Maria Micaela Coppola


Literary texts and narration can be considered as hermeneutical and methodological instruments, which can help us comprehend and manage individual and social traumas and conflicts, and can foster inclusion and respect of differences.

Focusing on literary and cultural representations of traumatic events or experiences (such as illness, violence against women, culture clash, marginalisation, or prejudice), this area of research includes the analysis of

  • emotions associated with trauma and conflict (fear, anger, pain, shame, helplessness, but also hope, trust, empathy, self-power, and resilience)
  • the strategies for employing literary texts and narrations, in order to promote inclusiveness and respect of differences, build empathy, and enhance narrative and transversal competences
  • the professional and educational contexts (healthcare system, university, school, social work, etc.) in which literature can be used for creating inclusive environments, for gaining insight into emotions and stories of trauma and illness, and for developing narrative and transversal competences.

Research directions

Dementia in English Literatures and Cultures

This research line aims at i. analysing the strategies through which fiction (novels, short stories, poems, plays, films, graphic novels, etc.) portray the neurological disorders, memory loss, or cognitive deficits commonly associated with Alzheimer’s disease; and ii. exploring if and how narratives can be employed for enhancing empathy, gaining insight, and improving wellbeing in dementia caregiving, healthcare and research contexts.

Stories of Mental Illness: An Interdisciplinary Perspective

For centuries the art of telling stories has been used for representing the complexity of the human mind and identity, and for making sense of the inner chaos and psycho-physical disruption caused (in patients and caregivers) by illness.
From this point of view, the literary-cultural discourse and the medical-scientific one are complementary: they attempt to bring order, continuity, and insight.
This line of research is aimed at i. exploring the potentialities of this complementarity between literary and medical-scientific narration; and ii. employing narratives for fostering communication skills and transversal competences in professional, scientific research and caregiving contexts.

Gender & Cultural and Literary Representations in English

Woman and lesbian writers in English from the nineteenth century to today, woman and lesbian culture and literature, and cultural representations of gender and of sexual orientation are explored within the feminist and queer theoretical frameworks. 
This research line is twofold: i. it aims at re-reading and deconstructing the mainstream literary canon and cultural representations, by throwing light on the gaps and silences of the (patriarchal and heterosexist) mainstream culture; ii. its purpose is to re-write alternative canons by giving voice and visibility to the work of ‘marginal’ writers or artists.

Didactics of Literature & Inclusive Didactics

Within the theoretical framework of inclusive didactics and respect of differences (as far as gender, sexual orientation, culture, or language are concerned), this research line follows two tracks. On the one hand, it focuses on the role of literature in producing, transmitting and consolidating gender stereotypes, by illuminating the blind spots and anachronisms in textbooks, anthologies, and literature for children and young learners. On the other, its objective is to analyse and design teaching strategies for re-writing school and academic textbooks, and for involving students, through literature, in a critical reflection on mainstream models of masculinity and femininity.

Internal collaborations

LIQuID – Laboratorio Interdisciplinare per la Qualità e l’Innovazione della Didattica (Interdisciplinary Laboratory for the Quality and Innovation of Didactics)


AIA Book Prize for English Studies 2014 (English Culture – senior category) for the monograph ‘The im/possible burden of sisterhood’. Donne, femminilità e femminismi in “Spare Rib. A Women’s Liberation Magazine”, Editrice Università degli Studi di Trento, Collana Labirinti (2012).

External collaborations

Centro di Studi Interdisciplinari di Genere, Dipartimento di Psicologia e Ricerca Sociale (UniTn)
Gruppo di Ricerca internazionale “Escritoras y Escrituras”, coordinated by Mercedes Arriaga Flórez, University of Seville (Spain)
AIA – Associazione Italiana di Anglistica
ANDA – Associazione Nazionale Docenti di Anglistica

Selected publications


  • Coppola, Maria Micaela, The im/possible burden of sisterhood. Donne, femminilità e femminismi in “Spare Rib. A Women’s Liberation Magazine”, Editrice Università degli Studi di Trento, Collana Labirinti 146, Trento, 2012, ISBN 978-88-8443-446-3. AIA BOOK PRIZE FOR ENGLISH STUDIES 2014 (English Culture – senior category).
  • Coppola, Maria Micaela, Parallel Voices. Women Writers in English, di O. Palusci e M. M. Coppola, Principato, Milano, 2002, pp. 6-14, 33-38, 49-52, 61-68, 74-75, 79-91, ISBN 88-416-4553-9.

Scientific Papers:

  • Coppola, Maria Micaela, “Writing the Blues: Jackie Kay’s Intersemiotic Translations of Words and Music”, in Gioia Angeletti, Giovanna Buonanno, Diego Saglia (eds), Remediating Imagination. Literatures and Cultures in English from the Renaissance to the Postcolonial, Carocci Editore, Roma, 159-167. ISBN 978-88-430-7544-7
  • Coppola, Maria Micaela, “‘A whole spectrum of colours new to the eye’: Gender Metamorphoses and Identity Frescoes in Girl Meets Boy and How to Be Both by Ali Smith”, Textus. English Studies in Italy, XXVIII (2015), n. 1 (January-April), pp. 169-185. ISBN: 978-88-430-7615-4. ISSN: 1824-3967.
  • Coppola, Maria Micaela, “Legere et non intelligere est negligere: narrare e comprendere le malattie da demenza”, Milagro Martín Clavijo, Mercedes Gonzáles de Sande, Daniele Cerrato, Eva María Moreno Lago (editoras), Locas. Escritoras y Personajes Femininos Cuestionando las Normas, ArCiBel Editores, Sevilla, 2015, pp. 380-388. ISBN: 978-84-15335-66-5.
  • Coppola, Maria Micaela, “Mary Dorcey: The Poet’s Gaze and Scalpel”, Studi Irlandesi. A Journal of Irish Studies, n. 5 (2015), pp. 225-228. ISSN 2239-3978 (online).
  • Coppola, Maria Micaela, “‘Come with me, sweetheart, into Italy’: Radclyffe Hall, l’Italia e Firenze”, in S. Cenni e F. Di Blasio (a cura di), Una sconfinata infatuazione: Firenze e la Toscana nelle metamorfosi della cultura anglo-americana: 1861-1915, Atti del convegno internazionale di studi, Firenze 16-17 giugno 2011, Consiglio Regionale – Regione Toscana. Firenze, 2012, pp. 257-290. ISBN 978-88-89365-14-4.
  • Coppola, Maria Micaela, “Dead eye. Dead I”: Telling Stories at the End in Ali Smith’s Hotel World”, in R. Colombo, L.M. Crisafulli, F. Ruggieri (a cura di), Challenges for the 21st Century. Dilemmas, Ambiguities, Directions, vol. I, Literary Studies, Edizioni Q, Roma, 2011, pp. 63-70. ISBN 978-88903969-8-4.
  • Coppola, Maria Micaela, “Open the Book and Visit the U.K.: a Sketch of ‘English’ Language and Culture in EFL Books”, in Oriana Palusci e Sabrina Francesconi (a cura di), Translating Tourism. Linguistic and Cultural Representations, Editrice Università degli Studi di Trento, Trento, 2006, pp. 171-182. ISBN 1088-844-127-1.
  • Coppola, Maria Micaela, “Teaching Literature as a Foreign Language in Feminist and Multicultural Pedagogies”, Textus. English Studies in Italy, “Teaching Literature”, a cura di Angela Locatelli e Coppélia Kahn, anno XVI (2003), n. 1, Tilgher, Genova, pp. 95-110. ISSN 1824-3967.


Further information can be found at the following webpage: Maria Micaela Coppola -