Professor Charles Burdett appointed to IMLR Directorship

Tuesday 27 October 2020

The Institute is delighted to announce the appointment of Professor Charles Burdett as its new Director.

Currently Professor of Italian Studies at the University of Durham, he will succeed Professor Catherine Davies, who directed the Institute for more than five years. Professor Burdett will assume the full-time Directorship from 15 January 2021. Dr Godela Weiss-Sussex will continue to serve as Acting Director until this date. 

Professor Burdett said: ‘I am delighted to be starting work at the IMLR, an Institute that is essential for the wellbeing and survival of the disciplinary field of modern languages at a time when it needs urgently to respond to a rapidly changing national and global environment.

Professor Burdett gained his PhD at Oxford University in 1994 and has since taught at the Universities of Cardiff and Bristol. His principal areas of research include literary culture under fascism, travel writing, the Italian colonial presence in Libya and East Africa and its legacy, and the representation of Islam and the Islamic world in recent Italian literature and culture. His publications include Journeys Through Fascism: Italian Travel Writing between the Wars (Berghahn, 2010) and Italy, Islam and the Islamic World: Representations and Reflections from 9/11 to the Arab Uprisings (Lang, 2016).

Over recent years, a large part of his research has been defined by his role as principal investigator of the Arts and Humanities Research Council beacon project, Transnationalizing Modern Languages: Mobility, Identity and Translation in Modern Italian Cultures (TML) (2014-17) and by its follow-on grants TML: Global Challenges (2016-17) and TML: Exhibitions for Impact (2017-18).  From the insights that it has developed into transnational Italian cultures, TML has played an important part in reframing approaches – in particular through the book series, Transnational Modern Languages (Liverpool University Press) – to the study of mobility, language and culture within modern languages.

Professor Burdett is currently working on a monograph on the representation of the Italian empire and its afterlife as well as developing a collaborative project on the mediation – through literature, film and curatorial practice – of the legacies of Italian colonial involvement.

Commenting on his appointment, Professor Jo Fox, the School of Advanced Study’s Acting Dean, said ‘We are thrilled that Charles will be joining the School in January. His work exemplifies the importance of partnerships and connections in addressing the challenges of modern language research now. I am sure that he will take the IMLR in directions that reach out across the humanities in exciting new ways’.