University of Notre Dame

Center for Italian Studies


Rome Seminar Faculty

The Rome Seminar is directed by:

  • Zygmunt G. Baranski (University of Notre Dame)
  • Robert S. C. Gordon (Cambridge University)
  • Alan O'Leary (University of Leeds)


The program is coordinated by a scientific committee that also includes:

  • Joseph Buttigieg (University of Notre Dame)
  • Piero Boitani (University of Rome “La Sapienza”)
  • Theodore Cachey (University of Notre Dame)


Zygmunt G

Zygmunt G. Baranski

Notre Dame Professor of Dante and Italian Studies and Emeritus Serena Professor of Italian, University of Cambridge

Professor Baranski is among the world's leading authorities on Dante, medieval Italian literature, medieval poetics, and modern Italian literature, film, and culture. His publications include Petrarch and Dante. Anti-Dantism, Metaphysics, Tradition (Co-editor Theodore Cachey. Notre Dame: University of Notre Dame Press, 2009); "Chiosar con altro testo". Leggere Dante nel Trecento (Florence: Cadmo, 2001); Dante e i segni. Saggi per una storia intellettuale di Dante (Naples: Liguori, 2000); Cambridge Companion to Modern Italian Culture (Co-editor Rebecca West. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2001); Pasolini Old and New. Surveys and Studies (Ed. Dublin: Four Courts Press, 1999); "Sole nuovo, luce nuova". Saggi sul rinnovamento culturale in Dante (Turin: Scriptorium, 1996).


Jacopo Benci

Assistant Director for Fine Arts, British School of Rome.

Benci's work, encompassing photography, video, film, installation, performance,has been shown in Italy, Argentina, Ecuador, France, Germany, Great Britain, Hungary, The Netherlands, Russia, Thailand, USA. Since 2003 he has been researching, lecturing and publishing on Antonioni and Pasolini; his latest publication is "Identification of a city:
Antonioni and Rome, 1940-1962", in John David Rhodes, Laura Rascaroli (eds.), Antonioni: Centenary Essays. London: BFI/Palgrave Macmillan, pp.


Piero Boitani

Piero Boitani

Professor of Comparative Literature, The University of Rome "La Sapienza"

Medievalist and modernist, Dante scholar and comparatist, Professor Boitani has authored a great number of books, including Chaucer and Boccaccio, English Medieval Narrative of the 13th and 14th CenturiesThe Tragic and the Sublime in Medieval LiteratureThe Shadow of Ulysses: Figures of a Myth, The Bible and its Rewritings, and, with Notre Dame University Press, The Genius to Improve an Invention. His most recent books include Parole alate (Mondadori, 2004), The Cambridge Companion to Chaucer (Cambridge University Press, 2004), Winged Words: Flight in Poetry and History (The University of Chicago Press, 2007), Letteratura europea e Medioevo volgare (Il Mulino), and Il Vangelo secondo Shakespeare (Il Mulino).


Joseph A

Joseph A. Buttigieg

William R. Kenan Jr. Professor of English, Director, Ph.D. in Literature Program

Joseph A. Buttigieg's main interests are modern literature, critical theory, and the relationship between culture and politics. He is the editor and translator of the multi-volume complete critical edition of Antonio Gramsci's Prison Notebooks, and a founding member and executive secretary of the International Gramsci Society. The Italian Minister of Culture appointed him to a commission of experts to oversee the preparation of the "edizione nazionale" of Gramsci's writings.


Theodore J

Theodore J Cachey Jr.

Professor of Italian and Chair, Department of Romance Languages and Literatures

Theodore Cachey is professor and chair of the Department of Romance Languages and Literatures at the University of 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'ItalianisticaBelfagorCalifornia Italian StudiesIntersezioniThe ItalianistItalicaThe History of CartographyModern Language NotesSchede umanistiche, and Rivista di letteratura italiana.



James Collins

Professor, Department Chair, Department of Film, Television, and Theatre

James Collins teaches courses in film and television theory, film history, popular culture, and postmodern culture. His most recent book is High-Pop: Making Culture into Popular Entertainment (Blackwell, 2001). 






Mariagrazia Fanchi

Professor of the Cultural History of Audiovisual Media, Università Cattolica of Milan

Mariagrazia Fanchi's research interests include the social and historical bases of cultural development, and in particular the development of audiovisual media. She investigates the practices of spectatorship, the social functions of diverse media and their role in the construction of identities. Her publications include Identità mediatiche (Franco Angeli, 2002) and Spettatore (Il Castoro, 2005). She has also edited numerous journals including Bianco e Nero (2004), CINEMA&Cie (2004), and Comunicazioni Sociali (2002, 2007, 2008), and essays and volumes dedicated to the history of the spectator in Italy and the new forms of film-viewing experience.



Natalie Fullwood

University of Cambridge

Natalie Fullwood has completed a PhD on commedia all'italiana in the Italian department at the University of Cambridge. Her doctoral research analyzed the role played by space in the representation of gender in commedia all'italiana, with a particular focus on the kitchen, the car, the office, and the beach and nightclub. Her research interests include Italian film and popular culture, film comedy, cinematic space, and representations of gender and sexuality in film. She has published on the director Antonio Pietrangeli in 'Italian Studies'.



