Associate Professor of Italian
Office: ACAD 230B
Upper division courses in International Studies (Senior Seminar, “Transnational Humanism and the Politics of Literature”); Italian Culture; Italian Literature; Italian Cinema; Italian Drama (in English and Italian)–these courses have been offered on campus and for Study Abroad (Santa Chiara, Italy); all levels of the language sequence (in Italian).
My specialty lies in the analysis of literature, film, and criticism as phenomena that lie at the juncture of critical thinking, different theories of textuality and visuality, and socio-historical drives. I consider all the intellectual objects I query as manifestations or embodiments of a secular, historical, and ethical “aesthetic experience” in the sense that Jacques Rancière gives to the concept, regardless of whether they are first-degree (works of art) or second-degree (works of criticism), or whether they belong to the textual or visual domains, or to high-brow or pop culture. In other words, in my research and in my teaching I am committed to exploring and promoting aesthetic experiences as instruments of personal enlightenment as well as indispensable means toward social equality.
Although my primary research area is modern and contemporary Italian literature and film, the publication in Studi sul Boccaccio of an essay on the Decameron and the role that Dante’s Comedy along with Renaissance and Baroque figurative art play in my latest published monograph on Gadda bear witness to the breadth of my research interests. A penchant for interdisciplinary research and a sustained engagement with the European theoretical tradition characterize my approach. I published essays on the contemporary Spanish experimental cinema of Albert Serra, on Marco Bellocchio’s and Pietro Germi’s films with a special attention to gender issues, on Luca Ronconi’s and Carmelo Bene’s theater, on Antonio Pizzuto and Samuel Beckett’s novels, and all the way back to Alessandro Manzoni’s Promessi sposi and Collodi’s Pinocchio.
In my first monograph, I have pursued this line of questioning through a thematic critical study of the category of “truthful” literary style in the interlacing works of three influential 20th century Italian intellectuals: Gianfranco Contini (the literary critic), Roberto Longhi (the art historian) and Carlo Emilio Gadda (the novelist).
In a second monograph (Bollati Boringhieri, Turin, Italy, 2014), I proposed a radical reassessment of Gadda’s legacy. My exploration of a lesser-known aspect of his oeuvre—the role that the figurative arts and the Comedy play in his works as they shape the inner visual gallery through which Gadda exerts his ethical compass in a gender sensitive manner—shed new light on old interpretive cruces that have historically affected Gadda’s reception both in Italy and in the US.
CURRENT RESEARCH PROJECTS:
The Existence of Italy/Merchants of Enchantments, monograph in progress.