Dr Clodagh Brook DPhil

Department of Modern Languages
Reader in Italian Cinema and Culture

Contact details

Ashley Building
University of Birmingham
B15 2TT

As a researcher, what really interests me is Italian cinema, 20th and 21st century literature - including poetry - and cultural theory. I am happy to discuss ideas for research collaboration, postgraduate or post-doc positions in these fields. Consider contacting me too to discuss my current research projects on the AHRC funded "Interdisciplinary Italy 1900-2020: interart/intermedia" and "European Religion, Cinema and Dissent." (see under 'Research' for details).

As a teacher, my aim is to share my knowledge of, and passion for, Italian cinema and modern literature, which I do through my modules in Italian and European Studies.


I did my doctoral research on twentieth-century Italian poetry and inexpressibility at the University of Oxford (under Professor Peter Hainsworth), having completed a BA and Masters at University College Dublin,

I have worked at Universities in the UK, Italy and Ireland. I have also worked in publishing and as a translator.

I was appointed as Lecturer in Italian Studies at Birmingham in 2000, and was Head of Italian from 2008-2011 and Head of Modern Languages from 2012-2015.


This is what I usually teach here at Birmingham:

  • The cinema studies pathway in Italian Studies, including ‘A History of Italian Cinema’ in Year 2 and ‘Contemporary Italian Cinema and Media’, in Year 4 and ‘Interiority in Italian cinema’ on the Birmingham-Warwick Italian Masters.
  • 20th and 21st century literary studies, especially the literature and poetry of modernism.
  • Interdisciplinary cultural theory and European Studies: I was Director of the cross-College ‘Cultural Inquiry’ Masters Programme from 2004-2011.
  • I teach on European Studies programmes in Literature and Film, including ‘Landmarks in Film’.

Postgraduate supervision

I supervise Masters and PhD students in the fields of 20th and 21st century literature, film and  culture. I am interested in supervising further postgraduate research in the fields of Italian cinema, cultural theory, film theory, twentieth-century poetry, modernist literature and modern and contemporary inter-artistic or inter-disciplinary work.

There will be interesting opportunities for collaboration and/or supervision around my “Cinema, Religion and Dissent” project and my “Interdisciplinary Italy” project (see under ‘Research’ below).  Interested candidates should contact me directly to discuss their plans for research. As it will be possible to apply for further funding for post-doc or collaborative projects, especially under the “Interdisciplinary Italy” banner,  please contact me if you think you might have a suitable project.

PhD opportunities


I am currently working on two new research projects. Please get in touch if you are interested in having more information or in collaborating on either of them.

  • Interdisciplinary Italy 1900-2020: Interart/Intermedia explores the interrelationships of the arts (literature, cinema, music, art etc.) in Italy through modernism, postmodernism and the digital age. It aims to write two histories of the 20th-21st centuries in Italy from an interartistic perspective, one dedicated to the digital age. It will underpin this work by developing theories on interartistic expression and intermediality. The AHRC project runs from June 2015 until August 2018 and will involve close collaboration with the Estorick Collection of Modern Italian Art in London and secondary school teachers
  • Cinema, Religion, and Dissent. The Italian Case. This research project explores religion as a significant resistant feature of contemporary post-secular European society. Through analysis of a case study (Italian cinema), I discuss political engagement as this relates to both religious action and anti-religious protest in Italy, and look at the place of religion in contemporary Italian identity. The principal outcome of this project is a single-authored monograph entitled Religion, Identity and Dissent in Italian Cinema, which I am working on in 2015-16 and which is due to be published by University Toronto Press in 2017-18.  

I completed a monograph on Marco Bellocchio's cinema (Marco Bellocchio: The Cinematic I in the Political Sphere(University of Toronto Press, 2010), and, together with Dr Daniele Albertazzi, Dr Charlotte Ross and Dr Nina Rothenberg, completed the British Academy funded project, resulting in the volume Resisting the Tide: Cultures of Opposition under Berlusconi (2001-2006)(Continuum, 2009). In 2005, I finished a research project on dream and hallucination in film, which resulted in a series of articles on Moretti, Fellini, Bellocchio, and referenced other, mainly European, directors.

I continue to work on poetry, and have a passion for this field. I published a book on Montale with Oxford University Press in 2002 (The Expression of the Inexpressible in Eugenio Montale's Poetry: Metaphor, Negation, and Silence), and have written a number of articles on early twentieth-century poetry. Alongside Dr Cosetta Veronese and Alex Standen, I have prepare the 20C Italian poetry section for the YWMLS and I have translated poetry.

