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PhD Programme in Humanities

The new university organisation, with the closure of faculties, has brought to light the need to safeguard the wealth of interdisciplinary contacts and mutual research relations among the various contexts taken into consideration (philological-literary, linguistic, communication and performing arts). This need coincides with the directives proposed by Horizon 2020, which considers interdisciplinarity and intersectoriality as the base for the PhD programme (see HIT 2020, p. 99). From this scenario stems the project for the new Doctorate in Humanities: this is articulated in eight specialisations (curricula) that aim at offering an interdisciplinary approach and achieving cross-referring competences in international-level specialist research.


The PhD Programme in Humanities aims to study cultures as a homogenous phenomenon, albeit including its variations which characterise the different disciplinary traditions, and at the same time it intends to identify the links and differences in the relation between tradition and innovation. Therefore, we aim to apply methodological tools from various humanistic disciplines to forms of knowledge and the study of cultural transformations: linguistics, comparative studies of literatures and performing arts, the theoretical and diachronic study of different cultures, communication and media offer the chance to widen the research scope and so they support PhD holders in the world of research and work. In the field of Humanities, this type of research benefits from the collaboration with public institutions, dealing with cultural issues, and with private research centres.
The development of the studies in each subject emerges from the alliance of different research methodologies and different teams; the participation in the PRES projects with foreign universities (Université de Toulon-Var 2011) and in national projects (digitalisation of the Greek codes of Turin libraries, ALEPO) and international projects (UFI funds for a project on the spread of Dante’s Commedia in France; funds from the Spanish Government for the ARPREGO project) represents the scientific community’s interest in this PhD Programme. All the various research activities of this PhD programme focus on the promotion of libraries and archives (including those with musical and theatrical materials), and thus follow the EU agenda, which considers this as a priority.

The PhD programme aims to train scholars who are able to access the academic career in Italy and abroad, in the public and private sectors. PhD holders will also be able to work with centres dealing with the promotion of cultural heritage, libraries and archives, along with the preparation of educational projects for the dissemination of knowledge in the humanistic field. 
The collaboration with the publishing industry represents another professional opportunity. PhD holders can also operate in the context of secondary education, e.g. in the coordination of educational projects, and obtain managerial tasks. We also highlight the interest expressed by some multinational corporations (in particular Procter&Gamble) in the preparation offered by our PhD programme, which is an essential element for human resources management on a global level. 
PhD holders will have to prove to have achieved the skills necessary to design, undertake, realise and conclude complex and innovative research in the disciplines covered by the programme. Preliminary requirements include the capacity to acquire bibliographical and documentary information necessary for the research through both traditional and digital tools, along with the main research methodologies used in the arts area. Participation in seminars and research teams will result in the capacity of working together and interacting with scholars and institutions, whilst the valuable participation in external trainings will develop interdisciplinary, organisational and problem-solving skills.
PhD holders will have to be able to cooperate with the scientific community and to be able to spread effectively the results of their research. 


Italian Dialectology, Geographical Linguistics and Sociolinguistics

Following the tradition established by Turin linguistic school, which stemmed from the work of Terracini and Grassi, the spcialisation in Italian Dialectology, Linguistic Geography and Sociolinguistics aims to cover the entire range of themes concerning language variability, in all its aspects and on all its levels of analysis. Therefore the focus will be not only on the distribution of Italian dialects and their relations with language(s), but also and chiefly on the phenomena of contact between different languages and dialects, linguistic minorities and new minorities, social aspects and dynamics, in a context like modern Italy affected by migration flows.

Contact person: Riccardo Regis



Greek, Latin and Byzantine Philology and Literature

In the area of classical antiquity studies, research will pivot around Greek, Latin and Ancient Christian literatures, on classical philology and on Greek and Latin literatures of the Medieval and Humanistic period. The texts, spanning from archaic age to Humanism, will be studied through the most well-established methodologies of text critique and historical-literary exegesis. Furthermore, it will be possible to widen the scope and include the most recent research emerging from literary anthropology and history of culture.

Contact person: Federica Bessone



French Studies

The research of this specialisation mainly examines the cultural exchanges between France and Italy, and those between the French tradition and other European and non-European cultures, besides the reception of the classical tradition in France and in the Francophone contexts. The research is concerned with French literature from the Middle Ages to the modern period and the history of the French language.

Contact person: Paola Cifarelli




The Indology curriculum provides tertiary-level training through the methodologies of linguistic, philological-literary, philosophical-religionistic and historical-cultural subjects with reference to the Indian subcontinent (including the Tibetan sub-area). The approach adopted is both diachronic and synchronic, and contemporary artistic expressions are taken into consideration too.

Contact person: Alberto Pelissero



Italian Studies

In this spcialisation, research will deal with literary works and cultures (in Italian, in Latin and in the various Italian dialect) from the origin of the Italian language to the contemporary age, with regard to different literary styles and genres, to research methods, to the history of the subject and of the critique and poetics. The research ranges from the philological study and comments of texts to their historical and geographical contextualization with reference to the different ancient Italian states and their regional realities, from the historical-literary discussion and outcomes of the canon in Italian literature in different ages to the study of literary language in its historical and technical aspects, to the stylistic analysis of literary communication and the relation with visual or performing arts, and new media. 

Contact person: Laura Nay



Comparative Literatures and Cultures

For the area of Comparative Studies, topics under investigation include comparative literatures and cultures, in a homogenous perspective of the literary expressions and the relations between literature and other artistic forms, such as music, theatre, cinema and visual arts. Special attention will be devoted to the theory of literature, seen as systematic phenomenon. 

