News: Italian Studies Spring 2021 Uncategorized

Caro Beppe… A Conversation with Beppe Severgnini

Come Sta l'italiano_By Monica Seger

Journalist and author Beppe Severgnini serves as editor in chief of the weekly magazine for Italy’s Corriere della sera newspaper, has long been a contributing opinion writer for the New York Times, and has written over 17 books. Since 1998, Severgnini has also written a daily column for the Corriere della sera, in which he responds to readers’ queries about contemporary Italian issues. This past fall, our colleague Rita Paolino sent a letter in to the column, which is aptly called “Italians,” asking what faculty might do to highlight the continued relevance of studying Italian language and culture in North America. Not only did Severgnini respond in print, he agreed to have a live conversation with us via Zoom about that question and more.

On Monday, March 8, William & Mary Italian Studies students, faculty and over 100 guests from other institutions gathered together online for a lunchtime conversation with Severgnini. After opening remarks from the author, Prof. Sara Mattavelli deftly moderated a conversation between Severgnini and our students, who had prepared a thoughtful collection of questions in advance. Topics ranged from Italy’s experience with the coronavirus, to regional differences within the country, to students’ futures and how they might apply their experience with Italian Studies. Severgnini and guests were particularly struck by a question from student Santiago Lanza, who cited the author’s Ted Talk on “Five Ways to Fail Perfectly.” All in all, it was a rich and thought provoking conversation, and we were delighted to spend time with Severgnini. Please watch the video below for the full conversation.

fall2020 News: Italian Studies

A Successful Semester for the New Italian Club

By Isabel Conti ‘22 in consultation with Alyssa Glauser ‘22 and Judith Tauber ‘21

Despite the constraints of a remote semester, William & Mary’s newly created Italian Club has Italian Club-pistacchio (1)grown and had great success in providing students with conversation hours, cooking lessons, and cultural activities over Zoom. We were able to provide students with an opportunity to practice Italian in a more casual setting and we hope that these conversations foster a sense of community and give students a chance to get to know one another even in a remote-learning environment. Academically, we also strived to deepen the students’ understanding of classroom material and enrich the learning experience with culture-focused lectures and club meetings.

We hosted a variety of events this semester, from game nights to lectures. In describing our goals for the club, we placed particular emphasis on conversation hours, in which we discuss more casual topics and explore Italian language and culture. These conversations are divided by level, and focused on current course material. While we provide starting questions, our goal is for conversation to arise naturally, and to give students a space to talk about their hobbies and interests in Italian. We also continued the Casa Italiana tradition of hosting cooking classes. We made Italian dishes, such as pasta al pesto, and had (remote) meals together. Our club meetings also consisted of different cultural activities, such as a game night and discussions of Italian music and current events. 

The Italian Club also wishes to extend great thanks to the speakers who were able to join us this semester to provide their perspectives and expertise. Giulia Falistocco, a PhD student at the University of Perugia, shared her work on the conception of the 1970s in Italy through contemporary Italian novels. Professor Giovannuzzi of the University of Perugia gave a presentation on Italian poetry of the 1970s and the role of generational differences, the focus of his latest volume, Dittico. We were also thrilled to welcome back Chiara DiMaio and Antonella Nicholas, both of whom have been involved with the Italian program here at William & Mary, for their perspectives on cultural differences between the United States and Italy. 

The Italian Club plans to continue operating remotely during the spring semester, so as to make our activities as accessible as possible. We look forward to resuming our conversation hours, cooking classes and other cultural activities, as well as possibly adding movie nights to our schedule this spring. We also plan to welcome Italian Club interest meeting picProfessor Patrizio Ceccagnoli of Kansas University, an expert on Futurism, for a guest speaker presentation. 

We extend our gratitudine to Professoressa Mattavelli and the Italian program, whose support, advice and aid in advertising have helped make this semester such a success! Grazie mille also to our peers who supported us by contributing their enthusiasm and insight to our events rendering our conversations and meetings fun and stimulating. We know we all came away inspired.

Italian Club events will resume in the new semester. Buone vacanze e buon capodanno

Fall 2020 News: Italian Studies

Fascism in Italy: A Student Perspective

By Judith Tauber ’21

As an alumna of Professor Ferrarese’s Fascism in Italy, I’m very glad to see that the course will be offered once again in Spring 2021: it is without a doubt one of the best courses I have taken in my last 3 ½ years at William & Mary.

Professor Ferrarese examined the fascinating phenomenon that is Fascism from a variety of approaches, interweaving an exploration of the historical period with philosophical interludes, the screening of films, an examination of artistic movements, a discussion of gender and race, and an analysis of excerpts of literary texts.

We began the semester briefly summarizing the social, political and economic events leading up to the creation of the first fasci in 1919, followed by a discussion of the movement’s growth, paying particular attention to Fascism’s rhetorical strategies and inspirational precursors, particularly Futurism and D’Annunzio’s expedition to Fiume. What was especially striking was the insight into how fragile democracies are and how we should never assume that a version of Fascism cannot establish itself in our own societies. I also found the part on how Fascism maintains itself by diffusing a spectacle void of ideology but deadly in consequences to be thought-provoking.

Mussolini & Cinema (From Wikimedia Commons)
Mussolini & Cinema (From Wikimedia Commons)

Next, we examined life under Fascism, from cultural activities, racism, and the position of women in society to colonial projects and Mussolini’s attempt to create the new Italian. I especially liked that we took the time to investigate how Fascism affected individual lives without losing track of the bigger picture. The films discussed were particularly illuminating in this respect.

After investigating Fascism’s relations to the Church and the cinema industry as well as its other manifestations globally, we turned to its demise and reincarnations. I found the part on how neofascism manifests itself to be extremely relevant to today’s society.

I came away with a clear and deep understanding of an intriguing and complex whole, a comprehension that has enriched my perception of the world. If you have not yet taken this course, I strongly urge you to do so this spring!

Fall 2020 News: Italian Studies

An Afternoon at the Opera

By Rita Paolino

The global pandemic has impacted the lives of all of us; we all know that. Among the many things Covid19 has taken away from us is the possibility to enjoy performing arts in person. In fact, since March 2020, most theaters and opera houses across the country have been closed. Thus, while we could not go to the opera, we were able to bring opera, and more specifically Italian opera, to William and Mary.

Opera is a complex form of art in which music, dance, and theater come together to create the most fascinating experience of all. It takes us to faraway worlds, fascinating cities, tragic and passionate love stories, and cruel lies, all with the beauty of wonderful, catchy, entertaining melodies. Despite its old age, opera music often reflects the sentiments and thoughts of today’s people. The storylines, the characters, and the many facets of the human soul: it is all in opera. Opera is magic and it has been magic since the 1600s, when a group of musicians, intellectuals, artists, and philosophers, the so-called Camerata Fiorentina, created this form of entertainment that aimed to reproduce the perfection and emotional intensity of the Greek drama.

An Afternoon at the OperaA little piece of this magic was brought to our students on October 21, 2020 thanks to the Italian Studies Program. In fact, a zoom event entitled “An afternoon at the Opera”, was held online within the homecoming celebration events. The artistic director of Virginia Opera, Maestro Adam Turner, and two very talented professional singers, Ms. Symone Harcum (soprano) and Ms. Whitney Robinson (mezzo soprano), joined an enthusiastic and interested group of students of Italian to talk about Italian opera and the use of the Italian language in this form of art.

Maestro Turner spoke with the group about the beginning of opera in Italy and how well opera was received once it started spreading in the United States. Nowadays, some of the most prominent world opera houses are in this country, such as The Metropolitan Opera House in New York City, The Los Angeles Opera House in Los Angeles, and the Lyric Opera House in Chicago, just to mention a few of them. Yet Italy remains the “country of opera”, thanks to the production of composers such as Rossini, Donizetti, Verdi, Puccini, and many, many more.

Ms. Robinson and Ms. Harcum spoke with the students about the use Italian in operas, and the challenges of combining the correct pronunciation of a words with its meaning while singing it. The highlight of the event was the opportunity to watch our guests on stage. It was a pure delight to see maestro Turner accompanying at the piano Ms. Harcum, and the singers singing a scene from “Cinderella” by G. Rossini. The event closed with a lively Q&A session.

We all look forward to the day when we can again return to enjoy live performances. In the meantime, we are all thankful to our Virginia Opera guests for allowing our community to grasp a bit of the beauty and magic of Italian opera.

Graduates 2019-2020 News News: Italian Studies Spring 2020 More

Italian Studies Graduates 2020

Congratulazioni to our Italian Studies graduates:

Tianyi Vanessa Cai (Art & Art History Major, Italian Minor) – recipient of the Italian Studies Book Award

Tyler Cox-Philyaw (History Major, Italian Minor)

Kathryn Donati (English Major, Italian Minor)

Marisa Lemma (Government Major, Economics Minor, Italian Honorary Minor)

Zoe Nelson (Government Major, Self-Designed Italian Major) – recipient of the MDLL Outstanding Achievement in Italian Studies

We wish you all the best for your future endeavors!

Italian Studies 2020

Graduates 2019-2020 News News: Italian Studies Spring 2020 More

A Special Commencement for Italian Graduates

By Prof. Monica Seger

This year’s spring commencement was, like so many things right now, quite different than usual. Rather than gathering on campus with friends and colleagues from throughout Modern Languages and Literatures for a department-wide ceremony, students and faculty in Italian Studies celebrated from afar with a Zoom commencement of our own. Just before 2:00pm on Saturday, May 16, we checked our hair, made sure that at least the top half of our outfit was presentable, grabbed a glass for a virtual toast at ceremony’s end, and sat down in front of our individual computer screens throughout the Commonwealth and beyond. Although different and distanced, the ceremony that followed turned out to be incredibly special.

Ambassador Varricchio

This was in no small part thanks to our keynote speaker: His Excellency Armando Varricchio, the Ambassador of Italy to the United States. Just one week before the event, Italian Instructor Rita Paolino had a brilliant idea: as long as we were using the remote platform for our commencement, why not reach out to the ambassador’s office with an invitation? Like the rest of us, he would simply need to connect online rather than travel to Williamsburg. It was thanks to such remote connectivity, for example, that we were also able to welcome students’ far-flung family members, as well as a few of our beloved alumni. Declaring tentar non nuoce (it doesn’t hurt to try), we issued the invitation and were surprised and delighted to be met by an enthusiastic yes.

Not only did the ambassador stop by our virtual commencement to wish our graduates well, he delivered a heartfelt address then stayed with us until our virtual toast and final farewells. Along with 30 or so other attendees, he listened attentively as we thanked our teaching assistants; recognized members of Gamma Kappa Alpha, the National Italian Honor Society; paid tribute to our International Fellow, Chiara di Maio; and celebrated each of our graduating seniors in turn: Tianyi Vanessa Cai, Tyler Cox-Philyaw, Kathryn Donati, Marisa Lemma and Zoe Nelson. While the whole ceremony was an intimate and festive tribute to the accomplishments of our students and the benefits of studying another language and culture, Ambassador Varricchio’s address was undeniably the highlight. Effortlessly combining ceremonial gravitas with a friendly élan, he spoke of William & Mary’s tradition of Italian Studies dating back to Thomas Jefferson; of the deep ties between North America and Italy; and of the inspiration to be found in studying Italy’s deep cultural traditions from Dante to Fellini.

Cheers ItalianPerhaps most significantly, Ambassador Varricchio spoke directly to our graduating seniors, recognizing their accomplishments and encouraging them to seize the potential for progress and positive change, even in challenging times. It was an unforgettable way to end this unprecedented academic year, and a truly special experience through which to mark the impressive undergraduate career of our graduating students. We wish them all the best as they move on to exciting next steps, including teaching appointments, research fellowships, and graduate study, and we thank the ambassador for his generosity of time and spirit. Here’s to continued cross-cultural learning and to future collaborations, whatever the platform!

Watch the Ambassador’s remarks here.

