Dr Clodagh Brook DPhil

Department of Modern Languages
Reader in Italian Cinema and Culture

Contact details

Ashley Building
University of Birmingham
B15 2TT

I am Reader in Italian Cinema and Culture at the Department of Modern Languages. I completed my DPhil at the University of Oxford in 1998. I did both MA and BA degrees at University College, Dublin.

Research: I am currently finalizing my third monograph (Italian Cinema, Religion and Identity) for University of Toronto Press and am Principal Investigator on a large AHRC grant, Interdisciplinary Italy 1900-2020: Interart/intermedia, which will produce a series of books and also works with museums (especially the Estorick Collection, London), teachers, artists and the British School at Rome.

Teaching: I lecture in film and Italian culture on the Italian Studies and European film programmes and this year I will be developing an MA distance learning module on Audiovisual translation. I’ve recently presented papers on, and published on, interdisciplinary policy in Universities.

Leadership: I was Head of Modern Languages at UoB from 2012-2015 and am currently on the Executive board of the Society for Italian Studies (research portfolio holder), Co-Director of the Centre for Film (B-Film) at UoB, and a member of the School’s REF reading group.


  • Senior Leadership Course (University of Birmingham 2013)
  • Certificate of Teaching and Learning (University of Birmingham, 2003)
  • Doctor of Philosophy (Oxford, 1998)
  • Masters (Compartive Literature) (University College Dublin, 1993)
  • Certificate in Advanced Italian and Cinema (Universita’ degli Studi, Florence (1991), BA (UCD, 1990)



I did my doctoral research on 20th-century Italian poetry and inexpressibility at the University of Oxford (under Professor Peter Hainsworth). I have since worked in the fields of cinema and on intermedial and interartistic practice in Italy. Publications include a monograph on Eugenio Montale for OUP (2002), and two monographs on cinema (Marco Bellocchio: The Cinematic I in the Political Sphere (UTP, 2010); Religion, Identity and Dissent in Contemporary Italian Cinema (forthcoming, UTP, 2017/8), alongside edited books on transmedia (2014) and oppositional cultures under Berlusconi (2009) and numerous articles.

Since 2012, I have been Principal Investigator on a large and active international AHRC-funded project on 20th and 21st century interdisciplinary practice in Italy: www.interdisciplinaryitaly.org.

I have worked at universities in the UK, Italy and Ireland, and collaborate, through the Interdisciplinary Italy project, with galleries (Estorick Collection, London), artists (Studio Azzurro in Milan), and secondary schools. I have organised workshops and given talks and keynote addresses in Australia, the USA, Ireland, Italy, and the UK. I am the research portofolio holder for the Society of Italian Studies (UK and Ireland).

I was appointed as Lecturer in Italian Studies at Birmingham in 2000. I was Head of Italian from 2008-2011, promoted to Reader in 2012 and took on the role of Head of Modern Languages from 2012 to 2015, leading the newly formed Department. I am a founding member of B-Film, the Centre for Film at Birmingham, and was its Co-Director from 2014-15. My interdisciplinary research and ethos has led me to collaborate not just across Languages but also across Humanities, Social Science and Computer Science.


My teaching is driven by research-led, inquiry-based and interdisciplinary pedagogies. I have been invited to give talks in the UK and Australia on embedding interdisciplinarity (as opposed to multidisciplinarity) into the teaching of languages.

At the University of Birmingham, I usually teach Italian cinema and culture as well as modules in European Studies and Translation. I am currently co-developing a Distance Learning module in Audiovisual translation for UoB’s Masters in Translation. I have taught Italian language, British politics, Dante, and Modernist literature in the past. 

In 2016-17, I teach:

  • The cinema studies pathway in Italian Studies, including ‘Cinema and the Word’ in Year 1, ‘A History of Italian Cinema’ in Year 2 and ‘Contemporary Italian Cinema and Media’ in Year 4.
  • European Film Studies in Year 2.
  • Audiovisual translation on the final-year, ‘Translation Theory and Practice’ module.
  • Year 4 dissertation (Independent Study Module).

