Photo of Dr Barbara Spadaro

Dr Barbara Spadaro

Lecturer in Italian History and Culture Modern Languages and Cultures


Personal Statement

I am an Historian working on the languages and media of memory in culture, focusing on Italy, Africa and the Mediterranean. I am interested in how narratives of the past shape processes of identification in the present, for example ideas of citizenship, gender and cultural belonging. The principal areas of my research are: the history of Italians from North Africa, colonial and postcolonial migration, transcultural memory and the media of history in the 21st century, notably comics.

I first joined the University of Liverpool in 2017, to design with Prof Charles Forsdick the final outputs of the AHRC theme ‘Translating Cultures’. Since 2014 I have been a member of the Research Project Transnationalizing Modern Languages: Mobility, Identity and Translation in Modern Italian Culture (TML), contributing to the interactive exhibition Beyond Borders: Transnational Italy (Rome, London, NY, Melbourne, Addis Ababa, 2016-2018).

I recently brought the exhibition and the curatorial team to the Italian Cultural Institute of Tunis, developing a new strand of work in 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 the most recent strand of my research, which 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.

My latest publication is a Special Issue for the “Journal of North African Studies” (2018) co-edited with Katrina Yeaw: "Gender and Transnational Histories of Libya", featuring research on multiple sites and languages of the memory of Libya, including my article on Italian Jewish homes. I have published essays on history of gender and subjectivity under the Italian Empire, and about my collaborative research (with Dr Piera Rossetto) on the memories of the Jewish diaspora from Libya across the Mediterranean. 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
Memory and History of the Italian Empire
Italian Mobilities and Migration
Oral History
Participatory research and digital storytelling

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)