Photo of Dr Barbara Spadaro

Dr Barbara Spadaro

Lecturer in Italian History and Culture Languages, Cultures and Film


Personal Statement

I am a cultural historian of Italian migration and colonialism in Africa and the Mediterranean. My research examines processes of (self)identification particularly in relation to gender, citizenship, language and cultural belonging in postcolonial diasporas. My feminist background and training in Oral History inform my interest towards the changing languages and media of (Italian) memory, participative research and co-creation. My recent focus on comics and graphic novels has allowed me to explore artistic practices of resignification of the past in relation to public understanding of History, migration and colonialism.

My work on Transnational Italian Comics, memory and translation appears in the book series "Transnational Modern Languages" - for more on the book series click here. With Daniele Comberiati (Université Montpellier III) I am currently guest-editing a Special Issue on Transnational Italian Comics for the Journal of Graphic Novels and Comics. As a member of the Research Project "Transnationalizing Modern Languages: Mobility, Identity and Translation in Modern Italian Culture" (TML, 2014-2018) I co-edited with Charles Burdett and Loredana Polezzi the volume "Transcultural Italies: Memory, Mobility and Translation" (LUP, 2020) and contributed to the interactive exhibition "Beyond Borders: Transnational Italy".

"Women in the Modern History of Libya: Exploring Transnational Trajectories" (Routledge 2020, co-edited with Katrina Yeaw) is a collective volume that develops the tools of women’s and gender studies to illuminate the diversity of cultures, languages and memories of Libya from the age of the Empires to the present. My work on the history of women, gender and subjectivity under the Italian Empire and on the Jewish diaspora from Libya has been published in articles and interactive installations, also contributing to the series of Gallery talk around the 'Retracing a Disappearing Landscape' interdisciplinary exhibition at the P21 Gallery in London (2019). My first monograph is a study of the transnational histories of Italian families from Libya and their ideas of whiteness: "Una colonia Italiana. Incontri, memorie e rappresentazioni tra Italia e Libia" (Mondadori, Milan, 2013).

As a student, professional and independent scholar I lived and travelled in Italy, France, the US, Brazil and Israel. I am originally from Rome.

I welcome enquiries about postgraduate supervision in:

Italian Transnational History
Participatory research and co-creation
Artistic practices and representation of the past
Comics and graphic narratives
Italian Mobilities and Migration
Memory and History of the Italian Empire
Oral History

Prizes or Honours

  • Franca Pieroni Bortolotti Prize for Women's and Gender History (Societa Italiana delle Storiche, SIS, 2007)

Funded Fellowships

  • Visiting Fellowship at the University of Pisa, Italy (University of Pisa, 2021)
  • Visiting Fellowship (Centre for the Study of Cultural Memory, Institute of Modern Languages Research, SAS University of London, 2015)
  • British School at Rome-Society for Libyan Studies Fellowship (British School at Rome and Society of Libyan Studies, 2012)