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Centre for Interdisciplinary Research in Arts and Languages (CIDRAL)

Dr Francesca Billiani

Current Director of CIDRAL and Senior Lecturer in Italian Studies

I am a Senior Lecturer in Italian Studies and currently the Director of CIDRAL, the Centre for Interdisciplinary Research in the Arts and Languages at the University of Manchester.

My work is interdisciplinary, since it is mostly concerned with the interconnections between cultural, aesthetic and historical moments. It primarily draws on archival material, which is then interpreted according to an interdisciplinary theoretical framework, carefully constructed to account for the multiplicity and complexity of cultural formations as well as their ideological/political fluctuations. Specifically, my research focuses on the fascist period, the late nineteenth-century Italian novel, translation theory, censorship, literary journals, modernism, history of publishing, intellectual history and contemporary writing. 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 journals. Most recently, I have contributed a chapter on the skyscraper for The Microhistory of Futurism (Legenda, 2016), which blends literary studies with architecture. I have just finished co-editing two special issues of journals on politics entitled 'Mediating Culture in the Italian Literary Field 1940-1960' (Journal of Modern Italian Studies, 2016) and 'Journals and Intellectuals in Italy: Political, Cultural and Transnational Legacies’ (Modern Italy, 2016). I have completed as co-investigator an AHRC large collaborative project on literary journals in Italy from 1940 and 1960 and I am about to start a new AHRC-funded project entitled The Dialectics of Modernity, which will provide the first in-depth interdisciplinary assessment of the arts system under the Italian Fascist regime.

I am on the editorial board of Comparative Critical Studies and Legenda (Italian Perspectives) and I am currently supervising two Marie Curie Fellows. I have presented my work at various institutions, such as NYU, Berkeley, Paris (Rue d'Ulm), held a Visiting Professorship at the University of Milan (Statale) and in 2011 I was Visiting Scholar at the CNRS (Centre de sociologie européenne), Paris. I am one of the external assessors and contributors to the École normale supérieure-Paris based international project La transculturalité des espaces nationaux. Europe (1750-1900) and in Italy to the FIRB project (equivalent to AHRC major grant) Storia e mappe digitali della letteratura tedesca in Italia: l'editoria, il campo letterario, le interferenze: ll Novecento.

Contact Dr Francesca Billiani using the following email address: