Spring 2020

News from the Center for Italian Studies and Devers Family Program in Dante Studies at University of Notre Dame

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 from a broad array of disciplinary perspectives.

For more information about upcoming events and initiatives, explore the Center’s website.

Affiliate News

The Department of Philosophy is pleased to announce the History of Philosophy Forum, whose director is Italian Studies faculty affiliate, Therese Cory (John and Jean Oesterle Associate Professor of Thomistic Studies). In Fall 2020, in collaboration with the Forum, the Society for Medieval and Renaissance Philosophy will host its inaugural stand-alone conference at Notre Dame from Sept. 30 to Oct 2. Learn more here.

Accademia Dei Pugni

Sabrina Ferri, associate professor of Italian and faculty affiliate of the Center for Italian Studies, is co-organizing a conference with Clorinda Donato (George L. Graziadio Chair of Italian Studies, California State University, Long Beach) on the Italian Enlightenment as a part of the annual core program of the UCLA Center for 17th- and 18th-Century Studies at the William Andrews Clark Memorial Library on 5-6 November 2021. After a competitive selection process, Professors Ferri and Donato received major funding for the conference from the UCLA Center for 17th- and 18th-Century Studies. Click here for more information.

Bova Marina Looking West


W. Martin Bloomer (Professor of Classics), Meredith Chesson (Associate Professor of Anthropology), and Charles Leavitt IV (Assistant Professor of Italian), all faculty affiliates of the Center for Italian Studies, have received a grant from the Nanovic Institute for European Studies to pursue a project entitled "Place, Memory, Story in Contemporary Calabria: An Interdisciplinary Approach to the Recuperation of Heritage." Learn more here.

Alberto LoPinto, who completed his Ph.D. in Italian Studies at Notre Dame in 2018 and who was a 5+1 Mellon Postdoctoral Scholar in 2018-19, will spend a year at the Bibliotheca Hertziana – Max Planck Institute for Art History in Rome, where he secured a post-doctoral position as "Wissenschaftlicher Assistent Post-Doc" for a project on "Michelangelo Antonioni's La Notte (1961)."

David G. Lummus, the assistant director of the Center for Italian Studies and Devers Family Program in Dante Studies, was awarded the twenty-second annual Aldo and Jeanne Scaglione Publication Award for a Manuscript in Italian Literary Studies by the Modern Language Association, for his monograph, The City of Poetry: Imagining the Civic Role of the Poet in Fourteenth-Century Italy. It is under contract to be published with Cambridge University Press in Fall 2020. For more details on Lummus' forthcoming book and the award, click here.

Lombardo Cop

The Devers Family Program in Dante Studies announces the publication of Dante e la cultura fiorentina. Bono Giamboni, Brunetto Latini e la formazione intellettuale dei laici, edited by Luca Lombardo, Zygmunt G. Barański, and Theodore J. Cachey, Jr. (Rome: Salerno editrice, 2019). The book collects eleven essays, most of which were first presented at the international workshop “Reconsidering Dante and Brunetto Latini (and Bono Giamboni),” held at Notre Dame’s Rome Global Gateway on 18-19 May 2017, as a part of the multi-year research project Dante’s Florentine Vernacular Culture (Italian, Old French and Occitan), 1280-1301, which was funded and organized by the Devers Family Program in Dante Studies with the Center for Italian Studies. Click here for more information.

Visiting Scholars and Students

The Center welcomes a new group of visiting scholars and students.

Gabriella Saputelli, a researcher at the Institute for the Study of Regionalism, Federalism, and Self-Government (ISSiRFA) in the National Research Council (CNR) in Rome, has been appointed the Distinguished Visiting US-Fulbright Assistant Professor for Spring 2020. The Fulbright Chair is offered as a part of a collaboration between the College of Arts and Letters, the Nanovic Institute for European Studies, and the Fulbright Commission, and is facilitated by the Nanovic Institute, the Department of Romance Languages and Literatures, and the Center for Italian Studies. Saputelli is currently teaching a graduate course on the rule of law and fundamental rights in the European Union.

Marie Curie Logo 400px

Matteo Favaretto, a Marie Sklodowska-Curie Fellow from Ca' Foscari University of Venice, arrived at Notre Dame in Fall 2019 for the first of two years at the University of Notre Dame, where he will be researching the tradition of prosimetra in the vernacular in the early centuries of Italian literature. The project aims to draw up an inventory of these texts, which will be available online. For more information on Favaretto's research and fellowship, see the news story published earlier this year.

