grant. PI, Prof Charles Watkins in Geography and post-doctoral researcher Dr Pietro Piana. Plans include a co-authored monograph, several articles in international journals and an exhibition in Genoa. Project website
I am participating in three workshops in the AHRC project Fate, Luck and Fortune: Narratives of Environmental Risk, led by Esther Eidinow and Georgina Endfield. My paper dealt with the risks faced by nineteenth-century tourists when they crossed the River Magra in Eastern Liguria.
North Italian Histories
My next book project is an English translation with substantial commentary and annotation of Paul the Deacon's History of the Lombards (written c. AD 785) and associated texts, to be published in the Manchester Medieval Sources series.