Newsletter Fall 2018
The Center for Italian Studies at the University of Notre Dame provides a permanent home for the research, education, and outreach initiatives previously coordinated by Notre Dame's Italian Studies program and the Devers Family Program in Dante Studies, and their partners on campus, in Rome, and around the world. The mission of the Center is to support research and education in the languages, cultures, and peoples of Italy past, present, and future from a broad array of disciplinary perspectives. The Center supports Notre Dame faculty and students in Italian studies with its annual program of seminars and lectures; the research grants and fellowships it offers; its publications, library resources, and digital humanities initiatives; and through its internal research projects and international collaborations. These include partners in the US and abroad, including projects and initiatives at the Rome Global Gateway. The Center also organizes, sponsors, and co-sponsors outreach activities to celebrate and promote the study of Italy's languages, cultures, and peoples among Notre Dame's students and faculty.
Joining the Center for Italian Studies is Dr. David Lummus, who comes to Notre Dame from Stanford University where he taught in the Department of French and Italian. When explaining his new role at the Center for Italian Studies at Notre Dame, Lummus writes, "As assistant director of the Center for Italian Studies, I will be the main point of contact for the Center's many scholarly, educational, and outreach initiatives both at the university and in collaboration with other institutions. I am looking forward to working together with the faculty director, Professor Ted Cachey, to advance the mission of the Center. It is exciting to be a part of such an intellectually rich and collaborative community."
For more information about upcoming events and initiatives, visit the Center's website or contact Dr. David Lummus. Please stop by the Center in 331 O'Shaughnessy Hall during office hours to enjoy an Italian espresso!
Research Events and Initiatives at the Center for Italian Studies
The Italian Research Seminar at Notre Dame, a core event of the Center for Italian Studies, aims to provide a regular forum for faculty, postdoctoral scholars, graduate students, and colleagues from other universities to present and discuss their current research. The Seminar is vigorously interdisciplinary, and embraces all areas of Italian history, language, and culture (from literature to film, from art history to music, and from anthropology to architecture), as well as perceptions of Italy, its achievements and its people in other national and international cultures. The Seminar constitutes an important element in the effort by Notre Dame's Center for Italian Studies to promote the study of Italy and to serve as a strategic point of contact for scholarly exchange.
This fall's Italian Research Seminar features presentations by Dr. Charles Leavitt (Notre Dame) - "The Scene of the Crime: Tombolo On- and Off-Screen"; Dr. Dana Renga (The Ohio State University) - "The Face of Recent Italian Criminal Television: Gomorrah and Beyond"; Dr. Alberto Zambenedetti (U of Toronto) - "Fascist Im/Mobilities: A Decade of Amedeo Nazzari"; and Lorenzo Dell'Oso (Ph.D. Candidate in Italian Studies - Notre Dame) - "Dante's Florentine Intellectual Formation: From Quodlibets to the Vita nuova."
All meetings of the Italian Research Seminar take place in the Rare Books and Special Collections in Hesburgh Library. Click here for more details on upcoming seminars, dates and times.
Lecture by Prof. Fabrizio Franceschini (Pisa): "Primo Levi e Dante: quattro casi (più o meno noti)" / "Primo Levi & Dante: Four Cases (More or Less Known)"
Please join us on Thursday, October 25, 2018 at 5:00 pm when Prof. Fabrizio Franceschini will present a lecture in Italian, "Primo Levi e Dante: quattro casi (più o meno noti)" in the Rare Books and Special Collections of Hesburgh Library.
Prof. Franceschini is a Professor of Italian Linguistics and History of the Italian Language at the University of Pisa, where he is Vice President of the Center for Jewish Studies (Centro Interdipartimentale di Studi Ebraici). He has published on Italian linguistics, the history of the Italian language, and Italian philology across all epochs of the Italian tradition. His research has focused on the language and historical aspects of Dante's Commedia and the early commentary tradition surrounding the poem. His current research addresses the presence of Dante in Primo Levi's works.
