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 convene and largely teach the core Research Methods module for the History MA, and with Mark Bradley form Classics I shall be delivering a core and compulsory Faculty-wide module on research in the Arts from Spring 2019.
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 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: a study of the Times journalist William Stillman's views of the Italian statesman Francesco Crispi (Modern Italy, 2017); the chapter on foreign domination in the Treccani illustrated history of the Veneto; a chapter on collective security in Italy after the Congress of Vienna; and the introduction to a collection of essays on Venice's Frari in the nineteenth century, and most notably the monuments to Canova and Titian.
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. 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.
Please note that I am research leave from February to the end of July 2018, but will normally still respond to my email within 48 hours unless there is an out of office notice.
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 two articles on gay sex tourism in Venice in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, and on Simonde de Sismondi's views on the question of slavery.