Alumni Profiles


Franco Baldasso is Director of the Italian Program and Study Abroad Program in Italy at Bard College, NY, where he is Assistant Professor of Italian. He earned his PhD at New York University in 2014, following an MA at the same institution and a BA at the Università degli Studi di Bologna. He published a book on Holocaust survivor Primo Levi, Il cerchio di gesso. Primo Levi narratore e testimone (Bologna, 2007) and co-edited with Simona Wright an issue of Nemla-Italian Studies titled “Italy in WWII and the Transition to Democracy: Memory, Fiction, Histories.” His articles have appeared in Modern Language Notes, Romance Notes, Context, Nemla-Italian Studies, Poetiche and Scritture Migranti. His awards include the A.W. Mellon Dissertation Fellowship, NYU Humanities Initiative Honorary Fellowship and the Remarque Institute Doctoral Fellowship. Franco contributes to and Allegoria. He is member of the scientific committee of the Archivio della Memoria della Grande Guerra of the Centro Studi sulla Grande Guerra “P. Pieri” in Vittorio Veneto (TV). He is currently working on a book manuscript tentatively titled: “Against Redemption: Transition to Post-Fascism and End of Modernism in Italy.”


Paola Bonifazio earned her Ph.D. in Italian from New York University in 2008, with a dissertation entitled “Narrating Modernization: Documentary Films in Cold War Italy (1948-1955)." She has published on Italian cinema and co-edited the book State of Exception: Cultural Responses to the Rhetoric of Fear, published by Cambridge Scholars Press in 2006. She is Assistant Professor of Italian at the University of Texas at Austin.


Bryan Brazeau (B.A., Concordia University, 2008; M.A., New York University 2010) earned his Ph.D. from New York University in 2015. His dissertation examined the portrayal of interiority in sixteenth-century Christian epics written in Italy. He is the author of “ ‘Who Wants to Live Forever?’ Overcoming Poetic Immortality in Tasso's Gerusalemme Conquistata,” MLN 129, No.1 (Italian Issue, January, 2014) and " 'I fight auctoritas, auctoritas always wins': Siger of Brabant, Paradiso X and Dante’s Textual Authority,” in Dante and Heterodoxy: The Temptation of Radical Thought in the 13th century, ed. Maria Luisa Ardizzone (Cambridge: Cambridge Scholars Press, 2014) and of the NYU Guide to Medieval and Early Modern Research in Italian Studies. His research interests include early modern conceptions of genre (specifically lyric and epic), the interaction between classical culture and religious values during the Counter-Reformation, chivalric epic (Boiardo, Ariosto, Tasso), cultural transactions between early modern Italy and Spain, along with digital humanities projects.


Danielle Callegari received her Ph.D. from New York University in 2014, having completed a thesis entitled "Dante's Nutritional Vernacular: Food, Hunger, and Consumption from Convivio to Commedia." She has published on Dante, early modern women and religion, and Italian food history. She is currently working on a monograph entitled At Dante's Table: Food and Society in Late Medieval Italy. In 2015-16 Danielle was a Visiting Researcher at the Scuola Normale Superiore, Pisa and in 2016-17 she was a Visiting Researcher at UC-Berkeley.


Valeria G. Castelli earned her Ph.D. in Italian Studies from New York University in 2016. Her doctoral dissertation was titled: Rhetoric, Politics and Ethics in Contemporary Italian Documentary Film. Valeria received her Laurea in Lettere Moderne with a specialization in Modern Philology from the Università Cattolica del Sacro Cuore di Milano and her M.A. in Italian Studies from the University College of London. Her research interests include: modern and contemporary Italian literature, cultural studies, documentary film, media and film studies, Italian poetry, artistic activism and social change. In Spring 2015, Valeria was a Remarque Institute Doctoral Fellow at NYU. She was a 2015-2016 Public Humanities Fellow at the New York Council for the Humanities and the Humanities Initiatives at NYU.  Valeria recently completed 2016-2017 Postdoctoral Teaching Fellowship with the Core Curriculum of the College of Arts and Science at NYU.  She is heading to Cambridge, Massachusetts this fall as a Mahindra Fellow at Harvard University for 2017-18.