Alumni Updates: Italian Studies Graduates 2019-2020 News News: Italian Studies Spring 2020 More

Italian Senior Spotlight: Zoe Nelson

Zoe Nelson (Government Major, Self-Designed Italian Major ’20) shares her experience in the Italian Program over the past four years. In bocca al lupo per il futuro, Zoe!

Zoe Nelson«The Italian Department’s smaller size was a fantastic fit for me, as it allowed for me to form meaningful individual relationships with other Italian Studies students, along with all of the Italian professors. My professors’ expertise and their supportiveness empowered me to learn so much more about Italian language and culture than I could have anticipated upon arriving at William & Mary. Under their guidance I was so grateful to have the opportunity to work as an Italian tutor, spread my love of Italian through being a teaching assistant, and create multiple independent studies. I feel so grateful that I had professors who were so invested in both my intellectual growth and me as a person, and who spent so much time and effort helping me with one-on-one meetings to practice speaking Italian and figure out my future career path. In particular, looking back on my four years in the department, my fondest memories include experiencing Professor Mattavelli’s infectious joy for Italian during my first semester of college, the pride of the first time I was able to read a novel in Italian with the help of Professor Seger, and my weekly individual meetings with Professor Ferrarese during my last independent study. After graduation I am moving to Boston to do psycho-oncology research on how to better help patients and their families from a psychological point of view. I plan on continuing to incorporate Italian into my everyday life as much as possible, and look forward to meeting new friends there with whom I can speak Italian! Grazie mille per tutto!»

Graduates 2019-2020 News News: Italian Studies Spring 2020 More

Italian Senior Spotlight: Tianyi Vanessa Cai

Vanessa Cai 1

Tianyi Vanessa Cai (Art & Art History Major, Italian Minor ’20) shares with us her special relationship with Italian language and culture. Grazie Vanessa!

«Being a violin player and a fan of the virtuoso Niccolò Paganini, I registered for an Italian class when I entered college hoping to learn more about the language and its culture. The class was so engaging that I decided to continue despite the initial challenges.

I spent a summer in Florence in 2017. Florence is like a living dream. I fell in love with the feeling of randomly wandering around the city — the golden sunshine, talented street artists, pigeons, and gelatos keep reminding me of the beauty in life. Taking art history classes in museums and churches provoked me to declare my major in Art & Art History, and incited my interest in Renaissance Art. Subsequently, I did an independent study on Sandro Botticelli’s painting Primavera in Galleria degli Uffizi.

Last summer I went back to Italy, and did another program in Siena. The surreal experience of Palio (the biannual horserace) left with me unforgettable memories. Living in a contrada, going to contrada dinners, and standing among the heat on Piazza del CVanessa Cai 2ampo with numerous ardent spectators, I was amazed by the Sienese’s passion for preserving such a Medieval tradition.

The study of Italian language opened a brand new door to me by bridging me with people and culture from another part of the world. I have met countless amazing people in Italy who are still inspirations in my life in various aspects.

I am grateful for my four years with the Italian Department at W & M. The professional and caring professors have introduced me to Italian cultures from a diverse perspective, and have shaped me into a more mentally mature individual.»

fall2019more News News: Italian Studies

Italian Faculty-Student Research Project at ACTFL

In the Department of Modern Languages and Literatures, advanced language students have had the opportunity to work as Teaching Assistants for many years. The assistantship model has changed since its inception but the unique role of undergraduate TAs in language classes remains a key feature of our department. Professor Mattavelli, who became interested in teacher preparation and mentoring during her graduate studies, has been training and supervising undergraduate teaching assistants since her first year at W&M. This experience has been very positive and fulfilling. The undergraduate TAs with whom she had the pleasure to work are really extraordinary and embody very positive examples for students in beginning classes.

Screen Shot 2019-12-21 at 10.12.16 PMScholarly research on undergraduate teaching assistants is still rather scarce and focuses mainly on peer-teaching in fields other than foreign languages (with the exception of some studies in German and Spanish). Professor Mattavelli decided to explore the topic more in depth and submitted a proposal to the American Council on the Teaching of Foreign Languages (ACTFL) annual convention. The objective was to highlight advantages and challenges of working with undergraduate TAs from a two-fold perspective and called for the collaboration with an undergraduate teaching assistant. W&M student and Italian TA Antonella Nicholas worked with prof. Mattavelli on the development of the project and co-presented with her at the conference.

IMG_5746 3

In their presentation, prof. Mattavelli and Antonella Nicholas examined the roles and responsibilities of undergraduate TAs and supervisors, discussed training and mentoring provided to the apprentice teachers within the Italian program and the Modern Languages department, and presented students’ feedback. They both shared their perspective and assessment on the teaching experience and offered examples for successful peer-teaching instruction. Antonella focused also on the importance of this teaching experience in terms of skills learned for future careers as well as personal and professional rewards.

The presentation was very well received by the audience and prof. Mattavelli is happy to share that Antonella did a wonderful job and received many compliments from other faculty in attendance. Overall, this was a great collaborative experience in the spirit of W&M’s faculty-student research projects and close mentorship.

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Alumni Updates: Italian Studies Fall 2019 News News: Italian Studies

Evening at the Italian Embassy

Last month, our Italian Studies Program participated in a series of events in Washington D.C. hosted by the W&M Alumni Association.

Seger - Talk DCOn November 7, Professor Monica Seger gave a talk at the W&M Washington Center and shared her latest research which is based in Italy’s Puglia region. Professor Seger studies the rich wave of novels and films that have emerged over the past decade in response to environmental challenges in the coastal city Taranto. She argues that creative texts, whether on page or screen, allow a broad audience to learn – and care – about Taranto’s dynamic culture and natural environment, despite recent hardships.

group embassy

On November 8, Professor Sara Mattavelli and Professor Monica Seger participated in a special event called “Evening at the Embassy” – a W&M DC Alumni Chapter tradition – that was hosted at the Ambasciata d’Italia.

Two-hundred W&M alumni, students, parents, family and friends gathered at the Italian Embassy to learn about all the connections between William & Mary and Italy. The Italian Program showcased its faculty’s research, program’s courses and extra-curricular activities. We also had the pleasure to share with all attendees the opportunities the program offers for students engagement on campus (such as the Italian House or the Honor Society Gamma Kappa Alpha) and study abroad, with particular emphasis on the W&M Faculty-led Florence program.

DOC20251  embassy 1

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Fall 2019 News: Italian Studies

Italian House: Plant-based Eating for a College Lifestyle

The Italian House and International Fellow Chiara di Maio were featured in the 3rd episode of “Plant-based Eating for a College Lifestyle”, a video series by W&M Sustainability Interns.Pasta alla Norma One of our Italian Major, Zoe Nelson, who is also an Intern at W&M Dining, participated in the video.

Chiara, Zoe, and our students prepared a dish called “Pasta alla Norma” which is a typical Sicilian recipe and one of the most famous together with cannoli. The dish was created in honor of  composer Vincenzo Bellini’s Norma, an opera produced at La Scala theater in Milan in 1831.

The ingredients of this vegetarian dish are simple but make for a delicious meal: eggplants, tomatoes, basil, olive oil, garlic, salt, ricotta salata (cheese, optional) and pasta! Look at our students in action in the video shot by theW&M Sustainability Interns.


Fall 2019 News: Italian Studies

A New Mural for the Italian House

On October 4th 2019, two of our students/artists, Alyssa Glauser and Laura Brancati, added a new masterpiece to the walls of the Italian House. It reproduces the world-famous Creazione di Adamo (The Creation of Adam), a fresco painted by Michelangelo on the Sistine Chapel’s ceiling that can be admired in the Vatican Museums.

The resemblance to the original is astonishing! Bravissime!

Screen Shot 2019-12-21 at 10.41.57 AM   murales 1 copy

More pictures on our Instagram!

News: Italian Studies Spring 2019 Uncategorized

2019 GKA National Italian Honor Society

Our Program is proud to recognize the outstanding undergraduate scholarship in the field of Italian Studies of the following students who were inducted in the National Italian Honor Society this Spring:

Vanessa Cai (Art History and Italian Studies, ’20)

Emily Knoche (European Studies & French & Francophone Studies, ’19)

Marisa Lemma (Government major & Economics minor, ’20)

Hannah London (Art History & Italian Studies ’21)

Antonella Nicholas (Public Policy, ’20)

Alessandra Scholle (Classics & Linguistics ’20)

Judith Tauber (European Studies and Italian Studies, ’21)


Graduates 2018-2019 News: Italian Studies

Senior Profile: Sarah Baker (Italian Studies ’19)

I am so thankful to have been part of the Modern Language Department since I began studying Italian my freshman year. Washington hall has been my home away from home and I am so thankful have gotten to know both the staff and the students that also call it theirs. The Department has shaped my college career and my aspirations for the future especially since I decided to minor in Italian Studies long before I decided what I actually wanted to major in. I can never express how thankful I am for all the professors I have worked with but grazie mille, muchas gracias, děkuji, and hvala, to everyone who has helped me along my way.

Baker crop

Graduates 2018-2019 News: Italian Studies

Senior Profile: Erin Kitchens (Italian Studies ’19)

Being a part of the Italian department has been one of my best choices in college. Even though Italian did not come easy to me, the Professor’s have always encouraged and challenged me. I have enjoyed the engaging classes that I have been able to take with the department. Speaking Italian allowed me to study abroad in Siena, Italy for 8 months and find my famiglia italiana. I will be visiting them for a month after graduation!  I am very grateful to have spent so much time studying something I am so passionate about. Without Italian, I would never have conducted my honors thesis on asylum seekers in Siena. After graduation I will be taking a gap year to work with asylum seekers in the US. Then I plan to go to graduate school in Anthropology concentrating on asylum seekers in Italy.

Kitchens crop

News: Italian Studies Spring 2019 Uncategorized

Slow Food in a Fast Food World

By Judith Tauber

Last summer, I conducted my Freshman Monroe Research Project on the Slow Food movement under the guidance of my wonderful advisor, Professor Mattavelli. I had been exposed to the principles of Slow Foodwithout realizing itnearly my entire life because my family places immense importance on choosing only organic, local foods. However, I wasn’t formally introduced to the Slow Food movement until taking Intermediate Italian with Professor Mattavelli during my first semester at William & Mary. I was drawn to the topic and later found myself wondering whether the organization had chapters in the United States, and if so, how these impacted their communities.

Slow Food was founded in Bra, Italy in 1986 by Carlo Petrini, mostly in response to the opening of a McDonald’s in Rome. In many respects, Slow Food is an alternative to fast food: it supports local, traditional food systems and values healthy, high-quality, sustainable and humane food practices, as is expressed in their motto good, clean and fair food for all. Today, the movement has about 78,000 members in one hundred and sixty countries[1].

IMG_4812For my research, I chose to focus on how American collegiate Slow Food chapters address problems in food production and subsequently interviewed representatives of Slow Food University of Vermont, Slow Food Emory and Slow Food Clemson. I then explored existing literature on the principal topics these groups discussed—migrant justice, food insecurity, and the importance of local food—and summarized my findings in a forty-page paper written in Italian. From the interviews, I found that each group primarily aims to educate the public using a variety of events, which are usually cheap or free; that a chapter’s location greatly impacted its topics and activities; and that all three representatives highly praised the Slow Food movement for its flexibility and adaptability.

Moreover, this project has transformed me both personally and professionally. For example, my eating habits have changed: I almost always cook for myself now, even making homemade pasta, pizza, and ice cream from scratch. I also tend to my own small herb garden and visit the farmer’s market as often as I can. Furthermore, I found that it was far less challenging to write a lengthy academic paper than I thought, even in a foreign language. In fact, this undertaking—despite being the one that originally intimidated me the most—was the one I most enjoyed! I loved being nearly fully immersed in the language: I was absorbing new vocabulary and sentence structures with every paragraph I wrote. In addition, I savored the gradual clarity that came with arranging everything I had learned into an organized paper. I also greatly enjoyed the thrill of sharing my findings with the academic community via my paper and my presentation at the Summer Research Showcase.

