University of Notre Dame

Center for Italian Studies


Newsletter 2010

                                       Lingua Italica Header



Zygmunt Barański, one of the world’s leading Dantists and Italianists, will join the faculty full-time next fall as the first Notre Dame Professor of Dante and Italian Studies. Professor Barański is currently Serena Professor of Italian at the University of Cambridge, where he also served as Head of the Department of Italian.


Italian Studies at Notre Dame:  Through support from the College of Arts and Letters and two grants from the Office of Research, the University has launched an interdisciplinary program in Italian Studies.  The goal is to make Notre Dame one of the preeminent centers for interdisciplinary Italian studies in the world.  The program brings together more than thirty scholars from more than ten departments, including Architecture, Music, Classics, History, Art History, Literature, Anthropology, and Law.  The initiative includes an annual interdisciplinary graduate seminar, an annual humanities summer seminar in Rome, collaborative projects and faculty and student exchanges with the University of Rome and other leading universities, academies and research centers in Italy, the UK, and around the world, graduate fellowships, faculty and post-doctoral research funding, and library resources.


Degree Programs in Italian:  Besides one of the most articulated and flourishing undergraduate Italian programs in the country (over 100 majors and minors in 9 tracks, over 400 students per semester), Notre Dame offers an MA in Italian Studies, a PhD in Literature/Italian, and a PhD in Medieval Studies/Italian.


Italian Studies website  The new portal for all information relating to Italian Studies in any form at Notre Dame and beyond.  Elegantly produced by the Communications Team headed by Marie Blakey, and written and mastered by Charles Leavitt IV.   To submit information or event listings, email  You can also subscribe to a news and events feed on the site.


Notre Dame Humanities Center in Rome:  The University has acquired a significant building near the Coliseum, to host interdisciplinary initiatives in Italian Studies at the post-doctoral, graduate, and undergraduate levels.  It will house the Rome campus of the Architecture Program, the Rome Seminar, conferences, visiting fellows, and resources for the Notre Dame Rome Program.


Rome Seminar: an annual interdisciplinary and international seminar, in collaboration with the University of Rome “La Sapienza,” to be inaugurated June 13-July 1, 2011, on the theme of “Glocal Italy / Italian Glocale.”   See


Devers Program in Dante Studies: Notre Dame is one of the leading centers for the study of Dante worldwide.  Four faculty have specializations in Dante, from different angles: Zygmunt Barański (medieval literary theory, poetics, intellectual and cultural history), Christian Moevs (medieval philosophy, poetics), Theodore Cachey (mapping, geography, language, print history, reception), Vittorio Montemaggi (theology, religion and literature), as well as Umberto Taccheri at ND’s sister college Saint Mary’s (Boethius; medieval vision literature).  The Devers Program supports conferences, postdoctoral fellowships, publications, conferences, lectures, and the Zahm Dante Collection, one of the three greatest Dante collections in North America.  See


The Devers Series in Dante Studies: The twelfth volume, Dennis Looney’s groundbreaking Freedom Readers: The African American Reception of Dante Alighieri and the Divine Comedy is in press.  Beginning in 2011, the Devers Series will expand its breadth to encompass all of 13th and 14th century Italian literature and culture.


New Italian Studies faculty:  Notre Dame welcomes Margot Fassler, previously at Yale, as the Keough-Hesburgh Professor of Music History and Liturgy, an expert in sacred music, medieval liturgy, liturgical drama, and Mariology, and Peter Jeffery, previously at Princeton, as the Michael Grace Chair in Medieval Studies, an expert in Venetian opera and in medieval chant and liturgical music, especially in Rome.  Also joining us are David Hernandez, Assistant Professor of Classics, archaeologist and expert in the topography of ancient Rome, and Krupali Krusche, Assistant Professor of Architecture, an expert in architectural design and the historic preservation of World Heritage sites.