Sara E. Diaz earned her Ph.D. in Italian Studies from New York University in 2011. Her dissertation, “‘Dietro a lo sposo, sì la sposa piace’: Marriage in Dante’s Commedia,” explores how corporeal marriage serves as a powerful signifier in Dante’s works. Her research interests focus on marriage and gender in late medieval and early modern Italian literature. She has published on a number of Italian authors, including Dante, and is currently working with Jessica Goethals on a translation of Margherita Costa’s 1641 comedy, The Buffoons (CRRS, Toronto). She is Assistant Professor of the Practice of Italian at Fairfield University.

Lindsay Eufusia earned her Ph.D. in Italian Studies from New York University in 2016. Her research interests include modern Italian literature, film, and culture, the fascist period, issues of gender and identity, considerations of the nation, nationality, and the family, and performativity and performance theory. She received her BA in Italian from the University of California, Berkeley, and worked as an editor in educational publishing prior to joining the graduate program at NYU. In 2007 she was a recipient of an Outstanding Teaching Assistant Award from the College of Arts and Science for her performance as an instructor of Italian at NYU.


Jessica Goethals earned her Ph.D. in Italian Studies at New York University in 2012. Her dissertation, "Representing the Sack of Rome and its Aftermath, 1527-1540," revises common scholarly assumptions about the Sack's cultural impact through a study of Italian and Spanish vernacular literature.  In addition to articles on Luigi Guicciardini, Pietro Aretino, and Paolo Giovio, she co-edited Power and Image in Early Modern Europe (Cambridge Scholars Press, 2008) with Valerie McGuire and Gaoheng Zhang and is co-editor and -translator of Margherita Costa's The Buffoons (CRRS, Toronto) with Sara Díaz. She has held postdoctoral fellowships at NYU, the University of Pennsylvania Humanities Forum, and Villa I Tatti — the Harvard Center for Italian Renaissance Studies. She currently teaches at the University of New Hampshire and is the managing editor of I Tatti Studies in the Italian Renaissance. Jessica will start a tenure-track position in Fall 2016 as Assistant Professor of Italian, Modern Languages & Classics, at University of Alabama.


Valerie Hoagland earned her Ph.D. in Italian Studies from New York University in 2016. Her dissertation, "Unstable Exemplarity: The Politics of Female Biography in Early Modern Italy," charts the history and influence of biographical writing on intellectual and creative women between the fourteenth and seventeenth centuries. "Unstable Exemplarity" expands upon research completed for her M.A. (Italian Studies, NYU), which examined the influence of classical rhetoric in Boccaccio's genre-defining work of female biography, De mulieribus claris. Holding B.A.s in Classical Studies and Comparative History from the University of Washington, Seattle, Valerie's familiarity with the university space as a student, instructor, and researcher had made her strongly invested in enriching student experience and university life, both domestically and globally. She is trained in crisis response and has worked extensively with Residential Life at NYU and with study-abroad campuses across multiple post-secondary institutions. Valerie is currently enhancing her ability to serve the university community through the pursuit of an MSW at the Silberman School of Social Work at Hunter College (CUNY). A more detailed academic profile, including teaching history, conference presentations, and research interests can be found here.


Nicola Lucchi earned his Ph.D. from NYU in 2016. His dissertation, "Assembling Modernity: the Fiat Lingotto Factory and Italy between the World Wars" investigates the social, cultural, and aesthetic resonances of a major Italian industrial concern during the interwar years. Prior to joining NYU, Nicola graduated in Art History from the University of Trieste, Italy. He recently published an article on the painterly work of Eugenio Montale in relation to the poet's late literary production. His research interests include early-20th century Italian literature, visual culture, and the interactions between economy, ideology and culture. Nicola was an assistant editor for Allora - Corso di Italiano, NYU's Italian language textbook, and has extensive organizational experience in academic study abroad. Nicola is a Visiting Assistant Professor at Dickinson College.


Valerie McGuire earned her PhD at NYU in 2013. Her dissertation, “Fascism’s Mediterranean Empire” re-assesses the common assumption that Italian empire was a project authored primarily by Mussolini that culminated in the 1930s. Her study of Italian occupation in the Dodecanese islands, which began in 1912 with the Italian invasion of Libya, and endured through the Second World War, assesses how a set of practices were the basis for a broader project of Italian empire in the Mediterranean in the twentieth century. These practices included organized leisure travel, Italian emigration, and programs to diffuse Italian language and culture throughout the Mediterranean and Balkans. She has published chapters on Italian colonial rule of the Dodecanese in volumes of Italian Studies, Ottoman studies and World War One studies. Her research has also been supported by several grants, including a Fulbright fellowship to Greece (2012-13) and Max Weber postdoctoral fellowship in History from the European University Institute in Florence (2013-14). Currently, she holds a Mellon postdoctoral fellowship for the Mediterranean region from the Council of American Overseas Research Centers. 


