Department of excellence

Why are we excellent?

Our Department is a centre of excellence in the theoretical and practical study of languages, cultures andmodern literatures which we consider a universal heritage that needs to be protected and promoted; alegacy to be transmitted to future generations. We believe this heritage is a right for both individuals andcommunities, acting as a springboard for social and cultural innovation. Our excellence in teachingnumerous languages has been certified by the international QS Universities Rankings, which has ranked ourDepartment among the first 100 in the Modern Languages category; we teach and study 20 European andAmerican Languages, including Italian Sign Language (a.k.a. LIS) and its tactile variety. Our Department isalso defined by the presence of a high number of foreign scholars as well as Italian scholars with aninternational reputation; they all contribute to making our Department unique in the Italian academicsetting for its blend of knowledge, skills and experience.

MIUR - Department of excellence

Future activities

Our project aims at making our Department a centre of excellence in the study of cultural, literary and language adaptation, employing the key concept and anthropological framework of ADAPTATION/ADAPTABILITY in order to grapple with changes in human behaviour and social environments. We will also take advantage of synergies between various languages, literary heritage and cultures to capitalize on the typical tools used by language communities across time and space in order todevelop adaptation strategies. The solutions offered by the Humanities, in line with the EU Adaptation Strategy will be pivotal in tackling environmental crises and future challenges.

The project will focus on:

  1. the several ways in which texts and genres are transformed across centuries and geographical areas from a global and transactional perspective. An interdisciplinary approach involving history and international studies will facilitate the exploration of the contexts in which transformation and adaptation occur, as a way in which human societies react to crises.
  2. language adaptation and the way in which languages react and interact depending on the context, and the development of language varieties showing features of inclusiveness.

The project also includes the creation of the Research Centre ICHARUS (Innovation Centre for Adaptation and Research in the Humanities and in Literary Studies) as well as setting up a recording studio to produce podcasts and other multimedia material in various European languages. This will be a way to disseminate a knowledge of the humanities to a wider audience, in order to adapt to the challenges arising from a new eco-modernism.

Moreover, the project aims to

  • enhance teaching at the MA level (Lauree magistrali) by using new teaching tools and multimedia resources that will strengthen international cooperation,
  • enhance the Department’s PhD programme by financing 10 PhD positions and by introducing new courses supported by the contribution of visiting professors.

Investments in human resources

The Department will appoint:

  • 2 Full Professors
  • 2 Associate Professors (one appointed through international call - “chiamata diretta” from abroad)

  • 3 fixed-term researchers (B Type; a.k.a. ricercatori a tempo determinato - lettera b)
  • 2 unit of administrative staff

Key steps in the project


  • Start of the teaching and research staff recruiting process
  • Setting up of the recording studio
  • Start of training courses for research and teaching staff for the creation of multimedia products (e.g. podcasts)
  • Appointment of 4 positions as visiting professor
  • Appointment of 4 PhD positions


  • Recruiting process completed
  • Staff training courses completed
  • Creation of a digital archive of research products
  • Creation of multimedia content (podcast series)
  • Appointment of 6 more positions as visiting professor
  • Appointment of 6 more PhD positions

    Developing studies on cultural, linguistic and literary adaptation is necessary to identify the tools used by language communities across time and space. This should encourage the population’s psychological and cultural development of adaptation strategies that might be useful to tackle possible consequences of changes in society. Adaptation is not meant to be passive acceptance of inevitable social, environmental and cultural disruptions but should encourage positive collective behaviour as well as responsibility, awareness and solidarity. The project will be a catalyst for the potential of cultural resources and historical and cognitive practices that humans have always experienced, such as adaptation and literary and linguistic transformations.

    The disciplines in our Department are part of those complex adaptive systems that provide scientific and cultural tools from a critical perspective in order to identify and understand change in cultural systems. Starting with the research outcomes of the previous Project of Excellence, this project will promote cooperation between linguists, scholars in translation studies, and scholars who investigate literary, cultural, and socio-historical phenomena and their transformation: in a Department with a focus on comparative approaches, the project will build on synergies to re-think models to analyse, transmit and disseminate knowledge in the Humanities.

    Research outcomes

    The project’s research outcomes will:

    • Have practical effects on the experimentation of new teaching methods and strategies thanks to the use of innovative and multimedia communication tools
    • Allow the Department to train the existing teaching and research staff and appointment early-career scholars to refresh our offering
    • Allow the Department to share the results through multimedia materials (such as podcast series) that will be uploaded in digital archives and repositories. This will enhance and reinvigorate the Department’s activities in terms of Public Engagement with a more effective social impact.
    • extend the Department’s national and international research networks through the creation of new international agreements with Universities and Institutions interested in the development and application of Adaptation/Adaptability Studies

    The teaching staff recruited as a result of the project funds will allow the Department to strengthen andenhance teaching at all levels, namely, BA (Lauree triennali), MA (Lauree Magistrali), and PhD programmesin those disciplines that will contribute to the themes and topics of the Project of Excellence. This willhappen through the:

    • implementation of courses in the Department’s PhD programme thanks to new positions that will allow successful candidates to work on the themes and topics of the Project (10 positions - 2 per year),
    • cooperation with visiting professors (2 each year) to further consolidate teaching at doctoral level and at the MA level.

    The Research Centre ICARHUS will include the setting up of a soundproof room for audio-recordings withthe necessary equipment to produce high-quality audio materials. Next to the soundproof room, there willbe another room for the post-production process equipped with computer workstations, software foraudio analysis and a server to digitally store the recordings and, eventually, to create corpora.
    The Centre will also include a digital archive of the research products (an open archive, following the latestopen access policies) in which the Department will upload any product generated within the Project ofExcellence and digital material (made accessible to the wider public through specific life-long trainingprogrammes) as well as any product found, recovered, catalogued and saved in digital form.

    The project’s governance is structured as follows:


    Last update: 17/04/2024