All Roads Lead to Rome:  A generous grant from the Office of Research will fund interdisciplinary library acquisitions in the cartography, topography, and monuments of Rome.  For recent acquisitions, see the Italian Studies website:


Biblioteca Ambrosiana:  Italian Studies and the Medieval Institute are developing a collaborative agreement with this greatest and oldest of the free libraries of Europe for joint bibliographic and research projects, manuscript digitization, cataloguing, faculty and graduate student collaborations, and paleographic seminars.  Notre Dame houses microfilm copies of over 10,000 manuscripts and 50,000 photographs of miniatures and Old Master drawings from the Ambrosiana.


Opera del Vocabolario Italiano:  A long-standing collaboration, through which a number of our graduate students have contributed entries to Il Tesoro della Lingua Italiana delle Origini, a historical dictionary of Italian before 1375, produced by this branch of the famous Accademia della Crusca, founded in 1583.  ND is the only university outside Italy to contribute to the dictionary, through an instructional program in philology involving faculty and graduate students.


Italian university collaborations:  The Italian Studies program is collaborating with the University of Rome “La Sapienza” in faculty and student exchanges, joint conferences, research initiatives, and the Rome Seminar.  We are also developing exchange opportunities with the Università Statale and the Università di Sacro Cuore in Milan, also in relation to several new collaborations with the Biblioteca Ambrosiana.


United Kingdom collaborations:  The Italian Studies program works closely with the Italian program at the University of Leeds, one of the two top-rated Italian programs in the United Kingdom, with a leading Centre for Dante Studies.  The collaboration includes joint conferences, graduate student exchanges, videconference seminars, podcasts, learning assessment and research-led teaching.  We also have an ongoing collaboration with the University of Cambridge, the other top-ranked program, for joint research projects, conferences, and graduate and postgraduate exchanges.


East Asian collaborations: The Italian Studies program is developing collaborative initiatives with Peking University and Fu Jen Catholic University in Taipei for visiting lectureships, conferences, and student exchanges.





Nine options for Majoring or Minoring in Italian!  A Major, Supplementary Major or Honors Major in either the Literature and Culture Concentration (mostly lit-cult courses; 2 ital studies courses) or the Italian Studies Concentration (half lit-cult, half ital studies courses); plus a Minor (3 lit-cult, 2 ital studies), a combined BA/MA in Italian (in five years), and a Major in Romance Languages (6 Italian courses; 6 in French or Spanish).   Something for everyone!


Grants for summer study or research in Italy!  There are many sources at ND, sending at least a dozen students to Italy each summer: CSLC Summer Language Abroad Grants (up to $5,500, deadline February 1); Ravarino Scholarships (up to $3,000; deadline February 1); Nanovic Travel and Research Grants (undergrad up to $4,500, grad up to $5,500, varied deadlines); Nanovic Graduate Language Training Grants (up to $4,500); Nanovic Internship Grants.  For links, see  Apply!


Center for the Study of Languages and Cultures:Stop by 329 DeBartolo for amazing resources, live Italian TV, newspapers, film, peer tutoring, etc. Check out the CSLC Italian Blog:


ROIT 10115 / 20215 Intensives: Take both, and reach 5th-semester courses after one year! Ideal for Bologna, for full immersion, or for rapid progress to upper level courses.


Bologna Program: for complete fluency in Italian, spend a year at the world’s oldest university (founded 1080)!  ND is an Associate Member of the Bologna Consortium.  See   Or spend a semester in the Rome program, which will soon expand to 100 students per year.


Italian Film Series:  Bi-weekly films, this semester on the theme of the family.  Shown with presentations and discussion; contact Alessia Blad for more information.


The Italian Clubhas a record number of members and is very active, including bocce matches.  Contact Tomas Murphy (; the annual soccer tournament is coming up.


Spring courses:  A wide range, including Comedy Italian Style (Welle), The Italian Short Story (Welle), The Hero’s Journey: Adventure Narrative in Italian Literature and Cinema (Italian Seminar; Ferri), Dante II (Moevs), Modern Italian Literature and Culture (Ferri).  Graduate courses include The Italian Questione della Lingua and the Renaissance History of the Book (Cachey) and Religion and Literature: The Example of Primo Levi (Montemaggi).


Paul Bosco Italian Writing Awards: Two prizes, in honor of Paul and Vittoria Bosco, legendary Italian teachers at Notre Dame, given annually for the best papers written in Italian in courses at the 30000 level and at the 40000 levelSubmit your best Italian paper!


Lyric Opera of Chicago:  Two more Italian operas this season, La Fanciulla del West (Puccini) and Ballo in Maschera (Verdi).  Sign up for heavily discounted student tickets through the Next program (





Seminar: Recent Research on Dante’s Vita NovaZygmunt Baranski, the Ravarino Distinguished Visiting Professor, and Claire Honess, Co-Director of the Leeds Centre for Dante Studies, will present their current research.  All are welcome: 4:30 pm, November 3, Special Collections, Hesburgh Library.


Lecture and Discussion: The Past, Present, and Future of Italian Studiesby Zygmunt Baranski, Ravarino Distinguished Visiting Professor.  All are welcome: 4:30 pm, November 8, Special Collections, Hesburgh Library.


Lecture by Cliff Ando(University of Chicago): “The Rites of Others under Rome: Tolerance and Legal Policy in Respect to Non-Roman Religions.”   Thursday, Nov 4, 5 pm, 404 Main Building.


Caffè e Conversazione: two more this semester: Nov 15 and Dec 1, 4:30-5:30 in Decio Commons. All Italophiles welcome!


Expo Roma 2011:  Lectures, exhibits, architectural drawings of Rome and Italy by Architecture students returning from Rome.  Bond Hall, February 18-19.


Venice Baroque Orchestra: One of Europe’s leading period instrument ensembles; music by Vivaldi, Locatelli, Marcello, Albinoni, etc....  At DPAC, Saturday, April 9, 7:30-9:30 pm.





Roberto Dainotto  (Duke University) won the Nanovic Institute’s inaugural $10,000 Shannon Book Prize in the Humanities, for his book Europe (in Theory).  In September he gave a lecture, “Europe (in Practice): Which Culture for the Union?” and led a panel discussion on his book.


Piero Boitani(University of Rome, La Sapienza) and frequent Distinguished Visiting Professor at Notre Dame gave the lecture “Roma Urbi et Orbi: Reflections of a Senator in A.D. 306.” The lecture was followed by a dinner for all Italianists at Notre Dame.


Learning from Rome Colloquium:  In February, the School of Architecture held a two-day colloquium on the influence of the eternal city on art, architecture, and the humanities, with scholars from different disciplines.


Italian Studies Colloquium: In April, Italian faculty and graduate students presented their work in progress in a one-day colloquium.


The World of Piranesi:  Students led by Giovanna Lenzi-Sandusky mounted an exhibit of original Piranesi prints in the Snite Museum with wall-texts in Italian and English, and organized a mini-conference of lectures by invited scholars, in February.


Italian Theatre Workshop: Under the direction of Laurence Hooper, undergraduates presented two fully-staged plays in Italian, Goldoni’s L’osteria della posta and Pirandello’s Bellavita, in April. 


3D Documentation of the Roman Forum: As part of a World Heritage course, faculty and students from the School of Architecture led by Krupali Krusche scanned, measured, and drew the Roman Forum to produce a detailed layered map and architectural blueprints of all its monuments.


Rome as a Classroom: Shaheen Professor of Classics Keith Bradley brought his class “Literature and Empire: The Roman Experience” on a weeklong trip to Rome to explore the political and ideological contexts of Virgil, Lucan, and Tacitus, in Rome’s topography, monuments, and museums.





Zygmunt Barański, one of the world’s leading Dantists and Italianists, who from next fall will be the new Notre Dame Professor of Dante and Italian Studies, is also the Ravarino Distinguished Visiting Professor at Notre Dame this semester.  He is teaching an undergraduate course on film and a graduate course on Dante.


Claire Honess, Senior Lecturer in Italian at the University of Leeds and Co-Director of the Leeds Centre for Dante Studies, is at Notre Dame this semester on a Study Abroad Fellowship from the Leverhulme Trust in London.


Vittorio Montemaggilectured on Gregory the Great, Dante and Shakespeare at King’s College, London, on Dante, Levi and Benigni at the University of Cambridge, gave a paper on Dante and Gregory at the International Medieval Congress at Kalamazoo, and co-authored the Dante entry for the Year’s Work in Modern Language Studies.


John Wellelectured on Pasolini at the University of Chicago, and will lecture on film at the Italian Cultural Institute in Newark in March.   He has been nominated to serve on the MLA Executive Committee on Modern Italian Literature.


Chiara Sbordoni(Assistant Professional Specialist; PhD La Sapienza) is publishing an essay on Piccolomini in The Italianist.


Theodore Cachey, Jr.gave the Tucci Lecture at the University of Pittsburgh, speaking on “Cartographic Dante”, and published articles on Italian literature and geography in the California Italian Studies Journal and the volume Boccaccio Geografico.  He serves as Associate Editor of Dante Studies.


Christian Moevslectured on Dante’s Paradiso at the Università Statale di Milano, and taught a class on Dante at the Liceo Berchet in Milan.  In the spring he will lecture on Dante at Columbia University and at St. John’s College in Annapolis.  He has joined the Board of the Electronic Bulletin of the Dante Society of America and serves on the MLA Executive Committee for Medieval and Renaissance Italian Literature.


Alessia Blad(Asst. Prof. Specialist, Fellow Nanovic Inst) will give a paper at ACTFL in Boston on inter-active web-based learning in Italian, in which Notre Dame has been a leader.


Laurence Hooper, recently Visiting Assistant Professor of Italian and Devers Postdoctoral Fellow, has won the 3-year Donnelley Research Fellowship at the University of Chicago.  He is working on exile and authorship in Dante.


Simone Marchesi(MA 1997 in Italian; PhD Princeton 2002) has received tenure as Associate Professor of Italian at Princeton University.


Angela Capodivacca(BA & MA in Italian; PhD Berkeley) is Assistant Professor and Director of Undergraduate Studies in Italian at Yale.  Other recent ND Italianists who have gone on to PhDs at YaleGiuseppe Gazzola (now Assistant Professor at SUNY Stony Brook), Andrea Moudarres, Giulia Cardillo, and Eleonora Buonocore.


Charles Leavitt, IVhas received the PhD in Literature/Italian, with a distinguished dissertation on Italian Neorealism.  Currently a post-doctoral fellow, he has written the new Italian Studies website (in his spare time!).


James Kriesel(PhD in Medieval Studies/Italian, 2008) has joined the faculty of Colby College as Visiting Assistant Professor of Italian.


Sean Regaand MichelleKeefewon the 2010 Joseph Italo Bosco Award for Superior Achievement in Italian Studies.  Sean is now working in Corporate Global Risk Management for Bank of America (where he gets to use his Italian); Michelle is teaching in the ACE program in Philadelphia.


Elizabeth Simari(BA in Italian, 2008; MA Middlebury 2009), is in Rome working for L'Osservatore Romano, the Vatican newspaper.


Michael Subialka(BA in Italian and in Philosophy, 2006), past Bosco Award winner, is finishing a double PhD in Italian and the Committee on Social Thought at the University of Chicago, with a dissertation on Pirandello.  He has given two papers at the MLA, and has an article forthcoming in the Journal of the Pirandello Society of America.


Damiano Benvegnù, doctoral candidate in the PhD in Literature/Italian, studied Spanish in Madrid on a CSLC summer grant, gave a paper at the AATI, and has published an essay in the volume La Nuova Gioventù: L’eredità intellettuale di Pier Paolo Pasolini.


Filippo Gianferrari, MA candidate in Italian, studied manuscripts of Fra’ Giordano da Pisa and other medieval preachers at libraries in Florence and Bologna on a Ravarino Travel Scholarship.  He plans to present his results at the Newberry Library graduate student conference.





There are now 126 Majors and Minors in Italian, including 13 Romance Languages Majors studying Italian.  More than 400 students take Italian each semester.


Italian was first taught at ND in 1847.