The first year includes four common methodological modules and three specific ones for each scientific area of the PhD:

  1. Storytelling, translations, cultural production
  2. Theory and Analysis of Artistic and Literary Processes
  3. Culture and Knowledge: Sciences, Philosophies and Cultures.

The didactic program should allow students to complete and elaborate their training in at least two areas, leading them towards the independent research to be carried out in the following two years. At the end of the first year, students will present a report on each of their courses, to be assessed by the student’s teacher and discussed with the entire teaching board. Passing this step is necessary for second year admission.

Methodology (1st semester)

Coordinator: Prof.ssa Rossana Bonadei
Title: Turns in 20th century critic - the cultural dominant

This module offers a reflection on a few critical and cultural turns of the 20th century, favoring a focus on the role of transcultural research in humanities. Attention will be dedicated to the most decisive studies and angles, allowing to understand the complexity of an interpretative process, through a cross-over of different languages, cultures and knowledge fields.

Consequently, the aim is not to identify one or more critical research tools, pertinent to the different disciplines, but to focus on the theories, which have favored intersection of topics between different literatures, cultures and languages, thus contributing to shape the trans-disciplinary approach typical of the research to which this PhD is aimed.

The module is organized in a series of lessons referring to specific paths of Anglo-Saxon, French, Spanish, German and Russian critical theories, also dedicating an overview to the writing and literature of colonial and post-colonial characters. Such paths will offer the opportunity to analyze the productive exchange between different knowledge fields and the contemporary cultural critical contents, stimulating a wide range of interpretations and promoting an interpretative outlook, which has allowed to reconsider texts, processes and products in the light of innovative analysis categories.


Coordinator Prof.ssa Franca Franchi
Title: Verbal/visual - Reading documents

The aim of this module, developed through a crossover of methodologies and topics belonging both to artistic and literary sectors, is to offer, on one hand, a theoretical background of the relevant disciplines, and on the other, the analytical tools directing students to independent research. Seminars are developed through the overlapping of two programs, one functional to the other, pertaining to all areas of the PhD. In particular, one focuses on the study of the relation between verbal and visual communication, offering a theoretical and methodological introduction to the main disciplines of artistic and literary sectors; the other concentrates on document analysis (even case studies) and on the pertinent sources, following an interdisciplinary approach. In these seminars, an active participation of students is expected, both through a critical reading of the suggested bibliography, and during the course itself.



Coordinators: Prof.ssa Elena Bougleux / Prof.ssa Federica Burini
Title: Transcultural interpretations of space

This module offers a transversal approach to the PhD areas, offering theoretical and methodological background on transcultural interpretations of space, in particular concerning the Anthropocene, the web-like structure of world phenomena, identity-making seen through the lens of territorial storytelling and cultural memory organization, especially in the urban context. The program supplies theoretical and methodological tools to then conduct an independent research. Students are expected to actively take part in the critical reading of a basic bibliography, pertinent to the course topics, and in a deeper analysis of theoretical concepts and methods, through the presentation of case studies.


Coordinators: Prof. Franco Giudice / Prof.ssa Franca Franchi / Prof.ssa Rossana Bonadei

This module is intended as an introduction to the world of publishing, which represents a possible professional outcome for PhD graduates. It includes the participation of professionals currently active on the publishing market, who will thus be able to present students with direct, first-hand experience. Professional profiles will be selected from a wide range, from editors in chief to editors in charge of newspaper cultural supplements, on line magazines and top-level specialized magazines. Aim of this module is to introduce students to publishing professionals profiles, in all their different declinations. Students are expected to actively participate in the lectures, both in class and through the reading of suggested bibliographical materials.

Modules-Topics (2nd semester)

Coordinators: Prof.ssa Rossana Bonadei
Title: Storytelling / History-telling. Storytelling and cultural production

In contemporary times, the activity of 'storytelling' – i.e. the re-interpretation of narrative art as a product of cultural industry – has spread in every social and professional environment (management, politics, law, science, cultural heritage management, fiction economy, digital communication), so much as to induce sociology to define this as a recent narrative turn, and our current era as the ‘narrative era'. In a PhD course in transcultural studies, it is strategic and absolutely vital to look into this cultural phenomenon, through a critical approach, to analyze and give new substance to what has been defined as the principal contemporary discursive form, starting precisely from the historical roots of storytelling (myth, fairy-tale, legends and all the great storytelling buildings, oral, written and visual). Aim of the module is to delve into contemporary storytelling modes, in connection with the other crucial element of contemporary culture: the key role of images.

The module focuses on the Storytelling / History Telling relation, following three main research lines which intertwine literary, visual, aesthetic, political and cultural topics, in particular: historiography; recounting reality; narrating time. Conceptual guidelines:

  • Storytelling/ History Telling: archive theories and documentary turn; documentary narration through images; counter-narrations. Documentation as the search for a relation between 'facts' and rhetorical-narrative strategies
  • History and memory / a public use of history: (the rhetoric of remembrance, memory use and abuse, the era / tyranny of witnesses and their rhetorical exploitation, the construction of post national and transnational collective identities)
  • Political languages: the relation between politics and narration, starting from literature and fiction (production, reception, censorship, power balance, etc.), moving to immaterial imaginary (nationalisms, the invention of tradition, terror stories coming true)
  • Literature and narrative frontiers (ex: the relation between science and literature)
  • Storytelling and Digital Culture: the so-called Digital Humanities.


Coordinator: Prof.ssa Franca Franchi 
Title: Paradigms for creativity: fear on the outskirts of visibility

Didactic activities will focus on the spreading of knowledge through a space-time angle, specifically concentrating on the interdisciplinary topic Generating Fear, the boundaries of visibility”. Research will center on devices, which can create and represent feelings of fear and terror. Favored research areas will be literature, the arts, visual culture and the media - cinema, music, comics, and television – following a path, which will consider the different representation techniques. Consequently, the approach will be strictly interdisciplinary, ensuring contributions from the history of ideas, literature, art and visual cultures, performing arts and media sociology. Students are expected to take an active part in the module, both through a critical reading of the suggested bibliography, and during the course itself.


Coordinators: Prof.ssa Elena Bougleux 
Title: History, philosophy, science – A historical analysis

The program provides background introduction to historical, philosophical and scientific disciplines for this area, supplying students with theoretical and methodological tools to then conduct an independent research. An active participation is expected in terms of a critical reading of the relevant bibliography and an in-depth analysis of theoretical concepts and suggested methodologies.