In short, if the opportunity presents itself to you to explore a topic of interest in depth, I urge you to make use of it: research is an exhilarating experience! For more information on my research project, please visit

[1] “Slow Food International.” Slow Food International,

Fall 2018 News News: Italian Studies

(Italian) Language at Work

By Arika Thames (Theatre and Gender, Sexuality, & Women’s Studies double major ‘19)

Arika in Genova


This summer I had the pleasure of living and working in Italy for six weeks. After studying Italian for two years I was determined to spend my summer in the country in some capacity. Instead of studying abroad, I searched for jobs where I could have that same cultural immersion while gaining valuable work experience. I found a wonderful company named Educo Italia which organizes hundreds of English-immersion summer camps around Italy. I gravitated towards this organization because they use theater and games to teach the language which is something I want to do professionally upon graduation. As a tutor I taught English lessons in the mornings, led fun camp-wide activities in the afternoon, and worked with my students to put on a small play at the end of every week.


genoa camp
Arika and coworkers in Italy

This experience was the first time that I ever traveled abroad by myself, so I was considerably nervous, but after a week all of my nerves went away. Educo provided me with great resources and support so that I never felt alone. I moved around to a new city every week which allowed me to see more of Italy than I could’ve ever imagined. Besides my week in Genova, most of the camps were in small towns so us tutors were truly embraced and made to feel like members of the community. My fellow tutors and I were shown around to nearby sites by our host families because they were so excited to show off where they call home. I loved seeing Italy from the perspective of those who lived there as opposed to a tourist’s viewpoint.

My time working with Educo this summer was exactly what I needed going into my senior year. While it was challenging work, it made me more confident in my language abilities as well as cultural competency. I’m now far more prepared for my next step towards a career in theater education and hopefully that future includes Italy!

News News: Italian Studies

“Ciao Amore!”– A Reflection on the Generosity of Italian Host Families

By Antonella Nicholas (Public Policy major and Italian minor, ’20)

Antonella with her Italian host mom
Antonella with her Italian host mom Maria Pia (W&M Summer in Florence)

When I arrived in Italy,  I found myself immersed in a hurricane of terms of endearment. Before starting my studies in Florence, I stayed in Rome for a few days, and in restaurants, shops, and downtown, I always heard “Ciao, bella” and “Grazie, amore.”  It felt like a big Italian hug; almost as if they welcoming me into their eclectic cultural family.  I suppose that if Rome was a hug, then Florence had to have been a loving tackle. A Firenze, with my host families, the frequency and variety of endearments stunned me. When I woke up: “Buongiorno, amore!”  When it was time for dinner: “Pronta, bimba?” When I had a question:  “Dimmi, cara.” When it was time to go to sleep: “Buonanotte stellina!”

It seems to me that these affectionate appellations reflect the kindness and hospitality of Italian families, especially that of host families. Over the course of ten weeks I stayed with two families, each of whom welcomed me with open arms.  I’ll admit, there were times when I wondered if I could spend so much time away from my family in the United States; however, the hospitality of my famiglie italiane dispelled any doubts, and made me feel at home even though I was a stranger.  They helped me to orient myself in the city, and they advised me about which monuments to visit. Thanks to them, I know the best gelaterie and where to find a true bistecca alla fiorentina. Every day at dinner my gratitude was multiplied–pasta, pizza, pesto, pollo, pomodoro, basilico, insalata, tiramisù, and my favorite, spaghetti aglio, oglio e peperoncino.

Antonella with her Italian host mom Cristiana (third party study abroad program)

Fantastic food was just a fraction of my experience with host families. I am a student of the Italian language, and therefore had a mission to improve my communication skills. Speaking in the casual environment of a home forced me to acquire a new vocabulary.  When I made a grammatical error, my mamma italiana corrected me. In this way, I was able to communicate with the other students in the home in a more informal way and understand the conversations of the family. Most valuably, I found that the best way to learn Italian is to watch TV.  In my first family, my host mother’s four-year-old niece came to visit us a few times, and we watched children’s cartoons. In the home of my second family, almost every day we watched a game show in which the competitors had to guess a word only knowing the first letter and two related words. This is how I became familiar with countless colloquial expressions.

When I arrived in Italy, I was bombarded with endearing nicknames–now, I can’t imagine what my life would be like without hearing “ciao amore” five times a day! Jokes aside, my stay in Italy with host families was fundamental to my understanding of Italian language and culture. In fact, they have inspired me to host students when I have a family myself.  The generosity I received from families in Italy and from Italians in general could fill Brunelleschi’s Duomo.

News News: Italian Studies

Voyage of Discovery in Italy

By Alexa Conti (class of 2021)

Every year, the National Italian American Foundation (NIAF) sponsors 20 Italian-American college students to travel to Italy (for free!) for their first times. The Ambassador Peter F. Secchia Voyage of Discovery Program is meant to strengthen the Italian American identity by bonding young Italian-Americans to the country, culture, and heritage of Italy; to help them gain an understanding of their heritage for the next generation; and to understand the historical significance of Italy and the current contribution Italy is making to the US and the world. The trip also offers students the opportunity to perform community service in areas of need during their stay in Italy.

This summer, I was fortunate enough to be awarded this opportunity. I spent two weeks in the southeastern region of Puglia, famously known as Italy’s “Heel of the Boot”, reconnecting with my cultural roots and refreshing my love for where I come from.

Alexa at Polignano a Mare in Puglia
Alexa at Polignano a Mare in Puglia

While both of my parents hail from southern Italy, I was exposed to customs and traditions native only to Puglia. For example, while pasta is a staple of the Italian diet, orecchiette is the pasta type most characteristic of this region.

Puglia is an incredibly diverse region. On my left was the mountain range and on my right was the Adriatic Sea. Puglia is known for its intense olive oil production as well as the abundance of cozze, or mussels, from the sea. Some major points that were visited during the trip include three UNESCO sites (Castel del Monte, the Trulli of Alberobello, and Matera) the easternmost point of Italy, Otranto, and the region’s capital, Bari.

The most unique aspect about this experience was that I got to experience it with other Italian-American students from around the country. Unless you live in a heavily populated community with other Italian-Americans, it’s usually hard to meet people who identify with their Italian heritage. Throughout the trip, we were all able to share and compare stories from our crazy Italian backgrounds, from our families to holidays to idiomatic expressions in each of our dialects. In addition to an augmented sense of pride for my ancestral country, I know that I also walked away with a new group for friends and expanded community, all bound by this “voyage of discovery”.

Flash forward four months after the trip, NIAF hosts an annual anniversary gala in Washington, D.C. that which all of the Voyage of Discovery alumni are invited to. The theme of the gala is based around that year’s region of honor. The food, drink, decorations, dances, and anything else needed for the gala were imported from Italy, and more specifically, Puglia. Many important Italian and Italian-American guests were invited to the event, including the Ambassador of Italy to the United States, the President of Puglia, and the CEO of Bristol-Myers Squibb.

Overall, the entire experience is one that I hope every Italian-American can be involved in and remain a part of for the rest of their lives, because I know I will be.

News News: Italian Studies

My First Trip to Italy

By Marisa Lemma (Government major & Economics minor, ’20).

Marisa on a trip to Cinque Terre

I had been dreaming about going to Italy for as long as I can remember. I remember telling my parents even in third grade that I would one day visit Italy. I would pore over my “First Thousand Words in Italian” book trying to soak up as much of the language as possible, and I had my sights set not just on studying Italian, but on studying it in Italy someday. After taking Italian for four semesters at W&M, it had become somewhat of an obsession for me.

So when I was accepted into the Florence program for this past summer, I had a lot of pre-conceived expectations. Luckily, Italy did not disappoint. I visited ancient sites in Rome, watched incredible sunsets in Venice, saw beautiful landscapes in Siena, went wine tasting in Chianti, tried the world’s best gelato in San Gimignano, and put my feet in the bluest water I’ve ever seen in Cinque Terre.

First night at the homestay: Marisa (right) with roommate (center) and host mom (left)

But out of all the places I visited, Florence was my favorite. My host mom made the most amazing food, and with my art history class I got to visit all the city’s main sites, including more breathtakingly-beautiful churches than I can count and the Galleria dell’Accademia, home of Michelangelo’s famous David statue.

While I was abroad, I practiced my Italian a lot. My host mom spoke no English, so I was fully immersed in the language at my homestay. I was the only American in my Italian class, so when I didn’t know a word, I couldn’t just translate it to English – I had to try to define it in Italian. Though this was difficult, my speaking ability improved greatly, and I now find myself asking “come si dice…?” less and less.

Even though I’m back in the US now, I’m still enamored with the country and its culture, and I’m counting down the days until I can go back.

News News: Italian Studies

The Impact of a Language

By Erin Kitchens (Anthropology major and Italian minor ’19)

View from the tower of Lucca over the city

I found Italian mostly by happenstance. On a whim I signed up for Italian, remembering how much I had admired the landscape and the melody of the language when I had visited as a 13-year-old. This decision, which I decided in five minutes, would shape my entire undergraduate career.

I would be lying if I said my relationship with Italian has always been easy. Having never spoken, or thought in, a second language I was completely lost when having to form sentences for myself. After the first Italian exam (which I failed spectacularly) I was filled with determination. This language would not get the best of me! And so, I continued slowly, and with many errors, the process of allowing another language to integrate itself into my life and thoughts. I believe that the way that we view the world is fundamentally shaped by the language which we speak. Some phrases in English don’t even exist in Italian. To learn a new language is to learn a new way of seeing the world.

In total I spent eight months of last year studying and doing research in Siena, Italy. I had previously spent a summer in Florence but while there I was still shy about my language abilities. I knew that all those around me were native speakers and clearly knew their own language. Meanwhile I made simple conjugation and agreement errors.

Overlooking the city of Arezzo on a winter day

Coming back to Italy a second time I knew my outlook had to be different. These people knew I was not a native Italian speaker and they were here to help me learn. So, I enthusiastically threw myself into being able to communicate in Italian, not just focus on grammatical structure. With time my grammar improved, and words began to flow more easily. I stopped having to translate each word and let myself get caught inside of the language. Understanding Italian for what the Italian meant, not just the English translation.

Studying Italian has allowed me to broaden my intellectual and personal boundaries in ways I could not have imagined. Just because something is not easy doesn’t mean that it is not important. In fact, some of the hardest things are the most important.

News News: Italian Studies

Studying in Italy: an Invaluable Experience

By Kelly Konrad (Linguistics and French & Francophone Studies ’20).

Kelly on a trip to Venice

During the summer of 2018, I spent a month studying in Florence, Italy, where I took Italian language and art history classes at LinguaViva, an institution designed for international students. Spending time studying in Italy was the best choice I’ve made so far as a student—the lessons I learned and the knowledge I gathered there is invaluable to my studies and my life in general. I was acclimated to the nuances of Italian culture, the rich history of the country and the language, and amazing people who live there. But above all, I gained a sense of independence I never had before.

Transitioning from high school to college obviously came with greater freedom as I was away from my family , living on your own for the first time. This independence, however, is nothing compared to what I experienced from studying abroad. Exploring the city and living with an Italian host family, I had to rely on a language that was not native to me and begin to understand cultural differences that hadn’t occurred to me before; it helped me understand my own beliefs and culture on a deeper level, expanding my understanding of myself. Another key piece in developing my independence as both a student and young adult was being frequently met with new decisions, an intrinsic aspect of going abroad. It was also an excellent practice in enjoying exploring a new area on my own, coming to terms with the city at my own pace.

In all, my time in Italy has served as an invaluable experience to me in becoming an independent person, and has given me a greater appreciation of everything around me.

