Dr Charlotte Ross PhD

Photograph of Dr Charlotte Ross

Department of Modern Languages
Head of the Department of Modern Languages

Contact details

Ashley Building
University of Birmingham
B15 2TT

Main research interests and areas of PG supervision: gender, sexuality and embodiment in modern and contemporary Italian culture.


I teach modules on literature, society, identity and translation for Italian Studies. I teach seminars on gender, sexuality and feminism for the MRes in Sexuality and Gender Studies, as well as supervising PhD students.

Postgraduate supervision

I would be happy to hear from prospective doctoral candidates wishing to pursue research on gender and sexuality in Italian culture or other aspects of twentieth-century and contemporary Italian culture and society.


My research focuses on how bodies, gender and sexuality are understood, constructed and represented in socio-cultural contexts. I am particularly interested in elaborations of sexuality and identity, in cultural texts as well as in practices of social engagement and activism. Recently, I have been involved in several collaborative projects. With Silvia Antosa (Enna 'Korè'), I am currently working on a BA/Leverhulme-funded project entitled 'Cultural Discourses on Desire between Women. A Queer Comparative Analysis’, which explores transversal relationships between discourses on female sexuality in Italy, France and the UK between the 1870s and the 1930s. Together with Julia Heim (Baruch College, CUNY) and SA Smythe (UC Irvine), I recently led an AHRC Research Network Project, called the 'Queer Italia Network (QuIR). See our website for details of the workshops and events we organised: www.queeritalia.com. 

Previously, I completed an AHRC-funded project called Eccentricity and Sameness: Lesbian Cultural Identity in Italy, which explores the discursive construction and representation of lesbian identities and desire in literary and cultural texts. This has led to the publication of a monograph,  Eccentricity and Sameness. Discourses on Lesbianism and Desire between Women in Italy, 1860s-1930sFor more information about this project, see my blog: http://charlotterossresearch.wordpress.com/

I studied Combined Honours English and Modern Languages at Newnham College, Cambridge and for a Master of Studies in Modern Languages at Balliol College, Oxford before completing a PhD at the University of Warwick, under the supervision of Professor Ann Hallamore Caesar and Dr Jenny Burns.

Other activities

  • Visiting Professor at the University of Palermo, Spring 2015
  • '"Cunnilingui" and "l'amore lesbiano" in late 19 and early 20th century Italy' at the American Association of Italian Studies conference, Zurich, May 2014
  • Keynote presentation: 'Goliarda Sapienza's French Connections' at the conference 'Goliarda Sapienza in Context', IGRS, University of London, May 2013
  • Presentation of the film The Hunger at 'Shout', Birmingham's festival of queer culture, 15 November 2012
  • 'Matrimoni Bostoniani', at 'Immaginaria' film festival, Milan, 5 October 2012
  • 'Self-same tongues of condemnation or approof:discourses around lesbian and female same-sex desire, 1870-1914' at the workshop 'Italian Sexualities Uncovered: The Long Nineteenth Century (1789-1914)', Bologna, 20-22 September 2012
  • '‘Goliarda Sapienza: an eccentric revolutionary’, at the 18th Lesbian Lives conference, ‘Revolting, bodies, politics and genders’, University of Brighton, February 2011
  • ‘Goliarda Sapienza e l’arte della fluidità sessuale’, presented at the conference ‘ “On ne naît pas, on le deviant”. Les Gender Studies et le cas italien, des années 70 a aujourd’hui. Entre libération sexuelle et nouveaux tabous’, University of Grenoble, November 2010
  • Invited keynote presentation, 'Queer bodies: fluidity, materiality and stickiness' at the interdisciplinary conference 'Queer Crossings', University of Palermo, June 2010


Recent publications


Ross, C 2015, Eccentricity and sameness. Discourses on lesbianism and desire between women in Italy, 1860s-1930s. Italian Modernities, vol. 22, Peter Lang, Oxford and Bern. https://doi.org/10.3726/978-3-0353-0698-9