Shannon McHugh earned her Ph.D. in 2015 with a dissertation exploring how early modern Italian poets, both male and female, used Petrarchan lyric to experiment with and challenge societal expectations about gender. She is the recipient of grants and fellowships from the Renaissance Society of America, the Delmas Foundation, and the Newberry Library. Her publications include articles on women writers and on Counter-Reformation religious reform. Most recently, she is editor and translator with Danielle Callegari of Diodata Malvasia, Writings on the Sisters of San Luca and Their Miraculous Madonna (CRRS, Toronto), forthcoming in 2015.  For 2015-2016, she is a postdoctoral fellow in the New York University Core Curriculum. Shannon is an Assistant Professor of Italian and French at the University of Massachusetts-Boston.


Alessandra Montalbano earned her Ph.D. in Italian Studies at New York University in 2012 with a dissertation entitled "Kidnapping in Italy, 1970-2000: Histories of Disembodiment." She has published on Italian literature and film and she is the co-editor, with Jonathan Mullins and Valeria Castelli, of Denuncia: Speak Up in Italy, From Postwar to Today. Madison, NY: Fairleigh Dickinson Press (forthcoming). She is currently teaching philosophy and history at the Liceo Scientifico Guglielmo Marconi in New York. Alessandra is an Assistant Professor of Italian, Modern Languages & Classics, at University of Alabama.


Jonathan Mullins earned his Ph.D. from New York University in 2015. He also holds an A.B. in comparative literature from Dartmouth. His dissertation focused on rethinking the historiography of leftist dissent of the 1970s through an examination of its material culture. His research interests include Italian cinema, performance studies, queer theory, 20th century Italian literature and intellectual history, material culture, thing theory, and media studies. He is author of "Desiring Desire in Visconti's Ossessione" (Journal of Romance Studies, Summer 2012) and co-editor, with Valeria Castelli and Alessandra Montalbano, of Denuncia: Speaking Up in Modern Italy (under contract with Fairleigh Dickinson University Press). 


Jennifer Newman earned her Ph.D. in Italian from New York University in 2015 with a dissertation entitled “Savonarola and Print Culture in Fifteenth-Century Florence.” Her areas of interest include book history, particularly early print in Italy, Renaissance court culture and literature, and digital humanities.  She has extensive teaching experience in the Department of Italian Studies at NYU and at New York’s 92nd St YMHA/YWHA. She also holds an MLIS from the Palmer School of Library Science at Long Island University, with a Rare Books and Special Collections Concentration (2014).


Joseph Perna earned his Ph.D. in Italian Studies from New York University in 2015. His dissertation examined film melodrama and public life from the early 1930s through the late 1950s, with special emphasis on spectatorship and consumer culture. He holds a BA in Comparative Literature from the University of Chicago, and is the author of "Compositional Affect in Ophuls" (The Italianist 34 [2014]). In August 2016, Joseph will be starting a new post as Visiting Assistant Professor of Italian at the University of the South.


Inga Pierson received her Ph.D. in Italian from New York University in 2009 with a dissertation entitled "Towards a Poetics of Neorealism: Tragedy in the Italian Cinema 1942-1948." In 2009-2010 she was Visiting Assistant Professor of Italian and Film and Media Studies at Colgate University and she is currently a Post-doctoral Fellow in the Humanities at Stanford University. Her interests in film, digital media and Italian converge in a variety of activities from academic scholarship to journalism, digital humanities and teaching.


Beatrice Sica received her Ph.D. in Italian Studies in 2011. In 2010-2011, thanks to the Fondazione Sapegno-Collège de France fellowship, she was a research fellow at the Collège de France in Paris, and in 2011-2012 she was at Harvard University on a Lauro de Bosis postdoctoral fellowship. In 2012 she was appointed Lecturer [Assistant Professor] in Modern and Contemporary Italian Literature at University College London.


