Konstantina Zanou

Konstantina Zanou

Research Interest

Konstantina Zanou (PhD, Università di Pisa and “European Doctorate” from the École Normale Supérieure, Paris) is Associate Professor of Italian, specializing in Mediterranean Studies. She has held visiting positions at New York University, Queen Mary University of London, École Normale Supérieure Paris, University of Nicosia Cyprus, and Université Paris-Est Créteil. She has been a fellow of the American Academy in Rome, the European University Institute in Florence, Fulbright, the Institut d’Études Avancées de Paris, the Scuola Normale Superiore di Pisa, the British School at Athens, the Centre for Advanced Studies Sofia Bulgaria, and the Research Promotion Foundation of Cyprus.

Konstantina is a historian of the long nineteenth century in the Mediterranean. Her research focuses on issues of intellectual and literary history, history of archaeology, nationalism, and biography, with a special emphasis on Italy and Greece. She is also a student of modern diasporas and of the trajectories and ideas of people on the move. 

Her book Transnational Patriotism in the Mediterranean, 1800-1850: Stammering the Nation (Oxford University Press 2018) won the 2019 Edmund Keeley Book Prize in Modern Greek Studies, the 2019 Marraro Prize in Italian History, and the 2020 Mediterranean Seminar Best Book Prize. It has been translated into Italian and Greek. You can hear an interview on the book here.

She has also co-edited with Maurizio Isabella the volume Mediterranean Diasporas: Politics and Ideas in the Long Nineteenth Century (Bloomsbury 2016).  

Konstantina's second monograph, Sea of Antiquities: The Cesnola Brothers, the Global Mediterranean, and the Making of the Modern Museum, is forthcoming by Oxford University Press in 2025. It tells the story of Piedmontese brothers Luigi and Alessandro Palma di Cesnola (1832–1904 and 1840–1914), who traveled all around the world transforming themselves from military men into diplomats, and from explorers and gold diggers into archaeologists and forgers of antiquities. One of them became the New York Metropolitan Museum of Art's first and longest-serving director. By unearthing the multiple layers of one family history, the book offers a personal, microhistorical account of the emergence of archaeology and the making of modern museums between the Mediterranean and the Americas.

Konstantina received the 2024 Division of Humanities Award for Community Building & Engagement, which honors her work and dedication to her students, colleagues, and department.

She teaches classes on the Mediterranean in History, Mediterranean Humanities, the Italian Risorgimento, Italian Diasporas, Travel Literature, Adriatic Romanticisms, Microhistory and Biography, Nationalism in History and Theory, The Invention of the Ancients, and the History of Venice.