In January 2020, the Center for Italian studies was joined by Hasmik Vardanyan, a Ph.D.-student at the University of Verona, working on a project titled "The 'Armenian Dante-esque': Dante in the Armenian Poetry of the 20th Century."

Research Events and Initiatives

Series of Research Seminars Sponsored by the Center for Italian Studies

Spring 2020 Italian Research Seminar at Notre Dame

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 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.

Research Seminar Picture

This spring's Italian Research Seminar features presentations by Justin Steinberg (Professor of Italian Literature, University of Chicago) - "The Artist and the Police: Decameron 8.3"; Italian M.A. Thesis Research Presentations by Magda Collazo (University of Notre Dame) - "Il fu Mattia Pascal: Humanity, Corporeality, and Bureaucracy in Pirandello's Narrative"; Davis Richardson (University of Notre Dame) - "'A Genova ci vanno tutti': Reimagining Representations of Homosexuality in Italy, 1942-53" and Matías Sur (University of Notre Dame) - "The Spiritualization of Modern Man: Leopardi's Tristano"; Roberto Dainotto (Professor of Romance Studies, Duke University) - "Points of View: 'The People' in the 19th-Century Italian Novel"; and Massimo Riva (Professor of Italian Studies, Brown University) - "The World in a Box: A (Curious) History of Virtual Reality."

All meetings of the Italian Research Seminar take place in the Rare Books and Special Collections in Hesburgh Library, room 102. Information on upcoming seminars, dates and times, is posted here.

OVI Video Conference Seminar Series 2020 - "Linguistic Developments and Literary Traditions in 13th- and 14th-Century Italy"
Villa Medicea di Castello

A highlight of the long-standing collaboration between the Center for Italian Studies and the Opera del vocabolario italiano is a series of video conference seminars held on a regular basis and on various topics regarding the early Italian literature, philology, and lexicography.

This fifth series of seminars covers a wide range of topics related to early Italian language and texts. The series will be preceded by two practicum sessions led by Rosella Mosti (OVI) on the TLIO, the OVI databases, and the Vocabolario Dantesco.

The confirmed speakers in this spring's series are (in order of appearance): Rossella Mosti (OVI), James C. Kriesel (Assistant Professor of Italian, Villanova University), Giulio Vaccaro (OVI), Irene Falini (OVI), Leonardo Francalanci (Assistant Teaching Professor of Catalan and Spanish, Notre Dame), Luca Barbieri (OVI), and Chiara Sbordoni (Adjunct Professor in Italian, Notre Dame in Rome).

For a complete schedule and information on each of the upcoming lectures, click here.

For further information on upcoming seminars, contact: Demetrio Yocum, Senior Research Associate and coordinator of the Center's collaborations with the Opera del vocabolario italiano.

Dante Events and Initiatives sponsored by the Devers Family Program in Dante Studies with the Center for Italian Studies

Conference: March 11-13 Voices on Dante's Inferno - A Journey towards the 700th Anniversary of the Poet's Death (March 2019 - March 2021)

Basel Poster Tn

Organized by Zygmunt Barański, Maria Antonietta Terzoli and Vincenzo Vitale (Universität Basel - University of Notre Dame). Hosted by the Institut für Italianistik of the Universität Basel in collaboration with Notre Dame's Center for Italian Studies and Devers Family Program in Dante Studies, this is the third in a series of meetings on Dante's Inferno to mark the 700th anniversary of the poet's death. Five meetings, each of two and a half days, will be held in Basel between March 2019 and March 2021. The aim of the meetings is to assess and discuss the individual cantos. The discussions will bring together the invited speakers, as well as undergraduate and postgraduate students. This third meeting, on March 11-13 at the University of Basel, covers Inferno XV-XXI.

For the complete two-year schedule, click here.



Fourth Annual Ravarino Lecture

This year's lecture, "Niccolò Acciaiuoli: Contradiction and Interdisciplinarity in the Study of Trecento Italy," will be delivered by William Caferro, Gertrude Conaway Vanderbilt Professor of History at Vanderbilt University, on Thursday April 2, 2020 at 5:00PM in the Rare Books & Special Collections (102 Hesburgh Library).

