Italian Studies

Italian Studies at Brown

Italian Studies at Brown explores the culture, history and society of Italy and educates the next generation of scholars to focus on Italy in a global context.

News from Italian Studies from Spring 2024! 


The Italian Studies department just wrapped up its most exciting – and busiest!—month of the year! Through a series of events during the spring 2024 semester, Italian Studies was excited to involve undergraduate students, graduate students, and community members in vibrant and interdisciplinary programming designed to engage language and culture across time periods in a dynamic and collaborative way. We kicked off our busy spring on March 13 th with the opening night of the 11th edition of the Cinema Ritrovato On Tour festival, an annual initiative that brings a curated series of Italian and international films to Brown through a collaboration with the Cineteca di Bologna, one of the world’s leading centers for film preservation. This year, our opening night, a screening of Roberto Rossellini’s L’amore starring iconic Italian actress Anna Magnani, was part of the Cogut Center for the Humanities’ “Film Thinking” series and featured a roundtable discussion with Italian Studies faculty members Suzanne Stewart-Steinberg (Department Chair) and Massimo Riva (Director of Graduate Studies) as well as Tim Bewes (Comparative Literature) and Kristina Mendocino (German Studies).

L’Amore was followed later in the weekend by a series of films and documentaries, including a silent film screening featuring live music, another annual tradition. After spring break, our department welcomed over two dozen scholars to campus for a variety of events. First, Somali Italian author Ubah Cristina Ali Farah joined us as a Short-Term Visiting Professor of the Humanities. During her weeklong residency, she ran discussions and workshops with students and community members as well as participating in a public reading where she was in conversation with Amara Lakhous for a fascinating discussion on language, “migrant literature,” and identity, led by Italian Studies PhD candidate Sara Colantuono. The following day, Brown graduate Brian Robert Moore (’12) came back to Providence for a reading from his new translation of Michele Mari’s novel Verdigris in partnership with Twenty Stories Books. Brian wasn’t the only Brown alum to return that week, though; our department’s own Anna Santucci (PhD ’19) was also back for a series of professional development conversations hosted by the center for Language Studies. And finally, our graduate students welcomed over twenty budding Italianists from across the world to Providence as part of our 15 the annual Chiasmi conference co-organized with the Italian section of the Romance Languages department at Harvard University. This year’s conference, “Contested Bodies in Italian Studies,” featured two days of stimulating and wide-ranging panel discussions on the borders and boundaries of the body in life, literature, and history, as well as keynote addresses by Serena Bassi (Yale University) and Ali Farah. And last but not least, the following week the department hosted a “Caffè Italiano” event for language students and community members to practice their Italian in the coziness of our department, complete with coffee, cookies, and even Italian cheeses. Over 30 students, including current and former Italian language students as well as Italian speakers from across the Brown community, joined us to converse in Italian and celebrate the approaching end of the busy semester. And while the members of Italian Studies are certainly sad to see this exciting and jam-packed semester come to an end, we are looking forward to a restful summer and to picking right back up again in the fall.


Ubah Cristina Ali Farah

April 1-7. Somali Italian poet, novelist, playwright, librettist and oral performer Ubah Cristina Ali Farah has published three novels, and a bilingual (French and Italian) collection of short stories. Her work in theatre includes a rewriting of Antigone.


Research & Programs

The Virtual Humanities Lab (VHL) provides a portal and a collaborative platform for faculty-led digital projects in Italian literature, philosophy, history and history of art and architecture, ranging from the early modern to the contemporary period.
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The Italian Studies Colloquium is a bi-weekly forum and seminar for an exchange of ideas and work of the community of Italian scholars at Brown and invited outside scholars
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Study abroad in the ancient city of Bologna, one of Europe’s great centers of learning and a superbly preserved jewel of medieval charm.
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Contact Information

Mailing Address:

Department of Italian Studies
Brown University
Box 1942
190 Hope Street
Providence, RI 02912