Melissa Swain earned her Ph.D. in Italian Studies from New York University in 2016. She also holds a B.A. in Italian Studies and Art History from the University of California, Santa Cruz, and a Post-Baccalaureate Certificate in Art and Archeological Conservation from Studio Art Centers International, Florence, Italy. Her dissertation examined the representation of conjugal corulership in figural and literary portraits of fifteenth-century princely couples. She is the co-editor of John Freccero's latest volume, In Dante's Wake: Reading from Medieval to Modern in the Augustinian Tradition, edited with an introduction by Danielle Callegari and Melissa Swain (New York: Fordham University Press, 2015) as well as co-translator of the forthcoming edition of Vittoria Speranza di Bona's verse in Renaissance Women’s Writing Between the Two Adriatic Shores, edited with an introduction and notes by Francesca Maria Gabrielli, translated by Shannon McHugh, Melissa Swain, and Francesca Maria Gabrielli (Toronto: Centre for Reformation and Renaissance Studies, 2016).

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Tristana Rorandelli earned her Ph.D. (with distinction) in Italian from New York University in 2007, with a dissertation entitled “Female Identity and the Female Body in Italian Women’s Writings: 1900-1955 (Sibilla Aleramo, Enif Robert, Paola Masino and Alba de Céspedes)” (advisor: Prof. Ruth Ben-Ghiat). Her research interests focus on 20th-century Italian women’s writings; modern Italian culture, history, and literature; fascism; Western medieval poetry and thought. She was the recipient of the Julie and Ruediger Flik Travel Grant, Sarah Lawrence College, for summer research, 2008; the Penfield fellowship, New York University, 2004; and the Henry Mitchell MacCracken fellowship, New York University, 1998-2002. Her publications include: Nascita e morte della massaia di Paola Masino e la questione del corpo materno nel fascismo in Forum Italicum (Spring 2003). Translations, The Other Place by Barbara Serdakowski and Salvation by Amor Dekhis in Multicultural Literature in Contemporary Italy (editors Graziella Parati and Marie Orton, Fairleigh Dickinson University Press, 2007). She is Associate Professor of Italian language and literature in the Department of Modern and Classical Languages and Literatures at Sarah Lawrence College. 


Paola Ugolini received her Ph.D. in Italian in September 2011, with a dissertation entitled "Courtly Hell: Early Modern Italian Anti-Court Writings in Context." She is the co-editor, with Elena Bellina and Lindsay Eufusia, of About Face: Depicting the Self in the Written and Visual Arts(Cambridge Scholars Publishing, 2009), and the co-editor and translator, with Molly Martin, of Veronica Gambara. Complete Poems (CRRS, Toronto 2014). She is Assistant Professor of Italian at the University at Buffalo (SUNY) and currently holds a fellowship at the Harvard Center for Renaissance Studies (Villa I Tatti). 



Anna Wainwright  completed her Ph.D. entitled  The Politics of Mourning: Widowhood in Italian Renaissance Literature in May 2017. She holds an M.A. from NYU, and a B.A. in Comparative Literature from the University of Chicago. Her dissertation examines the figure of the widow in early modern Italian literature. Her research interests include early modern women's writing, the Counter-Reformation, epic poetry and crusade, pastoral drama, and merchant literature. She is currently at work on a translation of an untitled late sixteenth-century Italian pastoral drama for The Other Voice Series at the University of Toronto Press with Virginia Cox and Lisa Sampson. She is also the editorial assistant for the journal Dante Studies, and the graduate student representative for the Society for the Study of Early Modern Women. Anna will join the faculty of the University of New Hampshire as an Assistant Professor of Italian in September 2017.


Alberto Zambenedetti completed his Ph.D. in 2012 with a dissertation titled “Italians on the Move: Towards a History of Migration Cinema,” which he wrote under the supervision of Professor Ruth Ben-Ghiat. He taught as Lecturer in the Department of World Languages and Literature at the College of Staten Island and as Visiting Assistant Professor of Cinema Studies and Mellon Postdoctoral Fellow in the Cinema Studies Program at Oberlin College. He is the editor of World Film Locations Florence (Intellect Books, 2014), of World Film Locations Cleveland (Intellect Books, 2016), and the co-editor of Federico Fellini. Riprese, riletture, (re)visioni (Franco Cesati Editore, 2016). His articles have appeared in Annali D'Italinistica, Studies in European Cinema, Journal of Adaptation in Film and Performance, and Short Film Studies. Currently, he is working on a monograph titled “Screening Mobility: A History of Italian Cinema Abroad.” Alberto will start a tenure-track position in Fall 2016 as Assistant Professor of Italian and Cinema Studies at the University of Toronto. He is a cat person.


Gaoheng Zhang joined the University of British Columbia as Assistant Professor of Italian Studies after having worked as Assistant Professor of Italian Cinema at the University of Toronto and as a Provost’s Postdoctoral Scholar in the Humanities (now the USC Society of Fellows) at the University of Southern California. He was educated in the fields of Italian studies and comparative cultural studies at Beijing Foreign Studies University (B.A.) and at New York University (M.A., Ph.D.). His publications, courses, public talks, and exhibition on modern and contemporary Italian literature and culture have focused on Italy’s global networks through travel, migration, and colonialism during the 19th-21st centuries. He specializes in contemporary Chinese immigration to Italy and Italian-Chinese relations as they are conveyed in print and digital media, television and cinema, and fiction and nonfiction writings. Currently he is under contract to revise a book manuscript titled "Italian-Chinese Cultural Encounters: Chinese Migrants and Globalization in Italy, 1992-2012." He has also begun to research on a new book project tentatively, titled "Mobilities between Italy and China: Colonialism, Exile, Tourism, and Migration." Another major focus of his scholarship and teaching concerns masculinity, gender, and, increasingly, queer studies within Italian and intercultural contexts. As his published articles and Ph.D. dissertation titled "Travel and Italian Masculinities in Gianni Amelio's Cinema" show, a critical understanding of male identities and acts helps to unravel the intricate webs of movement and stasis that Italians have formed locally and internationally throughout the 20th century.


Kimberly Ziegler earned her Ph.D. in Italian Studies from New York University in 2016. Her dissertation engages with oral history, pedagogy, and urban studies to reconstruct the social history of Project Chance, an experimental school for marginalized youth in Naples, Italy. Her M.A. thesis, “Instrumentalizing Naples: The Intersection of Futurism and Neapolitan Culture in Cangiullo’s Piedigrotta,” examines Francesco Cangiullo’s words-in-freedom poem Piedigrotta and its portrayal of the famous music festival as a mixture of popular and avant-garde culture. Prior to NYU, Kimberly received a B.A. in both Philosophy and Modern Languages and Literatures from Kenyon College. She also spent one year in Naples as a Fulbright Graduate Research Fellow, studying and participating in local schools’ “Schools Adopt a Monument” project. Her research interests include 20th century Italian literature and film, cultural studies, critical spatial theory, oral history, and history of education.

Other Alumni Information

Anna Bagorda, Ph.D. Fall 2010, Dissertation title: IlParadiso e il Liber XXIV philosophorum: l'ente divino ai confini di una metafora.

Paul Bucklin, Ph.D. Spring 2009, Dissertation title: Ne Plus Ultra? Rereading Magnanimity in Dante Alighieri's Convivioand Divine Comedy and Courage in Torguato Tasso's Jerusalem Delivered

Barbara Castaldo, Ph.D. Fall 2007, Dissertation Title: Imputato Pasolini: una rilettura dei processi  tra diritto e letteratura

Concetta Chiappetta-Miller, Ph.D. Fall 2005, Dissertation Title: Projections: Monster and Diva from Vision to Voice.

Alexandra Coller, Ph.D. 2005, Dissertation Title: Bella Creanza and Female Destrezza: Women in Italian Renaissance Comedy. Alexandra joined Lehman College (CUNY) in August 2010 as a tenure-track faculty where she teaches courses in Italian language, literature, and culture as well as the core curriculum.

Rosaria A. Pipia, Ph.D. 2007, Dissertation Title: Il Folclore Siciliano In Pirandello Novelliere: Usi costumi credenze e pregiudizi del popolo siciliano

Florence M. Russo, Ph.D. 2007, Dissertation Title: The Presence of Saturn and the aetas aurea in Three Figures of Dante's Comedy: the Medusa, the Siren and Matelda

AnneMarie Tamis-Nasello, Ph.D. 2007, Dissertation Title:Italian Colonial Cinema: Nationalism, Internationalism, and Notions of Alterity. AnneMarie is Adjunct Assistant Professor of Italian at the Fashion Institute of Technology, SUNY.