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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Modern Languages

Modern Languages Open: Italian Special Collection

Modern Languages Open (MLO), a peer-reviewed platform for the open access publication of research from across the modern languages, has published the Special Collection ‘Italy Made in Britain. Contemporary British Perspectives on Italian Culture’.

This special issue is about how contemporary Britain perceives and imagines Italy, and how it mirrors itself in Italy’s image. Access the complete collection here.


Italy Made in Britain: Contemporary British Perspectives on Italian CultureGiacomo Comiati,  Martina Piperno,  Kate Willman

The English Way to Italian Socialism: The PCI, ‘Red Bologna’ and Italian Communist Culture as Seen through the English PrismMarzia Maccaferri

‘Like Romans Becoming Italians’: Italy as the Negative Paradigm for British Decline in the Language of the Press and Denis HealeyEttore Costa

Anti-Gay, Sexist, Racist: Backwards Italy in British News NarrativesDenise Filmer

Putting the Accent on Authenticity: A Case Study of Celebrity Chef Gennaro ‘Gino’ D’AcampoGeorgia Wall

Contemporary British Travel Writing on Italy and British Broadsheets: Tobias Jones, John Hooper and Tim ParksKate Willman

Whose Comatose Girlfriend? Figures of Crisis in Neoliberal ItalySerena Bassi

Modern Languages, News

Honourable Mention for Rhiannon Welch’s Vital Subjects

The Modern Language Association of America recently announced its ninth Aldo and Jeanne Scaglione Prize for Italian Studies. An honourable mention was given to Rhiannon Noel Welch, of Rutgers University, New Brunswick, for her book Vital Subjects: Race and Biopolitics in Italy, 1860–1920, published by Liverpool University Press.

Rhiannon Welch said, “It is an incredible honour to be mentioned for the Scaglione Prize alongside luminaries in the field like Serenella Iovino and William Kennedy. Though Vital Subjects is a book about the turn-of-the-twentieth-century in Italy, my hope is that it might shed light on Italy’s ongoing and quite urgent negotiations of race, belonging, and citizenship in the twenty-first.”

Vital Subjects was the first book 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 second book in the series, Accidental Orientalists by Barbara Spackman, was published in July 2017.

LUP hopes to continue to build on this already strong list, publishing texts that are informed by current postcolonial/transnational methodology. Transnational Italian Cultures is accepting book proposals for projects focusing primarily on the contemporary context, with an emphasis on the analysis of textual production, and with a cultural studies perspective. To discuss a book proposal please get in touch with the Commissioning Editor, Chloe Johnson.