My office hours are Monday 10-11 (Semester 1), or by appointment. Room 315, Ashley Building.

Postgraduate supervision

I supervise Masters and PhD students in the fields of 20th and 21st century Italian literature, film and culture, interdisciplinary methodologies and practice and transnational film. Four of my current PhD students work under the AHRC-funded Interdisciplinary Italy project.

There are 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 is possible to apply for further funding for post-doctoral or collaborative projects, especially under the “Interdisciplinary Italy” banner, please contact me if you think you might have a suitable project.


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

  • Interdisciplinary Italy 1900-2020: Interart/Intermedia explores a paradigm shift in the relations between the arts (literature, cinema, music, art, videoart, etc.) which developed across modernism, postmodernism and the digital age. This AHRC-funded project has outputs which include an ambitious, co-authored monograph (Brook, Pieri, Mussgnug) which rewrites the cultural history of 20th and 21st century Italy from an intermedial/interartistic perspective. It has a single-authored monograph on intermediality in the digital age (Patti), and a co-edited book (Brook, Pieri, Mussgnug), which proposes new theoretical frames for approaching intermedial and interartistic texts and practices. All publications will be submitted to publishers by 2018. Please see the website: www.interdisciplinaryitaly.org. Outputs also include the production of secondary school teaching material, a continuing professional development day for teachers, talks for curators, and a final exhibition at the Estorick collection in London. The project has hosted workshops in London, Rome and New York.
  • Cinema, Religion, and Dissent. The Italian Case. This research project explores religion as a significant and resistant feature of contemporary post-secular European society. Through analysis of a case study (Italian cinema), I explore the place of religion(s) in constructing contemporary Italian identity. The principal outcome of this project is a single-authored monograph entitled Religion, Identity and Dissent in Italian Cinema, which was submitted to University Toronto Press in June 2016 and is due for publication in 2017-18. 

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

My intellectual roots are in poetry, and 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 also written a number of articles on early twentieth-century poetry as well as having translated poetry. Alongside Dr Cosetta Veronese and Alex Standen, for many years I prepared the 20th-century Italian poetry section for the Years Work in Modern Language Studies.

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 for Modern Languages Open.

I am on the steering committee of 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, 'Disciplines, Inter-disciplines and multimediality', in Marco Gargiulo (ed.), Lingua e cultura italiana nei mass media (Rome: Aracne, 2014), 13-32
  • 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 Spectacle of the Unseen: Marco Bellocchio and the Lure of the Catholic Church’, in Italian Studies 68: 3, (2013), pp.399-410
  • 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 (2009), pp.110-23
  • Brook, Clodagh, with Ross, Charlotte, 'Conclusions: Splinters of Resistance', Cultures of Opposition (2009), pp.231-40.
  • Brook, Clodagh, with Albertazzi, Daniele and Ross, Charlotte, ‘Italy’s Radical Left in the Age of Berlusconi’, in What is Radical Politics Today? ed. by J. Pugh (Devolve 2009), 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, 1:1 (2009), pp.111-14
  • Brook Clodagh, ‘Beyond Dialogue: Silence and the Monologue in the Films of Ermanno Olmi’, Italianist 28:2 (2008), pp.268-80
  • Brook, Clodagh, 'Borderlines: Otto e Mezzo, Sogni d'oro and the Real-Dream Continuum', Forum Italicum 41:1 (2007), pp. 1-15
  • Brook, Clodagh, 'The Oneiric in the Cinema of Marco Bellocchio', Italica 84:2-3 (2007), pp. 479-94
  • Brook, Clodagh, 'Beyond the Controversy: Marco Bellocchio and Fagiolian Psychoanalysis', Italian Quarterly (2005), 42: 163/64, pp. 55-66
  • Brook, Clodagh, 'The Hallucinating Eye: Fellini and Bellocchio', Italianist 24:1 (2004), pp. 63-76
  • Brook, Clodagh, 'Screening the Autobiographical', in William Hope (ed.), Italian Cinema: New Directions (Peter Lang, 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.