ISO title

Current Research Areas

The cultural impact of human mobility

Italian Studies at Oxford is currently engaged in an extensive research initiative based around the subject of migration. This has two main strands:

The first project, called Representations of Migration in Contemporary Media and Narrative, was launched with a research workshop held in February 2009, Migrating Italy. This served to establish the ISO research group, formed of scholars from the U.K. universities of Oxford, Warwick, Bristol, London and Reading. Since then, we have worked to forge contacts with experts in the field abroad, and have succeeded in setting up a cohesive international network. We learnt in April 2010 that we were successful in our application for a Leverhulme Trust International Networks grant. This allowed us to organize three further workshops (in Italy, New York and Cairo), a major conference in Oxford in April 2012, and we are currently in the process of putting together the final publication. The aim of the project is to produce a comprehensive study on how media and narrative representations can influence both the migratory dynamic at its origin, as well as perceptions of migrations in the destination country. 

As part of the Representations project, we have also been successful in our application for a John Fell Fund grant to allow us to set up a databank of Italian films which deal with the subject of migration. Once completed, the databank will be publicly available through ISO's website, and will provide an invaluable resource for those researching contemporary representations of migration in Italian cinema.


The second strand focuses on the History and Migration in Italy, which was launched with an international conference held in May 2009, Italy as a Migration Crossroad with speakers from Italy, the U.S., France, Austria and the U.K., including Professor Enrico Pugliese, and Professor Donna Gabaccia. This is a wide-ranging project, which aims to track migratory patterns and their cultural impact in Italy from ancient times to the modern day. We successfully applied for an AHRC Research Network grant in 2011 (start date February 2012) which will cover two events over a twelve month period to consolidate the direction of research and produce a finished position paper. This will then be followed by a BARDA grant application, in to fund future project initiatives, including a larger conference and a related full length publication.


ISO is also currently working on:

Media and politics in contemporary Italy:    

Italian Studies at Oxford collaborates with the Oxford based Reuters Institute for the Study of Journalism, and its Axess Programme on Journalism and Democracy in their study of The Italian Media in the Age of Silvio Berlusconi. They jointly organized the seminar What Freedom? and Whose Freedom? Berlusconi and the case of La repubblica's ten questions, which received widespread attention and generated an excellent debate, and collaborating in a meeting with media entrepreneur Carlo de Benedetti.

Other seminars and workshops will be organized during the academic year and potential research synergies will be explored.

For further details on ISO research projects, please contact: