Transnationalizing Modern Languages: Mobility, Identity & Translation in Modern Italian Cultures Contribution to the theme

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Transnationalizing Modern Languages:

Mobility, Identity & Translation in Modern Italian Cultures

Contribution to the theme: Languages and language exchanges play a vital role in the perpetual processes of negotiation, contrast and transposition which together constitute culture. Whilst the modalities of cultural interchange vary across time and depend upon the material forces – colonialism, post-colonialism, migration, globalization – of which they are a part, the primary mode of expression of this interchange is always language. In this sense, language itself forms the site of exchange, or the ‘contact zone’, to use the language of Mary-Louise Pratt. Practices of linguistic and cultural translation are therefore inherently embedded within each other. The ‘Transnationalizing Modern Languages’ project investigates a series of critical instances of this interdependency in Italian history as a template from which to develop a transformative paradigm for the work of Modern Language studies and its applications in the 21st century.

Scholars of Modern Languages can bring specific methodological expertise as well as local knowledge to the debate on cultural translation and are also best placed to explore and illuminate the practices of cultural and linguistic interchange which are characteristic of our time. Yet, recruitment on Modern Languages courses is in decline, public policy statements (see British Academy’s Languages Matter 2009, Languages Matter More and More, 2011, Languages: the State of the Nation, 2013, MLA Teague Report 2009) stress the need for concerted action to address this trend, and influential reports (see the Worton Review of Modern Foreign Languages, 2009) emphasize the urgent need for Modern Languages to articulate its identity more robustly. World-leading research on the nature, history and consequences of cultural translation is carried out across Modern Languages disciplines, but this research has yet to exert its full impact on the way in which Modern Languages define their identity both within the academy and without. In an age most frequently defined as post-national, globalizing, and mobile, Modern Languages need to reflect on the nature of the discipline as a whole and on the future shape of the field, looking beyond traditional notions of national culture/national literature. By using, instead, the knowledge and the methodologies of which the discipline can claim ownership to explore the potency of language exchange and translation as the key driver in cultural interchange and mobility, the relevance of the study of Modern Languages can be made manifest. Translation, especially when studied in close connection with other forms of mobility such as migration, thus provides a key entry point for a rethinking of Modern Languages on a transnational basis.

The project progresses through two mutually dependent phases. The initial focus is a longitudinal enquiry into the history of Italy as a nation state, revealing the dispersed and deterritorialized formulations of ‘national’ identity which have defined the development of modern Italian culture. Over the past 150 years, communities identified as Italian or associated with Italy have formed all over the world. These have shaped the way in which ‘Italianness’ is understood both within the nation and far beyond its confines, while also contributing to the formation of local identities in linguistic and cultural contexts markedly different from Italy. Translation, in this context, is rooted in the everyday practice of negotiating multiple languages (as users, self-translators, as well as recipients of translation), but its processes extend beyond linguistic expression to individual and collective performances of cultural identity. Close study of modes of linguistic and cultural translation within the framework of Italy’s peculiarly complex history of migrations thus opens a series of windows upon the processes by which the linguistic dislocation associated with migration and mobility inflects the constitution over time of communities marked by experiences of transnationality, while also sharing an investment in notions of national identity.

The insights afforded by the close study of Italy will facilitate directly the further phase of the project. Developing concurrently with the first, but expanding incrementally as it feeds from the findings of primary research on Italian migration cultures, this phase brings together researchers working in a range of European Modern Languages in order to produce a new framework for the discipline as a whole. In this framework as in the first one, the interaction of cultures in mobility is situated as its most essential characteristic and as the core object of enquiry. It will constitute an overarching, meta-disciplinary framework for the project, inviting reflection on how notions of mobility and translation can redesign the map of Modern Languages. This framework will exploit and advance the methodological core of the discipline while at the same time inviting dialogue with cognate fields, in order to offer, through its outputs and dissemination, a significant legacy for the ongoing development of Modern Languages as a discipline. An important aim of this phase of the project will be to show the importance of the connection with research in other arts and social science disciplines: for example, a fine understanding not only of choices made to translate or not, but also of cultural choices made within the translation process, might shed clearer light on sociological investigations into community cohesion. The project, working closely with ML subject associations, will also serve to enhance public understanding of Modern Languages, by fostering public debate between discipline specialists and policy makers and by demonstrating, through specific case studies, the intellectual capital and practical currency of work in Modern Languages. By promoting a more nuanced and inclusive understanding of notions of translation, in particular, the project will invite a more informed reflection on its role within multicultural spaces and societies.

