People

Dr Marina Spunta

Associate Professor of Italian

School/Department: Arts, School of

Telephone: +44 (0)116 252 2658

Email: m.spunta@leicester.ac.uk

Profile

I am Associate Professor of Italian. I was educated at Bologna University (BA/MA in Modern Languages and Literatures) Exeter University (MA and MPhil in Applied Linguistics) and Birmingham University (PhD in Italian Studies). I taught Italian at Exeter University before joining the University of Leicester in 1997. I was Visiting Lecturer at the University of Amsterdam in 2018. I teach and convene a wide range of modules in Italian, Modern Languages, Film Studies and Translation. I research in 20th/21st Century Italian literature, Photography, Cinema; Cultural and Visual Studies; Environmental Humanities, Space, Place, Landscape studies; Ecocriticism and cultural/literary ecology; Orality and Vocality. I have held various leadership roles in my School, including Head of School of Modern Languages and most recently Director of Studies for Modern Languages in the School of Arts. I have acted as external examiner in Italian at the Universities of Nottingham Trent, Liverpool and Salford. I currently hold portfolios and sit on the Executive Committees of the Society for Italian Studies and the International Association of Teachers of Italian (AIPI).

Research

Research interestests

My research focuses on 20th/21st Century Italian literature, Photography, Cinema, Cultural and Visual Studies; Environmental Humanities, Space, Place, Landscape studies; Ecocriticism and cultural/literary ecology; Orality and Vocality. I have published extensively on these subjects and on leading writer and intellectual Gianni Celati and leading photographer Luigi Ghirri. My publications include two monographs, Voicing the Word: Writing Orality in Contemporary Italian Fiction (2004) and Claudio Piersanti (2009), and a series of peer-reviewed articles and essays on a range of issues. I have co-edited (with M. Martelli) a Journal Special Issue on Gianni Celati and the Visual Arts (ReCHERches, 2020), and six co-edited volumes of scholarly essays on various aspects of Modern Italian Culture, including, among others, Orality and Literacy in Modern Italian Culture (with M. Caesar, 2006) and Letteratura come fantasticazione. In conversazione con Gianni Celati (with L. Rorato, 2009), following a British Academy sponsored international conference at the University of Leicester. I was Principal Investigator for the British Academy / Leverhulme Trust research grant ‘Viewing and writing Italian landscape. Luigi Ghirri and his legacy in photography and literature’, which resulted in two international conferences (Rome and Leicester) and in the co-edited volume (with J. Benci) Luigi Ghirri and the Photography of Place. Interdisciplinary Perspectives (2017).

 

RESEARCH GRANTS

Successful External Research Grants 
RCUK

2013-2015: Principal Investigator, British Academy/Leverhulme Small Research Grant,
‘Viewing and writing Italian landscape. Luigi Ghirri and his legacy in photography and literature’, http://www.le.ac.uk/ghirri

2006: British Academy Conference Grant; Conference OrganisationL ‘Letteratura come fantasticazione. In conversazione con Gianni Celati’

Other External Research Grants
2022: Society for Italian Studies Research Fund: Event organization: Homage to Gianni Celati, Italian Cultural Institute, London, 27/4/2022
2018: Society for Italian Studies: Gianni Celati & the Visual Arts Conference, Univ. of Strasbourg
2013: Society for Italian Studies: Luigi Ghirri project
2006: British Academy Overseas Conference Grant, AAIS 2006 Conference
2005: British Academy Overseas Conference Grant, AAIS 2005 Conference
2004: Italian Cultural Institute
2004: Society for Italian Studies


Internal Research Grants (Select)
College / Faculty (Select)

2022: College (CSSAH) Research Fund, 14 February 2022; Event organization: Homage to Gianni Celati, Italian Cultural Institute, London, 27/4/2022 
2012: College Development Fund, Luigi Ghirri project
2000: Staff Development Grant
2000: Grant in Aid of Research
1999: Grant in Aid of Research
1998: Staff Development Grant

School (Select)
2022: School of Arts Research Fund, December 2021; ‘Pia Pera’s poetics of the planetary garden’ 
2022: School of Arts Research Fund, 23 March 2022; Italian Ecocriticism

 

Publications

(0)

Selected Publications

Books 

Claudio Piersanti (Florence: Cadmo, 2009)

