Professor Philip Cooke



Personal statement

I joined Strathclyde University as a lecturer in Italian in 1993, after 8 years at Edinburgh University where I took a first degree in Italian with Russian Studies. I took Italian from scratch at Edinburgh having studied French and Spanish at school. I came to Scotland from the South of England in 1984, and have lived here ever since, apart from several years living in various cities in Italy (Rome, Milan, Siena and, above all, Florence where I have done a lot of my research and collaborate with the history journal Passato e presente). I was promoted to Senior Lecturer in 2000 and to Professor of Italian History and Culture in 2013. I teach Italian Language, History, Film and Literature at all levels. I am particularly interested in the interaction between history and culture and in the 'political use of history'. This means that my courses are interdisciplinary in nature, and try to understand contemporary Italy from a variety of different angles and approaches. Recently I have developed interests in the History of Science and within it the history of medicine. I am particularly interested in how knowledge, ideas and concepts circulate. 

At Strathclyde I have had a number of administrative roles, including Director of Research for the School of Humanities. I am currently Subject Leader in Italian, and UoA co-ordinator for history.



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Area of Expertise

  • Modern Italian Culture (literature, film, art, 'popular culture')
  • Italian Politics
  • Italian History
  • Language Teaching and Language Teaching Policy
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The legacy of the Italian resistance
Cooke Philip
Italian and Italian American Studies Italian and Italian American Studies (2011)
Ending terrorism in Italy
Cento Bull Anna, Cooke Philip
Extremism and Democracy Extremism and Democracy (2013)
European Resistance in the Second World War
Cooke Philip, Shepherd Ben H
Red spring : Italian political emigration to Czechoslovakia
Cooke Philip
Journal of Modern History Vol 84, pp. 861-896 (2012)
La resistenza come secondo risorgimento – un topos retorico senza fine?
Cooke Philip
Passato e presente: rivista di storia contemporanea Vol 2012, pp. 62-81 (2012)
The 'spaces' of anti-Fascism in Italy today
Cooke Philip
The Routledge Handbook of Contemporary Italy History, Politics and Society (2018) (2018)

More publications

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I teach Italian language at all levels and particularly enjoy teaching beginners as they learn a lot very quickly. I teach translation into English to third year and honours students, as well as 'writing skills' and interpreting. I also teach courses on Modern Italian history and film, and at honours level I teach classes which closely reflect my research interests: The Resistance movement and Terrorism. At Masters level I teach a course entitled 'Setting Europe Ablaze' - on the Resistance in Europe.

I have supervised many PhD students who have worked on a range of topics in Italian history and culture including: Pasolini, The Italian Communist Party, the Mafia. My current PhD students are working on: Leonardo Sciascia and Visual Culture, the Resistance, Translation Studies, Terrorism and Performance. I have also supervised in other areas such as: industrial heritage, the community arts movement in Scotland.

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Research Interests

My research centres on the long-term impact of the Italian Resistance movement and, more generally, on 20th Century Italian social and cultural history. My publications range from analyses of literary texts, Fenoglio’s binoculars, Johnny’s eyes (New York, 2000) to social/protest movements Luglio 1960: Tambroni e la repressione fallita (Milan, 2000) and Italian partisan exiles living clandestinely in Czechoslovakia (various articles). My most recent books are The Legacy of the Italian Resistance (New York, 2011) and Ending terrorism in Italy (Routledge, 2012 – co-authored with Professor Anna Cento Bull). I was also co-editor (with Professor John Foot) of the journal Modern Italy (2010-2015) and co-editor (with Ben Shepherd) of The European Resistance (Pen & Sword, 2013). I am a co-founder of RESnet, a group of academics and museum experts which aims to understand - and influence - the way the Resistance is represented in museums in Europe.

I am currently working on several projects: the Florence flood of 1966 which I am studying from a range of perspectives (issues surrounding cultural capital, social and political impact, memory); multilingualism; and, in a recent development, the history of medicine in Italy in the 18th and 19th century. With the support of a Wellcome Trust Grant I have been studying their collection of Italian manuscripts which provide unique insights into the circulation and transmission of medical ideas. This research has involved a lot of challenges - doctors also have bad handwriting in Italy - but has led me to many exciting discoveries.