Fall 2018 News News: Italian Studies

World Pasta Day at the Italian House

By ChIMG_1528iara Di Maio

Is there a better way to celebrate World Pasta Day on October 25th than making pasta from scratch just like our grandparents used to? We invited Chef Eric Christenson, owner of LOKAL, a nearby restaurant, to the Italian house to teach us how to make different types of pIMG_1548asta. Eric is an experienced chef and learned some of his cooking techniques in Italy. As if this weren’t enough, he also learned to speak Italian. “Italian food is all about quality”, he said while his hands mixed flour and eggs to create the perfect dough. He chose his ingredients carefully as he strove to make his dishes as healthy as possible.

In this cooking masterclass, Chef Eric taught students how to make both several pasta shapes and gnocchi. He showed us how the dough is made and used a pasta machine to make it thinner and more translucent. For the tagliatelle, he folded the dough and started cutting it in long strips about half an inch wide.


While some students started working on that, Chef Eric moved on to  explaining the ravioli and penne. However, the gnocchi required a different process because it has different ingredients and, therefore, a completely different consistency. IMG_1544

Christenson showed the students how to shape the gnocchi in several different ways. 

Chef Eric emphasized the fact that making pasta is fairly easy. However, after having tried it first hand, we know it takes a lot of practice. Students learned many tips and tricks to make pasta and we cannot wait for Eric to come back to the Italian house with other tasty recipes. In the meantime, we can all go have lunch and chat with him at LOKAL. 

IMG_1549  IMG_1551

Grazie mille, Eric!


News News: Italian Studies Spring 2018

National Italian Honor Society 2018 Induction Ceremony


The Gamma Kappa Alpha National Italian Honor Society acknowledges superior scholastic performance in the field of Italian language, literature, cinema, and culture of students in higher learning in the United States and Canada.

In spring 2018 the Gamma Kappa Alpha Chapter of William & Mary proudly recognized the outstanding undergraduate scholarship in Italian Studies of the following students:

From the left: Sarah Baker, Zoe Nelson, Rachel Dubit


Sarah Baker

Rachel Dubit

Erin Kitchens (studying in Italy)

Emily Murray (studying in Italy)

Zoe Nelson


The professors in the Italian program would like to extend their congratulations to these wonderful students!


Inductees with faculty members.
Inductees with faculty members in Italian


News: Italian Studies Spring 2018 Spring 2018 Featured

Rachel Dubit (Classical Studies and Italian Studies Minor, ’18) Defends Honors Thesis and Starts Graduate Studies at Stanford

Skyler Anne Photography LLC - DC Photographer
Skyler Anne Photography LLC – DC Photographer

Rachel Dubit graduates in Spring 2018 with a major in Classical Studies (Latin) and a minor in Italian Studies. During her time at William & Mary, she has studied abroad in Italy twice and in Greece. In addition to Latin and Ancient Greek, she continues to study Italian literature and German language and will participate in a language program through Stanford University this summer to continue her German studies at the Goethe Institute in Germany and Austria. She most recently wrote an Honors Thesis under the direction of Dr. Swetnam-Burland on the Carmen de Bello Actiaco, a fragmentary Latin epic preserved as a papyrus from Herculaneum, focusing on the cultural dynamic between Rome and Egypt during the rise of the principate. She hopes to continue her research on cultural issues in Latin poetry as a graduate student at Stanford, where she will begin her PhD studies in Classics this fall. She also hopes to promote research that bridges the gap between modern and ancient language studies in higher education through reception studies, comparative literature, and the application of contemporary literary theories (many of which she has been exposed to in her Italian classes here at W&M) to ancient texts. In April Rachel was recognized by Gamma Kappa Alpha, the National Italian Honor Society, for her outstanding undergraduate scholarship in the field of Italian Studies.

News News: Italian Studies Spring 2018

Conversation With Film Director Pierfrancesco Diliberto (Pif)

In March 2018 students in Professor Mattavelli’s class Italian Through Film had an exciting opportunity to skype with Pierfrancesco Diliberto (known as Pif), TV host and director of the movie The Mafia Only Kills in the Summer. The students watched the movie, read some articles and prepared a few questions for him.

One of the most striking elements of the movie is the way in which the mafiosi are depicted. Pif explained that, through the use of comedic elements, he aims at highlighting the difference between the myth created by films like The Godfather and the reality of the mafia. And because he grew up in Palermo (Sicily), he can laugh about the mafia in ways that others can’t.


Pif answered a few questions about the role of the mafia today and explained how things have changed since the assassination of Falcone and Borsellino, anti-mafia magistrates, in 1992. Some examples are the fact that he has never received threats for his mocking of the mafia in the media but, more importantly, today people all over Italy can watch a show that makes fun of the “boss of bosses” Salvatore Riina on national TV.

The students enjoyed listening to Pif’s perspective. Emily Knoche (class of 2019) valued the chance of hearing someone’s first-hand experiences: “Pif was able to give us more nuanced insight into the narrative of the Mafia that we would not have necessarily understood solely from the film and readings.” Kate Donati (class of 2020) appreciated how direct and genuinely interested in the conversation Pif was: “There was no feeling of him placating us or simply entertaining our questions, he seemed to genuinely be considering his answers!”

206 studentsWhen asked the million-dollar question about the most pressing problem in Italy today, Pif had a very interesting answer as Kelly Konrad (class of 2020) noted: “he mentioned the lack of true national sentiment, and he made many comparisons of how Italy differs from other countries, including the United States, in that aspect. It was very interesting to hear his take on the issue and how he was able to relate and compare it to our experiences as Americans.” And because our conversation happened after the general elections in Italy, the class was interested in Pif’s opinion on the topic. Christian Virgona (class of 2021) noted how Pif’s comments on the Italian political situation “drew some comparisons to our most recent election here in the US where a person with no political background won.”

In general, this was a great experience for the students who were able to converse in Italian with Pif and, as Judith Tauber (class of 2021) said: “it was impressive that we had the opportunity to talk to a well-known Italian actor and film director.” Grazie Pif!


Fall 2017 Issue Featured News: Italian Studies

Italian Studies: Contextualizing Family History

Contextualizing Family History

Jacopo Gliozzi (Physics and Mathematics, ’19)


Sergio Class 1

Fascism is a word that we hear a lot in today’s climate. Especially on a politically conscious campus like William and Mary, the label of Fascist is applied often enough that it’s hard to keep track of what the word means exactly. That’s why, when browsing Open Course List last spring, a class titled “Fascism in Italy” caught my eye.


I was looking for the latest installment of my bi-annual humanities class, a strategy I’ve used to take a break from my physics major and stay on top of the COLL requirements. Besides the political relevance of first half of the course title, the second half piqued my curiosity for personal reasons. I was born in Italy and moved to the U.S. when I was four. While Italian language and culture have always been present in my home, I have always felt a little lacking in historical context. Through “Fascism in Italy,” my first course in the Italian department, I aimed to reconnect with the collective past of my parents and grandparents.


The course is a chronological study of the Fascist movement in Italy and its ramifications, starting from the unification of Italy and ending with Neo-Fascism today. Class discussions are rooted in various historical sources and, more commonly, critical analyses of these sources. Professor Sergio Ferrarese, who created the course, explains that his goal is to provide students with the critical tools to interpret Fascism as both a specific Italian phenomenon and a broader movement.


Now is the perfect time for a class on Fascism, according to Prof. Ferrarese, because the word is thrown around constantly in American political discourse. “When I was younger,” he continues, “I called anyone that didn’t share my political beliefs a fascist.” As he grew more experienced, Prof. Ferrarese learned the importance of applying the term properly, and his aim now is to share this perspective with his students.Sergio Class 2


A crucial aspect of “Fascism in Italy” is its interdisciplinary nature: as a COLL 200 anchored in the ALV domain but extending to CSI, the course utilizes a variety of perspectives to study Fascism. Throughout the semester, we have looked at the phenomenon in art, architecture, historical documents, speeches, film, philosophy, and critical theory. Prof. Ferrarese has a background in philosophy, but his vast knowledge of the history of the Italian peninsula makes for discussions that appeal to many different types of students.


For Prof. Ferrarese, this is another important reason for the creation of the class. Unlike most of the other courses in the Italian department, “Fascism in Italy” is taught in English to reach the widest audience of students possible. The ability to critically interpret information, especially of a political nature, is extremely valuable, and this course is a means of imparting it to students. Teaching a new class every two years is a personal goal of Prof. Ferrarese, who credits the undergraduate focus at William and Mary for constantly challenging professors to adapt and research new subjects. “Fascism in Italy” has been just that: a fresh course, tailored to today’s world and open to all students.



Fall 2017 Issue Featured News: Italian Studies

Italian Studies: Summer Internship in Pavia

Summer Internship in Pavia

Tyler Mlakar (International Relations,’19)


PaviaPerhaps one of the most stressful tasks that students face during their time at the College of William and Mary is the search for summer internships. Summer internships are of major importance for both graduate school applications and post-graduation job opportunities.  Students are always trying to surpass their peers in order to get the most prestigious internships through GPA and extra-curricular involvement. While these are important, I believe the key to discovering an incredible internship opportunity is to study a different language.

During the past summer, I interned for R2M Solutions, which is an international innovation technology transfer company with corporate headquarters in Pavia, Italy. The location of R2M perfectly complemented my studies, as I currently study the Italian language for my international relations major here at William and Mary. In fact, the main reason I was chosen by R2M was because I am a native English speaker and study the Italian language. Most of their work is focused on European Union (E.U.) policy programs. In the E.U., nearly every important international business or policy document is in English. However, at R2M Solutions, most employees are native Italian speakers, and struggle – to an extent – with the English writing tasks required by E.U. policy documents. Because of my background as a native English speaker and my ability to communicate well with my co-workers in Italian, I was able to provide assistance in writing these documents.

The working environment I was a part of in Italy was much different than what I was used to in America. The starting time was very flexible, I was not required to come into work until 9 am, and even then many of my co-workers would come in later, sometimes not even until 10 am. We would usually take a lunch break together at a nice restaurant and sit down to converse and eat, sometimes for hours. Upon finishing lunch we would all take a coffee break.  In Italy, the coffee of choice is espresso, which is drunk from a very small glass. When getting coffee in Italy, it is common practice to remain standing at the coffee bar, and once served, immediately drink the near boiling water all at once. The coffee in Italy had a very strong kick; one espresso and I would be going for hours on end. After the coffee break, we would all head back to the office, work for about an hour, and then converse for the rest of the day before heading home at around 5 pm. Amazingly, we still accomplished a lot in that short amount of time of actual work. To sum up my working experience in Italy, it was much more relaxed and friendly than that of the United States. I talked to several of my co-workers about this and they told me that it is common place in Italy to be more relaxed in the work atmosphere. They told me that Americans work too hard and don’t enjoy life, and that was one of the main takeaways I carry with me from my experience in Italy.

In addition to the necessity of the Italian language in the workplace, it was even more useful for my day-to-day life in Pavia. I lived in a small apartment with a native Italian speaker named Marcello. He spoke almost no English, so in order to communicate with him I had to speak almost exclusively in Italian. Marcello was a brilliant chef, every meal that he made I can

My experience with R2M Solutions provided me with insight on the importance of studying another language. Through my study of Italian at William and Mary, I not only gained a valuable professional experience abroad, but also gained many new friends of which I will never forget. I would recommend studying a foreign language and spending time abroad using that language to everyone I know.still remember to this day because it was the best food I have ever had. I met several of Marcello’s friends and through doing so gained a lot of valuable social skills and confidence in speaking a foreign language. Many of the Italians I met during my internship I still keep in contact with today. Marcello traveled with me to many places in Italy, and gave me personal tours of places such as Rome, Florence, and his home in Lake Como. Going to these places with an Italian native was an incredible experience because I learned much more than I otherwise would have about the Italian culture.

