I was educated at University College London (BA 1981-4; PhD 1985-89). My first academic job was at the University of Sheffield (1988-89) and the following year I was Rome Scholar in Italian Studies at the British School at Rome. I joined History at Nottingham in August 1990.
I have had fruitful collaborations at Nottingham with various colleagues including Karen Adler (2004-2010 as UK co-editors of Gender & History), Gaby Neher (Art History), Mark Pearce (Archaeology) and Charles Watkins (Geography) in long-standing research and teaching in the Italian region of Liguria. In 2013-14 I co-convened the History research seminar with Sasha Auerbach.
I collaborate with medievalist colleagues via the Medieval Research Cluster, the editorial board of Nottingham Medieval Studies (NMS) and within the cross-disciplinary Institute for Medieval Research (IMR). Many of us will be at the Leeds International Medieval Congress in July.
2004: Fellow of the Royal Historical Society.
Summer 2006: British School at Rome researching their Special Collection of travel books.
2010-11: Donald Bullough Visiting Fellow in Mediaeval History at the University of St Andrews.
2014: Fellow of the Society of Antiquaries of London.
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.
I have published in many leading journals including Archeologia medievale, Early Medieval Europe, Gender & History (including the most-downloaded article in 2008), History, History Workshop Journal, Mélanges de l'École française de Rome, Nottingham Medieval Studies, Past & Present, Times Literary Supplement
I have received research funding from the British Academy, AHRC, University of St Andrews, Paul Mellon Foundation for Studies in British Art, and the Scouloudi Foundation.
I have spoken regularly since 2006 at meetings of the Nottingham Dante Alighieri Society, a local group of Italian enthusiasts, which has always proved a source of interesting comments and reflections on my work.
I have supervised 8 doctoral students in diverse aspects of History (see below). I welcome proposals from potential doctoral students, most especially in the history of early medieval Europe and the history of Liguria (Italy) since the Roman period.
My teaching is research-led. Currently I am teaching Year 1 Learning History and Medieval World; Year 2, Blood and Treasure; Year 3 Landscape History of Liguria; MA Research Methods, Power and… read more
Dark Age Liguria, was published by Bloomsbury on 28 March 2013.
I am currently finishing two further books:
The Lands of Saint Ambrose: Monks and Society in Early Medieval Milan (Brepols)
North Italian Histories (Manchester UP).
Articles in preparation
Storytelling in early medieval charters
Early medieval charters and landscape: Genoa and Milan compared
Representations of Hugh of Arles and his family (Early Medieval Europe)
Travelling in Italy (for Tate Britain website)
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.
In the period 2004-2009 Karen Adler and I edited more than 3,500 pages of text for the journal covering a very wide range of subjects. The presence of the journal here has helped us to develop a 'Gender Histories Network' which brings together local gender historians across the Arts and Social Sciences faculties.
We also instituted a Gender & History public lecture at Nottingham: past lecturers have included Ruth Mazo Karras (Minnesota), Atina Grossmann (NYU) and Efi Avdela (Crete).
Karen and I gave a seminar in May 2010 about the future of the field and the journal at the Department of History in Glasgow University, which has now taken over the UK editorship of G&H.
Doctoral research students
Faye Taylor (AHRC funded): 'Miracula and Socio-Political Landscapes: Conques and Bobbio in the millennial period'.
Theresa Tyers: 'The Re-birth of Fertility: the Medieval Trotula and her travelling companions, 1250-1500'.
Robert Hearn: 'Comparative species history of wolves and wild boar in north western Italy since the Middle Ages' (co-supervised with Charles Watkins, Geography). Robert spent 2010-11 at the University of Genoa and worked there with LASA (Laboratory of Archaeology and Environmental History): www.dismec.unige.it/lasa/progetti.php He now has a post-doctoral position in the department.
Rachel Middlemass (AHRC funded): Bodies of Men: Manhood and Masculinity c. 1100-c.1250'.
Lucilla Mallart: 'Josep Puig i Cadafalch and the construction of modern Catalan identity, 1907-1925' (co-supervised with Maiken Umbach).
