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Prof Stephen Milner - research

Research interests

As a cultural historian I aim to produce a form of interdisciplinary history which draws on the Warburgian tradition in stressing the interrelation between linguistic, pictorial, material, and spatial practices in the articulation of cultural identities with particular focus upon late medieval and Renaissance Italy. I am also interested in cultural translation in the broadest sense and in exploring new ways of reading and writing about the past whilst addressing the present. My two formative influences at undergraduate and graduate level were Peter Burke and Michael Baxandall.  

Areas of particular interest include:

Rhetoric and the revival of popular vernacular oratory 1240-1512 / Space and communal imagination in the late medieval communes / The medieval reception of Cicero, Sallust and Boethius / The Florentine republican territorial state under the Medici / Artistic patronage and cultural translation in Renaissance Italy / The history of parchment and parchment books/ Cultural theory and the historiography of the Italian Renaissance / Cities and Urban Experience / Italy in Manchester in 19th Century 

Collaborations and networks

I am on the Academic Advisory Board of the 4-year ERC-funded project 'Oral Culture, Manuscript and Print in Early Modern Italy, 1450-1700' led by Prof. Brian Richardson, am a participant in the AHRC funded 'Street Life and Street Culture Network' 2009-12, and was a member of the steering group of the AHRC funded 'Historical Sociolinguistics Scientific Network' 2008-09. I am also involved in the 'cities@manchester' initiative within the Faculty of Humanities here in Manchester and am on the Academic Advisory Board of the Mellon-funded 'Medici Archive Project' . In 2013 I co-organised and co-curated a two-day international conference in Manchester entitled 'Locating Boccaccio in 2013' and related six-month exhibition at the John Rylands Library.

Current projects

I am currently leading a UMRI-funded research project 'Venetian Parchment Books in the Renaissance' which is part of the collaborative 'Books and Beasts' initiative in conjunction with the Universities of York and Virginia. This work will lead to a six-month exhibition on the 500th anniversary of the death of Aldus Manutius in 2015 entitled 'Merchants of Print: from Venice to Manchester' at the JRL, Deansgate. I am also seeking to open up the Medici archive purchased by the JRL in 1919 through collaboration with the Mellon-funded MAP project based in the Archivio di stato, Florence, Italy. 


Research Awards

  • 2012 Robert Lehman Visiting Professor, Harvard University, Centre for Italian Renaissance Studies, Villa I Tatti, Florence
  • 2011-2012 AHRC Research Fellowship
  • 2010-11 British Academy Small Research Grant
  • 2010 International Society for the History of Rhetoric Research Fellow
  • 2005-06 Institute for Advanced Studies Research Fellow, University of Bristol
  • 1999-2000 Hannah Kiel Fellow, Harvard University, Centre for Italian Renaissance Studies, Villa I Tatti, Florence
  • 1998-99 UK Arts & Humanities Research Board, Study Leave Award
  • 1990 Italian Government Research Award, Scuola Normale Superiore, Pisa
  • 1989-1990 Leverhulme Study Abroad Studentship, European University Institute, Fiesole
  • 1989 British School at Rome, Short Term Fellow 

Research blogs and videos


Follow at '@italprof'



Stephen Milner: The Information Economy of Renaissance Florence from Casa Italiana Zerilli-Marim, NYU.