News News: Italian Studies Spring 2017 More

Italian Studies Month at W&M

March was a very busy month for the Italian Studies program! We were lucky to host three wonderful guest speakers. On March 13-14 Professor Millicent Marcus of Yale University came to meet with students in Italian and Religious Studies, and to host a public screening and discussion of the classic film The Garden of the Finzi-Continis (Vittorio De Sica, 1970). On March 22 Professor Serenella Iovino of the University of Turin, Italy, gave an afternoon lecture on “Porous Landscapes of Land and Sea: A Volcanic Anti-Pastoral.” Finally, on March 28 documentary filmmaker Fred Kuwornu returned to William & Mary to meet with students and screen his latest film, Blaxpoitalian: 100 Years of Blackness in Italian Cinema (2016). Inspiring lively discussions about hitory, religion, environment, identity, representation and more, all three renowned speakers helped make this spring semester an unforgettable one for Italian Studies at W&M!

Fred 2SerenellaPenny

News News: Italian Studies

Subtitling “Non Perdono” – a Collaborative Project

This past semester, spring 2017, my students and I took part in a collaborative project with a group from Johns Hopkins University and two Italian filmmakers. The experimental documentary film Non Perdono (Non Pardon / I Don’t Forgive, 2016) explores current environmental, health and economic crises in the town of Taranto, Italy, long home to the ILVA steel plant. It is an important text for my own research on narrative expressions of toxicity, and I was in touch last fall with directors Roberto Marsella and Grace Zanotto about crafting English subtitles so that the film and its message might reach a broader audience. Our conversations had begun to stall by January of this year, when JHU Professor Laura Di Bianco also came in contact with Marsella and Zanotto, and began envisioning ways in which we might be able to help the filmmakers while also benefitting our students.

non_perdono_2In particular, she understood how a faculty mentored translation & subtitling project could be a great opportunity for students to work on their linguistic, cultural and even ecological competencies, while advocating for a real-world concern. Professor Di Bianco reached out to me and we both identified students interested in participating: two undergrads from each of our universities and one JHU graduate student who could help oversee their work. The process since then has been one of ongoing dialogue between the students, with fabulous results. Professor Di Bianco and I will go over the completed text this summer, and hope that the filmmakers will be able to apply the subtitles to the film by early fall 2017. We recently had the chance to share the project with other colleagues in the field, when we participated together on a roundtable at the 2017 joint conference of the American Association for Italian Studies & Canadian Association for Italian Studies. Below are some reflections from William & Mary student translators Zoe Nelson and Sheila Williams-Morales on their experience. – Prof. Monica Seger

Zoe Nelson (class of 2020):
NonPerdono004“Working with students at John Hopkins University to translate the dialogue of the script for the film Non Perdono opened my eyes to the importance of a collaborative translation process. I enjoyed seeing the ways that all of us interpreted sections that did not have an obvious literal translation, since both language and film are things that often do not have just one clearly correct interpretation. Specifically, it was difficult to find the balance between retaining the authenticity of the original Italian script without making its English equivalent sound unnatural or changing the tone of the scene. I also found the Italian script more challenging to understand than other things that I have read in Italian, because some of the language was colloquial or idiomatic. On the whole, it was a really exciting and rewarding experience to work on a project that has such a tangible result, and that helps make a serious problem about pollution better known to English speakers

Sheila Williams-Morales (class of 2017):
Laura Pres Slide“Collaborating with the students of John Hopkins University in translating the Italian film, Non Perdono, was an amazing experience. I have always been interested in how to translate a foreign work into its English counterpart while maintaining the meaning of the original. The Non Perdono project offered a friendly environment to discuss the various translations, and the students of William and Mary and John Hopkins helped each other understand the film and its transcription. For example, we discussed the testimony of a hair stylist in order to determine the interviewee’s message, and we analyzed the various allegorical tales told throughout the documentary in order to create narratives that were comprehensible for an English speaking audience. The process was akin to solving a puzzle. The right piece made the entire translation flow and take a coherent form. Overall, the project was delightful and emphasized not only the delicate relationship between words and their various meanings but how to convey an Italian concern to a foreign audience.


News News: Italian Studies

The Italian Program Goes to the Museum

Bot 1On March 29th the Italian Program organized a guided tour of the wonderful exhibition Botticelli and the Search for the Divine hosted at the Muscarelle Museum. This is the most important Botticelli exhibition in the United States so far.

A group of about 25 students, currently enrolled in our language classes, was guided through the breathtaking masterpieces by two fabulous docents and natives of Italy: Mariangela Rodilosso and Gloria Bonassi Baller. Students had the opportunity to learn about Botticelli’s art and his time, and also learn a few new words in Italian! They were amazed by the exhibition and enjoyed the experience very much! Brandon Mullins, a student in Italian 102, said that it was a very informative experience: “I believe being able to see these pieces of art in person is a completely different experience that seeing them online or in a textbook.” Some of them were also very excited to see more of Botticelli during their upcoming summer study abroad program in Florence.

Bot 2For those who are not traveling to Italy, it might have been an even greater opportunity. As Erin Gunderson, a senior enrolled in Italian 103, said: “Going to the Botticelli Exhibit at William and Mary felt like taking a trip to Florence or Rome but without a passport.” Erin was struck by the paintings and stated: “I don’t know if I could ever have enough time to truly appreciate Botticelli’s glowing, ethereal goddesses and Madonnas but having the exhibit so accessible meant I had time to try. It was a bit surreal to go from studying the Renaissance in my history class to admiring the frescoes that made the journey all the way from Italy to Williamsburg. I didn’t get a chance to spend a semester abroad, but I’m grateful that one beautiful piece of the world made its way to campus.”


– Prof. Sara Mattavelli

News News: Italian Studies Spring 2017 More

Putting my Italian to Use at the Muscarelle, by Lowry Palmer (’17)

RagazzeThis year I had the wonderful experience of being a part of the group of student interns at the Muscarelle Museum of Art during the exhibition, Botticelli and the Search for the Divine: Florentine Painting Between the Medici and the Bonfires of the Vanities. Studying Italian and Art History while working in the museum have been endlessly useful, and the opportunity to help with an exhibition that combined these two interests was such a special part of my undergraduate experience. During the preparations leading toward the exhibition, I was lucky enough to help record transcriptions that were utilized in the exhibition book. I really enjoyed hearing about the process and research that went into the organization of the Botticelli exhibition and book as each were being worked on, as well as sharing hands-on experiences with the rest of campus through our student event.

Studying Italian, in particular, at William and Mary has been exceptionally helpful in pursuing my passions for medieval and renaissance Italian art. Before working as an intern at the Muscarelle, I also attended the summer Florence study abroad program to study art and language in Italy. Through Italian courses and study abroad, I have found a wonderful community of some of my best friends and we have continued to stay close and take courses together leading to our senior year. When the time came for the student event for Botticelli and the Search for the Divine: Florentine Painting Between the Medici and the Bonfires of the Vanities, I was able to have the same friends that saw Botticelli paintings in Florence with me come to the Muscarelle to support me and view the exhibition. That was a phenomenal experience, and is a testament to the sense of community fostered in the Italian department.

– Lowry Palmer ’17

Fall 2016 Issue News News: Italian Studies

Presenting Sara Mattavelli, New Faculty in Italian Studies

We were lucky to have Sara Mattavelli join us this year as a Lecturer of Italian Studies. Please enjoy the following video to learn more about her and what she brings to William & Mary!

Fall 2016 More News News: Italian Studies

“Post-Humanism in the Anthropocene”

(or Building Regional Connections Through Scholarly Exchange)

On the final day of this fall semester I had the opportunity to participate in a symposium just up the road in Charlottesville, at The University of Virginia. The symposium, “Post-Humanism in the Anthropocene,” was sponsored by the Mellon Foundation and UVA’s Institute of the Humanities & Global Cultures. It was carefully organized by Enrico Cesaretti, Associate Professor of Italian
at UVA and a 2016-2017 Mellon Humanities Fellow. While my journey was short, other IHGCspeakers traveled from all over North America to participate. Three successive panels took place throughout the day, according to the themes of “Questioning Boundaries,” “Energies, Ecologies, Matters,” and “Mediterranean Narratives Between Bios and Zoe.” While the majority of the speakers were Italian scholars, we were also joined by colleagues in German, Comparative Literature and English. All symposium participants were united by a shared interest in the Environmental Humanities, whether that surfaced as a focus on textual representations of landscape, petroleum cultures, or Pythagorean philosophy in contemporary film. We enjoyed fabulous conversations into the evening and made plans for future collaborative work, such as at the 2017 biennial conference of the Association for the Study of Literature and the Environment. I was especially pleased to connect with colleagues from nearby institutions, The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and UVA, and look forward to continuing our work together in the future.

-Monica Seger, Assistant Professor of Italian Studies

News: Italian Studies Spring 2016 More

Leaving their Artistic Mark: The Beautification Process of the Casa italiana : by Prof. Katie Boyle

Anyone who has ever been in the Italian house will tell you about the warm and welcoming environment created each year by wonderful groups of students brought together by their shared interest in the Italian language, the culture and the people. While a few residents originally decide to live in the Italian house in order to stay with a current roommate, they can’t help but make incredible friendships very quickly and end up learning a lot about Italy in the process. Some of those residents even go on to enroll in Italian courses the following semester and stay for a second year in the house!

Anyone who has been in the Italian house will probably also tell you about the amazing tutor who comes each year from the University of Florence to live with our students and organize countless cultural activities, ranging from conversation hours to movie nights to cooking classes, etc. These incredibly hardworking and dedicated language house tutors (un caro saluto a Giacomo Poli, Giulia Manganelli, Veronica Fantini and Stefano Olmastroni, with whom I had the great pleasure of working and now call my friends) make the house what it is. The past and present residents of the I-house and I could not be more appreciative of what you all brought to the house.

But there is another comment that one hears over and over again while spending time in the Italian house and that comment is: “Did they really need to paint the whole place this shade of brown??”

And that is where the beautification process of the Casa italiana began. It was collectively decided that this *interesting* shade of brown was not working for the house anymore and something had to be done. Lucky for us (and the walls), Residence Life is supportive of students leaving their artistic mark on the language houses, as long as we filed the proper paperwork and went through the necessary steps.

We started small with two individual pieces back in 2011-2:

Global voices 1

The mural featured to the left has deep significant meaning for the artists and contains a very philosophical quote in Italian, which you can read underneath the featured design.

Global Voices 2Did I mention all the walls are brown? The colors of this very popular “Pace” (peace) flag make a huge difference in brightening up the room and this represents just the first step in a very important process.

There is a narrow hallway in the Italian house that was very dark and void of color, until the artistic visionaries in the I-house saw that hallway and knew exactly what could go there. It was the absolute perfect spot to depict a canal scene from Venice:

Global Voices 3Global Voices 4

(Credit to the Casa italiana residents of 2012-3)

The motto in the house became to leave no wall untouched … even if it was just to liven up a doorway with a quote from Dante’s Paradiso: L’amor che move il sole e l’altre stelle (Paradiso XXXIII, 145)

Global Voices 5

Once the residents got started, they couldn’t stop and the results were amazing! The scale of the murals only continued to grow and the ideas became more and more impressive with each new project.

In 2013-4, our artists dreamed of even bigger murals and set their sights on Tuscany. This gorgeous design of a Tuscan countryside with rolling hills that seems right out of a movie was drawn by a previous Italian house resident, Ryan Krysiak, and left in the famous tutor closet by Giacomo Poli for the next year’s residents. When Giulia found the drawing, she and the residents immediately agreed that Ryan’s idea was perfect for the mural in the kitchen!

Because of Giulia’s love of photography, the making of this stunning mural is documented, from the drawing to the final product:

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Katie McGhee, a three time Italian House resident and a big part of many of these murals, and Garrett Tidey, a former I-house resident now studying art in Florence, sketched out Ryan’s entire drawing by hand on the wall main wall in the kitchen:

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The residents might have given up eating for a few weeks, but sometimes you have to sacrifice for your art!

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(Former residents: Lauren Harrison, Ellie Martin and Bree Cattelino hard at work!)

The completed mural is breathtaking and remains a focal point in the kitchen and really adds to the ambiance of the cooking classes each week.

