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, with the exceptional opportunity to work under a co-supervision arrangement with the British School at Rome (BSR). The appointed student will have the opportunity to spend a funded period of three months at the BSR in their second year, with accommodation costs covered by the BSR and the Cambridge Italian Section. (Competitive funding opportunities are available for further periods of fieldwork.)

Available from October 2023, this fully-funded studentship includes: payment of university fees throughout the funded period; a tax-free maintenance grant for your living costs at the UK Research and Innovation (UKRI) minimum rate (£17,668 for 2022/23); an additional AHRC stipend of £550 per annum to support costs incurred by working with the partner organisation. Further details about the benefits of an Open-Oxford-Cambridge AHRC DTP award are available on the DTP’s studentships page.

Closing date: 5 January 2023 (12:00am, midnight, UK time)

Project overview

The PhD student will carry out original research into aspects of the transnational cultural history of postwar Rome between liberation by the Allies in the summer of 1944 and the beginning of the 1950s. The specific 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.

As part of the application process, applicants will be asked to propose their own PhD research project, based on their qualifications and interests, that fits within the general parameters of the project.

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 BSR provides an ideal partner for this research project and reflects its current strategic research priorities. It is at the heart of an extensive research community in Rome, including a wide network of sister research institutes that can support the transnational variety of the PhD project. It is one of 8 British International Research Institutes. Its holdings include unique print and photographic archives, and library collections that cover in depth the international presence in Rome. It is an ideal base for drawing on Italian libraries and archives (e.g. Archivio di Stato, Biblioteca nazionale, Centro sperimentale di cinematografia, Centro studi del teatro di Roma and many others, depending on the specific field of the PhD). The BSR can also support the publication and dissemination of the PhD’s findings.

This Collaborative Doctoral Award offers enhanced funding to facilitate the international nature of the research project and exceptional opportunities for guided collaboration and training both in Cambridge and in Rome. Bespoke training will be offered at the BSR, including language learning where relevant, which will enable the student to develop a range of valuable skills and significantly enhance their future employability.


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 Head of Research Collections (with specialism in digitisation projects), archivist and library 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 5 January 2023 (12:00am, midnight, UK time), the deadline for the University of Cambridge's Graduate Funding competition, indicate your interest in being considered for an Open-Oxford-Cambridge AHRC DTP studentship and submit a completed copy of the OOC DTP Application Form at the same time. For further details on how to apply for this CDA through the University of Cambridge, please see the advert on the Cambridge jobs site.