Dr Clodagh Brook DPhil


Reader in Italian Cinema and Culture
Head of Department of Modern Languages

Department of Modern Languages

Photograph of Dr Clodagh Brook

Contact details

Ashley Building
University of Birmingham
B15 2TT


As Head of Modern Languages, I oversee the running of this diverse and lively Department.

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: 1900-2015" and "European Religion, Cinema and Dissent." (see under 'Research' for details).

As I 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. I have been Head of Modern Languages since August 2012


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 1900-2015. An AHRC funded networking project which explores the interrelationship of the arts (literature, cinema, music, art etc.) in Italy through modernism, postmodernism and the internet age. The project also explores the benefits, drawbacks and strategies of interdisciplinarity in Italian and Language departments. It draws in academics, cultural practicioners, museum curators, and secondary school teachers and the AHRC funded part of the project runs from August 2012 until July 2014. We are currently applying for funding for the next phase
  • Cinema, Religion, and Dissent. The European Case. The interface between filmmakers' political engagement and the Catholic Church. This project will have two outcomes (1) a single-authored monograph entitled Religion, Identity and Dissent in Italian cinema to be published by Toronto University Press in 2015 and, in the second phase of the project, an edited volume on religion and dissent in European cinema, envisaged for publication in 2016/2017.

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 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 currently hold the research portfolio for the Society of Italian Studies (SIS) and am part of the Society's Executive committee. Iam also a member of ASMI. I am Fellow of the Higher Education Academy. I am External Examiner for the Italian Department at the University of Leeds (2011-2015). Since 2011, I am a member of the editorial board of the journal Italian Cinema.



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.

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