As a result of migration, Italian culture has spread throughout the world, thus making it an exemplary object of study. The history of the country as a nation state is marked by multiple experiences of mobility: since the 1870s more than 27 million Italians are estimated to have left the country. Italians have emigrated to the US, to other parts of the Anglophone world, to South America, to countries within Europe, and to Libya, Eritrea, Somalia and Ethiopia. Communities identified as Italian that have formed all over the world are today estimated to include some 60-80 million people. In each case, Italians were faced with different social policies and different language strategies, and their presence marked each language and each culture they interacted with. In each case, processes of translation – whether directed at migrants or emerging from their communities – played an important role in that interaction. In the past 30 years, Italy has also become a destination country for immigrants from a variety of national and ethnic backgrounds who face the same issues concerning translation.

The project will examine how these communities have differently reformulated notions of ‘Italianness’ in relation both to models associated with the nation state at its geographical core and to those emerging from the specific local context. It will concentrate on cases representative of the geographic, historical and linguistic map of Italian mobility: Italian communities in the UK, the US, Australia, and South America; colonial settlement in Africa and the Mediterranean; migrant communities within contemporary Italy. In order to access a more variegated enactment of interlingual and intercultural practices, crossing classes, genders, and generations, these communities will be examined through the cultural associations they have formed. These provide support networks; pursue educational initiatives; participate in religious/ civil ceremonies; interpret the political/social reality of the host society and represent the community to it. They form exemplary sites of translation and cultural mediation both for their members and for the host cultures. The project’s focus will be the range of forms of representation (journals, newsletters, literature, life stories, photographs, collections of memorabilia, works of art/craft, rituals and festivals) that are a fundamental part of these organizations. As such, the project privileges research objects which demand that the methodologies in textual analysis which are the domain of Modern Languages be extended outwards to address materials and practices conventionally the focus of other disciplines. It is at this interface that the project intends to establish innovations within its own discipline and to suggest new perspectives upon others.

The project team brings together researchers who have each promoted inter-disciplinary study over a lengthy period of time. Through detailed and extensive exploration of the case of Italian migrations, the project will break new ground in research on the relationship between translation and migration, as well as on the role that language policies and politics play in intercultural relationships between migrant groups and both host and home countries. Questions of language and language interaction as well as strategies of translation (or their absence) are a key component of language policy and politics in ‘multicultural’ societies. Statements on the merits and failures of multiculturalism, for instance, often incorporate assessments of the relative values of different language strategies such as acculturation, assimilation or plurilingualism. Yet positions taken on these issues tend to be strongly influenced by ideological assumptions. The homolingual model of the nation, in particular, remains widespread even in the face of growing historical evidence of its inaccuracy (Sakai, 1997; Tymoczko, 2006). If scholarship is to be of use to educators, policy makers and other social agents, we need to produce detailed and thoroughly documented data about how language strategies, translation practices and broader social politics have interacted and continue to interact in different historical contexts characterized by migration.

Research questions: By bringing together a core group of researchers working on Italian culture from a transnational perspective, and by engaging closely with a wider body of researchers selected principally, but not exclusively, from within Modern Languages (French, German, Hispanic Studies), the project seeks to address the importance of cultural translation (in all its forms) in the way in which ‘national’ cultures have developed in western Europe since the late 19th century. It does so through the mechanism of cultural associations formed within migrant communities, and specifically by examining the cultural production, practices and forms of self-expression to which these cultural associations provide access. Close analysis of these materials – hitherto invisible in many cases – will furnish responses to a series of questions targeted both at the ‘Italian case’ and at its wider implications:

  • To what extent has Italian culture been bounded by the nation’s geographical borders and when, under which conditions, and how has interaction with other cultural and societal models and traditions prompted reformulation of the dominant model?
What are the practices of translation adopted by migrant communities, by individuals within them, and by national institutions in home/destination countries in order to establish and maintain official communication with them?

