Graduate Student Profiles


Gianna Albaum received her B.A. in Italian Studies and Comparative Literature at UC Berkeley, where she was also founder and editor-in-chief of the UC Berkeley Comparative Literature Undergraduate Journal. After graduating Phi Beta Kappa, she joined the NYU Italian Studies Ph.D program in 2014. Her research interests include Italian colonial and post-colonial literatures and representations of race and gender in Italian popular culture. She is currently working on her M.A. thesis, which is preliminarily titled "Surviving Abandonment: Melancholia and Forgiveness in Elena Ferrante’s I giorni dell’abbandono."

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Riccardo Antonangeli received his BA at the Sapienza University of Rome in Comparative Literature and his MA at the University of Italian Switzerland (Lugano) in Letteratura e Civiltà Italiana.  His final dissertation was entitled “Sinceritas eterna: half-light. Ezra Pound e l’ultimo Pasolini.” Now at NYU he is exploring twentieth century Italian and European literature, following all the deviations his research will hopefully suggest.  In addition, Riccardo follows the many ways in which cinema studies and film analysis go hand in hand with literary criticism, helping to piece together the various images and voices of Man in the 20th-century.  He recently published an article entitled “Un’oscura energia nel riconoscere” in Strumenti Critici about scenes of recognition in War and Peace and Thomas Mann’s Joseph.


Giovanni Braico is a Ph.D. student in the Department of Italian Studies at NYU. He graduated with a degree in Foreign Languages and Literature from Università della Calabria, Italy, and received his M.A. in Italian Studies from Boston College. He is the author of an article entitled "Il dissidio sull'esistenza dell'inferno nel tardo medioevo: la posizione di Dante," published in Dante: rivista internazionale di studi su Dante Alighieri, XVIII, 2011. Giovanni's research interests include late medieval and early modern witchcraft, demonology, and teratology; conceptions and representations of evil in both written and visual sources; text-image relationships; the transmission of iconographies in the Mediterranean. His dissertation investigates the ontology of the Divine Comedy’s demons in relation to the portrayals of such creatures in various late medieval and early modern European artifacts, especially illuminated manuscripts.

Paolo Campolonghi graduated in philosophy of science from the Università Statale degli Studi di Milano and he received a M.A. in Italian Cultural Studies from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. His main research interests include critical and political theory, biopolitics, Holocaust representation, globalization and imperialism, history and philosophy of science (particularly the concepts of "crisis", scientific realism and scientific revolution), cinema and visual culture. He has worked on Primo Levi, Agamben, Gramsci and Pasolini. Currently, he is focusing on global citizenship and situations of “exception” to the Nation-State paradigm, and on the figure of the intellectual in the very recent years of Italian history.


Brian DeGrazia holds a B.A. in Comparative Literature from Dartmouth College (2008) and an M.A. in Italian Studies from NYU (2012).  His research interests lie predominantly in 20th century Italian literature and cinema, especially Pier Paolo Pasolini and the Gruppo 63, and in queer theory, postcolonial theory, and biopolitics. His dissertation offers a critical history of the HIV/AIDS crisis as it has manifested in Italy. Analyzing responses to the disease at the local level as well as representations of it in various forms of cultural production, the project subsequently seeks to put this history in dialogue with broader scholarship on HIV, to contribute to our understanding of the relationship between disease and culture, and to offer new ideas in the field of biopolitical thought. In the summer of 2015, Brian attended the School of Criticism and Theory at Cornell University as NYU GSAS's sponsored participant. 


Clément Godbarge is a final year Ph.D. candidate in the Department of Italian Studies. His research focuses on the influence of medicine in 16th-century European politics. His dissertation is an intellectual biography of Filippo Cavriana (1536-1606), the last physician of Catherine de' Medici and a spy for the Grand Duke of Tuscany. Clément is a recipient of the Andrew W. Mellon Dissertation Fellowship. Prior to arriving to New York on a Fulbright Scholarship, he studied Political Science at the Complutense University of Madrid, and Intellectual History at the Warburg Institute of London. Clément also works in the field of the Digital Humanities. For publications and other relevant information click here.


Rachel Love, a doctoral candidate in Italian Studies, holds a B.A. in English Literature from Smith College (2009) and a M.A. in Italian Studies from NYU (2015) with the thesis, “’Mi sento vuoto, perché tutto si è disciolto’: Giovanni Pirelli’s Narration of War and Self, 1940-1944.” Her PhD dissertation explores the history and memory of the Nuovo Canzoniere Italiano—founded by Gianni Bosio and Roberto Leydi in 1962—as a lens to view political and social tensions of the 1960s in Italy. Her research interests include cultural studies, the role of the intellectual, oral history, including the use of popular culture for political purposes, and 20th century Italian literature and film.


Deborah Pellegrino is a Ph.D. student in the Department of Italian Studies at NYU. She graduated with a degree in Foreign Languages and Literature from the University of Florence, Italy, and received her M.A. in Italian Studies from Boston College. Deborah has also worked as a teacher of the Italian language for several years, and is the recipient of the 2012 Boston College Donald J. White award for excellence in teaching. Her research interests include late Medieval and Renaissance Literature, analysis of the memoirs, chronicles and letters of Tuscan merchants, and the relationship between the work of the humanists and merchant writings, history, art, and culture in Florence. She is the author of “‘I buoni ammaestramenti che a ogni ora e sopra ogni caso e’ riceverà da lui.’ Un nuovo archetipo di padre mercante nei Ricordi di Giovanni di Pagolo Morelli,” in Quaderni d’Italianistica 35.1 (Spring 2014).