Teleconference: Re-reading Dante's Vita nova: Chapters 28-34
Friday, December 7, 9 am - 12 pm in Room 121 of the Information Technology Center
"Re-reading Dante's Vita nova" is a collaborative research project involving researchers from University College London, the University of Bristol, the University of Cambridge, the University of Leeds, the University of Notre Dame, the University of Oxford, the University of Reading, and the University of Warwick. A series of events held over two years, each will focus on a different section of Dante's Vita nova, its contexts, and its implications, and will produce a vibrant and varied new reading of this text.
Lectures are live streamed and discussions are facilitated via teleconference.
The reading of Chapters 28 - 34 on December 7th will be hosted at the University of Cambridge, and the discussion will take place mostly in English. Notre Dame will participate via teleconference from Room 121 in the Information Technology Center.
January 2019 - Chapters 35-39, University of Warwick
May 2019 - Chapters 40-42, University of Notre Dame, Rome Global Gateway
Further details for each event will be available as the date nears. Some dates may be subject to change, so please check back. For further information about this project, see the workshop schedule and the workshop's blog. please see the following links:
The Center for Italian Studies welcomes Leonardo Canova from the University of Pisa where he is a second-year PhD candidate in Italian Studies. Leonardo joins the University of Notre Dame as a Research visitor in Italian. During his time in residence, he plans to continue his dissertation research focusing on the "bestiary" of Dante's Comedy. Canova is also an expert member of the Interdepartmental Center for Jewish Studies (University of Pisa) and an associate of the Lucca Historical Institute. His research interests include Dante and the history of the Italian language, Primo Levi, Jewish language and culture, and Dante reception in contemporary pop culture.
Celebrating Dr. John P. Welle's Many Years of Teaching, Scholarship and Service at the University of Notre Dame
In May of 2018, the Italian Studies faculty, the Departments of Romance Languages and Literatures and Film, Television and Theater, and the University of Notre Dame community at large celebrated the incredible career and over 30 years of teaching, scholarship and service of Dr. John P. Welle.
As a Professor of Italian and Concurrent Professor of Film, Television, and Theater, and a specialist in modern Italian literature and culture, including twentieth-century poetry and translation, early and silent cinema, film and literary interactions, and popular culture and media, Professor Welle's contributions at Notre Dame are immeasurable. In addition to his scholarship, Prof. Welle's leadership spanning the history of the MA program in Italian Studies, and the recent inauguration of the PhD program in Italian Studies, have had an incredible impact on the field of Italian Studies in North America. He has mentored many scholars who are currently active in the professoriate throughout North America and trace their beginnings in Italian studies to Notre Dame's MA program.
Prof. Welle was honored at the April 2018 Gamma Kappa Alpha Italian National Honor Society award ceremony for Notre Dame undergraduate students, a program which he organized and convened annually for many years. Before Prof. Welle treated students to a wonderfully entertaining lecture about how he came to his passion for Italian culture and became a professor of Italian, he was honored by his colleague of many years, Prof. Christian Moevs. In a heartfelt tribute to John, Prof. Moevs described him by saying, "John Welle has always been the best colleague -- and friend -- that one could ever ask for, an absolute model of integrity, fairness, generosity, intelligence, deep learning, high standards, serious commitment, human warmth, and very good humor. It is a most precious balance, and an inspiration to all who know him."
These sentiments were echoed by Chair of the Department of Romance Languages and Literatures, Prof. Tom Anderson, and Professor of Italian Ted Cachey, who both honored Welle at his retirement celebration in early May. Anderson spoke of Welle's collegiality and incredible generosity as a mentor to new faculty and in support of his colleagues, as a senior member of the department. In his remarks, Cachey recalled a common expression used to describe John, "John is a rock. It was a simple way of saying amongst ourselves that whatever the situation was, John could be counted on for his judiciousness, his wisdom, compassion, his humanity. In other words, he could be counted on to help us as a community, to do the right thing."
On May 18, 2018, Prof. Welle delivered the charge to the graduating class of 2018 in the Department of Romance Languages and Literatures. As he spoke to the graduates about their shared experience in finishing their time at Notre Dame and moving on to a new adventure, Prof. Welle shared some favorite lines from one of Ezra Pound's Pisan Cantos:
"What thou lovest well remains, the rest is dross.