  • Which kinds of texts or expressions are translated in which circumstances, for which constituencies, and by which agents? Who authorizes or recognizes translation processes? Who is allowed to translate and who is deemed to be in need of translation? How does translation, with its presences and its absences, affect the life of individuals and groups in migrant communities, their health, education, social status, or relationship with the law? What is its impact in the interior life of the individual in a migrant community: how is an individual sense of subjectivity shaped by the practices of cultural translation? In which ways is the linguistic and cultural dislocation associated with migration and other forms of mobility foregrounded in the forms of expression used by communities? To what degree do these transnational communities share and display an investment in notions of national identity and culture?

  • Viewed in comparative perspective (in historical, geographical, cultural terms), how can the concept of translation enhance understanding of the mechanics and consequences of nation building, colonialism/ post-colonialism, migration, and globalization?
Which theoretical approaches are most appropriate to the analysis of the phenomenon of cultural (and linguistic) translation when viewed in the context of mobility? To what extent can these be redeployed and new ones elaborated? How can research practices and materials be reconfigured in order to posit new paradigms for analysing the ways in which transnational communities construct an image of themselves through constant, often implicit, mediation and translation between home and destination cultures?
Which research methods and objects are used in other contexts within MLs and in other disciplines to advance understanding of mobility, migration, linguistic and cultural transfer? Which of these might feed the development of a research framework addressing transnational cultural translation; which might be enhanced by this project’s findings? Which practices and experiences within transnational communities, in schools, in the cultural sphere, and in public bodies can be brought to bear upon our research framework, and in turn, which of our findings can further inform knowledge and practice in these sectors, and how best can these be communicated?

The geographical and historical span of the study will allow us to provide a long-term perspective on the interaction of migration, language and translation, while at the same time collecting detailed data on a variety of individual case studies within the broader picture of a transnational history of Italy and of Italian culture. That history, in turn, will feed into a new configuration of Modern Language Studies, establishing the substantial body of theoretical and applied research that will stimulate new approaches to the teaching of Modern Languages and allow the discipline to reframe an important part of its identity. It will also provide a powerful tool with which to establish a more effective dialogue between scholars of languages and translation, migrant and local communities, and, crucially, policy makers.

Research Context: Mobility, migration, transnational and diasporic cultures and identities have for the past 25 years or so been key areas of debate internationally, not only in academe but also in the more public spheres of politics, economics, social and cultural policy, the law, and the media. ‘Transnationalizing Modern Languages’ inserts itself quite precisely into this multiply orientated research matrix. It does so by taking a specific instance of migration and mobility – that of Italy since 1861 – and using it as the example through which to analyse patterns and models of linguistic/ cultural translation, of self-representation/ identity formation, and of ongoing reformulation of national identities, in order to establish a research paradigm to be applied to languages and cultures in a wider European context.

Given the unusually compressed history of migration in and out of Italy, the example of Italian mobilities is a key topic within a number of discourses. Scholarly attention to this topic has come mostly from sociology and history (Gabaccia, 2000; Gabaccia, Iacovetta, 2002), while the significant volume of work in cultural studies has privileged circumscribed instances of migration or specific authors (Durante, 2001, 2005; Parati, 1999; Verdicchio, 1997). Large-scale immigration to Italy in the late twentieth century has received significant attention from scholars and journalists (Andall, 2000, 2003; Dal Lago, 2004; Grillo and Pratt, 2002), but is analysed often as a phenomenon exceptional in the context of Italian cultural history. Recent years have similarly witnessed a great deal of interest in Italy’s history as a colonial power (Ben-Ghiat, Fuller, 2005, 2010; Andall, Duncan 2005, 2011) but very little has been produced on the displaced communities of Italian colonialism. The presence of Italian communities in the UK has been studied almost exclusively from a socio-historical perspective (Bottignolo 1985; Chistolini, 1986; Sponza, 1988, 2000), with limited attention to cultural practices (Fortier, 2000). Significant attention has been paid very recently to Italo- Scottish communities and their participation in public and cultural life in Scotland/the UK, and the Italo-Scottish Research Centre (ISRC), launched in 2013, will furnish an important source of dialogue for our project. In the US, the field has been constructed around the notion of hyphenated literature and identity, establishing Italian American culture as a distinct object of enquiry and only recently widening the view to accommodate such notions as transnationalism (Gardaphé, 1996; Tamburri, 1991 and 1998). The Australian case affords significant examples of textual production and material culture which have shaped the perception of Italian migrants, but there has hitherto been little attempt to map this area of production (Bosworth and Ugolini, 1992; Church, 2005; Rando and Turcotte, 2008).