Voicing the Word: Writing Orality in Contemporary Italian Fiction (Oxford/Bern: Peter Lang, 2004)

Journal Special Issues
La scrittura dello sguardo. Gianni Celati e le arti visive, ed. with M. Martelli, ReCHERches, n. 24, 2020, https://journals.openedition.org/cher/624

Edited Volumes
Viaggi minimi e luoghi qualsiasi: intersezioni tra letteratura e arti visive, ed. with M. Jansen, I. Lanslots  (Florence: Cesati, 2020)

Luigi Ghirri and the Photography of Place. Interdisciplinary Perspectives, ed. with J. Benci (Oxford: Peter Lang, 2017)

Women and the Public Sphere in Modern and Contemporary Italy, ed. with S. Storchi, M. Morelli (Leicester: Troubador, 2017)

Letteratura come fantasticazione. In conversazione con Gianni Celati, ed. with L. Rorato (Lampeter: Edwin Mellen Press, 2009)

Orality and literacy in Modern Italian Culture, ed. with M. Caesar (Oxford: Legenda, 2006)

Proteus - The language of metamorphosis, ed. with C. Dente, G. Ferzoco, M. Gill (Aldershot: Ashgate, 2005)

Journal articles (Select)
‘‘Dentro la città”: Gabriele Basilico’s Photography and the Embodied “Experience of Place”, Annali d’Italianistica, 37 (2019), Urban Space and the Body, 79-107

‘‘‘A magical balance of opposites’. Reading Luigi Ghirri’s photography through Walter Benjamin’, Journal of Italian Cinema and Media Studies, vol. 2:2, May 2014, 215-235

‘Zur Geschichte des Foto-Text-Bandes in Italien’, Zibaldone. Zeitschrift für Italienische Kultur der Gegenwart; Fotographie in Italien, ed. by T. Bremer and T. Heydenreich, n. 55, Spring 2013, pp. 77-88 (commissioned article translated  into German)

‘Pensar com imagens’ (Thinking through images), ZUM, 3, 2012, 58-63 (commissioned article translated into Brazilian Portuguese)

‘Fossati’s and Messori’s Viaggio in un paesaggio terrestre – an imaginative journey through writing, photography, landscape and painting’, Italian Studies, vol. 66, n. 1, March 2011, 93-111

‘Sense of home and ‘exile’ in Giorgio Messori’s narrative fiction’, Romance Studies, vol. 29, n. 4, November 2011, pp. 285-98 

‘Esplorazioni sulla via Emilia e dintorni – la fotografia italiana degli anni ’80 in dialogo con la scrittura di paesaggio’, in The modern Image, Intersections of Photography, Cinema and Literature in Italian Culture, special issue of L’anello che non tiene. Journal of Modern Italian Literature, ed. G. Minghelli, XX-XXI, 1-2, Spring-Fall 2008-2009, pp. 158-87

‘Il profilo delle nuvole: Ghirri’s photography and the new Italian landscape’, Italian Studies, 61: 1, Spring 2006, 114-36

‘Lo spazio delle pianure come “territorio di racconti” - verso la foce con Gianni Celati’, Spunti e Ricerche, 18, 2003, pp. 5-28

Il narrare semplice, naturale di Gianni Celati e i suoi progetti editoriali’, Rassegna Europea di Letteratura Italiana, 22, 2003, pp. 53-72


Book chapters (Select)

‘Guido Guidi e la fotografia della ‘qualsiasità’, in Spunta co-ed (2020), Viaggi minimi e luoghi qualsiasi, 149-159

‘Gianni Celati e la fotografia come “pratico pensare per immagini” – in dialogo con Ghirri e Gajani’, in Spunta co-ed (2020), La scrittura dello sguardo, 97-121

‘Verso la foce: The Experience of Place between Writing and Photography’, in P. Barron (ed), Towards the River’s Mouth by Gianni Celati (Lanham: Lexington Books, 2019), 77-88

‘Gianni Celati and the allure of the voice: from “Voci da terra” to “Notizie ai naviganti”’, in M. Ronchi Stefanati (ed), Gianni Celati. Traduzione, Tradizione e Riscrittura (Rome: Aracne, 2019), 49-68

