Dr Francesco Ricatti

PhD, USyd; BA H1 (equiv.), Sapienza
Associate Professor, Italian Studies
ANU College of Arts and Social Sciences

Areas of expertise

  • Migration History 430319
  • Transnational History 430323
  • Australian History 430302
  • Migrant Cultural Studies 470211
  • Multicultural, Intercultural And Cross Cultural Studies 470212
  • Italian Language 470313

Research interests

  • The history of Italians in Australia
  • Ethnic and migration history in Australia
  • Decolonial and Indigenous approaches to migration history
  • Migrant youth in Italy and Australia - especially informal processes of transculturation through art and sport
  • Oral history
  • Football studies - especially AS Roma


I joined ANU in July 2022, as Associate Professor of Italian and convenor of the Italian Studies programme.

I am a leading scholar of Italian migration to Australia, and have also researched on the role of sport in informal processes of transculturation. My most recent research focuses on decolonial approaches to migration history and transcultural studies; and on art and design driven participatory projects. My research and teaching have been supported by prestigious organizations, including the National Geographic, the Scanlon Foundation, the Cassamarca Foundation, the Italian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, and the Prato City Council.

Researcher's projects

Migration Studies on Indigenous Land: Challenges, Reflections, Pathways (Forthcoming in 2024)

Focusing on the Australian context, this volume co-edited with Andonis Piperoglou aims to showcase some of the most innovative scholarship in migration studies that have acknowledged the reality of settler colonialism and have developed innovative theoretical and scholarly pathways towards the inclusion of anticolonial, antiracist, decolonial and Indigenous epistemologies in their research, teaching, writing, and activism.This edited volume aims to include a variety of disciplinary approaches, including history, cultural studies, media studies, digital ethnography, anthropology, sociology, sociolinguistics, sport studies and literary studies

How can we study transcultural and multilingual social realities while also acknowledging that migrants occupy land that ‘always was and always will be’ Indigenous? How can migration scholars acknowledge the role of mass migration in sustaining settler colonialism, and yet also support immigration and multiculturalism from an antiracist standpoint? Are there pathways for anticolonial and decolonial approaches that sustain deep forms of solidarities between First Nation peoples and migrants? How can such pathways also support international and transnational anticolonial and antiracist struggles? What other fundamental questions should we address when rethinking transnational migration studies within settler colonial nations?



Youth in the City: One Place Many Cultures

An international research initiative to bring together the experiences of multicultural and migrant youth in superdiverse cities. We work with young citizens across the world to reclaim urban space and imagine shared transcultural futures through participatory mapping, co-designed art interventions and digital storytelling. The first project, Youth in the City: La Nostra Prato, was developed in the Italian city of Prato, with support from the National Geographic and the Scanlon Foundation.



Italians in Australia: History, Memory, Identity (Palgrave 2018).

Italians in Australia provides a concise and innovative history of Italian migration to Australia over the past 150 years. It focuses on crucial aspects of the migratory experience, including work and socio-economic mobility, disorientation and reorientation, gender and sexual identities, racism, sexism, family life, aged care, language, religion, politics, and ethnic media. The history of Italians in Australia is re-framed through key theoretical concepts, including transculturation, transnationalism, decoloniality, and intersectionality. This book challenges common assumptions about the Italian-Australian community, including the idea that migrants are ‘stuck’ in the past, and the tendency to assess migrants’ worth according to their socio-economic success and their alleged contribution to the Nation. It focuses instead on the complex, intense, inventive, dynamic, and resilient strategies developed by migrants within complex transcultural and transnational contexts. In doing so, this book provides a new way of rethinking and remembering the history of Italians in Australia.

Available student projects

Proposals are welcome for Honours, MPhil, and PhD research in any of the areas listed in the research expertise and interests sections above. 

Current student projects

Agata Adely, Linguistic portraits of Sicilian-Australians: Exploring identity through the repertoire. 

Past student projects

Liberata Luciani, Meaning and Purpose in Southern Italian Folk Traditions. 2022

Penelope Harrison, Schooling for All?  A History of Educational Opportunities for Children with Disabilities in Queensland, 1945-1973. 2021

Margherita Angelucci, Afroitalian Hip Hop: negotiating and building new transcultural Italian belongings. 2021

Catherine Johnston, 'It's nice to be a little bit Indian': Identity Performativities of Indian Young Women in Diasporic Private, Public, and Online Spaces. 2018

David Utting, Migrant Tests: the Experience of Migrant Cricketers in the Australian Cricket Pathway. 2016

Nycole Prowse, Heroin(e) Habits: Potential and Possibility in Female Drug Literature. 2016

Naomi Stekelenburg, With Laughter and Curiosity: Reading Disgust and the Psychophysiological Body in the Libertine Fiction of the Marquis de Sade. 2015


Return to top

Updated:  26 July 2024 / Responsible Officer:  Director (Research Services Division) / Page Contact:  Researchers