The context for the broader phase of the project is the practice of research and teaching in Modern Languages in the UK (and, potentially, in Anglophone countries and in Europe more widely). An early step in this direction was made by the volumes in ‘Cultural Studies’, related to specific European national cultures, published by OUP in the 1990s. These volumes both signalled and precipitated a turn in the study of Modern Languages towards a broader contextualization of forms of cultural production and a more inclusive conception of culture. The current project aims to achieve comparable transformative effect by articulating and demonstrating the principle that language is most productively apprehended in the frame of translation and the national in the frame of the transnational.

In this respect, the project is set to gain, as it is progressed, from engagement with other projects funded within the ‘Translating Cultures’ theme, and to afford new insights into their work. Similarly, it will enter into a range of dialogues under the umbrella of research themes and hubs including the cross-council ‘Connected Communities’ programme, the Warwick- based Global Research Programme on ‘Connecting Cultures’, of which Polezzi is the academic lead, and the creative hubs at Bristol (REACT) and St Andrews (Design in Action). The model and methods established by this project in relation to Italy will be demonstrated in application to other national and linguistic cultures across a range of historical periods, hence the involvement of Hills de Zàrate who has worked extensively in Latin America and in the Ukraine. As such, the project offers a flexible paradigm for the emerging practice of transnational cultural studies which has, in discipline-specific ways, impressed upon all subjects in the Arts and Humanities over the past 10-15 years.

In a moment of, on the one hand, falling recruitment to the study of languages in schools and universities, and on the other, increasing concern from employers about the scarcity of linguistic and cultural competency in school-leavers and graduates, the project will build upon expertise and research and teaching practices which exist and are constantly being developed in Modern Languages, but which are often insufficiently visible in the public sphere. By doing so, it will demonstrate the value – practical and commercial, as well as academic and cultural – of modern language study when conceived as transnational cultural enquiry. At a time in which the project of European integration is in question, and in which sentiment in the UK appears to be turning against engagement with Europe, the impact of this project on public understanding promises to be significant. This is precisely because it offers evidence of the centrality of scholarship in European Modern Languages to modes of investigating and understanding much wider cultural phenomena.

Research Methods: The research undertaken within this project starts from the assumption that translation is central to any notion of culture. Following the work of Peter Berger, Stuart Hall and other highly influential social theorists, it conceives of culture as an exercise in world creation. Though cultures are defined conventionally in terms of nation/ language/tradition or history, they are in a state of perpetual evolution as their internal consistency is subject to competing pressures. As cultures come into close proximity, the complex discursive structures through which they create meaning are transposed into the terms of other sign systems. Through the living, daily practice of cultural translation, understood as a form of linguistic and cultural mobility, the web of concepts and traditions that constitute a given culture attain a far greater level of visibility. At the same time, all cultures develop through the process of transposition of notions of community from one context to new ones, and of dialogue with alternative models. By examining specific instances of such transposition and dialogue through the mechanism of the cultural associations which claim to express and orchestrate them, the project will advance new research methods in the field of cultural analysis, placing the accent on mobility.

The project at its starting point examines how one culture – that of Italy, taking account of its regional variations – has been ‘translated’ by migrant communities in specific moments and locations in order to meet with other cultures. This translation process potentially comprises several elements, any of which may take priority in any one instance or example:

  • The development of language strategies: the choice to translate or not to translate; the use of first, second, or subsequent language for particular functions or by particular groups; strategic loss or recovery of the Italian language; multilingualism.

  • Adjustments in the sense of community and nationhood in relation to home and destination cultures; negotiations of political, religious, and social identification.

  • Changing generational practices and identifications; attitudes to youth, aging, and the family; shifts in roles, perceptions and values related to gender and sexuality.

