Skip to navigation | Skip to main content | Skip to footer

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.

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 / Cultural theory and the historiography of the Italian Renaissance / Cities and Urban Experience / Italy in Manchester in 19th Century 

I am currently working on a number of volumes: The Cultures of the Italian Renaissance (Cambridge: Polity Press), an edited volume Urban Witness: The Languages of the Italian Medieval Commune (Leiden and Boston: Brill Academic Press) and a co-edited volume The Cambridge Companion to Boccaccio (Cambridge: CUP).

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'.

I am currently co-organising, co-curating and co-editing a series of events and publications with Dr Guyda Armstrong and Dr. Rhiannon Daniels to celebrate the septcentenary of Boccaccio's birth in 1313 including a two-day international conference in Manchester entitled 'Locating Boccaccio in 2013' between 11-12 July 2013 and a six-month exhibition at the John Rylands Library, Manchester 10 July -24 November (see blog link below).

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



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