Contact person: Chiara Lombardi 



Semiotics and Media

The Semiotics and Media spcialisation offers doctoral students high-quality training and international opportunities in research and specialised communication professions, particularly with reference to the semiotic analysis of speeches, of texts, of cultures and the historical investigation of media, contents, and contexts. This curriculum is particularly suited for jobs in the research field and in the academic teaching of communication sciences as well as for leading jobs in the cultural and media industry. 

Contact person: Massimo Leone



Performing Arts

The specialisation in Performing Arts trains candidates in the areas of cinema, of media, of live performance, and of music by looking for interdisciplinary correspondences with the purpose to offer suitable historical, critical, philological and computer-based methodologies. 

Contact person: Alessandro Pontremoli



The PhD programme is based on specialised taught courses: candidates thus will not attend courses from the postgraduate degree programmes but will follow their specially tailored teaching activities.

a) in order to meet the “interdisciplinary and intersectorial” orientations considered by Horizon 2020 and to apply them to the necessary specialisation of tertiary education, we have differentiated our teaching activities, in particular:
- First year: in particular with what we have defined in B1) “foundation and trans-curricular teaching activities”, which include lectures and seminars on interdisciplinary methodologies, as well as lessons on academic English and computer studies – cf. c). In addition to providing interdisciplinary skills, we will develop the competences necessary to organise and present reports and papers at national and international conferences, to use computerised tools, databases, codification of digitalised texts for research purpose.
- From the second year: besides interdisciplinary seminars, we will organise specialised teaching activities for each curriculum of the PhD programme; these will comprise lectures given by the University teachers as well as other experts and scholars from both Italy and abroad, and (when possible) research periods abroad or training periods with institutions and industries. PhD students are required to participate in interdisciplinary seminars in order to improve their skills to prepare papers and to interact with other professionals. Other activities can include collaboration for the editing of volumes, organisation of congresses, participation in operating research groups. 

b) the distribution of teaching and researching will be balanced so as to focus on research methodologies training in the first and second years, while the third year will be mainly dedicated to the preparation of the final doctorial thesis. The allocation of teaching and researching work, at the end of the third year, will lead to the acquisition of 180 credits (ECTS) according to the following table:

Teaching activities (TA) Researching Activities (RA)
Year 1: 30 credits (TA) 30 credits (RA)
Year 2: 20 credits (TA) 30 credits (RA)
Year 3: 10 credits (TA) 50 credits (RA)

c) drawing on previous teaching doctorial experience, now part of the present PhD programme in Humanities, we plan to carry on with our courses in English for academic purposes and research dissemination (in particular “Writing Skills: Writing abstracts in response to call for paper” and “Writing & Oral Skills: delivering papers at international conferences”). Lectures and conferences in foreign languages will be given by colleagues from abroad and will concentrate on the languages and subjects of the programme. As far as computer skills are concerned, apart from involving students in the maintenance of the Doctorate website, informatics classes will concentrate on research purposes. We will hold lessons on philology, informatics and text encoding (in particular the relation between meta-languages such as XLM and text codification systems such as TEI – Text Encoding Initiative). Other lessons, seminars and workshops will introduce digital research tools. In particular, training and activities will be based on the use of databases and electronic resources, with a special emphasis on the most important ones for the arts (JSTOR, MLA, SciVerse, ISI-Thomson, specialised databases).
1. use of digital tools for web indexing (impact factor, diagrams of citations, university catalogue of research products), also with the aim of acquiring competences for the promotion of results of the research in the prospect of applying for European funds;
2. overview of the main software programmes for the acquisition and storing of data (Evernote, Zotero, etc.);
3. exploitation of research through web 2.0, with special reference to social digital networks (, etc.) and academic tagging. 

The teaching activities will be presented on the website of the Doctorate in Humanities. The previous teaching activities can be found on the websites of the PhD programmes that are now part of the Doctorate in Humanities.

Training Programme and Courses

The PhD program aims at training scholars able to access academic careers, to work in structures for the enhancement of cultural heritage and the dissemination of scientific knowledge in the humanities, to collaborate with the publishing companies and to perform managerial duties in secondary education.
The PhD student will be able to carry out complex and innovative research, use traditional and digital documentation and research tools , develop teamwork skills and acquire transversal problem-solving skills.

Students must obtain 180 ECTS divided into: 

  • 120 ECTS Research activities
  • 45 ECTS Disciplinary and interdisciplinary workshops and courses
  • 15 ECTS Training activities complementary to research

Research represents the main training activity and consists in carrying out a research project within the themes of the PhD Course, under the guidance of a Tutor. The research project and the Tutor are assigned within three months of the start of the PhD. A period of training abroad is recommended.

Seminars transversal to the different curricula and courses specific to each curriculum provide theoretical insights on the main research topics covered by the PhD programme.

The obligation to attend the various activities varies according to the curriculum to which the PhD students belong.

The teaching calendar is prepared annually by the Board of Teachers.

Students can also chose training activities outside the PhD course, at other universities and research institutions. For these activities, validation by the Tutor is required.

These activities aim at developing transversal and soft skills. They help to improve the impact of research and complement the professional profile by providing useful tools for academic and non-academic career opportunities.

The workshops will concern language improvement (Academic English seminars), training in Digital Humanities techniques, enhancement of research and intellectual property, scientific communication, drafting and evaluation of research projects; research ethics and public engagement will be improved through the involvement of PhD students in the activities organized within the departments. 

Transversal training activities can be:

offered by the Doctoral School and PhD courses
chosen by the doctoral student outside the University of Turin; for these activities, validation by the Tutor is required

Academic year 2020-2021
Seminars, Courses and Workshops – UniTo, PhD Humanities

Seminari trasversali

Problems and Methods of research in the Humanities

Programmes will be defined according to the research subjects of 1st and 2nd year students, after the results of PhD Competition 2020

Seminari-laboratorio complementari alla ricerca

Ultimo aggiornamento: 29/05/2020 19:10
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