Recent external research funding  

  • AHRC standard grant (PI) for 'Interdisciplinary Italy 1990-2020: Interart/Intermedia' with Dr Giuliana Pieri (Royal Holloway) and Dr Florian Mussgnug (UCL). 2015-2018 (@ £680,000).
  • AHRC networking grant (PI) for 'Interdisciplinary Italy 1990-2015' with Dr Giuliana Pieri (Royal Holloway) and Dr Florian Mussgnug (UCL). 2012-2014 (£31,554)
  • British Academy 'Larger Research Grants' Scheme for 'Resisting the Tide: Cultures of Opposition during the Berlusconi Years' (CI with D. Albertazzi and C. Ross) 2007-2009. (£84,891)
  • AHRC/Institute of Germanic and Romance Studies Grant, 2009 (£3,000)
  • AHRC Research Leave Grant to complete the monograph on the film-maker Marco Bellocchio for University of Toronto Press. 2007 (£25,907)

Other activities

I am on the Society for Italian Studies executive committee and hold the Society’s research portfolio for the UK and Ireland. I am also on the editorial board of the international journal Italian Cinema and Media and am co-director, with Rob Stone, of UoB’s B-Film, the centre for film research at Birmingham. My external examining commitments are currently with the University of Exeter and University College, Cork. I am a Fellow of the Higher Education Academy.



Selected recent articles and chapters

  • Brook, Clodagh. and Pieri, Giuliana, in Marco Gargiulo (ed.), 'Disciplines, Inter-disciplines and multimediality', in L'Italia e i media, Rome: Aracne, 2014
  • Brook, Clodagh, 'Dissenso, potere e Chiesa cattolica nell'Italia contemporanea: un impegno anticattolico?', in Hope W.H., Serra, S. and d'Archangeli, L., Un nuovo cinema politico italiano? Vol 2. 2014
  • Brook, Clodagh, 'The spectable of the Unseen: Marco Bellocchio and the Lure of the Catholic Church, in Italian Studies 68: 3, 2013
  • Brook, Clodagh. and Veronese, Cosetta, and Bertoni, Roberto (eds), 'Novecento', in The Year's Work in Modern Language Studies, Maney Publishing:  Vol.69  (pub. 2009) and 70 (pub. 2010); with Cosetta Veronese and Alex Standen, Vol. 71 (pub 2011), and 72 (pub. 2012)
  • Brook, Clodagh 'The Cinema of Resistance: Nanni Moretti's Il caimano and the Italian Film Industry') in Cultures of Opposition. 110-23. 2009
  • Brook, Clodagh, with Ross, Charlotte, 'Conclusions: Splinters of Resistance', Cultures of Opposition, 231-40. 2009
  • Brook, Clodagh, with Albertazzi, Daniele and Ross, Charlotte, 'Italy's Radical Left in the Age of Berlusconi', Daniele Albertazzi, Clodagh Brook and Charlotte Ross, in What is Radical Politics Today? ed. by J. Pugh  (July 2009). Devolve Ltd, pp. 1-24
  • Brook, Clodagh, with Albertazzi, Daniele and Ross, Charlotte, 'From Parliament to Virtual Piazza: Opposition in Italy in the Age of Berlusconi', in the Bulletin of Italian Politics, Vol 1. No 1. Summer 2009, pp. 111 -114.
  • Brook Clodagh, 'Beyond Dialogue: Silence and the Monologue in the Films of Ermanno Olmi', Italianist, 2008.
  • Brook, Clodagh, 'Borderlines: Otto e Mezzo, Sogni d'oro and the Real-Dream Continuum', Forum Italicum, spring 2007, pp. 1-15.
  • Brook, Clodagh, 'The Oneiric in the Cinema of Marco Bellocchio', Italica, Autumn 2007.
  • Brook, Clodagh, 'Beyond the Controversy: Marco Bellocchio and Fagiolian Psychoanalysis', Italian Quarterly, winter 2005, pp. 55-66.
  • Brook, Clodagh, 'The Hallucinating Eye: Fellini and Bellocchio', Italianist, 2004, pp. 63-76.
  • Brook, Clodagh, 'Screening the Autobiographical', in William Hope (ed.), Italian Cinema: New Directions (Peter Lang: Oxford , 2004), pp. 27-52.


Italian cinema, especially Marco Bellocchio; Berlusconi and culture; cinema and religion, the relationship between art, music literature and cinema in Europe, modern languages strategy.