Dr David Barnes




Postdoctoral Researcher, University of Oxford.

Specialist research areas:

Fascism (especially Italian Fascism), and its cultural impact in the early twentieth-century; the language and rhetoric of fascist and radical right politics; cultural nationalism; imperialism and imperialist politics from 1890 to the present; racism and the history of ‘white’ identity in the U.S. and Europe; eugenicist discourses; urban and environmental history; the literatures of nationalist, imperialist and radical right politics.

Available for consultation in the following areas:

Policy formation and reports; government/third-sector/charity consultancy; media interviews (broadcast) and opinion pieces (online and print).


Dr. David Barnes holds a BA in English Literature from St. Peter’s College, Oxford and an MA and PhD from Queen Mary, University of London. He is an expert in the cultural history of nationalism and fascism from the 19th century to the present. His first book The Venice Myth (Routledge, 2014) looked at the cultural and political myth-making around this most famous of Italian cities, arguing that Venice was central to Fascist thinking about regeneration, rebirth and empire. The book contained groundbreaking discussions of writers and cultural figures like John Ruskin, Ezra Pound and the Futurist fascist F.T. Marinetti.

Subsequently, Dr. Barnes has edited a special issue of the journal Modernist Cultures (Edinburgh University Press, 2016) on transatlantic exchanges in the early twentieth century. He has published articles on a range of topics including on: D.H. Lawrence and Mexican nationalism (2017); Ernest Hemingway and the proto-fascist Primo de Rivera dictatorship in Spain (2016); and a much-cited essay on Ezra Pound and Italian Fascism in the 1930s for the Journal of Modern Literature (2010).

Dr. Barnes teaches undergraduate and postgraduate students in 19th, 20th and 21st century literature and history, and has held full-time academic posts at Birmingham and Oxford universities, and visiting lectureships at Emmanuel College, Cambridge and the Cambridge Institute of Continuing Education. In 2016-17, he was the Lillian Gary Taylor Visiting Fellow in American Literature at the University of Virginia. His current work is increasingly engaged with medical and environmental history, and the space of overlap between political, cultural, literary and scientific discourses. Another current research interest is in the cultural history of ‘white’ identity in the United States. He looks at how the idea of ‘whiteness’ came to be so important in the early twentieth century.

Dr. Barnes is committed to public engagement. Before commencing postgraduate study, he trained and practiced as a print journalist in London, and he has written for a range of newspapers and magazines including Times Higher Education, Times Literary Supplement, The Guardian and The Times. He has been interviewed on BBC Radio on the subject of his work, and he regularly writes and consults for a radio production company, Cast Iron. He is currently producing a series for BBC Radio 3.