Robert Gordon

Professor of Modern Italian Culture, Cambridge University

Dr Gordon has published widely on 20th-century Italian literature, cinema and cultural history. He is the author or editor of several books on the work of Primo Levi, including Primo Levi's Ordinary Virtues, Auschwitz Report, and The Cambridge Companion to Primo Levi. He is co-editor of Culture, Censorship and the State in 20th-Century Italy and his study of cultural responses to the Holocaust in Italy will appear in 2012. His work on cinema includes the books Pasolini. Forms of Subjectivity and Bicycle Thieves, DVD and blu-ray audio commentaries on Pasolini's Teorema and Bicycle Thieves, and articles and essays on Holocaust cinema, early film and literature, 'Hollywood on the Tiber', and censorship.



Danielle Hipkins

Senior Lecturer in Italian and Director of the Italian Program, University of Exeter

In her current research Danielle Hipkins asks how we can apply and develop feminist film theory in relation to the study of Italian cinema. More specifically, her interests lie in interrogating the representation of gender in postwar Italian cinema. Her major project, however, concerns the popularity of prostitute figures in post-war Italian cinema, where they are used as a keystone in the construction of a variety of discourses about gender. Finally she is in the early stages of developing a new project with colleagues at Bristol and Oxford Brookes which examines the experience and memories of cinema-going in Italy in the 1940s and 1950s. With an emphasis on the popular, this project constitutes an attempt to counter a narrative of post-war Italian cinema that privileges the viewing preferences of a relatively small group of predominantly male intellectuals.




Alan O'Leary

Senior Lecturer in Italian Studies, University of Leeds

Alan is particularly interested in issues of cultural memory and the interface of events, history and representation, as well as the issue and expression of the 'popular' in visual and textual culture. He has spent the last few years researching the representation of terrorism in Italian cinema, and is now working on a series of case studies of commercial and critically despised films and cinema genres in Italy. He is also working closely with Catherine O'Rawe (Bristol) on the project Thinking Italian Film, which aims to put the study of Italian cinema on a firmer institutional and theoretical footing in the academy.



Catherine O’Rawe

Senior Lecturer in the Department of Italian, University of Bristol

O'Rawe's principal research area is Italian cinema, focusing in particular on the relations between neo-realist cinema (and Italian film culture more generally) and Hollywood, and on the question of gender and neo-realism. She  is currently working on a monograph on the dialogue between Italian cinema and Hollywood: through a series of case studies, it will examine the contested relation between neo-realism and Hollywood cinema,  in the form of US co-productions, the casting of Hollywood stars, and the borrowing of Hollywood generic and star conventions. This interest in the cultural and aesthetic exchange between Hollywood and European cinema has also given rise to a successful interdisciplinary and collaborative research project on the transmission of the figure of the femme fatale.



Giovanni Ragone

Professor of the Sociology of Cultural and Communicative Processes, University of Rome “La Sapienza.”

Professor Ragone teaches Mediology of literature and cultural communications. His research interests include media science, comparative literature, communication and valorization of cultural patrimony, and systems of higher education.





John David Rhodes

Senior Lecturer in Literature and Visual Culture, University of Sussex

Rhodes’s research ranges across a variety of overlapping fields of inquiry. I am particularly interested in cinema's engagement with other aesthetic forms (literature, architecture, visual art) and in the mutual implication of theory (aesthetic, political) and material history. His research interests include European art cinema, the history and theory of the avant-garde, queer theory and queer aesthetic production, relations between cinema and literature, the history and theory of architecture, and the theory of cinematic style.



Noa Steimatsky

Associate Professor of Cinema and Media Studies

Steimatsky specializes in Italian cinema, French cinema; postwar culture; landscape and space studies; classical film theory; image theory; narratology & poetics; modernism & realism. Her research and teaching engage with cultures and aesthetics of the cinematic image through specific historical intersections. She has special interest in the workings of location in postwar cinema (especially Italian), and in the human visage as privileged site of representation. Her work in all its aspects is informed by a continued engagement with questions of realism and modernism, and with cinema’s relationship to traditional (even archaic) and modern arts and mediums. 




Christian Uva

Researcher in the Department of Communications, University of Roma Tre

Christian Uva lectures in the Department of Communications of the University of Roma Tre. His research interests include the analysis and theoretical implications of the introduction of digital technologies in the field of audiovisual communications, with particular emphasis on the cinema. His studies examine the relationship between new technology and the modes of production and expression adopted by the contemporary cinema and television, as well as the sense of continuity and rupture in the history of the cinema caused by the introduction of new technologies.



John P. Welle

Professor of Italian, Concurrent Professor of Film, Television, and Theatre

Professor Welle focuses on twentieth-century Italian literature and culture. His edition and translation, with Ruth Feldman, Peasants Wake for Fellini’s Casanova and Other Poems by Andrea Zanzotto (1997), won the Raiziss-De Palchi Book Prize from the American Academy of Poets. He is the author of The Poetry of Andrea Zanzotto (1987), and the editor of Film and LiteratureAnnali d’Italianistica (1988). He serves on the editorial boards of Italian Culture, Quaderni d’Italianistica, and PSA: the Journal of the Pirandello Society of America.