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One very special mural that was a total group effort brought together three “generations” of Italian house residents. At a massive end of the year potluck dinner organized by Giulia in May of 2014, residents of the previous years, current residents and the following year’s residents came together to create the mural appropriately named, “3 Case italiane: passato, presente, futuro”:

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The making of the mural – pictured from the top left going clockwise: Stephen Prifti, Sam Haling, Catherine King, Giulia Manganelli, two-time I-house RA Charlotte Lessa, Susanne Khatib and Alessandro Roux, Haset Solomon, Julia Brechbiel, Linda Moses, Bella Kron and Blake Burns, and last but certainly not least, Philip Kang.

With those two murals we really upped the ante and now could we follow this beautiful Tuscan countryside scene and our sentimental mural bringing together many years of residents? Easy! By creating an equally beautiful field of sunflowers, recognizable to anyone who ever taken a road trip through Tuscany and found themselves surrounded on either side by endless fields of flowers. This was the idea and I think Veronica and her residents in 2014-5 did an incredible job recreating this scene

Not a brown wall in sight! Even the shelves got a facelift!

At the start of the 2015-6 academic year, there was an entire room left to tackle, a room full of brown walls that were begging to be painted over. Stefano and this year’s residents were up to the challenge and full of ideas about the next mural in the house. It would require a trip further south and the idea was to present an entirely different landscape from the rolling fields of Tuscany.
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Where they landed was the Bay of Naples and what they had in mind was a very ambitious plan for a large scale mural in the lounge area. Here is the design idea and proposal:

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The residents have been hard at work this semester and the mural is wonderful! I think one of the favorite activities this semester has been our recent weekly Monday night pizza and gelato dinner followed by group mural painting. Here are some pictures of the making of this mural:

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Pictured hard at work from left to right: Italian house RA – Margaret James, Katie McGhee, Italian house tutor – Stefano Olmastroni, Micailya Mattson and Alexanna Mc Tammany all rocking our 2015-6 Italian house t-shirts!

Look at how happy Micailya is with the addition of her boats to the mural!

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Even Stefano and I got in on the action …

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This above house was our 2nd attempt and I dare say redeemed our previous efforts.

Global Voices 19Here is Katie adding to Stefano’s and my other attempt at contributing to the mural. The disco party house was not my original design and I do not think that HGTV and House Hunters International will be contacting me anytime soon to be a part of their design team.

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Pictured from the top row L: Nathan Fajfar, Stefano Olmastroni, Roberto Watkins, Bridget Thompson, Margaret James, bottom row L: Donna Kinney, Sofia Tipton, Micailya Mattson, Keabra OpongBrown, Katie McGhee, Michele Ricciardi and Alexanna Mc Tammany. Several of our wonderful artists from this year are not pictured but have contributed an incredible amount to the current mural.

The beautification process of the Casa italiana has spanned the last five years and represents the work of four tutors, countless incredibly talented residents, and one less-than-artistically-inclined Italian house advisor, who was smart enough to limit her contributions and focused instead on moral support and bringing the pizzas.

Ottimo lavoro, ragazzi!



News: Italian Studies Spring 2016 Uncategorized

My Year in Italy – Clara Kobler

There has never been a time in my life when I don’t remember my mother telling me stories of her junior year abroad in Montpellier, France. From describing her breakfasts to the amazing springtime trips with her friends, my mother filled my imagination with her memories and emotions from her life years before. It’s not a surprise, then, that with these stories came the assertion that, when the time came, I would have my own adventure abroad.

But I was stuck. In my own imagining of my future time abroad, I never felt a connection with a certain language or a certain culture where I was sure I could feel at home for an entire year. I took Spanish all thCK2rough high school and had basically accepted that I would be going to either South America or Spain, but my heart wasn’t fully content. I didn’t know what to do.

The love I developed for Italian then fell into my lap completely by accident. During my first experience with registering for college classes in the fall of 2013, I quickly realized that my Spanish skills were not good enough to place me above the 202 level despite my four years of experience. Only taking a language for fun in the first place, I soon settled on a completely random language to start from scratch: Italian. I took it because I liked Olive Garden and because my step-dad’s family is from Italy, but I had no major attachments to the language, nor the culture. I wasn’t even taking Italian with the idea that I would one day study abroad there; at that point, I was still invested in the William & Mary/St. Andrews Dual Degree Program, where I would spend my sophomore and junior years abroad in Scotland.

Soon, though, I knew I couldn’t go through with choosing Scotland over Italy. After only a few weeks in the Italian department at William & Mary, I was completely hooked. I would study for hours and complete the writing prompts with such fervor that I surely seemed crazy. I loved going to the Italian House activities, and signed up to live there as soon as I decided to leave the Dual Degree Program. By the fall of my sophomore year, spending a year in Italy was becoming a quick-coming reality.

I chose my program in Siena for several reasons: the first is that the town is not as big as many study abroad towns in Italy, and therefore does not have quite so many English speakers as the main metropolitan cities. The second reason is the service component, where we must go out into the community for several hours a week and give back, whether that is teaching English, helping at a nursing home, aiding the town’s emergency responders, or whatever other opportunities present themselves. The third and probably biggest reason is the host family experience. I had spent my entire life hearing about my mother’s wonderful host family in France, and even had the pleasure of meeting them this past summer. In choosing between my several location options in Italy, I had to decide whether having a host family was an important enough factor for me to choose the Siena program. After a quick phone call to my mom and a prayer that I would be placed with a nice family, I sent in my application to Siena Italian Studies.

It was the best decision I ever made. After only a week of being in Siena, my host family had already started to feel like a home away from home. They fussed over me and made sure I liked the food, and included me in every activity they took part in. My host sister, Luisa, quickly became one of my best friends in the world. She is 18 and in her last year of high school, so our ages are similar enough that we can share friends and activities easily. I often tag along to birthday parties and dinners out with her friends, and they have all accepted me aCK1s part of the gang. I can’t imagine going through this year without this family.

Because the truth of the matter is, too, that doing a whole year abroad can be really hard. Even in a place as wonderful as Italy, I have had my fair share of homesickness and sadness that only comes with being away from all things familiar for a long period of
ime. William & Mary was the only school I applied to, so to choose to go away for an entire year was heartbreaking, on a certain level. And being away from my family for so many months at a time was almost impossible to think about doing. But my host family gave me opportunities to feel like a part of a family over here, too, in a way that makes missing my real family not as painful.

For me, choosing to do an entire year abroad instead of just one semester has allowed me to build relationships with the community and culture that would be impossible in a shorter amount of time. For my community service, I have been

able to work with the same group of kindergarteners since September and therefore build a deeper and more trusting relationship with them, as well as see how much they have progressed since early fall. I feel less like a temporary tourist and more like a part of the life that goes on here in Siena. I have developed preferences to certain stores and restaurants that I can continue to use throughout an entire other semester instead of rushing to try it all before time runs out. I can speak Italian better and with more confidence than ever before. I love that I can help my new Spring-semester-only friends find their way in a city that was once just as foreign to me, but now feels like a second home.

If I had to go back and do it all over again, I would choose exactly the same course for me. Siena, Italy has beCK3en a place where I’ve grown as a person more than ever before, made lifetime relationships with the people in my program and especially with my host family, and learned how to become a part of a new culture by simply being willing to try. A year abroad gave me an opportunity to go above and beyond just the typical study abroad experience, and find my niche in a place on the other side of the world. It has been exciting, unbelievable,
and more than I ever could have imagined. I never want to say good-bye.

Graduates 2015-2016 News News: Italian Studies Spring 2016

Katie McGhee ’16 Senior Profile: Italian Studies

This may surprise people who know me, but studying Italian at William & Mary has been a joyful four-year-long leap out of my comfort zone. I came to William & Mary dreading the language requirement because it would cost me twelve to sixteen credits – time that I could otherwise spend studying something I was actually interested in, I thought. I still remember deciding to quit Latin after three years of taking it in high school and how my teacher told me it was a big mistake because I would have to take another language in college. “Have to.” She made it sound like such a chore, which left me regretting my decision after it was too late to turn around and register for Latin IV. Today, I’m so thankful I decided to quit – a sentence this perfectionist never thought she would hear herself say. Within the first week or two of taking Italian it dawned on me that I might have stumbled into something that I was going to end up loving. When I met with my pre-major advisor after I took Italian 102, she made it a point to remind me to finish my language requirement, and I still remember laughing and telling her that the requirement was the last thing driving me to take Italian. The fact that my expectations were blown away so powerfully pushed me to realize, at the very beginning of my freshman year when I was still a nervous eighteen year-old navigating the world of college that seemed way too big for me, that going into something with an open mind can reveal passions that you never may have thought you would develop. If you’re like me and are worried about a class you have to take that is outside of your comfort zone, remember that you never know whether or not you may end up loving it. You may even change your major or minor because of it!

I’m continuously challenged by the Italian courses here as well as by my peers, all of whom are some of the most intelligent and passionate people I’ve ever met. I think this is the benefit of a small program at a liberal arts school: we come from the most diverse variety of majors imaginable and are united by our mutual love of Italian. The broad range of majors and backgrounds in our tiny program means people’s reasons for studying Italian vary greatly. Some students are fascinated by the rise of fascism and the political trends of the 20th century, and they find themselves well at home in Professor Ferrarese’s classes on modern Italian history and politics. Others enjoy studying the linguistic patterns of Italy, which is rich with dialects and regional languages. Also among the students who study Italian are artists, chefs, musicians, architecture scholars, film lovers, polyglots, and passionate TAs, all of whom study Italian for different reasons and contribute new perspectives to the study of the language and culture.

Looking back on my four years of studying Italian at William & Mary, I realize that the diversity of ideas and interests within the program is one of the major reasons why I love it so much. I’ll forever be grateful that I decided to live in the Italian house because being surrounded by countless different perspectives on the Italian experience has pushed me out of my comfort zone and deepened my understanding of the culture. I’ve been introduced to music, cuisine, films, and ideas that I know I would have never considered if I hadn’t surrounded myself with the amazing Italian community at William & Mary. My passion for Italian is, before anything else, a passion for the language itself: the way it sounds, the logic of the grammar, and the excitement that I still feel when I realize I can now understand something that used to sound like gibberish to me. Making friends who know so much about the other aspects of Italian history and culture can feel intimidating at first, but I now realize that’s why our Italian program is so special because we continue to challenge each other even after four years. As I look toward graduation, I can’t help but fear the possibility of losing my Italian skills rather than continuing to improve them like I want to. But as I look around right now at all the incredible people I’ve met through William & Mary’s Italian program, I’m reassured that I’ll never be done with my study of this beautiful language and fascinating culture. For me, the study of Italian is a lifelong journey that I’ve only just begun.

casa italiana

– Katie McGhee, c/o 2016 (Psychology, Italian Studies minor)


News: Italian Studies Spring 2016

Jillian Sequeira ’16: “When the World Says No, Study Graffiti”

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Women are “allowed” to like art. We are allowed to like sculpture, landscapes, oil paintings, and architecture—the type of thing a character in a Jane Austen book enjoys. But not graffiti. An art form dominated by male artists, characterized by danger and illegality, is considered outside of our domain. Growing up, I was always told that graffiti was something rowdy boys did. The most famous and commercially successful street artists are all male. Artists like Lady Pink, Swoon and Panmela Castro have carved out territory for women in the graffiti world, but they are the exception rather than the rule. Brash transformation in the art world is credited to the Warhols, the Pollocks and the Rothkos of the world—not the Kahlos, O’Keefes and Krugers—and the graffiti scene has towed that line. Unfortunately for those who want to preserve the boys club mentality of graffiti, I was granted an Honors Fellowship in the summer of 2015.

