Modern Languages

Liverpool University Press is delighted to announce that Barbara Spackman’s book, Accidental Orientalists, received an Honourable Mention from the Modern Languages Association (MLA) as they announced the twenty-fifth Howard R. Marraro Prize.


Barbara Spackman is a professor of Italian studies and comparative literature, and holder of the Giovanni and Ruth Elizabeth Cecchetti Chair in Italian Literature at the University of California, Berkeley. Accidental Orientalists is the first monograph in English to address Orientalism in the writings of Italian travellers in the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, and to do against a backdrop of comparative reference to works in English and French that preceded or were contemporary to them.

Accidental Orientalists, published in July 2017, is the second title to appear in LUP’s Transnational Italian Cultures series which aims to publish works in the expanding field of postcolonial, global and transnational Italian studies, setting a new agenda for academic research on what constitutes Italian culture today.

The committee for the award said the following about Spackman’s book:

‘Barbara Spackman’s contribution to the archives of Italian and orientalist studies illuminates a heretofore little-known cluster of authors and cultural phenomena that invites us to rethink Italian modernity transhistorically. The lives of these ―accidental orientalists‖ resonate profoundly as points of departure from which to reflect on Italy’s diasporic past and evolving diasporic present and future. Accidental Orientalists: Modern Italian Travelers in Ottoman Lands has opened a new chapter in the migration and movement of Italians in the Mediterranean basin across linguistic, gender, and religious boundaries. These affective adaptations and reactions contribute to the twenty-first century cultural negotiations that inform narratives of identity, displacement, destabilization, and reconsolidation.’

Read the official press from the MLA here.

For more information on Accidental Orientalists please visit our website.
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