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 background is in Transnational and Oral History and my research questions explore how languages and narratives of the past shape processes of identification in the present, for example ideas of citizenship, gender and cultural belonging. My research on memory and media recently focused on comics and graphic narratives, particularly on the work of the Italo-Tunisian author Takoua Ben Mohamed.

I first joined the University of Liverpool in 2017, to design with Prof Charles Forsdick the final outputs of the AHRC theme ‘Translating Cultures’, notably 'Translating Cultures: Thematic Approaches to Translation' (The Translator, 25.4.2019). Previously I was at the University of Bristol as a member of the Research Project "Transnationalizing Modern Languages: Mobility, Identity and Translation in Modern Italian Culture" (TML). I am co-editor (with Prof Charles Burdett and Prof Loredana Polezzi) of the volume "Transcultural Italies: Memory, Mobility and Translation" (LUP, in press) and contributor to the first volume of the series "Transnational Modern Languages"(click here for more on the book series)

In 2018 I brought the interactive exhibition of the TML Project, "Beyond Borders: Transnational Italy" (Rome, London, NY, Melbourne, Addis Ababa, 2016-2018) to the Italian Cultural Institute of Tunis, developing a new strand of work on the multilingual context of Tunisia with students of La Manouba University, the NGO COSPE, the Dar Rayhana women's association of Jendouba and the photographer Mario Badagliacca, TML Artist in Residence. For more on this project, click here.

"Italian Memories in Multilingual Liverpool" is a project for research-connected language teaching that I am developing with colleagues and students at the University of Liverpool. Our activities engage with local community associations to explore histories and memories of Italian cultures in Liverpool, their multiple backgrounds and languages. Our first publication, in collaboration with the magazine of the Department of Romance Languages of the University of Georgia, is accessible at this link. The project builds on the Policy Document "Transnationalizing Modern Languages: Reframing Language Education for a Global Future, presented at the British Academy in 2019. For the TML Policy Document, click here. .

"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 across the Mediterranean has been published in essays, articles and in the installations of the TML exhibition "Beyond Borders: Transnational Italy". 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 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 (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)