Professional Activities

Modern Italy (Journal)
Editorial board member
The Italian Resistance: recent work on the historical context of Carlino
Q+A on Rome, Open City (Roberto Rossellini)
Book presentation: l'eredita' della Resistenza at Resistance Institute (Florence)
Round-table discussion on 25 April 1945
Invited speaker
FAHRENHEIT - interview in connection with my book L'eredita' della Resistenza

More professional activities


The Memory of the Resistance in the Veneto
Cooke, Philip (Principal Investigator)
01-Jan-2024 - 30-Jan-2024
Becoming doctors: teachers,pupils and the student experience of medical education in nineteenth century Italy
Cooke, Philip (Principal Investigator)
Becoming doctors: teachers,pupils and the student experience of medical education in nineteenth century Italy
02-Jan-2018 - 02-Jan-2019
The legacy of the Italian Resistance
Cooke, Philip (Principal Investigator)
PLEASE NOTE: THE SUMMARY HAS BEEN AMENDED IN THE LIGHT OF PEER REVIEW COMMENTS FROM THE FIRST APPLICATION. THE MATERIAL ORIGINALLY IN THE FIRST PART OF THE VOLUME WILL BE COMPRESSED INTO AN OPENING PANORAMA CHAPTER. The Italian Resistance movement, which began in September 1943 and ended in April 1945, has been the subject of a vast amount of scholarly interest. In Italy in the last two decades work has concentrated, above all, on issues connected with the many acts of violence which took place during and, in many cases, after the war. Claudio Pavone's work, for example, emphasises the civil war aspects of the struggle in Italy, over and above the war of Liberation, while the research of Paolo Pezzino and others examines in detail the Nazi massacres which took place throughout the peninsular. In the same period Massimo Storchi, Mirco Dondi and others have published authoritative accounts of the post-war violence perpetrated by partisans against Fascists. Another important strand of research which has also emerged looks at questions concerning the long-term impact of the movement, its public memory and cultural and political legacy. It is in this particular area, where the most important scholars in Italy are Filippo Focardi and Giovanni Contini, that my own work is most relevant. The contribution that my work makes is in the interdisciplinary nature of my research, offering new insights into history and culture and, above all, in the interaction between the two. My book examines the complex issue of the Italian Resistance legacy from the very end of the conflict up until the present day. An initial panorama chapter provides an analysis of the way that the 'myth' and 'anti-myth' of the Resistance has been formed, re-invented and discussed during the period 1945 to the present day. I initially concentrate, above all, on the political sphere and on the way that the two leading parties, the Christian Democrats and the Communists, used the Resistance as part of their political battle. These parties deliberately emphasised or obscured certain aspects of the movement, with the question of illegal killings at the heart of the debate. In the 1950s, in particular, the Cold War climate did much to polarise debate. With the collapse of the Tambroni government in 1960, and a shift to the left in Italian politics, the Resistance movement re-emerged as a political force only to be contested in the late 1960s and then appropriated in the 1970s by early terrorist organisations who considered that they were completing the unfinished work of their partisan forefathers. In the late 1970s the Resistance seemed to make another comeback when Sandro Pertini, a distinguished 'heroic' anti-Fascist, became president of Italy. But in the late 1980s, within the context of the ideological impact that followed the collapse of the Berlin Wall, the Resistance once again became part of an intense political and historiographical debate which shows no signs of abating. The rest of the book looks at the way that certain key 'vectors of memory' such as monuments, museums, films, memoirs and literary texts have functioned over the period. The chapter on historiography examines the way that the debate around the exact nature of the war in Italy (war of liberation, civil war, class war) has been framed by 'academic' historians, and how the work of popular historians (such as Pansa) and neo-Fascists authors (Pisan) have contributed to the formation of alternative and conflicting memories. The introduction and conclusion to the work I examine wider methodological questions raised by the study, such as the public use of history, and draw comparisons, above all, with the Resistance legacy in France and the Civil War legacy in Spain. \n
28-Jan-2009 - 31-Jan-2009

More projects

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Professor Philip Cooke

Tel: 444 8203