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Kerry Gibbons

PhD Italian Studies

Email: k dot gibbons dot 1 at warwick dot ac dot uk


I am a current Wolfson-funded PhD student in Italian Studies exploring the representation of borders and anxieties related to their transgression in the Italian fascist-era romanzo coloniale novel, taking a particular focus on the role of borders, be it corporeal, catrographical or metaphorical, in the creation, maintenance and disruption of colonial subjectivities. This project is supervised by Professor Jennifer Burns and Professor Fabio Camilletti.


My research focuses on the role of borders in the creation and disruption of the formation of colonial subjectivities, taking a particular focus on those physical, psychical, and corporeal borders constructed and maintained by the colonizing male subject. This will be undertaken through an analysis of the image of borders and their transgression and collapse in 3-4 Fascist colonial novels produced under the romanzo coloniale label between 1922 – 1947. In particular, my research focuses on the ways in which representations of what will be referred to as ‘border-making’ and their antithesis, ‘border-transgression’ are undertaken within the novels, and how these processes are intrinsically bound to anxieties about the stability of the nationalistic, patriarchal and racist colonial ideologies upon which colonial power was founded.

Research Interests

  • Italian colonial history
  • Italian colonial literatures and cultures
  • Early twentieth-century Italian literary cultures
  • early-twentieth century travel literature
  • Italian postcolonial literatures
  • Literary and cultural production during the ventennio
  • Italian colonial cinema
  • Cultural memory
  • Cultural Theory

Non-Academic Roles

Co-organizer, Explore Seminar Series (2022 - 2023)

Co-organizer, The Culture of Fascism (8 June 2023)

Co-organizer, 'Archaeology, Psychoanalysis and Colonialism: The Return of the Repressed in European Culture in the Modern Age', 17 May 2024 (Kindly funded by the HRC Doctoral Fellowship Competition)

Conferences and Events

"Colonial Re-imaginations: The Liberal Colony as a Narrative Setting in the Fascist-era romanzo coloniale", 20-minute paper, conference title: 'Afterlives of Empire,' La Sapienza, Università di Roma, 21-22 September 2023.

"The Death and Life of the romanzo coloniale: the case of Dante Saccani's I prigionieri del sole: vita dei concessionari di Genale (1939 - 2021)," 20-minute paper, conference title: "L'Italia e il mondo postcoloniale: Politiche di cooperazione e mobilità tra decolonizzazioni e Guerra Fredda" Università degli Studi di Cagliari, 16 - 18 June 2022.

Scholarships and Awards

Wolfson Postgraduate Scholarship in the Humanities (2021 - )

HRC Doctoral Fellowship Competition (2023)


SIS - The Society for Italian Studies

AAIS - American Association for Italian Studies


MA Research for Italian Studies, University of Warwick

BA Modern Language Studies (Italian), University of Warwick