What though lovest well shall not be reft from thee.
What thou lovest well is thy true inheritance."
(Ezra Pound, Canto LXXXI)
On behalf of the Italian Studies faculty and the Department of Romance Languages and Literatures, we would like to thank Prof. John Welle for the standard of excellence that he leaves us, both in and out of the classroom. John's imprint on Italian Studies at Notre Dame certainly will remain.
The Italian Studies faculty welcomes back to Notre Dame Prof. Charles Leavitt, who joined the Italian Studies faculty this August as an Assistant Professor of Italian. After completing his M.A. and Ph.D. at the University of Notre Dame, Prof. Leavitt taught for several years at the University of Reading (UK). His research interests include modern and contemporary Italian literature and cinema, post-war Italian history, and the intersections between the Italian and African-American experience. He is the co-editor of the Italianist film issue and a Visiting Research Fellow of the University of Reading (UK). Prof. Leavitt is currently completing a monograph on Italian neorealism. He has also contributed to several books, including World Film Locations: Florence (Intellect Books, 2014); Transmissions of Memory: Echoes, Traumas, and Nostalgia in Post-World War II Italian Culture (Fairleigh Dickinson University Press, 2018); and The Total Art: Italian Cinema from Silent Screen to Digital Age (Bloomsbury, 2019). Prof. Leavitt's work has also appeared in leading scholarly publications including Modern Language Notes, Italian Culture, the Journal of Modern Italian Studies, California Italian Studies, Tre Corone, and the Italianist. As a fellow of the UK's Higher Education Academy, Prof. Leavitt received an Outstanding Contribution to Teaching Excellence Award from the University of Reading and a Kaneb Distinguished Graduate Teaching Award from the University of Notre Dame during his graduate studies.
In recalling Leavitt's time at Notre Dame and new role as a colleague in the Italian Studies faculty, Prof. Zyg Barański said, "Back in the early 2000s, when I first met Chuck-he was a student in one of my graduate classes-I didn't really notice him. He sat quietly and took notes. However, a few minutes into his first presentation-on Dante's 'stony' lyric poems, if memory serves-I could not but take notice. And I've been taking notice of Chuck, both as one of my closest friends and as an outstanding scholar, ever since."
In his new role at Notre Dame, Prof. Leavitt will collaborate with Tracy Bergstrom, Italian Studies Librarian, on The Christopher G. Wagstaff Italian Film collection, which encompasses more than two thousand Italian films and television programs. Amassed over many years by Professor Wagstaff, the collections spans over one hundred years of Italian film history from Inferno (1911), the first feature-length film to be produced in Italy, to La grande bellezza (2013), winner of the Academy Award for the Best Foreign Language Film. The collection also includes international productions from England and the United States as well as Italian TV movies such as the Rai-produced Il commissario Montalbano series. Additional content includes rare interviews with Italian actors, directors, and scholars, documentaries, movie extras, and commercials.
Professor Wagstaff donated his collection to the University of Notre Dame in 2015. Individual films are currently being described within the Hesburgh Libraries' catalogue. While this work is ongoing, there is a list indexing all films' titles and directors.
On Tuesday, April 24th 2018, students and faculty of Italian gathered together in the reading room of Special Collections & Rare Books at the Hesburgh Library to honor graduating seniors for their outstanding achievements. This year the Italian Studies program inducted 31 students into the Italian National Honor Society, Gamma Kappa Alpha, which acknowledges superior scholastic performance in the field of Italian language, literature, and culture. Notre Dame's Italian program is a longstanding member of this national honor society.
Each spring the Italian Studies Honors Convocation features a lecture given by a guest speaker chosen by the department. This year's speaker was Prof. John Welle, who treated us to a wonderful lecture about his passion for Italian culture and how he first began teaching Italian. Also honored at this year's honors convocation was senior Italian major Mia Mologousis, who was awarded the Joseph Italo Bosco Award for Excellence in Italian Studies by the Director of Undergraduate Studies in Italian, Prof. Christian Moevs. In addition to being inducted during the ceremony in April, all new members were also recognized at the Department of Romance Languages and Literatures annual Recognition Ceremony during the graduation ceremonies in May.
