Postwar Rome 1944-1951: Transnational flows and the culture of occupation and reconstruction

Photograph showing Allied Forces in Rome, June 1944

Allied Forces in Rome, June 1944.

© IWM TR 1853

Applications are invited for this Open-Oxford-Cambridge AHRC DTP-funded Collaborative Doctoral Award in the 20th-century cultural history of Italy, focussed on the period of Allied occupation and reconstruction of the city of Rome following World War Two. The PhD will hosted in the Italian Section, Faculty of Modern and Medieval Languages and Linguistics, at the University of Cambridge, in collaboration with the British School at Rome (BSR). The appointed student will have the opportunity to spend three months at the BSR in their second year, with accommodation costs covered by the BSR and the Cambridge Italian Section.

This fully-funded studentship is available from October 2022. Further details about the value of an Open-Oxford-Cambridge AHRC DTP award are available on our Studentships page

Closing date: 6 January 2022 (12:00am, midnight, UK time)

Project overview

The PhD student will carry out original research into aspects of the cultural history of postwar Rome between liberation by the Allies in the summer of 1944 and the beginning of the 1950s. The focus of the research will be on the remarkable and complex transnational flows of individuals and groups, civilian and military, moving through Rome during this period. Rome was a site of crossing populations, migrations, returns, transitions and cultural convergence and divergence, as it has been throughout its history as a global city, but with particular variety and unpredictability in the chaos of the postwar moment. This was also a time of dramatic national transformation and renewal for Italy. The PhD will explore the ways in which transnational flows and national renewal shaped each other and how both informed the Europe-wide postwar settlement.

The student will be based in Cambridge and benefit from its vibrant interdisciplinary research environment, but will spend a significant period of time in Rome in year two, hosted by the BSR. The British School at Rome provides an ideal partner for this research project: for its base in the research community of Rome, including a wide network of sister national research institute to support the transnational variety of the PhD project; for its own rich archives regarding the BSR’s history; and for its own library holdings that cover the British presence in Rome more broadly in unique depth. The BSR will also be an ideal base for drawing on Italian libraries and archives, including the Archivio di Stato, the Biblioteca nazionale, the Centro sperimentale di cinematografia, and the archive of the theatre history institute, the Centro studi del teatro di Roma (and others depending on the specific field of the PhD).


The PhD will be co-supervised by Professor Robert S. C. Gordon (Cambridge), who is a leading authority on post-war Italian culture; and Professor Abigail Brundin, who is Director and lead researcher at the BSR and responsible for oversight of all its research initiatives, with support from the BSR library and archive team.

How to apply

Applications are welcome from candidates from a wide range of disciplines and backgrounds relevant to the proposed topic, such as Italian studies, film, music, architecture and art historical studies, theatre history, journalism and media history. Applicants are invited to set out in their application how their profile and their plans would fit the remit of the project.

Potential applicants are encouraged to contact Robert Gordon ( with questions and for any guidance before submitting their application.

Applicants should apply to the PhD in Italian by 6 January 2022 (12:00am, midnight, UK time), the deadline for the University of Cambridge's Graduate Funding competition. For further details on how to apply for this CDA through the University of Cambridge, please see the advert on the Cambridge jobs site.