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Professor Stephen Gundle

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Professor of Film & Television Studies
Tel: +44 2476 528435
Room A1.28, Faculty of Arts Building


I am a Professor in the Film and Television Studies Department. As a specialist in film and media and cultural and political history, my work tends to focus on cinema as a social practice and as an industry, as well as on film as entertainment and propaganda.

I have written mostly about the relations between cinema and television, politics and consumption in Italy from the Fascist period to the present, as well as the Italian and European star system, and the concept of glamour.

In recent years, I have been principal investigator on two large AHRC research projects. The first of these was concerned with the personality cult of the Fascist dictator Benito Mussolini. The second, run in partnership with the Cineteca di Bologna, dealt with the role of producers and production practices in the history of the Italian film industry. Read more about this project here.

I have been a visiting professor at Sciences-Po, Paris and the Université de Paris II and X. I was Chair of the Association for the Study of Modern Italy from 2009-14 and 2015-16.

Currently, I am an associate editor of the Journal of Italian Cinema and Media Studies and a member of the editorial committee of several journals, including Modern Italy and Memoria e ricerca.

Research interests

I have published seven books, three edited books, several journal special issues and many articles and book chapters. These focus on areas such as mass culture and Italian Fascism, the Italian Communist Party and its cultural policies, the Italian film industry, the history and theory of glamour, Hollywood’s impact in Europe, feminine beauty and national identity, representing Mussolini in cinema and television, the aesthetics and politics of Silvio Berlusconi, and cinematic Rome with special reference to Fellini’s La Dolce Vita. Peer-reviewed articles have appeared in the Historical Journal of Film, Radio and Television, Modern Italy and other journals. Four of my books have also been published in Italian and two in other languages.

My most recent research has focused on Italian film stars. In two books, Mussolini’s Dream Factory and Fame amid the Ruins, I explore the star system of the Fascist period and in the immediate postwar years when neorealism was on the ascendancy. I discuss the specificities of Italian stars, the political and industrial context in which they operated and their impact on the public.

I am currently working on a collective book about the Italian film industry and the role of producers like Dino De Laurentiis and Franco Cristaldi.


I teach a range of modules including Film History, World Cinema: Italian Neorealism and Silent Cinema. I have also taught the MA core module and an MA option on Italian cinema.

PhD Supervision

I currently supervise projects on the Italian magazine industry and the cinematic imaginary, Italian silent cinema, Visconti’s politics and aesthetics, ruralism and modernity in Italian cinema.

I am happy to receive proposals on most aspects of Italian cinema, on the history of film promotion and advertising, on glamour, and on cinema and dictatorships.

Selected Publications


  • Between Hollywood and Moscow: The Italian Communists and the Challenge of Mass Culture, 1943-91 Duke University Press, Durham, North Carolina, 2000
  • Mass Culture and Italian Society from Fascism to the Cold War Indiana University Press, Bloomington Indiana, 2007; With David Forgacs
  • Bellissima: Feminine Beauty and the Idea of Italy Yale University Press, New Haven and London, 2007
  • Glamour: A History Oxford University Press, Oxford, 2008
  • Death and the Dolce Vita: The Dark Side of Rome in the 1950s Canongate, London, 2011
  • Mussolini’s Dream Factory: Film Stardom in Fascist Italy Berghahn Books, New York and Oxford, 2013
  • Fame amid the Ruins: Italian Film Stardom in the Age of Neorealism Berghahn Books, New York and Oxford, 2020

Recent Edited Collections

  • The Cult of the Duce: Mussolini and the Italians, Manchester University Press, Manchester, 2013, co-edited with Christopher Duggan and Giuliana Pieri
  • ‘The Cult of Mussolini in 20th Century Italy’, special issue of Modern Italy, 18:1, 2013 co-edited with Christopher Duggan and Giuliana Pieri
  • Rome Open City: Rupture and Return’ special issue of Journal of Italian Cinema and Media Studies, 6:3, 2017 co-edited with Louis Bayman and Karl Schoonover
  • ‘Practices and Contexts of the Italian Film Industry’, special issue of Historical Journal of Film, Radio and Television, 40:1, 2020, co-edited with Karl Schoonover and Stefano Baschiera

Recent Refereed Articles and Book Chapters

  • ‘Alida Valli in Hollywood: From Star of Fascist Cinema to “Selnick Siren”’, Historical Journal of Film, Radio and Television, 32:4, 2012, 559-87
  • ‘Playing the Dictator: Re-enactments of Mussolini in Film and Television’, Modern Italy, 18:1, 2013, 177-95
  • ‘How Berlusconi Will Be Remembered: Notoriety, Collective Memory and the Mediatization of Posterity’, Modern Italy, 20:1, 2015, 91-109
  • ‘The Question of Italian National Character and the Limits of Commedia all’italiana: Alberto Sordi, Federico Fellini and Carlo Lizzani’ in Frank Burke (ed.), A Companion to Italian Cinema, Wiley Blackwell, Chichester, 2017, pp.198-214
  • 'The enduring glamour of the Parisienne' in Alastair Phillips and Ginette Vincendeau (eds), Paris in the Cinema: Beyond the Flaneur, BFI/Palgrave, London, 2018, pp.166-78.
  • ‘From Mussolini to Berlusconi: Masculinity and Political Leadership in Post-War Italy’ in Christopher Fletcher et al. (eds), The Palgrave Handbook of Masculinity and Political Culture in Europe, Basingstoke 2018, pp.435-55
  • ‘Cinema e mondo dei consumi’ in Stefano Cavazza and Emanuela Scarpellini (eds) I consumi, Storia d’Italia, Annali 27, Einaudi, Turin, 2018, pp.546-64
  • ‘Glamour Studies: The State of the Field’, Fashion, Film and Consumption, 8:1, 2019, 9-16
  • ‘“We Have Everything to Learn from the Americans”: Film Promotion, Product Placement and Consumer Culture in Italy, 1945-1965’, Historical Journal of Film, Radio and Television, 40:1, 2020
  • ‘Alessandro Blasetti and the Rise of the Italian Film Industry, 1929-1959’, Historical Journal of Film, Radio and Television, 40:1, 2020 (with Michela Zegna)

A full list of publications and conference papers can be found here.

Selected papers are available for download here.

Administrative roles

  • Director of Graduate Studies in Film and Television Studies (Spring 2020)

National roles and professional associations

  • Chair, Association for the Study of Modern Italy, 2009-2014
  • Member of editorial board, Modern Italy
  • Member of editorial advisory committee Memoria e ricerca, Officina della Storia, California Italian Studies
  • Member of scientific committee ATRIUM (Architecture of Totalitarian Regimes in Urban Management)



Undergraduate modules
FI106 Film History
FI204 National Cinema

Postgraduate modules

History and Memory in Italian Cinema