‘Narrating the experience of place: Luigi Ghirri and literature’, in Spunta co-ed (2017), Luigi Ghirri and the Photography of Place, 199-224

‘Interfaces of photography, writing and landscape – the landscape photobook from Ghirri to Fossati and Messori’, in G. Minghelli, S. Hill (eds), Stillness in motion. Italy, Photography and the Meaning of Modernity (Toronto: Toronto University Press, 2014), 288-313

‘Il paesaggio e l’estetica: considerazioni sulla teoria recente’, in P. Chirumbolo, L. Pocci (eds), Bel Paese? The Representation of Landscape in Contemporary Italian Literature and Cinema (Lampeter: Edwin Mellen Press, 2013), 21-51 

 
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Supervision

I welcome enquiries from prospective postgraduate students, particularly in the following areas: 

• 20th/21st Century Italian literature 
• Cultural & Visual Studies 
• Postwar Italian cinema 
• Postwar Italian Photography; Photography and Literature 
• Environmental Humanities 
• Space, Place, Landscape studies 
• Ecocriticism and Cultural/Literary Ecology 
• Literary Orality and Vocality

RESEARCH STUDENTS

PhD students currently supervised:

Laura Albertini, GTA/PhD in Italian Studies, (2017-): ‘(Re)exploring place through travel writing: Paolo Rumiz’s travel writing as a practice of social and cultural awareness in contemporary Italy’: https://www2.le.ac.uk/departments/modern-languages/people-1/laura-albertini/laura-albertini 

Andrea Brondino, PhD in Italian Studies (University of Warwick & Leicester), M4C (2019-): 'The Decline and Resilience of Irony in Post-1989 Italian Literature', https://warwick.ac.uk/fac/arts/modernlanguages/academic/postgraduate/brondino/ 

PhD students supervised to successful completion:
Kate Litherland, PhD in Italian Studies (1999-2005): ‘Pulp: youth language, popular culture and literature in 1990s Italian fiction’, https://www.chester.ac.uk/lti/staff/ada/dr-kate-litherland 
Oliver Brett, PhD in Italian & French Studies, part-time (1998-2014): ‘The lieu factice: Performance, Identity, and Place in French and Italian Queer Documentary since 2000’, https://link.springer.com/book/10.1007/978-3-319-96701-1 
Sara Bonfili, European Doctorate in Italian Studies, University of Macerata, Italy (2013): ‘Ermanno Cavazzoni tra comico e parodia’, http://www.aracneeditrice.it/index.php/pubblicazione.html?item=9788854873513 
Maria Morelli, PhD in Italian Studies (2011-2017): ‘Queer(ing) Gender in Contemporary Italian Women’s Writing. Maraini, Sapienza, Morante’, https://www.peterlang.com/view/title/67342?tab=aboutauthor 

Second supervisor 
Alessandro Baù, PhD in Italian Studies, part-time (2010-2017)

 

 

Teaching

I teach and convene a wide range of undergraduate modules in Italian, Modern Languages, Film Studies and Translation, including modules on contemporary Italian culture, literature, cinema, photography, language and linguistics. I also teach Postwar Italian Cinema on the MA in Film and Film Cultures. I teach on a range of Translation modules and I supervise BA and MA dissertations in Translation. My taugth/convened modules include:

Undergraduate Teaching in Italian/Modern Languages

Year 1
IT 1022/3 Italian Language Advanced 1 & 2
IT 1027 Authors & genres 2
IT 1029 Italy since 1945 
ML1006 Language and Society
Year 2
IT 2011 Introduction to Italian Linguistics 
IT 2012 History of Italian cinema
IT2024 Italian language post-advanced
Year 3/4
IT 3136/3336 Contemporary Italian fiction 
IT 3139 Postwar Italian directors 
IT3113 Italian language post-advanced

Cinema / Postgraduate Teaching 
MA in Film and Film Cultures 
HA7202 Postwar Italian Cinema, module on the MA in Film and Film Cultures in Historical Contexts 

Translation Studies / Undergraduate & Postgraduate Teaching & Supervision 
TS3003 Advanced Translation
TS3006 Extended Translation
TS7005 Dissertation (Supervision)

Press and media

Media engagement / Commissioned Articles

 