Kristin Szostek began the Italian Ph.D. program in September 2012. She graduated from Dartmouth College with a B.A. in Comparative Literature, with her senior thesis focusing on PTSD and first-person narratives. After working as a copywriter for several years, she completed an M.A. in Italian Literature at NYU with a thesis entitled The Wheel, the Light, and the Miracle: Bergsonian Memory in Montale's Verse. Her interests include early 20th century poetry, memory and trauma, literary theory, and literary representations of Rome. 


Kate Travers graduated with a BA in Medieval and Modern Languages, French and Italian (University of Oxford, 2013). She entered the NYU Italian department as a PhD candidate, after working for a short time in academic publishing.  Her MA thesis focuses on gendered voices in medieval Italian lyric exchanges, a theme that forms the core of her proposed dissertation project. Her work focusses on medieval lyric poetry in the Italian, Occitan and French traditions, with a particular interest in texts penned by women authors and the work of Dante. Other research interests include: literary and critical theory, particularly pertaining to the issues of gender and sexuality, and 20th century Italian poetry. She also a co-organizer of the Med-Ren student group MARGIN.


Matthew Zundel graduated from Loyola University Chicago with a B.A. in Italian and a B.S. in Psychology (2012).  After spending time working for his alma mater’s John Felice Rome Center he decided to return to the states to pursue his Master’s degree with New York University’s Draper Program for Humanities and Social Thought (2015). There he was able to successfully blend his interests in queer studies, critical theory, and 20th century Italian culture into his thesis entitled, “‘Sono tutti checche latenti:’ Introducing a Radical Italian Queen," which won the department’s Rose and Herbert H. Hirschhorn Thesis Award. In it he investigates the role of affect in Mario Mieli's Elementi di critica omosessuale (1977)—a critical work of gay liberation theory conceived at the height of heated social engagement following 1968.  As a doctoral student in the department of Italian Studies, Matthew is excited to gain a deeper understanding of topics pertaining to gender and sexuality, literary and critical theory, and cultural studies—especially the relation between affect, subjectivity, and cultural production in modern and contemporary Italy.


Alfonso Gonzalez Aguado (Barcelona, 1987) graduated in Architecture at the Polytechnic University of Catalunya (UPC), where he also received his MA in History and Theory of Art and Architecture (2015).  He studied Architecture as an exchange student at Universita di Roma La Sapienza (2009-2010).  He has recently taught History of Architecture in Chile (Universidad de Valparaiso, Pontifica Universidad Catolica de Chile), and is the author of the article "Urban design in post-industrial Barcelona:  defending the urban vs. the urbana", published in De Arquitectura magazine (University of Chile, n. 30, 2016).  His dissertation was entitled "Urban mutation, cultural mutation:  an approach to the margins imaginary in Pasolini's filmwork", exploring the Roman peripheries urban development across Pasolini's early filmwork.  His research interests include cultural approaches to urban and architectural phenomena, postwar Italian film and politics, Gramscian theory and the Southern Question, among others.  


Marcella Martin is a PhD candidate in the Department of Italian Studies. She holds a BA in Italian Studies from the College of the Holy Cross (Worcester, MA) and a MA in Costume Studies from NYU. Prior to beginning her doctoral studies Martin was Curator of the Textile and Costume Collection at Philadelphia University, where she also taught courses on the history of costume and textiles. Her research interests include the history of costume and textiles in Italy and in Italian literature, and the role of craft in the development of an Italian national identity. Martin has contributed to publications on clothing, Italian fashion, and museums and currently serves as the President of the Mid-Atlantic Region of the Costume Society of America.


Emily Antenucci holds a BA from Vassar College in Italian and Drama and an MA from NYU's Department of Italian Studies, where she completed a thesis entitled "Subjects of Desire:  Narrative and the Construction of Female Subjectivity in Calvino's Se una notte d'inverno un viaggiatore."  Prior to joining the graduate program at NYU, she was a recipient of the Fulbright English Teaching Gellowship in Catania, Sicily.  Her research interests include 20th century literature and literary culture, questions of authorship and gender, feminist thought in Italy, and the narration of the South.


Giulia Sbaffi received her BA at the Sapienza University of Rome in Medieval, Modern and Contemporary History and her MSc in International History at the London School of Economics. Her thesis examined the significance and influence upon subsequent generations of the set of values and moral imperatives that parents involved in the protests of '68 transmitted to their children. In graduate school, she deepened her interests in understanding the facets of memory and its cultural as well as social representations by studying the historical framing and reframing of the memory of two mass killings carried out by the Nazis in Italy taking into consideration a sociohistorical approach. Since the first years of University, Giulia has always tried to maintain a dialectic approach between researching on memory and history in academia and collecting voices, telling stories, and analysing current phenomena by volunteering for oral history projects and collaborating as journalist with some Italian websites and newspapers. She is also broadening her interest in digital humanities.