I am a language enthusiast. I grew up in Sardinia, in a bilingual Sardinian/Italian environment. I learnt English, French and Spanish in secondary school, then satisfied my thirst for languages by embarking on a BA in English and Arabic from the University of Bologna during which I squeezed in a year in Barcelona as an Erasmus student (and picked up Catalan), as well as brief extracurricular, enriching experiences in Tunis and Madrid. The turning point came in 2010 as I spent a life-changing year studying Arabic at the University of Damascus and fell in love with everything Syrian, developing a passion for the country’s vernacular, history and cultural production. In 2012 I completed a MA in Languages and Cultures of Africa and Asia again at the University of Bologna, and in 2013 – after a brief spell at SOAS – I moved to Scotland where I was awarded the Principal’s Career Development scholarship to conduct my PhD research in contemporary Arabic literature at the University of Edinburgh. While reading for my PhD I also spent time perfecting my knowledge of Arabic in Lebanon, Jordan and Palestine, and I taught at Edinburgh’s department of Islamic and Middle Eastern studies where I discovered a passion and a talent for language teaching. As I was writing up my doctoral thesis, which I successfully defended in 2017, I published a translation of short stories by Syrian Zakariyya Tamir, the first book to have ever been translated from Arabic into Sardinian. In 2016 I started teaching Arabic at the University of Manchester where I worked for three years managing to also build strong connections with the city’s Syrian community, as well as to thankfully put out a few publications while teaching full time. I came to Westminster in September 2019.
My research interests include the evolution of contemporary Syrian literature in relation to political transformations, in particular the evolution in the representations of gender roles in the context of modernisation and secularisation, the relationship between State institutions and the field of cultural production, commitment in Modern Arabic literature as well as a comparative approach to Syrian literature and TV dramas (musalsalāt).
Through my teaching I have developed a keen interest in the politics of language teaching, particularly in the context of curriculum decolonisation.
I've published two translations from Arabic of Zakariyya Tamir's short stories and I'm currently working on an ethnography of the Syrian community in Manchester.