  • Changing engagement with and production of cultural representations: choices in reading, writing, viewing, and performance, dealing with which subject matter, in which language, and for what audience.

The project team will investigate the processes of cultural translation and the negotiation of linguistic and cultural codes evident in the textual, visual and performed material that is associated with the communities in question. The project brings to bear upon these vast, and barely examined, bodies of material four main, complementary, methods and approaches:

  • Close textual analysis, rooted in the researchers’ expertise in Modern Languages, literary and visual studies. The application of established methods to new forms of text – ceremonies and rituals, bulletins and newsletters (printed/digital), personal memorabilia, bodies in performance – will challenge those methods and produce revised formulations.

  • The identification and selection of research objects and processes not conventionally addressed within Modern Languages, such as those identified above, and specifically as attached to transnational and mobile communities rather than to a single, grounded national culture. This will drive a reconceptualization of the range of objects of enquiry about which research in Modern Languages can advance understanding.

  • Theoretical and methodological expertise developed in the fields of translation studies, colonial and postcolonial studies, gender studies, migration studies, memory studies, visual and cultural studies, psychotherapy. Bringing together these fields around the core object of transnational Italian cultures will enable orthodoxies within each one to be disrupted: for instance, how does postcolonial theory account for the cultural experience of communities in Italy today originating from countries which were French colonies? From reconfigurations such as this, new theoretical paradigms will be developed.

  • A notion and a practice of translation which places linguistic uses and strategies in the context of the prevailing construction of culture in any one place and time, and examines the ways in which, at the level both of broad discourses and of individual linguistic choices, language plays a constitutive role in the development and movement of cultures. Instances, for example, of the use of regional dialect by migrant communities where standard Italian is unused, or of generational conflict articulated specifically through the rejection or adoption of Italian, will demonstrate the reformulations that are needed if the relationship between languages and cultures is to be more accurately understood.

Management, Co-ordination and Timetable: The PI/CIs will be responsible for the management of the project and the supervision of the work of the 4 RAs and 2 PhDs. This core team will work closely together throughout the course of the project in terms both of management and of primary research, sharing materials, methods and findings through regular contact, and through collaborative work as appropriate. They will be assisted by an advisory board consulted at every stage. The PI and CIs are leading researchers in migration studies, post-colonialism, translation and cross-cultural exchange. They have long- standing contacts with experts based at international institutions, recognized as centres of excellence in literary, historical, sociological studies of migration. In addition to having worked extensively with researchers from other disciplines, Burdett, Burns, Duncan and Polezzi have each played a prominent role in the development of Italian studies within the rapidly evolving framework of Modern Languages. Their areas of expertise are complementary to those of Hills de Zàrate, whose research and clinical practice explores the interrelations of culture and identity through oral narrative in Latin America.

In addition to their roles in managing the project, the PI and CIs will each pursue primary research in areas related to Italy’s history as a transnational culture where they have clear expertise, and will supervise the projects of one or more of the RAs or PhDs:

Burdett will work on the associations for Italians who participated in Italy’s colonial history in Africa, though the primary focus of his research will be on those associations formed 1960s/70s, by inhabitants of Italy’s former colonies. He will examine the journals, photographic collections, and literature of associations like the Club Juventus of Italian inhabitants of Ethiopia, Mai Taclì (online resources at He will supervise the postdoctoral project of RA1, Barbara Spadaro, on the associations that have been formed at different moments in Italy’s history as a nation state for the Italian inhabitants and former inhabitants in Libya, Egypt and Tunisia.

Polezzi will examine the formation of the earliest associations of Italian migrants to the US, paying particular attention to key examples of textual production in the late 19th century, the 1930s-40s, and today. Australia offers a productive case for comparison with the US, given similar concentrations of migration from Italy but a significantly less visible Italian presence in the destination culture. Given this background, she will also supervise the postdoctoral project of RA2 on the Italians in Australia. This will centre on the archives and collections of CO.AS.IT/ Australian Italian Historical Society in Melbourne and on how the community has been represented through theatre and performance.