Andrea Del Castagno Niccolo Acciauoli Detail

This lecture will address the varied aspects of the career of Niccolò Acciaiuoli, whom his modern biographer called an "oggetto misterioso" - a banker become a landed lord; a founder of a chivalric order, who stood at the head of mercenary armies; a man filled with grandezza, who built the Certosa in Florence for the humblest of monks (the most silent ones) but also to glorify himself; and also an Italian who is deeply connected to Greece and Byzantium, the latter a major source of his wealth.
The talk will be followed by a reception just outside the lecture room, to which all are invited. More details will be posted here as the date approaches.

Research Initiatives and Seminars with Faculty Affiliates of the Center for Italian Studies

Bordogna Francesca

HPS Colloquium: "William James and Modernist Sciences of Action, Italy 1900-1943" - Francesca Bordogna
Tuesday, April 21, 2020 from 4:00PM - 5:30PM in O'Shaughnessy Hall, Room 201

Francesca Bordogna (Associate Professor, Program of Liberal Studies) will present her research as a part of the History and Philosophy of Science Colloquium. Her research concentrates on the history of the sciences and technologies of the mind, especially psychology, and their relationships with philosophy. For details click here.

Conference: "Set to Music: Music and Performance as a Pedagogical Tool in the Foreign Language and Culture Classroom"
Friday, April 24- Saturday, April 25, 2020

Organized by the teaching faculty in the Italian Studies section of the Department of Romance Languages and Literatures at the University of Notre Dame, in collaboration with the Center for Italian Studies and the Institute for Scholarship in the Liberal Arts, this conference seeks to investigate the theories that support the use of music and performance more broadly as pedagogical tools, and to explore practical ways to implement activities related to music and performance in the classroom.

The conference will include presentations from educators of Italian, French, Spanish, Arabic and English as a second language, with sessions focusing on the use of music and performance in the classroom as a way for students to explore central concepts such as identity, historiography, globalization, multiculturalism and ethnicity, in addition to its many uses to further second language acquisition. One session will also present the ways in which music and performance can serve as an outreach effort uniting faculty and students with members of the community outside of the program and campus.

The conference will feature two keynote speakers, Alessandro Carrera (John and Rebecca Moores Professor of Italian Studies, University of Houston) and Francesco Ciabattoni (Professor in Italian Literature, Georgetown University). Both Carrera and Ciabattoni are doing unparalleled research in the field of Italian popular music and often incorporate this research into their course offerings.

For more information as the event draws nearer, click here.

News from the Undergraduate Italian Program at University of Notre Dame

This spring, the Undergraduate Program in Italian at Notre Dame has once again seen a record number of students enrolled in our spring language courses and upper-level courses. At a time when languages programs around the country are facing challenges, Italian Studies is an area of exceptional and growing strength at the University of Notre Dame. Great resources, outstanding faculty, and ground breaking institutional initiatives create unparalleled opportunities for both graduate and undergraduate study in the field of Italian Studies.

Some of the highlights from the graduating Class of 2019:

  • 6 of the 8 Senior Theses in the Department of Romance Languages and Literatures were by Italian Majors
  • 30 new inductees in the Gamma Kappa Alpha National Italian Honor Society
  • 7 majors, 5 supplementary majors, and 26 minors
  • Senior Gianna Van Heel was awarded both the Nuner Award for Excellence in a Modern and Classical Language in the College of Arts and Letters and the Joseph Italo Bosco Award for Superior Achievement in Italian Studies.

"Mediterranean Sì: Italianità in Italy and the World" - A Night of Italian Music at Notre Dame

On Friday, April 24, 2020, members of the Italian community at Notre Dame and in South Bend will gather for another unforgettable evening of Italian music, the fourth of its kind. Because of popular demand, this year's concert will once again take place in one of Notre Dame's beautiful facilities, the Leighton Concert Hall in the DeBartolo Performing Arts Center. The concert, Mediterranean Sì: Italianità in Italy and the World, expertly curated by Lesley Marcantonio (Assistant Teaching Professor of Italian), will feature the same core group of vocalists at the microphone: Lesley Marcantonio, Anne Leone (Assistant Professor of Italian, Syracuse University), and Patrick Vivirito (Associate Teaching Professor of Italian). The vocalists will be accompanied by Joseph Rosenberg (Assistant Professor, Program of Liberal Studies) and Anthony Monta (Visiting Assistant Professor of English, Holy Cross College), two talented musicians who have played key roles in previous concerts.