Ross, C 2023, 'Locked in or locked out, or ‘la vita della cose’: Gender, agency and (dis)embodiment in Primo Levi and Nicoletta Vallorani’s Speculative Fiction', Enthymema. International Journal of Literary Criticism, Literary Theory and Philosophy of Literature, vol. 33, pp. 91–104. https://doi.org/10.54103/2037-2426/19962

Ross, C & Antosa, S 2022, 'Backward Modernism and Queerly Desiring Women in Early 20th-Century British and French Fiction: Rosamond Lehmann and Jeanne Galzy', Ticontre. Teoria Testo Traduzione, vol. 17. <https://teseo.unitn.it/ticontre/article/view/2280>

Ross, C 2020, 'Surviving melancholy and mourning: a queer politics of damage in Italian literary representations of same-sex parenting', Phenomenology and Mind, vol. 2020, no. 19, pp. 54-70. https://doi.org/10.17454/pam-1904

Ross, C 2019, 'Queer Italian Cultures', Gender/sexuality/Italy.

Ross, C, Smythe, SA & Heim, J 2019, 'Queer Italian studies: critical reflections from the field', Italian Studies, vol. 74, no. 4, pp. 397-412. https://doi.org/10.1080/00751634.2019.1658963

Ross, C 2016, 'Donne nate male, amicizie colpevoli e quelle profonde come una parentela: Marise Ferro's queerly desiring women', Italian Culture. https://doi.org/10.1080/01614622.2016.1158579

Ross, C 2016, '‘La Carezza Incompuita’: queer aesthetics, desire and censorship in Ticchioni’s 'Il suicidio di un esteta'', Modern Language Review, vol. 111, no. 2, pp. 390-412. https://doi.org/10.5699/modelangrevi.111.2.0390

Chapter (peer-reviewed)

Ross, C 2020, “Exemplary” lesbians: the struggle for adequate representation. in A Bazzoni & A Bardazzi (eds), Gender and Authority across Disciplines, Space and Time. Palgrave Macmillan. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-030-45160-8

Ross, C 2017, Dalla patologizzazione all’amore per gli ‘anormali’: La rappresentazione del desiderio dissidente tra donne in testi (pseudo)scientifici del tardo Ottocento e del primo Novecento. in U Grassi, V Lagioia & G-P Romagnani (eds), Tribadi, Sodomiti, Invertite E Invertiti, Pederasti, Femminelle, Ermafroditi…: Per una storia dell'omosessualità, della bisessualità e delle trasgressioni gi genere in Italia. Edizioni ETS, Pisa, Italy, pp. 155-171.


Ross, C 2017, Pathologies and Eroticism: Paolo Mantegazza’s Ambiguous Reflections on Female Same-sex Sexuality’. in L Benadusi, PL Bernardini, P Guazzo & E Bianco (eds), Homosexuality in Italian Literature, Culture, and Society 1789-1919. Cambridge Scholars Publishing, pp. 45-64. <https://www.cambridgescholars.com/homosexuality-in-italian-literature-society-and-culture-1789-1919>

Ross, C 2016, Goliarda Sapienza's 'French Connections'. in A Bazzoni, E Bond & K Wehling-Giorgi (eds), Goliarda Sapienza in context: intertextual relationships with Italian and European culture. The Fairleigh Dickinson University Press Series in Italian Studies, Fairleigh Dickinson University Press, Madison, pp. 87-100.

Ross, C 2015, Italian Medical and Literary Discourses around Female Same-Sex Desire, 1877-1906. in V Babini, C Beccalossi & L Riall (eds), Italian Sexualities Uncovered, 1789-1914. Genders and Sexualities in History, Palgrave Macmillan, Basingstoke, pp. 228-48.

Ross, C 2014, Dirsi lesbica oggi? Lesbofobie nei media italiani tra indicibilità e invisibilità. in Donne+Donne. Prima, Attraverso e dopo il Pride.


Heim, J, Ross, C & Smythe, SA 2019, 'Queer Italian cultures: journal editorial', Gender/sexuality/Italy, vol. 2019, no. 6, pp. viii-xiv. <http://www.gendersexualityitaly.com/journal/issues/g-s-i-6-2019>

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