At April's awards ceremony, we also acknowledged the ten students who received Ravarino Travel Scholarships for summer study in Italy, amounting to roughly $25,000 in financial support. Thanks to a generous gift form the Ravarino family, the Italian Studies program is able to offer recipients of these scholarships financial support to attend programs at Dante Alighieri in Siena, Sant'Anna Institute in Sorrento, Leonardo da Vinci in Rome and Leonardo da Vinci in Florence throughout the summer. Reflecting on her experience abroad, grant recipient Jane Driano commented, "I am grateful for the opportunity to study abroad in the beautiful Sorrento, Italy thanks to the generosity of the Ravarino Grant. Being in a small town, I was able to forge relationships with the locals who were eager to help me practice my Italian. The classes I took at the Sant'Anna Institute exposed me to new aspects of the Italian culture while allowing me to improve my speaking abilities." Matthew Canonico, who studied in Florence this summer, echoed these sentiments adding, "The Ravarino funding I received this summer afforded me the opportunity for great personal, cultural, and linguistic growth. The opportunity to undertake a trip such as this one independently was a valuable learning experience. The funding provided by the Ravarino family really allowed me to experience Italy more fully."
Congratulations to the Class of 2018!
Friday, September 28th from 2-3 pm at various locations around campus and at the Rome Global Gateway
Please join Italian Studies at Notre Dame for an afternoon of Dante starting at 2 pm in the Annenberg Auditorium in the Snite Museum of Art and ending at the Grotto. The annual Dante Now! event is dedicated to performing and understanding Dante's Divine Comedy around Notre Dame's campus, both in South Bend and Rome.
Professor Christian Moevs will kick off the event with an illustrated public talk to be enjoyed by members of the Italian community at Notre Dame and broadcast live to participants at Notre Dame's Global Gateway in Rome. This is the first year that students studying abroad at the Rome Global Gateway will open their gates to neighbors and passers-by with an invitation to participate in Dante Now! and perform around the Celio neighborhood in Rome before enjoying Prof. Moevs' lecture. The RGG's decision to bring Dante Now!, a tradition on the South Bend campus since the fall of 2012, is another example of the way in which the faculty, staff and students of the RGG aim to contribute to the rich cultural life of the Celio and foster the integration of their university community into the larger community of the neighborhood.
After Prof. Moevs' lecture, Italian students and faculty at Notre Dame will make their way to the Grotto stopping at well-known campus landmarks to recite portions of Dante's Divine Comedy for the campus community and those visiting on what will surely be a busy football Friday!
Click here to view the video of the inaugural Dante Now! Performance. Join us Friday, September 28th at 2 pm in the Annenberg Auditorium in the Snite Museum of Art.
On Friday, April 13, 2018, in front of a sold-out concert hall, members of the Italian community at Notre Dame and in South Bend gathered for an unforgettable evening of Italian music, the third of its kind. Because of popular demand and previous sold-out concerts, last year's concert was moved to one of Notre Dame's beautiful facilities, the Leighton Concert Hall in the DeBartolo Performing Arts Center. The concert, Ribelli e rivoluzionari: The Role of the Artist in Italy, once again organized by Prof. Lesley Marcantonio and her ROIT20202 Intermediate Italian II students, saw the return of many of the same core band of musicians - Prof. Lesley Marcantonio, Prof. Anne Leone, Prof. Patrick Vivirito. The vocalists were accompanied by Prof. Joseph Rosenberg, Associate Director of the Nanovic Institute for European Studies, Anthony Monta, Grammy-award winning ND Sacred Music Composer J.J. Wright, and students from the ND jazz band. Adding to the vocal talent of last year's concert were two Notre Dame students of Italian, Veronica Perez and Colin McCarthy, who each sang a song.
