Konstantina Zanou is joining Columbia University in Fall 2016 as an Assistant Professor of Italian specializing in Mediterranean Studies in the Department of Italian. She has previously held fellowships and taught at the University of Nicosia (Research Promotion Foundation of Cyprus), New York University (Fulbright), Centre for Advanced Studies Sofia Bulgaria, Queen Mary University of London (British School at Athens grant) and Université Paris-Est Créteil.
Her publications include a co-edited volume on Mediterranean Diasporas: Politics and Ideas in the Long Nineteenth Century (Bloomsbury, 2015) and several articles on expatriate intellectuals and national consciousness in the post-Venetian Adriatic. She has just completed a book titled Transnational Patriotism in the Mediterranean, 1800-1830: Stammering the Nation, which is forthcoming with Oxford University Press.
My project explores the exciting but scarcely-studied lives of two brothers: Luigi and Alessandro Palma di Cesnola (1832–1904 and 1840–1914). Born into an impoverished Italian noble family in Piedmont, the two brothers lived lives that became global. Luigi took part in the Italian Wars of Independence, served with the British army in the Crimean War and ended up as a colonel in the American Civil War. He later became United States consul in Cyprus, and sold antiquities from that island to the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York, becoming also its first and longest director (1879-1904). Luigi’s younger brother, Alessandro, fought in the Crimean War and later in the Italian Wars of Independence, but decided to leave army life and become an explorer in South America. After having traveled to the coasts of Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, and Cuba, he ended up in Montevideo, where he was appointed a major in the Uruguayan army and fought in the country’s civil war. Subsequently following his brother to Cyprus, he became an enthusiastic amateur archaeologist, selling antiquities to the British Museum and the Piedmontese Society of Archaeology. He spent the last part of his life in Florence as a major of the Italian army. I intend to study the Cesnola brothers as nineteenth-century ‘global subjects’ and ‘professional manipulators’ of the newly-born national identities and their paraphernalia. My book aspires to straddle the boundaries between biography, family stories and global history, offering an account of Southern Europe, the Ottoman Mediterranean, and their global interconnections in the long nineteenth century, through an exchange between a micro- and a macro-historical point of view. This project also combines cultural, economic, and political history, in order to study the emergence of archeology at the intersection of nationalism, imperialism and financial speculation.