Hills de Zàrate will work with members of the Italian community in Buenos Aires and São Paulo. The basis of her research will be a series of ‘projective’ workshops in which participants will explore issues of personal and collective identity through photography and narrative. Her work in Buenos Aires will be facilitated by Prof Marcelo Magnasco (IUNA) and in São Paulo by Patronato ACLI Brasile.

Burns will look at Italian communities in England and Wales. She will study the associations which have created an identity for successive generations of Italians, from early groups identified by political or religious commitment to multi-focal web-based journals and networks today. She will supervise a PhD on notions of success in migration, examining the role which ‘Italianness’ has played in the construction of celebrities belonging to UK Italian communities. She will supervise the work of RA4 which will be central in taking the research into transnational Italian cultures onto a wider platform engaging other European MLs. The research of this RA, who will have a formation in two or more languages/cultures, will compare translations of culture in Italy’s history to similar instances in other language cultures, e.g. community responses to decolonization.

Duncan will examine migration to Italy. He will concentrate on Archivio Memorie Migranti ( ), an offshoot of ASINITAS set up in Rome in 2005 with the aim of organising a varied programme of cultural/educational initiatives involving recently arrived migrants to Italy. He will examine the publications of the association and its archive of testimonies. He will explore connections with other migrant communities. He will supervise a PhD on Italian diasporic cinema and supervise the work of RA3, Carlo Pirozzi, on cultural translation and the visual history of the Italian community in Scotland.

With regard to the wider phase of the project, developing cultural translation as a paradigm for work in Modern Languages, the investigators will engage closely with an advisory board made up of specialists from a range of disciplines. These will include: Charles Forsdick and other members of the AHRC panel; leading researchers on cross-cultural exchange from within Modern Languages and specialists in linguistic/ cultural translation: Rita Wilson (Translation Studies, Monash; Chair of the Board), Erica Carter (German and Film Studies, KCL), Kirsty Hooper (Hispanic Studies, Warwick), Susan Bassnett (Comparative Literature, Warwick); specialists in cognate fields: Donna Gabaccia (Sociology, Minnesota), Shirin Ramzanali Fazel, Somali Italian writer (Birmingham), Birgit Harris (Drummond School), Deidre McKenna (Stills Gallery).

The advisory board will meet and respond to the project’s progression as such, and will also be engaged individually or as sub-groups in its development at specific strategic junctures. Those with expertise on Italy derived from different disciplines will play a key role in targeted workshops and events in those areas. Board members from other Modern Languages will engage likewise in specific events, and will play a key role in facilitating the dissemination of the project’s practices and findings to other language disciplines. Non-academic board members will have a particular strategic function in taking the research beyond the university sector. From year two onwards, these colleagues will help to plan and deliver workshops targeted at researchers across the languages and to arrange for the project to be showcased at the conferences of subject associations for the individual languages. All board members will be encouraged to contribute to research outputs relevant to their expertise.

The advisory board will meet formally once a year (alternately in Bristol, Warwick and St. Andrews, in January) and will convene virtually at intervals of three months to monitor and discuss progress on all fronts. Annual meetings will address:
Year 1: overall plan/ objectives of project; organization of workshops in year 2, contributors to the planned conference and volumes on Modern Languages and Cultural Translation. Implementation of Impact strategy and activities.

Year 2: integration of all elements of the project and further engagement of non-academic partners; planning of the two international conferences and the dissemination events for year 3. There will be three themed workshops in year 2 (one in each investigating institution), involving specific members of the Board and invited speakers, plus 4-5 presentations at conferences in other language disciplines, facilitated by relevant Board members.
Year 3: progress of impact and dissemination activities; preparation of the project outputs and the two conferences.

Formal project team meetings will i) monitor the integration of the different phases of the project and its impact and dissemination activities; ii) provide a forum for detailed exchange of research findings and refinement of research plans. Between these meetings, all of the core team will maintain close contact virtually and in person, and will use the events and activities planned within the project as further opportunities to discuss progress. Financial matters will be monitored by the Finance offices at Bristol, Warwick and St. Andrews; the Public Engagement Centres of all three universities will support the project. We will work closely with the NCCPE (National Centre for Public Engagement), Bristol, for advice on best practice in measuring Impact. Bristol will support the project website.

The PIs and CIs will work closely with RA4 in developing comparative elements of their own research area in order to feed out methods and outcomes across the Modern Languages, and will support the RAs and PhDs in extending their cross-disciplinary expertise. The project RAs will be encouraged to extract maximum benefit from the training and development programmes offered by Staff and Research Development teams at the three institutions involved in the project. They will be invited to participate in relevant research centres and groups. Subject-specific development opportunities will be created or pursued within departments and within the disciplines of Italian Studies and Modern Languages more widely. These activities are aimed to consolidate the research base in the discipline/s and to secure the legacy of the current project in the ongoing practice of teaching and research in Modern Languages. The RAs will also gain significant professional training through performing the following roles, alongside their primary research:

RA1 will co-ordinate the project website, be the point of contact for the social networks, and liaise with educational groups; s/he will assist in the organization of the conference in year three on Modern Languages and Cultural Translation;
RA2 will organize the meetings of the advisory board and one project workshop and will assist in organizing the final conference on ‘Transnationalizing Modern Languages’; s/he will edit the anthology aimed at a public readership;
RA3 will organize two project workshops in year two, and the exhibitions and the final conference on ‘Transnationalizing Modern Languages’;
RA4 will be the point of liaison with Modern Languages colleagues throughout; s/he will edit the reader on Modern Languages and Cultural Translation and co-organize the final conference on that theme, and co-organize the event at the British Academy.

The series of exhibitions will be curated by a specialist from the Stills gallery (Edinburgh), who will visit the main locations and also compose the accompanying catalogue. They will include documentary photography and artefacts from private, commercial and public collections/archives, including those of the cultural associations, and newly commissioned artworks. Associations will act as partners, making their archives and contacts available, providing material for the exhibitions/website, participating in the final conference on ‘Transnationalizing Modern Languages’. In kind collaboration – exhibition hosting and assistance to the project team – will also be provided by: Archivio Memorie Migranti (Rome) Centro Altreitalie (Turin); Calandra Institute (NY); CO.AS.IT (Melbourne); Drummond Community School (Edinburgh), Italian Cultural Institute (London and Addis Ababa), Stills Gallery (Edinburgh).

Outcomes, impact and dissemination: The project will produce 5 edited volumes, an exhibition staged at a series of locations, and a website, each drawing together material from the related strands of the project (see below). It will produce 2 PhDs while the chapters produced by the 4 RAs will form the basis of monographic studies. There will be 3 workshops in year 2, all starting from topics within Italian migration history and engaging expertise from other disciplines within and beyond Modern Languages. As well as individual conference presentations, there will be 4-5 presentations in year 2 at subject association conferences in Modern Languages to showcase the project’s methods and materials. There will be international conferences in the final year of the project on ‘Modern Languages and Cultural Translation’ and on ‘Transnationalizing Modern Languages’, plus a dissemination event for policy- makers. There will be a summer school for PGs, and a range of educational activities including: theatre workshop, work with Stills Gallery and Drummond Community School, Edinburgh, engagement through Warwick’s IGGY (




Edited volume, eds, PI, CIs, RA1

Transnationalizing Modern Languages: New Approaches to Language, Culture and Mobility. Contributions: PI, CIs, members of the advisory board, RAs1 and 2, and international experts. A collection of essays from leading figures within Modern Languages and cognate disciplines on how issues such as nation building, colonial expansion, post-colonial literature, visual culture, migration and globalization can be examined through the notion of cultural and linguistic translation.

Drawing together essays from scholars across Modern Languages to address how the notion of cultural translation can be deployed as a means of reframing the discipline, the volume is intended as an important scholarly reference point.

Edited volume, ed RA4

Modern Languages and Cultural Translation Reader. Contributions: PI, CIs, members of the advisory board, all RAs. The volume will indicate how issues within Modern Languages can be approached. It will include primary material to be used in courses. Through case studies exposing the project methodologies, it will enable students to engage with issues of translation, migration, inter-cultural contact in the perspective of different disciplines.

Specifically targeted at a student audience and designed to be used as a key text in courses in Modern Languages disciplines and as a pedagogical resource in cognate disciplines.

Edited volume, eds, PI, CIs, RA3

Transnational Italies: the Impact of Mobility and Community on Modern Italy. On the migrant communities of Italy and the nature of inter-cultural contact. Including essays by all members of team and international experts on migration, mobility and translation.

Targeted at an audience of researchers who, across a wide range of disciplines, are concerned with Italian history, culture and society.

Edited volume, ed RA2

Italy Elsewhere: Stories of Italian Migrations. An annotated anthology of primary material (literary/visual) on the experience of migration/cultural translation; prepared by all members of the project team, drawing heavily on the participation of the project partner associations.

Published in English and Italian versions. It is intended for a broad audience in both Italy and the English speaking world.

Edited volume, eds, PI, CIs

Negotiating Language: Translation and Language Strategies in Migrant Communities. Contributions: PI, CIs, RAs3 and 4, international experts and practitioners. Analysis, data, historical docs illustrating strategies used by migrant communities with home/host countries, and those used by institutions/states to communicate with them.

Addressed to policy makers, academics, educators, representatives of ethnic communities across the UK Launched at British Academy.

Exhibition Co-ord, RA3

Italy Elsewhere. Photographic/filmic material from cultural associations, also textual excerpts. Incorporating work of artist in residence and staged at: Italian Cultural Institute in London, Stills Gallery Edinburgh, and British School Rome. (Smaller exhibitions with projected material at Warwick’s Research Centre, Venice; CO.AS. IT, Melbourne; Calandra, New York, Centro Altreitalie, Turin, ICI (Addis Ababa).

Staged at major venues and coinciding with final conference, aimed at both specialist and international public audiences.

Website Co-ord, RA1

Transnationalizing Modern Languages. Comparative history of associations; organized into sections (illustrated by textual/audio-visual material), on major themes which the project addresses; including area on methodological issues across Modern Languages and meta-disciplinary discussion points, offering series of case studies; links to social networks.

Designed to generate input from transnational communities, researchers, students, educators, policy- makers, reps of public bodies.

Reports, policy briefings, PI, CIs

Cultural translation in public practice. A series of 6 short reports and briefings, printed as pamphlets or flyers, synthesizing the policy- and practice-orientated findings of the project. Mailed to relevant government departments and public bodies over the last 18 months of the project.

Targeted at those holding public office in areas in which mediation between cultures is a factor, e.g. health, the judiciary, police, education.


Doctoral thesis on constructions of Italian cultural heritage in the public profiles of British Italian celebrities.

Researchers and students in relevant disciplines; targeted to a wider public and the media via press releases.


Doctoral thesis on Italian diasporic cinema.

RA articles

In addition to contributions above, all RAs will produce one article on their work for specialist journals.

Aimed at research community.

As indicated above, the theme Fellow and the advisory board will play an integral part in the development of the outputs of the project. The progress and outputs of the project will be disseminated through close collaboration with the subject associations of each ML discipline, with the Higher Education Academy, and through the work of the University Council for Modern Languages. The project website will disseminate information about the project and encourage participation in its research events and web-based information gathering.

Each exhibition will be designed to engage with local and global contexts, highlighting the multiple translation practices involved in mediating representations of migrants. Local project partners will provide venues as part of their in kind contribution. An Artist in Residence (di Pila) will work closely with the Research Team, the curator, and local associations in the project locations to produce original digital work for the exhibitions and the project website.

As detailed in ‘Pathways to Impact’, Derek Duncan will be responsible for the impact strategy of the project and its engagement with its range of beneficiaries, many of whom will work with the project team from the earliest stages. The strategy will ensure close collaboration with the various cultural associations, all of whom will follow the development of the project and participate in the dissemination of its findings across different national contexts. Working with partner institutions, Duncan will develop the impact of the project at the level of secondary school education through targeted initiatives that will provide a point of reference for curriculum design and the project will also pilot courses on creative writing in translation.

Public policy will be addressed i) through the research event at the British Academy in year 3, which will involve policy makers (from BIS, Foreign Office, local government) and other agents in the public sector; ii) through the edited volume, Negotiating Language: Translation and Language Strategies in Migrant Communities (see above) to be presented at the policy event; iii) through the briefings outlined above. It will establish contacts with relevant figures in public bodies.

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