I used my fellowship to study antifascist graffiti across Italy, zeroing in on three subgenres: suppression, which involves the whitewashing of fascist graffiti to establish a negated space that threatens the fascists not to come back; transformation, which involves the reformation of classic fascist/Nazi imagery such as the swastika into hearts and diamonds; creation, wherein an artist creates their own stencil, sticker or tag from scratch with an antifascist slogan. The “Zona Antifa” graffiti tag—prominent not only in Italy but across the European continent—is the mark of a generation that rejects idealization of repressive twentieth century dictatorships and actively seeks to tear down emergent neo-fascism. Xenophobia and racism are not vague ideals, they are accelerants that have coated Europe for decades, fermenting and creeping into the very governments that swore to never again embrace the type of prejudice that built the Holocaust. The refugee crisis, the largest human migration since World War II, is a lit match. In a world where visual communication via social media is the keystone of activism and organization, graffiti is an integral part of the European political scene. In the Renaissance, knights wore symbols of allegiance on their armor and their standards. Today, we have lost the knights but we have not lost our visceral connection to symbols. In train stations, schools and bar bathrooms, there is no need for a complete manifesto when a single image and a handful of words will do: swastikas and racist slogans for the neo-fascists, the double flag and “Zona Antifa” for the antifascists.

Women are not supposed to like graffiti but at William and Mary, not only do we like it—we know more about it than you. Thanks to my fellowship, input from the incredible faculty of the Italian Studies program and the ability to pursue a Self-Designed Major, I spent this year immersing myself in the world of graffiti as I completed my honors thesis. One thing I was constantly surprised and impressed by was how much my peers and faculty members wanted to contribute to the project. Whether they were encouraging me to write papers on graffiti for their courses, recommending books and websites or simply asking me questions about my research, I felt that my thesis was a collaborative effort from start to finish. Undergraduates rarely get so much creative control over their own projects nor do they receive such constant support from professors in multiple disciplines, but at William and Mary, my experience was standard. There is a desire to help here that makes learning and exploring the minutiae of a project exciting from start to finish. People want to go on the journey with you rather than just read the line item on your resume after the fact. I am not the only person, and definitely not the only woman, on this campus who spent the year learning about graffiti culture.

I can unequivocally link my success as an Honors Thesis candidate to my studies in the Italian Studies program. Without a grasp of the Italian language, I would never have been able to conduct in-depth research and understand the history of Italian graffiti. Without the support of my thesis advisor, I would not have been able to produce an academic paper of substance. Without the courses I took on Italian history, politics and film, I would have never looked past the Italy of pasta, red wine and Vespas and seen the second, true Italy—a nation with a complex graffiti scene that reveals conflict and anger but above all hope for a brighter future. I am so thankful that when I arrived in Italy I had a grasp of the language, the culture and above all the politics that was beyond the superficial. I spent my semester abroad teaching in multiple schools, babysitting for local families and traveling off the beaten path—things which I was only able to do because of my language proficiency. I only began studying Italian as a freshman, but when I got to Italy as a junior, I was frequently complimented on my language ability by native Italians from Viterbo to Palermo. All of William and Mary’s departments and programs are excellent in their own right but I consider the Italian program to provide the most valuable catalogue of courses on our campus.

For future Honors Fellowship candidates, I have just one piece of advice. If you care about something that fascinates you, confuses you and challenges you to step outside of what you traditionally thought you found interesting, don’t ignore your interest. If you have an itch to learn more, go to the library, get online, conduct an interview—find out what you want to know. This school offers us a host of incredible resources—research funding, dedicated faculty, a diverse range of courses and a host of impressive alumni willing to help with your project. They want to help you so let them. When you want to learn, you should. Especially if you want to learn about something you’re not “allowed” to like.

News News: Italian Studies

L’ Aperitivo Italiano!


As part of Majors Week 2016 the Italian Studies faculty hosted an aperitivo italiano yesterday evening in Washington Hall. It proved to be a great way to connect with current and future Italian Studies students, and to share some Italian culture. Over lemon sodas, parmigiano and various salatini (salty snacks) and affettati (cured meats), graduating seniors shared memories of studies and research trips abroad, while new arrivals learned about the program, including upcoming course offerings, the Italian Studies minor, and the chance to create their own Italian-focused major through the Charles Center. A great time was had by all. Cin cin!


News News: Italian Studies

Ghanaian-Italian filmmaker Fred Kuwornu Visits William & Mary

We were thrilled to welcome Ghanaian-Italian filmmaker Fred Kuwornu for two great events in November, 2015. While here, Fred shared an extended rough cut of his near-complete documentary Blaxploitalian: 100 Years of Blackness in Italian Cinema, and spoke to a packed room about diversity and media in Italy and beyond. Later that same evening, he also screened and discussed his 2012 documentary, 18 IUS SOLI: The Right to be Italian, which looks at issues of citizenship and identity. It was a great day dedicated to important cultural work and we can’t wait to have Fred back when Blaxpoitalian is complete.

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Bio: Director Fred “Kudjo” Kuwornu, an activist-producer-writer-director, was born and raised in Italy and is now based in Brooklyn NY. After his experience working with the production crew of Spike Lee’s Miracle at St. Anna in Italy, Fred decided to research the unknown story of the 92nd Infantry “Buffalo Soldiers” Division, which led him to produce and direct the Award-winning documentary Inside Buffalo (2010). In 2012 he released 18 IUS SOLI, which examines multiculturalism in Italy and the question of citizenship for the one million children of immigrants born and raised in Italy who are not yet Italian citizens. He is the founder of the Association Diversity Italia, promoting the importance of racial and ethnic diversity in Italy and Europe through film and other art forms as tools for building a more inclusive society.

News: Italian Studies Spring 2016

Davis Richardon: Honors Research in Milan

While living and studying in Milan, Italy as an exchange student after high school, I began to notice certain linguistic features that appeared exclusively in gay men’s speech. These included feminization of adjectives, affectionately tongue-in-cheek terms of address, and an animatedly flamboyant style. Given the work done by American scholars on the existence of and attitudes toward a gay American English sociolect (a dialect centered within a social group), my Honors thesis research will extend the issue of gay men’s speech to Italy, a country whose primary language has received little attention in this regard. In this way I will combine my linguistics major with my Italian Studies minor, and I could not be happier with how this project worked out!

More specifically I will employ qualitative interviews in the tradition of perceptual dialectology in order to discover what gay Italian men perceive to “count” as gay men’s language, as well as their attitudes to such language. Perceptual dialectology seeks to ask non-linguists directly about what they think constitutes a certain dialect (or sociolect). I will conduct these interviews in Milan, Italy, the most industrialized and progressive city in the country. Milan is important within the Italian context as a traditional destination for gay Italian men coming from the rural provinces to live in a culturally vibrant and cosmopolitan environment.

After making audio recordings of around 5-7 interviews, I will spend several months transcribing the speech and eventually translating the Italian into English for use in my final product. This part of my methodology will take the longest to complete, but I will have the 2015-2016 academic year to complete my thematic analysis of the interviews before eventually writing the thesis. You may follow along with my progress on the William & Mary Honors Fellows blog at Grazie mille e spero che continuerete a seguire le mie avventure!

Anderson “Davis” RichardsonDavis%20Richardson

James Monroe Scholar

The College of William and Mary ’16

Linguistics & Italian Studies

News: Italian Studies Spring 2016

Exploring Immigration in Turin, Italy

By Akela Lacy, c/0 2015

This past winter break I had the opportunity to combine my interests in journalism, human rights and Italian. As part of William and Mary’s Sharp Journalism Seminar in conjunction with the Pulitzer Center on Crisis Reporting, I traveled to Turin, Italy to conduct research on immigration from the Middle East and North Africa to Europe. I wanted to understand what kinds of challenges immigrants faced, what life was like for someone who fled persecution in their home country only to find further hardship in a new, strange place.

I became interested in immigration to Europe and to Italy in particular after the summer of 2014 when I started hearing news story after news story of boats carrying migrants sinking on their journeys from Libya to Italy. I didn’t understand why people were leaving their homes, why they were going to Europe, or why they were losing their lives. With help from the Pulitzer Center, extensive guidance and support from Professor Boyle and Professor Seger, and a generous sponsorship from the Charles Center and Anne and Barry Sharp, I went to Turin in January of this year to conduct interviews and further research to understand what was going on. There were many professionals writing on the politics of the issue, on the conflicts forcing people to flee, and even providing some personal accounts by people making the journey themselves. I wanted to take this opportunity to explore for myself and to push myself to use my Italian to connect with others.


Before leaving I was in contact with lawyers, legislators, researchers, religious and cultural organizations and even students in Turin who were working to understand what was quickly becoming Italy’s “immigration problem.” I set up a few meetings to talk with them once I arrived in Turin, but my ultimate goal was to talk with someone who was living this “problem.”

By chance I met a woman named Judith Trinchero, an ex-pat Wellesley alumna whose undergraduate teaching stint in Italy turned into a lifelong stay. She was part of a group of Italian citizens who were deeply involved with Turin’s immigrant community, paying frequent visits to the houses where immigrant men and women were living, helping them with basic needs and trying to ease their transitions. Thanks to her I was able to travel to Turin’s abandoned olympic village – known locally as “ex-Moi” – where around 400 migrants found temporary find homes. I spoke with several men living there who were willing to share their experiences with me. Below is an excerpt from one of their stories:

Mohammad S. wakes up at 3 or 4 in the morning and takes the local bus about an hour away to his landscaping job. He asks that his full name not be used in order to protect his identity. He has only been in Italy for three years, and the documents allowing him to work legally will expire within the month. He has come to Mosaico, an organization run by refugees to help newcomers in Italy, for advice regarding his permit to work. He explains in a defeated voice that “Sudan was better…even with war.”

One of an imploding number of refugees arriving on Italy’s shores since 2011, Mohammad S. worries daily about his future. He fled his home country of Sudan to find work in Libya, forced by the Libyan military to come to Italy after war broke out in 2011. He slept on the streets before finding temporary shelter. “Tanto volte non dormo mai”—“Many nights I don’t sleep at all.” Why? “Too many thoughts.” Where he hopes to be in a month? “Spero di essere morto. Quando state qua non c’è futuro.”—“I hope to be dead. When you are here there is no future.”
I conducted all of my interviews in Italian, with help from Professor Boyle and Seger in developing questions and finding the right words to ask them. I would never have given thought to taking on this research without inspiration from my classes in the Italian Department, or without having spent time studying abroad during the fall of 2013 in Perugia. I look back on this experience as a reflection of my studies in both the Italian and Sociology departments at William & Mary. My professors in each department have helped me to think in new ways that connect ideas and issues that are seemingly disconnected. This may be the accomplishment I’m most proud of so far! I hope other students will take advantage of similar opportunities to connect modern languages with their work in other disciplines, and to continue using modern languages outside of the classroom.

You can find the rest of my story and others from this and past years’ Sharp Seminars here.

Akela Lacy

Sociology major, Italian Studies minor

William & Mary class of 2015

Fall 2014 News News: Italian Studies

Introducing Italian Professor Monica Seger

Professor Monica Seger is our new faculty member in Italian Studies. In this interview, Professor Seger talks about her research, courses she’s teaching, and how her passion for the environment breathes life into both.

News News: Italian Studies Spring 2014

The Best Worst Experience Ever: Finding my niche in Italy

Casey-ThompsonI would have never guessed as a Freshman at William & Mary how much of an impact studying Italian would have on my life. I began college wanting to double Major in Hispanic Studies and Business, however after taking my first Italian class and spending so much time in the Italian House even before my two years as a resident, my plans had already changed. I remember going to my first conversation hour at the Italian house incredibly nervous, and leaving incredibly inspired. The house tutor that year, Giacomo Poli, essentially taught me how to speak Italian while I went along with a textbook to learn the grammar. I attended every activity I could at the House as Giacomo really instilled an appreciation for the Italian culture in everyone who went there. Thanks to him I was able to start Italian in the classroom that Spring in Italian 202 with Professoressa Boyle, who made me love the Italian language and culture even more and easily convinced me to pursue a minor in Italian, as well as do my study abroad semester there.

