Viva l’Italia, viva la Repubblica: Popular Political Engagement and Participation in Risorgimento Tuscany, 1830-1860
Supervisor: David Hopkin and Michael Broers
My research focuses on popular politics and popular political participation in urban and rural Tuscany during the Italian Risorgimento, c. 1815-1860. More specifically, I am interested in the relationship between elite political ideologies – most notably nationalism – and the cultures of subaltern groups. On the one hand, my research explores the extent to which elite and intellectual political ideas were received and understood by popular audiences, both in the towns and in the countryside, in nineteenth-century Tuscany. However, I am equally interested in the ideas and concepts which subaltern groups themselves formulated to construct meaning out of the political and social changes going on around them, along with the various media and opportunities available to popular classes to articulate political voices.
Underpinning my whole project is the question: ‘how did ‘ordinary’ Tuscans – the shopkeeper, the artisan, the peasant – understand and make sense of the changes wrought by the Risorgimento, and the complex language through which the Risorgimento was articulated?’
In order to recover ‘popular voices’ from the past, I work with a diverse range of historical sources and artefacts. These range from archival documents, such as nineteenth-century police and court records, to vernacular and folkloric sources such as popular folk songs, ballads and stories.
I teach tutorials for the second-year Further Subject ‘Nationalism in Western Europe, c. 1799-1890’
I have also taught A-level students as an outreach history teacher as part of Oxford University’s UNIQ summer school.
‘The Italian Risorgimento and Sicilian Popular Balladry: The Problem of ‘Deep Images’ and Popular Reception’ European History Quarterly, 46:2 (2016), pp. 238-61.
Review of Michael Buonanno, Sicilian Epic and the Marionette Theater, Journal of Folklore Research Reviews, online archive, March 2015.
I am currently involved in researching and writing digital content for Trusted Source, a knowledge transfer project between Oxford University and The National Trust which is seeking to create an online bank of short, accessible articles exploring links between National Trust collections and places.
I am also actively involved in designing the content for Royal Holloway’s Citizens Project; an online educational project set up and run by Royal Holloway University – in conjunction with numerous heritage partners across the country – to explore how citizens’ relationship with the state has changed over time, from the Norman Conquest to the Suffragettes. I have researched and co-written numerous online articles about the role of Oxford during the English Civil War, and am currently in the process of working with Royal Holloway to draft the transcripts for three short educational videos, which will be included as part of the new multi-media display about the Civil War in the redeveloped Museum of Oxford (scheduled opening 2020).