I received both my undergraduate degree and PhD from the University of Cambridge. My late father was a historian of early modern Venice, and my younger sister is professor of Early Modern History at the Cambridge, so Italian history is something of a family trade. I essentially consider myself a Venetianist, but in recent years my work has taken me increasingly to the south of Italy, especially Sicily and Calabria.
My principal expertise lies in Venice and Venetia in 150 years after the fall of the Venetian Republic in 1797. In particular in recent years I have focused on the ways in which Venetian identity was negotiated and defined by historians of the Serenissima - writing in Italian, German, French, and English - in the long nineteenth century.
I am also interested in Italian identities more widely, and especially in the diversity of the peninsula and its islands. I have close links with both Venetian separatists and southern Italian groups who seek to challenge the 'official' history of Italian unification. While not necessarily sharing their political goals, I am intrigued by the degree to which alternative histories of nineteenth-century Italy are marginalised and discredited.
The bulk of my teaching concerns Italy from the fifteenth to the twentieth century. I currently run a second-year option on the Venetian Republic from c.1450 to the late sixteenth century, and a… read more
My principal interests lie in the field of Italian history from the late eighteenth century to Fascism. I have two principal areas of research at present, both growing out of my earlier work on… read more
2021. Agostino Sagredo and Venezia e le sue lagune Venetica: Rivista degli Istituti per la storia della Resistenza di Belluno, Padova, Treviso, Venezia, Verona, Vicenza e del Polesini. 60(1), 61–84
2019. Pierre Daru’s Histoire de la République de Venise, the destruction of the Serenissima, and the Napoleonic legacy in Restoration Venice. In: A History of the European Restorations: Culture, Society and Religion 2. Bloomsbury. 48–57
2018. The Papacy, reform, and intervention: international collective security in Restoration Italy. In: BEATRICE DE GRAAF, IDO DE HAAN and BRIAN VICK, eds., Securing Europe.: 1815 and the new European security culture Cambridge University Press. (In Press.)
2017. William Stillman: championing Crispi in late Victorian Britain Modern Italy: Journal of the Association for the Study of Modern Italy. 22(4), 1–16
The bulk of my teaching concerns Italy from the fifteenth to the twentieth century. I currently run a second-year option on the Venetian Republic from c.1450 to the late sixteenth century, and a Special Subject, Italy at War 1935-45. The latter looks at Italian diplomacy and foreign policy after 1935, the impact of three wars - the Italian invasion of Ethiopia, the Spanish Civil War, and the Second World War - on Italian society and culture, the conduct of war by Italians, and its impact on Italy from the summer of 1943, and on the representations of these wars in song, film, and literature. I have in the past convened the core Research Methods module for the History MA, and still teach on the Faculty-wide MA module, Mastering the Arts, which until last year I convened.
My principal interests lie in the field of Italian history from the late eighteenth century to Fascism. I have two principal areas of research at present, both growing out of my earlier work on nineteenth-century Venice and its mainland (Venice and Venetia under the Habsburgs, 1815-1835, Oxford University Press, 2002) : on the one hand, I am completing a general history of Italy from 1700 to unification, which emphasises both local perspectives transnational contexts for publication in 2012; I am also writing (with Elsa Damien) under the auspices of an AHRC research grant a multi-volume study of Venetian identity as imagined and narrated by historians of the defunct Venetian Republic in the years between the fall of Napoleon and the Fascist seizure of power. Venice remembered focuses on the difficulties of dealing with multiple identities (municipal, regional, national, imperial, religious) when writing the history of a city-based, transnational, republican empire during a period when Italy was being unified and facing the task of 'making Italians'. The research deals not only with Venetian historians such as Romanin and Molmenti, but also with non-Italians ranging from Daru and Sismondi to Ranke and Rawdon Brown.
Recent publications include:
'Agostino Sagredo and Venezia e le sue lagune', Venetica 35/60 (2021): Special number:: Valeria Mogavero & Maria Pia Casalena (eds), Scienzati italiani a congresso nel Veneto asburgico (1842, 1847), 61-84
'Pierre Daru's Histoire de la République de Venise, the destruction of the Serenissima, and the Napoleonic legacy in Restoration Venice' in Michael Broers & Ambrogio Caiani, A History of the European Restorations: Vol. 2 Culture, Society and Religion (London: Bloomsbury, 2019), pp. 48-57
'William Stillman: championing Crispi in late Victorian Britain', Modern Italy, 22:4 (2017), 355-70
'Reflections on British and Italian historians of the nineteenth century', Modern Italy, 22:4 (2017) 474-7.
'Le dominazioni straniere', in Marino Zorzi (ed.), Veneto (Rome: Treccani, 2017), 153-81
'Introduction: Titian, Canova and the Frari in the nineteenth century' in Elena Catra, Isabella Collavizza ,Vittorio Pajusco (eds), Canova, Tiziano e la Basilica dei Frari a Venezia nell'Ottocento (Treviso: ZeL Edizioni, 2017), 6-21
'The Papacy, reform, and intervention: international collective security in Restoration Italy' in Brian Vicks, Ido De Haan, & Beatrice de Graaf (eds), Securing Europe after Napoleon (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2017),
I am interested in supervising PhDs in the fields of: Italian political, social, sport, and cultural history from c.1750 to c.1950, travel in Italy from c.1750 to c.1950; the Allied invasion and occupation of Italy; the unification of Italy (especially opposition and indifference to the process); Venice in film and literature; Italian attitudes to war; municipal, local, and regional identities in nineteenth- and twentieth-century Europe; the history of the dog in the western world; sport history. I am currently or have previously supervised PhDs on topics as varied as: representations of the Shoah in French and Italian film; Pope Gregory XVI; nineteenth-century Venetian culture and identity; football in fascist Italy; the sexual abuse of children and the law in Florence from the late eighteenth century to Fascism; and Italian POWs in Britain during the Second World War; football and national identity in Galicia.
My previous research has focused on Venice in the nineteenth century, and especially under the so-called dominazione austriaca when it fell under Habsburg rule. As well as my Oxford University Press monograph, I have published extensively on such aspects as the administration and policing of the Venetian provinces, the Venetian economy and the university of Padua, as well as more general pieces on Venice after unification with the rest of Italy in 1866. I have also published on British attitudes to Napoleonic and Risorgimento Italy, on questions of Italian national identity, nineteenth-century historiography of the twelfth-century Lega Lombarda, and on the thought of Machiavelli.
I am currently planning two strands of research. One will focus on the sometime curious politics of the great twentieth-century Italian novelist and journalist Curzio Malaparte, using him as a window to explore the ambivalent and contradictory nature of Italian political life in the period between the Great War and the 1950s. The other will address attitudes to Italian masculinity and soldiering in the longue durée from Machiavelli to the Fascist era. In addition, I am preparing an article on gay sex tourism in Venice in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries.