University of Notre Dame

Center for Italian Studies


Presenters and Participants: Rome Seminar 2016

Rome Seminar 2016: People

Organizing Committee

Ingrid Rowland (Notre Dame)

Margaret Meserve (Notre Dame)

Robin Jensen (Notre Dame)

Heather Hyde Minor (Notre Dame)

Scientific Commitee

Theodore Cachey (Notre Dame)


Anne Leone (Notre Dame)

Presenters and Seminar Leaders

Theodore Cachey (Notre Dame)

Ken Hackett (US Ambassador to the Holy See)

Heather Hyde Minor (Notre Dame)

Robin M. Jensen (Notre Dame)

David Karmon (College of the Holy Cross)

Claudia La Malfa (American University of Rome)

Luca Marcozzi (Roma Tre)

Tod Marder (Rutgers)

Elizabeth McCahill (UMass Boston)

Margaret Meserve (Notre Dame)

Roberta Morosini (Wake Forest)

Ingrid Rowland (Notre Dame)

Marco Ruffini (La Sapienza)

Chiara Sbordoni (Leeds)

Victor Plahte Tschudi (Oslo School of Architecture and Design)

Jane Tylus (New York University)

Lila Yawn (John Cabot)


Theodore J. Cachey, Jr.

Theodore J. Cachey, Jr.

Albert J. and Helen M. Ravarino Family Director of Dante and Italian Studies, Co-Chair of Italian Studies,  Inaugural Academic Director of the Notre Dame Rome Global Gateway

Theodore Cachey is professor and director of Italian Studies at Notre Dame. He specializes in Italian Medieval and Renaissance literature. He has authored, edited and co-edited several books, including Le isole fortunate (1994); Pigafetta's First Voyage Around the World (1995, 2007); Dante Now (1995); Petrarch's Guide to the Holy Land (2002), Le culture di Dante (2004), Dante and Petrarch: Anti-dantism, Metaphysics, Tradition (2009).  His essays have appeared in Annali d'Italianistica, Belfagor, California Italian Studies, Intersezioni, The Italianist, Italica, The History of Cartography, Modern Language Notes, Schede umanistiche, and Rivista di letteratura italiana.

Robin M. Jensen

Robin Jensen Photo

Patrick O’Brien Professor of Theology; Concurrent Professor of Art History; University of Notre Dame

Jensen’s work on the origins, style, and content of Late Antique and early Byzantine iconography and architecture attends to the ways they shape ritual action and convey religious meaning. Her most recent work, The Cross: History, Art, and Controversy (Harvard University Press) is scheduled for publication in Spring, 2017. Her other monographs include Understanding Early Christian Art (Routledge, 2000), Face to Face: The Portrait of the Divine in Early Christianity (Fortress Press, 2005), and Christianity in Roman Africa (Eerdmans, 2014). She was a contributing editor for Picturing the Bible: The Earliest Christian Art (Yale, 2007), and is co-editor of the Cambridge History of Late Antique Archaeology, and of the Routledge Companion to Early Christian Art. She serves on the editorial boards of the Faith and Form: The Interfaith Forum on Religion, Art, and Architecture; The Journal of Early Christian Studies; and Inventing Christianity, a series of the University of California Press. She is past president of the North American Patristics Society, and Vice President of the International Catacomb Society.

David Karmon


Associate Professor, College of the Holy Cross

David E. Karmon studies the history of buildings and cities in early modern Europe. Several of his publications have examined the history of archaeology and changing approaches to preservation, including his book The Ruin of the Eternal City: Antiquity and Preservation in Renaissance Rome (Oxford University Press 2011). He is currently a Rome Prize Fellow in Renaissance and Early Modern Studies at the American Academy in Rome, where he is writing a book on the sensory experience of the early modern city titled The Varieties of Architectural Experience: Early Modern Architecture and the Senses.


Claudia La Malfa

Adjunct Professor of History of Art, American University of Rome; Visiting Lecturer, University of Kent 

Claudia La Malfa received her PhD from The Warburg Institute, University of London, in 2003. She is currently writing a monograph on Raphael and the Antique for UK publisher Reaktion Books and organising a conference on Collecting Raphael with Tom Henry and the Tanja Michalsky to be held at the Bibliotheca Hertziana in Rome in April 2017. She has published on Renaissance frescoes, paintings, drawings and sculpture; iconography, revival of antique and history of collections. She recently recorded 30 video-lectures on the History of Collecting for the Italian on-line University, Uninettuno (2014); organised exhibitions (2014 and 2008) and the conference Sculpture in Rome: Rethinking Classicism and Questioning Materiality, The Warburg Institute 25 October 2013 and American Academy in Rome, 16 January 2014.

Luca Marcozzi

Associate Professor of Italian Literature, Roma Tre University

Marcozzi Headshot

Luca Marcozzi earned his BA at Sapienza (1993), a degree in Library Sciences at the Vatican Library (1997) and his PhD at Roma Tre (2000). His research focuses on the classical and medieval legacy in the works of Dante and Petrarch. Among his books and essays, Petrarca lettore di Ovidio (2001), La biblioteca di Febo (2002), Petrarca platonico (2011), the entry The making of Canzoniere in the Cambridge Companion to Petrarch (2015). He edited a Lessico critico petrarchesco (2015) and authored the entry Petrarca, Francesco for the Dizionario Biografico degli Italiani. He authored several essays on Dante’s lyric poetry and Comedy, focusing on rhetoric, relationship with the classics, figurative commentaries; his Dante e il mondo animale (edited with G. Crimi, 2013), won the Lombroso Prize in 2015. In 2013 he taught in the PhD courses at the Notre Dame University as a Fulbright Distinguished Chair. 

Tod Marder

Distinguished Professor of Renaissance & Baroque Architecture, Rutgers University

Tod Marder received his PhD at Columbia University and has taught at Rutgers University for over forty years. He published a book on the history and significance of Bernini's Scala Regia at the Vatican Palace and another volume devoted to Bernini's career as architect. With Mark Wilson Jones he edited a book of essays about the history and reception of the Pantheon from antiquity to the present day. He has served as Editor in Chief of the Journal of the Society of Architectual Historians, is a Fellow of the American Academy in Rome, and recently held the Rudolf Wittkower Professorship at the Bibliotheca Hertziana, Rome.

Elizabeth McCahill

Elizabeth McCahill - Headshot

Associate Professor of History, UMass Boston; Fellow of the American Academy in Rome

Elizabeth McCahill (PhD, Princeton) is an intellectual and cultural historian of Renaissance Rome. Her first book, Reviving the Eternal City: Rome and the Papal Court, 1420-1447 (Harvard, 2013), explores the efforts of humanists and their patrons to reimagine the city and the papacy in the aftermath of the Western Schism. McCahill has written articles on antiquarianism, the humanist job market, and epistolary collections. Her current research focuses on patronage, classical scholarship, ceremony, and reform ideology during the pontificate of Leo X (1513-1521). 

Margaret Meserve

Associate Professor, Department of History; Associate Dean, College of Arts & Letters

Margaret Meserve Headshot

Margaret Meserve studies the Italian Renaissance, especially the histories of printing and book production; history writing, diplomacy, and travel; and the city of Rome and the Papacy in the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries. She is currently working on a book that explores the circulation of news, information, propaganda, and disinformation in Rome in the first decades after the arrival of print (ca 1470-1527). Her previous book, Empires of Islam in Renaissance Historical Thought (Harvard, 2008), surveyed how fifteenth-century historians and political commentators tried to explain the rise and fall of Islamic empires, especially that of the Ottoman Turks. Meserve has also published articles on anti-Turkish polemics in the Renaissance; European reports on Inner Asia in the centuries after Marco Polo; and the printing of crusade propaganda and news reports from the Orient in the first decades after Gutenberg. Two volumes of her translation of the crusading Pope Pius II's autobiographical Commentaries have been published in the I Tatti Renaissance Library. Meserve has won fellowships from the NEH, ACLS, American Academy in Rome, and the Newberry Library in Chicago. At Notre Dame she teaches courses on the Italian Renaissance, Early Modern Rome, Italian social history, and the history of the book.

Marco Ruffini

Associate Professor, Sapienza, University of Rome

Marco Ruffini has taught Art Criticism and Art Literature at Sapienza, University of Rome since 2013. His professional interests include: history and theory of the image; Boccaccio and the visual arts; Vasari’s Lives of the Artists; the patronage of Pope Gregory XIII Boncompagni; the relationship between humanistic culture and natural philosophy in the early modern period. He studied at La Sapienza (B.A. and diploma di specializzazione in Art History), at the Academy of Fine Arts of Rome (B.A. in Painting); at Indiana University (M.A), and at the University of California, Berkeley (Ph.D. in Italian Studies). Fellow at The Warburg Institute and Yale University, he taught at Dartmouth College (2005) and Northwestern University (2005-13).

Chiara Sbordoni

Chiara Sbordoni - Leeds

Teaching Fellow in Italian Medieval and Renaissance Literature, University of Leeds

Chiara Sbordoni earned her BA and PhD at the Università La Sapienza in Rome. Her research interests include fictional letter writing in Medieval and Renaissance Italian literature, and the relationship between oral and written culture in Renaissance Italy, which she studied as a postdoctoral research fellow on the project Oral Culture, Manuscript and Print in Early Modern Italy, 1450-1700 (Italian Voices). She has recently undertaken a new project on Dante and Rome.


Victor Plahte Tschudi

Victor Plahte Tschudi - Headshot

Professor of Architectural History and Theory, Oslo School of Architecture and Design

Victor Plahte Tschudi teaches and writes on architecture from antiquity to the 19th century with a special interest in the transmittance and transformation of buildings in prints and models. Tschudi’s forthcoming book on the effect of print culture on baroque architecture and architectural thought is due in 2016. Tschudi received a Dr. art. from the University of Oslo, a MA from the Courtauld Institute of Art in London, and did his post-doctoral project, The City Edited, at the Norwegian Institute in Rome. He is an associate in the research programmes Place and Displacement: Exhibiting Architecture (funded by The Norwegian Research Council), Topos and Topography: Rome as the Guidebook City (funded by the Swedish Foundation for the Humanities and Social Sciences), and Tracing the Jerusalem Code (funded by The Norwegian Research Council). He is also a member of the advisory board for the Nordic Network of Renaissance Studies (NNRS).

Jane Tylus

Professor of Italian Studies and Comparative Literature, New York University

Jane Tylus Headshot

Jane Tylus is Professor of Italian Studies and Comparative Literature at NYU, where she is faculty director of the Center for the Humanities. Recent books include Siena, City of Secrets (2015), the co-edited Cultures of Early Modern Translation (with Karen Newman, 2015), a translation and edition of the complete poetry of Gaspara Stampa (2010), and Reclaiming Catherine of Siena: Literature, Literacy, and the Signs of Others (2009), for which she won the Howard Marraro Prize for Outstanding Work in Italian Studies from the Modern Language Association. She is General Editor for the journal I Tatti Studies in the Italian Renaissance.  She is currently at work on two monographs, “Saying Good-bye in the Renaissance” and “Pilgrim Words: Linguistic Hospitality in Early Modern Europe,” as well as a translation of Dacia Maraini’s Chiara di Assisi: Elogio della disobbedienza.

Lila Yawn 

John Cabot University

LIla Yawn Headshot

Lila Yawn, Ph.D., is Director of John Cabot University’s new Master of Arts in Art History (inaugural class: Fall 2017) and an Arts and Humanities Advisor at the American Academy in Rome, where she received a two-year pre-doctoral Rome Prize Fellowship (1996-1998). Her publications focus on the working methods of Italian scribes and miniaturists in the eleventh and twelfth centuries; the impact of pilgrimage and papal schisms on the Roman cityscape; the afterlife of the Colosseum; and the reception of the Middle Ages today. She is currently editing the online catalog of William Kentridge’s Triumphs & Laments, a public art project along the Tiber for which she served as Director of Historical Research.



