This Academic's Life

This Italian life

Episode Summary

Obsession. Identity. Belonging.

Episode Notes

“I spend most of my days dreaming about Italy,” says ANU Italian Studies lecturer Dr Josh Brown.

It's not just the romantic aspects of Italy that he's drawn to. Yes, he loves the art, culture, cuisine. But he's equally drawn to the mundane, the frustrating... and the smog.

“That's the fascinating stuff for me,” he says. “And they are interesting from a sociological point of view in a certain sense. Because you think, why does this country have these problems and why does it have this image? And how do you live in these conditions?”

In this episode, Josh reflects on what it means to be Italo-Australian, what it takes to fit in in Australia and in Italy, and whether it's possible to research and truly understand a place without living there.

Dr Josh Brown is Lecturer and Convenor in Italian Studies, ANU School of Literature, Languages and Linguistics

After completing his PhD in history of the Italian language in Perth, he held a two-year position as Cassamarca Assistant Professor in Italian at The University of Western Australia. 

From 2016-17, he was a postdoctoral fellow in Italian Studies at Romanska och klassiska institutionen, Stockholm University, before coming to ANU in 2018.

His research program follows several different lines of enquiry in language history, with a particular focus on languages in contact in non-literary writing. He is the author of several monographs including Early evidence for Tuscanisation in the letters of Milanese merchants in the Datini Archive, Prato, 1396-1402 (2017) and co-author of Canon Raffaele Martelli in Western Australia 1853-1864: Life and letters (with John J. Kinder, 2014). 

He is currently editing a volume on Languages of Renaissance Italy (with Alessandra Petrocchi), which will encompass a broad range of languages and language varieties including Hebrew, Arabic, Byzantine Greek, Spanish, French, German, Italian, Dutch and Middle English primary sources. More recently he has been investigating how tools from Digital Humanities can open up new questions for language historians. 

The theme music for This Academic’s Life is “Snow Blower” by Flower Crown.

Other music used in this episode: “Inspiring filaments” by Podington Bear.

This Academic’s Life is a production of the ANU College of Arts and Social Sciences. It’s produced by Evana Ho. The production assistant for this episode was Brandon Tan.

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