Invited talks / Public Engagement

Luigi Ghirri. The Map and the Territory, in conversation with James Lingwood, Italian Cultural Institute, London, 22 October 2018
The Flying Carpet, in conversation with Cesare Fabbri and Michael Mack, Italian Cultural Institute, 20 March 2017
Guido Guidi, Facciate/Facades: In conversation with David Campany and James Lingwood, Large Glass, London, 15 December 2016, http://largeglass.co.uk/Events/Conversation-Guido-Guidi-with-David-Campany-Dr-Marina-Spunta-and 
Luigi Ghirri. The Complete Essays; in conversation with Julian Stallabrass, Waterstones Gower Street, London, 25 October 2016

 
 

Activities

Learned societies

I sit on the Executive Committee of the following learned societies:

I am a member of the following learned societies:

  • SIS: Society for Italian Studies
  • AIPI: International Association of Teachers of Italian
  • AAIS: American Association of Italian Studies

 

External Examining

I have acted as  for Italian at the following Institutions:

  • University of Nottingham Trent, Italian undergraduate courses (2016-2020)
  • University of Liverpool, Italian undergraduate courses (2014-2018)
  • University of Salford, Italian undergraduate and postgraduate courses (2009-2013)

Awards

Senior Fellow of the Higher Education Academy

Conferences

Conferences Organised

Homage to Gianni Celati, Italian Cultural Institute, London, 27/4/2022

Tra ecologia letteraria ed ecocritica: narrare la crisi ambientale in letteratura, cinema, fotografia, series of panels at XXIV AIPI Conference, Univ. Genève (online), 28-30 June 2021 (with S. Ross)

La scrittura dello sguardo. Gianni Celati e le arti visive, Univ. of Strasbourg 8-9 November 2018 (with M. Martelli and N. Palmieri) 

‘Viaggi minimi e luoghi qualsiasi: intersezioni tra letteratura e arti visive in cammino verso il nuovo millennio’, series of panels at XXII AIPI Conference, Univ. Siena, 5-8 September 2018 (with M. Jansen and I. Lanslots)

‘L’esperienza del luogo’: Italian photography, writing and landscape. Luigi Ghirri, his contemporaries, his legacy, University of Leicester, 19-20 September 2014 (with J. Benci)

How to think in images? Luigi Ghirri and photography, The British School at Rome, 9 October 2013 (with J. Benci)

Letteratura come fantasticazione – in conversazione con Gianni Celati, University of Leicester, 2-4 May 2007 (with L. Rorato)

Orality and Literacy in Modern Italian Culture, Institute of Romance Studies, University of London, 2-4 May 2002 (with M. Caesar)

 

 

Interests

• 20th/21st Century Italian literature 
• Cultural & Visual Studies 
• Postwar Italian cinema 
• Postwar Italian Photography; Photography and Literature 
• Environmental Humanities 
• Space, Place, Landscape studies 
• Ecocriticism and Cultural/Literary Ecology 
• Literary Orality and Vocality

 

Media coverage

Media engagement / Commissioned Articles 

M. Spunta, ‘Everyday Magic’, Review of Cesare Fabbri, The Flying Carpet, Source, March 2017, p. 69

M. Spunta, ‘The unseen places’, The Financial Times Weekend Magazine, 6/7 May 2017, pp. 26-30, https://www.ft.com/content/63001efa-2f89-11e7-9555-23ef563ecf9a?fbclid=IwAR1MHLfrEdgPZPmrvfXmY0_ZatTi6bOFZBrVz3VdWwQ_zZja-3sZ9P-tZgs; http://largeglass.co.uk/Events/Press  

M. Spunta, ‘Luigi Ghirri’s photography: ‘a magical balance of opposites’, IMA Magazine, 20, Summer 2017, http://imaonline.jp/imamagazine.html. This essay was translated into Japanese for Japanese photography journal, in connection with a major exhibition on Luigi Ghirri in Tokyo

M. Spunta, Review of Luigi Ghirri’s Exhibition, The Map and the Territory, The Burlington Review, March 2019

 

 

Qualifications

  • PhD in Italian Studies, University of Birmingham (2003)

  • MA & MPhil in Applied Linguistics, University of Exeter (1997)

  • BA & MA degree in Modern Languages; University of Bologna (1992)

  • Senior Fellow of the UK Higher Education Academy (2009)

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