Concert Group Singers

Marcantonio is behind the themes of the previous concerts, from "Voci italiane: Singing the History of Italy" in 2017 to "Ribelli e rivoluzionari: The Role of the Artist in Italy" in 2018, and this year will be no different. When asked about the origin of this year's theme, Marcantonio explained, "In the past I have chosen a theme to fit the songs. This year, the theme came first. It came from three directions. First, the film Fuocoammare (Fire at Sea, dir. Gianfranco Rosi, 2016) played in Notre Dame's Browning Cinema four years ago and planted a seed that took root; it is a film that doesn't leave you once you have seen it. Immigration past and present as something Italian stuck with me. Second, my students and I share a lot of music, suggesting songs back and forth, playing them in class, looking at lyrics together. Last year, I noticed that a few of the recurring favorites were written by children of immigrants to Italy: Tunisian-Italians, Egyptian-Italians. Considering themselves Italian, with no conflict of identity, their music and lyrics were a great mix of Italian and Mediterranean sounds." Finally, Marcantonio credits her sister for the title and her ability to put Lesley's thoughts into words. Overall, Marcantonio hopes that the setlist will show the audience that "Italy's reception and assimilation of other Mediterranean cultures is what 'Italian' means - from the medieval court of King Frederick II to the music that our students are listening to on Italy's top 10 on Spotify."

Concert Darden Students

We are thrilled to host once again as our special guests at this year's concert the 2nd-graders of Darden Primary Center, a local South Bend elementary school. The Darden students have been working with Notre Dame Italian students throughout the year in order to learn an Italian children's song, Il caffè della Peppina, made famous by lo Zecchino d'oro, an international children's song competition televised on Italian TV. At our last concert, the Darden students and their families were our guests both on stage and in the audience, with over 200 members of the Darden community coming to Notre Dame to experience this evening of Italian music on campus.

The concert of 2018 was filmed professionally and can be viewed by clicking here.

We look forward to another truly special evening of song to be enjoyed by 800+ Italophiles of the South Bend community!

This will be a free but ticketed event, which will also be broadcast by WNIT Public Television here in South Bend. As the date approaches, more information will be posted here.

Community-Based Outreach Continues in Italian Language Program

Throughout the 2017-8 academic year, Notre Dame Italian language students in the second level, under the direction of Teaching Professors Tiziana Serafini, Patrick Vivirito, Alessia Blad, Katie Boyle and Lesley Marcantonio, visited South Bend's Darden Primary Center to teach the Darden 2nd-grade students a children's song in Italian made famous by the Italian children's program, lo Zecchino d'oro. The year-long project was capped off by the Darden students getting on stage to perform their Italian song, Il coccodrillo come fa, before the intermission of the Italian spring concert in front of an audience over 800, including some 200 members of the Darden community.

Darden Caffe

Because of the success of the pilot program with Darden and the strong partnership that developed been ND Italian faculty and the teachers and administration at Darden, this fall many Italian language students and faculty traveled the short distance over to Darden to work with a new group of roughly 75 2nd-grade students and already have three more dates on the calendar for the spring semester. This year's song is another Zecchino d'oro classic, Il caffè della Peppina, which will be performed at the concert on Friday, April 24th at 7 PM in the DeBartolo Performing Arts Center. Because of the many benefits of music we have experienced in our program, we continue to see music as the perfect way to introduce the students at Darden to the Italian language and culture. This year the community-based outreach opportunity was opened up to students of Italian language across the levels, as many students choose to continue to participate from one semester to the next.
The Italian program looks forward to welcoming the Darden 2nd-graders and their families to campus and this wonderful celebration of Italian music in April.

Course Initiatives in Italian

ROIT 64050 – Italian Graduate Reading – Summer 2020

This recently redesigned online course, intended as an intensive study of Italian grammar and syntax for graduate students working in the humanities or sciences who are interested in gaining reading proficiency in Italian, will be offered again this summer by Katie Boyle (Associate Teaching Professor of Italian). This course is designed with reading for research purposes as the central aim and focuses its written work on skills graduate students would need to conduct a portion of their research in the target language, such as scanning a text, reading an article or chapter in the primary language, translating short excerpts for citation purposes, and being able to contextualize readings and summarize content within an argument. In addition to working on these skills, students in this course will work their way through a grammar textbook and focus on building vocabulary through reading and the use of a high frequency dictionary. Final projects will allow students to work on a text from their own field, chosen in consultation with the instructor. All students who earn an A in this course will receive credit for passing the graduate reading exam. For additional information about this course, please contact Katie Boyle (kboyle6@nd.edu).

Editor’s Note: For more information about the newsletter or to contribute to future editions, please contact Katie Boyle: (kboyle6@nd.edu).