Participants: Rome Seminar 2016


Tracy Bergstrom

Tracy Bergstrom Headshot

Director, Specialized Collection Services Program, Hesburgh Libraries, University of Notre Dame

Tracy Bergstrom is the director of the Specialized Collection Services Program within the Hesburgh Libraries of Notre Dame.  As such, she oversees Rare Books and Special Collections, University Archives, Preservation, and Digital Production. She is also the curator of the Zahm Dante and early Italian imprints collection at Notre Dame and is especially interested in the print history of Dante’s Divine Comedy and the early history of the Vatican Museums. Tracy is a graduate of Smith College and Yale University and holds a bachelor’s degree in Italian Studies and Art History, a Master of Arts degree in Archaeological Studies, and a Master of Library Science degree.


Jennifer Haraguchi 

Jennifer Haraguchi Headshot

Assistant Professor of Italian, Brigham Young University

Jennifer Haraguchi's research focuses on early modern women’s writings, education, and religious history. Recent publications include: “Vita di Eleonora: A Unique Example of Autobiographical Writing in Counter-Reformation Italy,” I Tatti Studies in the Italian Renaissance 17.2 (2014); and “Convent Alternatives for Rich and Poor Girls in Seventeenth-Century Florence: The Lay Conservatories of Eleonora Ramirez di Montalvo (1602–59)” in Devout Laywomen in the Early Modern World, ed. Alison Weber, NY: Routledge, 255-75. She is currently completing a critical edition and translation of selected works of Eleonora Ramirez di Montalvo for the series “The Other Voice in Early Modern Europe.”

Justinne Lake Jedzinak

Justinne Lake Jedzinak Headshot

PhD Candidate, Bryn Mawr College

Justinne is a PhD student in the History of Art department at Bryn Mawr College. Her research interests include Italian Renaissance and Baroque portraiture, with a particular focus on devotional images of saints produced after the Council of Trent. While serving as a graduate teaching assistant in Bryn Mawr's Growth and Structure of Cities Department, she developed an interest in the connection between sacred imagery and sacred spaces. She is looking forward to investigating how ritual, text, image, and the physical environment shaped the sacred topography of Rome and other pilgrimage sites. 


Renato Marvaso

Renato Marvaso gratuated from Pisa University, obtaining the degree of Master of Science in Lingua e Letteratura Italiana with honors. The thesis, entitled Tra empatia e antropologia: la letteratura sociale di Gatti, Moresco, Saviano, was prepared at the end of an experimental research work, with specific focus on the relationship between literary writing mode and the ethnographic one. Renato Marvaso won the doctoral competitive exam (Ph. D.) at Roma Tre University in 2013, where he is currently developing a research project on Verga’s and Zola’s writing methodologies. The research periods abroad include one month study in Liverpool in 2014 and two stays in Paris of four months each one at Université Sorbonne Nouvelle in 2011 and 2015. Renato Marvaso is interested in the following authors: Antonio Moresco; Claudio Morici; Pier Paolo Pasolini; Vasco Pratolini; Gregorio Scalise; Giovanni Verga; Émile Zola.     


Aleksandra Medennikova

Aleksandra Medennikova Headshot

Master degree student, Moscow State University

Medennikova's field of interest is rather vast, from art and architecture of the roman period to artistic connections in the modern times (e.g. "an image of Italy according the landscapes of russian painters"). Medennikova's latest research projects focused on art of the IV century and precisely on studying the architectonic elements in Late Antique and Early Cristian sarcophagi. To develop her knowledge of artistic, historical and topographic issues in Late Antique Rome, Medennikova partcicipated in a student exchange program with the University La Sapienza, and audited classes at the Pontificio Istituto di Archeologia Cristiana.


Valentina Rovere

PhD Candidate, Roma Tre University

Valentina Rovere is getting her Ph.D. at Roma Tre University in Rome and she is currently working on the critical edition and translation of Giovanni Boccaccio’s geographical work, De montibus. She is a graduate of the Cattolica University of Milan and she won the Ente Nazionale Boccaccio’s degree award in 2014 for her master thesis, Il De montibus di G. Boccaccio. Tradizione, fortuna e fonti. Her researches focus mainly on Boccaccio’s latin works and theirs early printed editions, on medieval and humanistic philology, on manuscript traditions of Boccaccio’s works.

Anh Thi Kim Tran

Anh Thi Kim Tran Headshot

Anh Thi Kim Tran is a Dominican Sister of St. Rosa of Lima in Vietnam. She is in the third year of a Master of Divinity at the University of Notre Dame.