Theresa Phipps: 'Women, Power and Identity in Nottingham, c. 1350-1450' (co-supervised with Richard Goddard).
Pietro Piana (AHRC funded): 'History of Landscape Views in the Portofino Peninsula and Upper Val di Vara in the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries' (lead school Geography, co-supervised with Charles Watkins and Gary Priestnall).
Rebecca Maryan, 'Humoral Theory in Religious Writing in England and Northern Europe, c. 1300-1450 (co-supervised with Rob Lutton).
Laura Grazia di Stefano, 'Pilgrimage and Travel between Italy and England in the late Middle Ages' (co-supervised with Rob Lutton)
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.
We are looking forward to the arrival of Dr Roberta Cimino as Leverhulme Early Career Fellow in February 2015. Her project is called 'The royal fisc in Carolingian and Post-Carolingian Italy'. I will be principal mentor for this project.
BALZARETTI, R, PIANA, P, MORENO, D and WATKINS, C, 2012. Topographical art and landscape history: Elizabeth Fanshawe (1779-1856) in early nineteenth-century Liguria Landscape History. 33, 65-81
BALZARETTI, R., 2011. Women, property and urban space in tenth-century Milan Gender and History. 23(3), 547-575
My teaching is research-led. Currently I am teaching Year 1 Learning History and Medieval World; Year 2, Blood and Treasure; Year 3 Landscape History of Liguria; MA Research Methods, Power and Authority in the Medieval World; Palaeography.
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.
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 Mayor of Varese, Michela Marcone, for long-standing help and support.
Much of my past research has involved collaboration with scholars in other disciplines, and has resulted so far in three edited volumes:
(1) Presentations of the Self in Early Modern England, ed. with Amy Erickson (1995, Gender & History, Special issue)
(2) Narrative and History in the Early Medieval West , ed. with E. Tyler (2006).
Reviews: The Medieval Review TMR 07.10.08 (Elizabeth van Houts) quod.lib.umich.edu/cgi/t/text/text-idx; Lesley Abrams, English Historical Review, cxxiii, 503 (2008), 997-999; Genevieve Young, Parergon 26.1 (2009), 280-283; Miranda Wilcox, Journal of English and Germanic Philology, July 2009, 399-401.
(3) Ligurian Landscapes, ed. with M. Pearce and C. Watkins (2004).
Launched by the Rector of the University of Genoa 13 December 2004 and reviewed by Angelo Torre, 'Un "tournant spatial" en historie? Paysages, regards, ressources', Annales HSS 5 (2008), 1127-1144. www.armand-colin.com/revues_article_info.php
2007-2013: invited conference papers/lectures at ACCORDIA, London; University of Bologna; University of Padua; Institute of Historical Research, London; University of Genoa; University of Nottingham (Institute for the Study of Slavery; Gender & History); Free University, Brussels; London Medieval Society; University College London.
My future research will be largely focused on Liguria.
(1) the history of travel to the region which I am continuing to research in local record offices.
(2) 'The Terrain of History' with Diego Moreno and Charles Watkins, a book about 20 years of fieldwork in the Val di Vara.
(3) Complete annotated English translation of the history of Varese Ligure written by Antonio Cesena in 1558.
Conferences and lectures 2013-14
SIS (Società Italiana delle Storiche), 4th congress, 14-16 February 2013, Padua/Venice
Green Memory: Dark Age Plants and their Histories, Nottingham Medieval @25, 21 June 2013
Politics and Texts in Late Carolingian Europe, c. 870-1000, 8-9 July 2013, St Andrews (my paper: 'Representations of Hugh of Arles (c. 885-948) and his family).
Storytelling in Cloister and Court, Centre for Medieval Studies, University of York, 2 Nov. 2013.
Wanderings: a male space in the history of travel?, Victorian Masculinities, MIVSS, University of Nottingham, 16 January 2014
Early medieval charters and landscape, Institute of Historical Research, London, 7 May 2014
How Carolingian is Paul the Deacon's Historia langobardorum? Leeds IMC, July 2014