Last year's concert Ribelli e rivoluzionari: The Role of the Artist in Italy, celebrated the artist in Italy as the voice, or spirit, of the people, who struggle against power and conformism. It celebrated the artist who takes positions that refuse to be bought by power, through comedy, love song, story-telling, and more. The songs and singers remain icons for young Italians today who are just as passionately moved by even the earliest hits and who consider them voices and personalities of a great Italy.
An exciting new feature of last year's concert was the participation of the 2nd-graders of Darden Primary Center, a local South Bend elementary school, whose students worked with Notre Dame Italian students throughout the year and learned an Italian children's song, Il coccodrillo come fa, made famous by lo Zecchino d'oro, an international children's song competition televised on Italian tv. The Darden students and their families were our special guests both on stage and in the audience of last year's concert. When describing the experience of the concert, Lesley Marcantonio, whose talent and passion for music is behind it all, said, "The concert was something we barely dared to dream about. Hundreds of people of all ages, those who knew Italy only as the birthplace of pizza sitting next to some of the greatest Italian scholars in the world, singing together some of Italy's greatest songs." Patrick Vivirito, singing in his second Italian concert, added, "The Italian concert is a unique way to showcase the work that our students and faculty do all year long, as well as a serious engagement with the rest of the university and the local community. It is deeply gratifying to be a part of such a magical experience that has become a Notre Dame tradition."
To read more about the concert, see Italian student and reporter for The Observer, Catherine Barra's review of the event.
It was truly a special evening of song enjoyed by 800+ Italophiles of the South Bend community!
This past summer Notre Dame Professor Tiziana Serafini offered a new beginning Italian class focused on integrating the learning of Italian with the practice and place-specific opportunities offered by the city of Rome. In addition to traditional instruction in class, students of Prof. Serafini's course were taken to several locations where they were able to practice the language skills learned in the classroom in real life settings. These practical situations focused on the basic needs of everyday life living and studying in another country, such as morning coffee at a local "bar," navigating the public transportation system, shopping for food and clothes, just to name a few. Students also learned about typical stores, places of entertainment specific to Rome, such as the food market in Piazza Campo de' Fiori or the quaint restaurants in Testaccio or Trastevere. As a native of Rome, Prof. Serafini was able to introduce students to places off the beaten path, such as the organic stores in the ex-Mattatoio, the "erboristerie" or the "cinema d'essai." Class sessions also featured meetings with local field specialists, such as cooking experts, art historians, and health food professionals.
A highlight of this summer learning experience was a beautiful bilingual exhibition, "Inner and Outer Spaces in Italy," which allowed students of Prof. Serafini's class to share their language immersion and cultural experiences during the Rome Summer Session at the Notre Dame Rome Global Gateway.
Reflecting back on her experience this summer, Prof. Serafini said, "Devising Beginning Italian and teaching it in the magnificent Notre Dame Rome Global Gateway by the Colosseum was an amazing experience! It was powerful to see my students make huge daily progress by engaging in social interaction with Italians, and practicing their language skills in real-life situations. They were immersed in experiential learning that ranged from almost daily trips to local stores and supermarkets, to an afternoon spent with Italian university students, and a cooking class offered by a professional in the field. To top it all off, they organized an exhibit of their journey called Inner and Outer Spaces in Italy, which I hope will be for them a permanent memento of those unforgettable five weeks."
For the first time this fall, the beginning and accelerated Italian language courses will gather together on five Fridays for a special lecture series introducing students to the many professors in the Italian Studies department at Notre Dame. The lecture series, featuring presentations by Profs. Sabrina Ferri, Zyg Barański, Ted Cachey, Christian Moevs and Charles Leavitt, also serves to introduce new students of Italian to the variety of Italian courses taught at Notre Dame and the innovative research being done by ND faculty, ranging from Dante to rebuilding Italy after World War II. This new lecture series is representative of the collaborative work done by members of the Italian faculty at all levels that is at the heart of Italian Studies at Notre Dame.
Three Friday lectures remain on October 5th, October 26th and November 16th. For more information regarding times and locations of the remaining lectures, please contact Prof. Alessia Blad, Language Course Coordinator in Italian.