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Professor Robert S C Gordon FBA

The cultural history, cinema, and literature of modern Italy; Holocaust literature (Primo Levi); postwar memory and culture of the Holocaust
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About this Fellow

Robert S. C. Gordon is Serena Professor of Italian and Fellow of Gonville and Caius College, Cambridge. He has taught at Cambridge since 1998 and was elected to the Serena Chair in 2012. Prior to that he was Lecturer in Italian and Fellow of Pembroke College, Oxford. His principal fields of research are modern Italian literature, cinema and cultural history, and Holocaust studies, with a particular interest in the cultural legacy of the Shoah. His PhD and first book were on the writer, intellectual and filmmaker Pier Paolo Pasolini (1922-1975), with research carried out in Cambridge, Rome and Pavia. He subsequently worked extensively on the Holocaust survivor and writer Primo Levi (1919-1987), authoring a book-length critical study of Levi's engagement with questions of ethics and testimony, and editing several texts by and about Levi, including his interviews and a co-authored report on medical conditions at Auschwitz. This was followed by a wide-ranging study of the complex legacy of the Holocaust in postwar Italy. He has further edited books on censorship and Holocaust visual culture. He served as Senior Editor of the journal Italian Studies (2005-2010) and is co-editor of the book series 'Italian Modernities' (Peter Lang).


Current post

  • Serena Professor of Italian, University of Cambridge; Fellow, Gonville and Caius College, Cambridge


Pasolini. Forms of Subjectivity, Oxford University Press 1996


Primo Levi's Ordinary Virtues: From Testimony to Ethics, Oxford University Press 2001


Introduction to 20th-century Italian Literature: A Difficult Modernity, Duckworth 2005


Bicycle Thieves, BFI Film Classics 2008


‘Sfacciata fortuna’: La Shoah e il caso, Einaudi 2010


The Holocaust in Italian Culture, 1944-2010, Stanford UP 2012; trad. Bollati Boringhieri 2013


Other Modern Languages, Literatures and other Media from 1830 Fellows

Professor Robert Young

Cultural and political history, literature, philosophy, psychoanalysis, translation, with a particular focus on postcolonial theory

Professor Neil Lazarus

Postcolonial literary studies; modernisation, modernity, modernism; critical social theory, sociology of literature; the questions of 'world literature' and comparative literary studies; more broadly, modern literature (1850 to the present)

Professor Judith Butler

Feminist and queer theory, focusing on gender, sexuality and the psychosocial formation of the subject, moral and social philosophy, literary theory, and 19th and 20th century European philosophy