Clare Watters


Doctoral researcher

Department of Modern Languages: Italian Studies


PhD Title: Making Space for Satire: Italian Comedians in the Berlusconi Era
Supervisors: Dr Clodagh Brook and Dr Charlotte Ross
PhD Italian Studies

I am in the third year of a PhD in Italian Studies. I completed my undergraduate degree in Combined Languages at the University of Hull, before completing the joint Warwick-Birmingham MA in Italian Studies: Culture and Communication. My MA dissertation focused on comic representations of Berlusconi in Nanni Moretti's Il caimano and Dario Fo's L'anomalo bicefalo.


My thesis examines the work of Italian political and satirical comedians since the start of Berlusconi’s second government in 2001, focusing on their use of performance spaces and their position within the cultural opposition to Berlusconi’s centre-right governments. The project draws on humour, media and performance studies to assess the comic strategies employed on television, stage, film and the internet, and at protest events.

My research has been funded by a University of Birmingham Humanities Research Scholarship. I was awarded the 2010 Graduate Student Award by the International Society for Humor Studies.

Other activities

Guest speaker

  • Chair of Cineforum for the presentation of the films: ‘Citizen Berlusconi’ and ‘Shooting Silvio’
    University of Warwick, November 2009
  • Presentation of the film ‘Viva Zapatero’
    University of Hull, May 2008

Conference co-organisation


  • Watters, Clare, ‘Fascisti su Marte: Parodying the Past to Satirize Contemporary Crises’, Italian Studies, 67.2 (July 2012), pp. 201-13
  • Napoleoni, Loretta, Contagion, trans. by Clare Watters, Dom Holdaway, Alex Standen and Susanne Thuermer (New York: Seven Stories Press, 2012 forthcoming)
  • Watters, Clare, ‘Standing up for Italy: An interview with Filippo Giardina’, Comedy Studies, 2.1 (April 2011), pp. 83-87
  • Watters, Clare, ‘Being Berlusconi: Sabina Guzzanti’s impersonation on stage and screen’ in: Popa, D. and Tsakona, V. (eds.) Studies in Political Humour, (Amsterdam: John Benjamins, 2011), pp. 167-89.
  • Watters, Clare, ‘Challenging Berlusconi’, New York Times [online] (25 January 2011).

Selected conference papers

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