Dr Alessia Zinnari
- Lecturer [Italian] (Italian)
- Affiliate (Italian) (School of Modern Languages & Cultures)
I have recently completed a PhD in Comparative Literature at the University of Glasgow, where I am currently working as a Lecturer in Italian and GTA in Spanish. My research focuses primarily on mental illness and women’s writing, and on the relationship between creativity, healing and self-determination. My thesis, entitled ‘Mental Illness, Women’s Writing and Liminality: A Comparative Study of Leonora Carrington and Alda Merini’, is grounded in feminist theory and focuses on the works that the two authors produced as a result of their experiences of hospitalisation in psychiatric institutions.
• Comparative Literature
- Women's Writing
• Critical and Feminist Theory
• Trauma Studies
• Medical Humanities
• Life-writing Studies
• Italian, English and Latin American Literature
• Visual Cultures (especially Surrealism)
My research is interdisciplinary in nature and sits at the intersection of comparative literature, contemporary women’s writing, feminist theory, the medical humanities and trauma studies. I am particularly interested in exploring issues around mental illness and the construction of the self in autobiographical writing and art produced by women.
My PhD thesis explores the connections between psychosis, space, feminist mythmaking and gender-based trauma in Leonora Carrington’s and Alda Merini’s memoirs of illness. My study demonstrates how women’s oppression in a patriarchal society has been a key factor in contributing to the mental breakdowns narrated by these authors, and how the production of life narratives constitutes an empowering and healing act that can have a strong impact on society.
A chapter taken from my thesis has been published in the edited collection Leonora Carrington: Living Legacies (Vernon Press, 2020). I have also submitted a second chapter for publication, which is soon to be published as part of the edited collection An Illness of Her Own: Women and Their Writing Processes and Products (Lexington Books, 2021).
- 2020-2021 Residential postdoctoral fellowship “Andreazza” awarded by the Cini Foundation in Venice, for the project "Questions of Authorship and Reception in Sibilla Aleramo's Years of the 'vita errabonda'"
- 2018-2019 College of Arts Collaborative Research Award for the Organisation of a Postgraduate-led Symposium, ‘The Occult Turn’
- 2017-2018 Mac Robertson Travel Scholarship (University of Glasgow & University of Strathclyde) for Archival Research at the University of Pavia. This grant allowed me to spend 3 months working on Alda Merini's archive
I am happy to supervise students on any aspect covered by my research interests.
Erika Villalobos Morales (MLitt in Comparative Literature): 'Representations of Female Madness in20th century Mexican Women’s Fiction: Cristina Rivera Garza, Amparo Dávila and Elena Garro'
From the academic session 2020/21 I am the convener of Italian Culture 1 (Sem 1) and Italian Language 2 and Year Abroad (Sem 2)
I currently teach on the following modules:
- Italian Culture 1 - National Histories and Pop Culture
- Italian Culture 2 - Gender & Performance
- Honours Option: Women in Modern Italy (Co-taught with Dr Penelope Morris)
- Junior Honours Italian Oral Classes
- Honours Translation into Italian
- Italian Beginners
- Italian Language 2
- Spanish Culture 2
I have also been teaching extensively in the Comparative Literature module 'Crossing Borders'
I have six years of teaching experience in HE, having taught in Italian at Strathclyde University since 2014, as well as in Italian, Spanish and Comparative Literature at the University of Glasgow since 2015. In September 2019 I was appointed as part-time Lecturer in Italian at Glasgow. In January 2020, I resumed my collaboration with Italian at Strathclyde as an Affiliate Lecturer. I have designed, taught and assessed the Honours Course ‘Women in 20th Century Italy.’
Since September 2018, I work as part-time administrator for the academic journal Modern Italy (Cambridge University Press)
RECENT CONFERENCE PAPERS
30/11/2020: 'There is the paper and then there is the person”: Dorothea Tanning’s and Francesca Woodman’s Feminine Geometries', for the digital symposium Looking at Femininity
06/03/2020 ‘Mythologies of Resistance: The Feminist Legacy of Leonora Carrington and Alda Merini.’ Institute of Modern Languages Research (London), Recovering Women’s Identities Between Centre and Periphery (16th- 20th Centuries). Organisers: Katia Pizzi (IMLR) and Sara Delmedico (University of Cambridge).
01/09/2019 Panel: ‘Transformative Bodies: New Pathways of Feminist Critique within the Work of Leonor Fini, Leonora Carrington and Remedios Varo,’ paper: ‘Leonora Carrington’s Mythical Quest for Self-determination in Down Below.’ International Society for the Study of Surrealism Conference, University of Exeter. Co-organised with Nadia Albadalejo García (University College Cork) and Dr Rachael Grew (Loughborough University).
04/04/2019 Panel: ‘Surreal Friends: Female Artistic Alliances in Post-War Latin America,’ paper: ‘A Female Christ in Hell: Leonora Carrington’s Spiritual Journey in Down Below and Her Feminist Legacy.’ Society for Latin American Studies International Conference, 4 and 5 April 2019, University of Leicester. Co-organised with Nadia Albadalejo García (University College Cork).
12/06/2020 [Cancelled due to Covid-19] ‘Remedios Varo and the Women of Surrealism’, Symposium at the University College Cork. Organised by Dr Nadia Albaladejo García, Hispanic Studies.
21/10/2018 Q&A for the screening of Female Human Animal at Glasgow Film Theatre.
FHA is an independent film inspired by the life of Leonora Carrington. I was invited by director Josh Appignanesi, whom I had the pleasure to meet at the Leonora Carrington Symposium at Edge Hill University in July 2017: https://glasgowfilm.org/shows/female-human-animal-qanda-nc-15.
08/03/2017 ‘Alda Merini’s ‘Other Truth’ in her memoir of illness and hospitalisation.’ Women, Place and Belonging, International Women’s Day Symposium, University of Glasgow.
17/09/2018 The Occult Turn Symposium. I organised this one-day symposium, directed at engaging both an academic and non-academic audience, together with Leontios Toumpouris (Glasgow-based artist and MLitt in Fine Arts, GSA) and Izabella Scott (MA Royal College London, London-based writer and art critic). Funded and hosted by the University of Glasgow’s CSA:
10/06/2016 Writing in Transit. As part of my internship with the College of Arts, I organised this one-day symposium together with Dr Laura Martin and Dr Elwira Grossman, and with the help of Prof. Michael Syrotinski and Prof Susan Bassnet. Funded by the University of Glasgow.