Being a Business major I decided to study in Milan, at Italy’s top Business School: La Bocconi. I created my own study abroad program by going through their single courses program and getting approval from many people between the Reeves Center and the Business School. After just a few days at Bocconi, I began to question my decision to create my own program. For being such a highly appraised University, I had a different experience. Let’s just say they made everything a struggle, and didn’t allow me to do practically anything at the school besides attend class. The terrible experience with Bocconi was actually for the best as it turns out. I figured out that Business was not the field of study for me and I also improved immensely on my Italian arguing skills when dealing with their registrar. But where I really improved my Italian was outside of Bocconi, and mostly outside of Milan. I am proud to say that I did not speak to one American the entire time I was in Italy, and for that matter, I spoke barely any English. Speaking Italian became first instinct after befriending so many cyclists.

Now here’s where I thank God that I brought my bike with me to Europe. It gave me such a unique study abroad experience that also helped shape my future. Through the Cassinis cycling team in Milan, I was able to connect with so many other cyclists around northern Italy. The cycling community no matter where you go is such a welcoming one. Through the people, I met I had the opportunity to fully explore the area around me because someone is always proposing a new adventure! From cycling the seaside in Liguria to crossing the Swiss border to climb l’Alpe di Neggia, and from having amazing opportunities such as cycling around the Montichiari velodrome or touring the Bianchi Factory, they allowed me to truly explore and grow within the Italian cyclist culture.  One particular friend from the team, Ale “Ironman” Sciarro, was one of the most inspiring and adventurous people I had ever met. He was dedicated Ironman triathlete who simply loved sharing his passion for the sport with others. He took me on several neat adventures, such as riding with his triathlon team on the world-famous autodrome of Monza, going around the Lago di Bracciano outside of Rome, and most importantly introducing me to the mountains of Lecco, where I first climbed Ghisallo, one of the most renowned climbs in the Giro di Lombardia. Little did I know that introduction ride to Lecco was more of a sneak peak to where I would be conducting my research this summer.

A week later after that ride, lo Sciarro sent out an email seeing if anyone wanted to accompany him in doing the Granfondo Cinque Terre. Wanting to explore as much as possible on my bike, I quickly said yes and that weekend was provvidenziale (heavensent). During a dinner at a small bed and breakfast outside of the town before the race, we encountered a larger group of people who recognized us as cyclists, and also the fact that I was not Italian, which led to very lively conversation as to what on earth I could be doing there. We discovered they were all from Lecco, where I had just biked a week ago. From a single conversation, I could already tell they were a special group. There was Fabio, ex-pro cyclist, his fiancée Laura, his father Elio, and their family friends Gianni, Mario and Enrico. Luckily, I ran into them again the next day after the race.

In a Granfondo there are usually two courses to choose from: a long or “short” course. I was disappointed in myself for not choosing the longer route and instead opting for the short 86km course due to the heat and humidity that day. Upon finishing, I heard “L’americana!” I turned around to find Enrico surrounded by the others from the night before. My disappointment with myself was immediately transformed to happiness. I ate the post race meal with them while I waited for Sciarro to finish the long course. I found out they all did the race in honor of a friend of theirs, a previous winner of the race, who passed away. Also a part of their group was il Don Agostino, with a few teenage boys from la communità Don Guanella of Lecco. Don Guanella is an educative community that houses several young boys from outside countries and helps them learn and grow until they are 18 years old and ready to go out on their own. They explained to me the wonderful concept behind the community and that il Don provides a road bike for every young boy there as a way to help them integrate themselves into the city and the outside world. I was touched by that concept and then incredibly thankful to have met them. I exchanged contact info with Fabio so I could take the train up to ride with them in Lecco, which I could not wait for.

A whole two months later, I made my return to Lecco. Due to conflicting schedules and my travels, it took a while to finally plan a ride together. I arrived at the train station and received a hug from Fabio, Elio, and Gianni before we set out to do the Ghisallo climb. The entire ride (literally) they explained to me everything there is to know about the mountains, the lake, and the history of where we were biking. I could go on forever about how wonderful that ride was, and how much they shared with me. Basically, I grew even fonder of them and might have invited myself back to ride again later that week. They were delighted and that’s when I started spending more time in Lecco than Milan. That next weekend, after a beautiful ride to Varenna, they invited me to their house for lunch and a hike to Monte Barro, where I met Fabio’s mother Gabriella and his brother Luca, also incredible cyclists. They actually live away from Lecco in Castello di Brianza, which is also part of the region of Brianza. That marked the first of many delicious meals and fun times spent with them, and as well as the first time I heard their dialect spoken: Brianzolo.

This family made my study abroad experience unforgettable and made me want to return to the beautiful area of Brianza as soon as possible. So, I decided to forget about finding a Business related internship for the summer and I pursued an honors fellowship through the Charles Center to further research and document their dialect, as it is slowly disappearing with the passing generations. I will also be looking at how it is spoken across three regions. This research project will serve as an outlet for me to study what I’ve always had a passion for from my Spanish and Italian studies: Language. I will be spending this summer back in Castello di Brianza, in the province of Lecco to answer the many sociolinguistic questions I have about their dialect, as well as provide documentation for it.

News: Italian Studies Spring 2013

A Year in the Italian House

People might ask you: what does it feel like living in the Italian House? Guys, it feels great. Seriously. The year 2012-2013 was particularly full of events and activities. Besides an overwhelmingly funny and playful atmosphere, the I-House has even more to offer. It’s all about Italian culture, Italian language, Italian cinema, Italian food (…well, to be precise, it’s A LOT about Italian food). We hope that the I-House is an unforgettable academic and personal experience for our residents and students. You start the academic year living with 23 strangers; 9 months later, you find yourself living with your new family.

This year we cooked a lot: we offered 19 cooking classes, we had aperitivo-style gatherings, pizza parties, and a lot of Italian desserts.


 1.We made pizza from scratch.


2.We prepared parmigiana di melanza


3. …and bruschette.


4. We ate a whole lot of pasta: tomatoes, basil, olive oil. That’s all we need.


5. We offered cannoli at our FAMILY WEEKEND OPEN HOUSE.


6. Students and residents made tiramisu’ from scratch.


7. And we had the pleasure to serve four different types of desserts on INTERNATIONAL DESSERT NIGHT.


8. Finally, we had monthly potlucks: food was never enough J.


We watched 22 movies in total: many different genres were chosen, in order to show how varied and interesting Italian cinema is. Neorealism, commedia all’italiana, drama films, even a horror movie. Many of the movies we watched, let’s not forget it, won Academy Awards. Together we familiarized ourselves with Roberto Benigni, Giuseppe Tornatore, Marcello Mastroianni, Gabriele Salvatores, Massimo Troisi, only to mention a few,


9.  10. 11.  12.  13.

We threw parties, we organized open houses and gatherings, and we had I-House volleyball  and basketball teams.


14. Language Houses Volleyball Tournament.


15. European Houses Carnival Party.


16. Christmas Surprise Party.


17. I-House Create-Your-Own-Pizza Party.


18. I-House table at the International Dinner Night.


We awarded our best residents each month and  gave them prizes. We painted two murals. We built our own community made of little big things, but especially made of the best people.


19. Get your I-House 2012-2013 button!


20. Our RA Julie’s bulletin board: “Perche’ siamo orgogliosi di essere italiani?”


21. Don’t you agree?


22. Two of our residents are going abroad!


23. Our (little) Venice.


24. “L’amor che move il sole e l’altre stelle”, Dante PARADISO XXXIII, 145.


25. Our last three Residents of the Month with their prizes

Fall 2012 More News News: Italian Studies

Italian: An Unexpected Passion

When I came to William and Mary I never imagined that by the time of my senior year I would be completing a research paper in Italian. I took only the bare minimum required by my high school, and as a result was required to complete 4 semesters at the College. At first, it was rough; I’ll never forget my first day of class freshman year when I walked into the room and Professor Angelone addressed everyone in lively Italian- I couldn’t tell you what she said, naturally. At the completion of my required study, I was at a crossroads- could I let those two challenging and rewarding years be for naught? I had come to respect and love the language, and enjoy studying the culture. At the beginning of my junior year,  I made the decision to embark on an internship in Florence through Global Experiences the following summer, and to spend the year further improving my Italian.

Last May, I departed from Buffalo, New York for Rome. After the flight, I took a train to my apartment in Florence. I am a small-town girl, so thankfully my roommate from the program was a street-savvy college student from New York City. After a tumultuous few days of jet lag, getting lost, and other unfortunate incidents such as shattering our stovetop and searching for antibiotics, we began to adjust. I bought a bus pass, and my roommate bought a bike, and we learned the fastest routes to our friend’s apartments.

By the end of June I finished the language school and began my internship at an English-speaking newspaper. I edited articles, wrote advertisements, and transcribed news clips from Italian into English. It was an invaluable way to get to know the city in a short amount of time- I learned about popular restaurants and clubs, and even interviewed a couple of business owners in the city. The network of friends I made from the newspaper was diverse-from a professor, to a restaurant owner (for whom I helped transcribe a menu), and two wonderful young women, a German and an Armenian, who went out of their way to make sure I felt welcome.

The experiences that changed me the most, however, were the unplanned moments- bike riding through the campagna in search of a lake on a beautiful Sunday afternoon with my roommate and some Italian friends, nighttime Vespa rides through the sleeping city, hopping a train for Ferrara, discovering a beautiful church on the hill near Fiesole. Those were the moments that solidified my love for Italy. Some may say that my experience was skewed by the fact that I was a college student in Europe, but I can assure you that my feelings are deeper. I miss the vibrant appreciation of culture and beauty, and the slowness of the culture. Even when there were impending deadlines for the newspaper, we still took time for a long break with a glass of wine and some fruit. People walked slower, and when you ran into someone there wasn’t this itching need to wrap up the conversation so that you could continue checking off your to-do list. I also miss speaking another language every day- there’s something liberating about it, almost as if you can speak more freely if you don’t hear what is said in your mother tongue.

Though I had only been living there for 9 weeks, I had become accustomed to my life, and since coming back have missed it a great deal. I have begun genealogy research on my great-great grandfather, who immigrated from Caulonia, Italy via Naples to New York in 1907, to work in West Virginia. I am also completing a minor in Italian. I registered for an independent study with Professor Ferrarese, which is serving as a capstone to my experience. I have been researching musical culture during the Fascist period. So far, I have learned a great deal about how political changes affected the type of music that was popularized during that time. As a Music and Government Major, I couldn’t imagine a better opportunity to delve deeper into my third, unexpected passion, Italy.

News: Italian Studies

Opera in Williamsburg

Opera in Williamsburg presents: L’Elisir d’Amore by Gaetano Donizetti.  Live opera, fully staged with piano, violin, and clarinet accompaniment.  At the Kimball Theatre, Friday October 26, 2012, at 8 PM.  Tickets:  $45 ($40 for seniors, military, and teachers/faculty; $15 for students). 

Fall 2012 News: Italian Studies

Italian: Study Abroad Student Sally Wade Teaches English

The following story was written by Italian student Sally Wade:

When I set off for my second journey in Italy, I was looking for an immersive experience. I wanted to see Italy not through a tourist’s eyes; I wanted to be more than a passive observer. I spent last summer in Florence studying Italian and Renaissance Art History with the W&M Study Abroad Program and it was my first taste of Bella Italia. I came back home with a deep sense that learning Italian for me was more than just conjugating verbs; I was simultaneously becoming bilingual and getting to know a whole different culture. We live in a world rich with diversity and, in learning Italian, I’ve begun to see more of that diversity – different people, cultures, perspectives, traditions, and lives. In short, studying abroad for a summer just made me sure that I needed to do it again. A five week dabble in the complexly beautiful Italian culture simply wasn’t enough time.

I was fortunate enough to be able to return, this time to the medieval hilltown of Siena, for four months this Spring. I chose a program called Siena Italian Studies which structures its program around a philosophy they call the “FICCS Approach” (Full Immersion: Content, Culture, and Service). Essentially, students are given the opportunity through homestays, intensive language courses, language exchange partners, and service projects to fully immerse in the Sienese culture. My own ability to immerse has been the product of many pieces of this journey – my homestay, traveling, making friends with the barista who makes my espresso each morning, my language partner from the Università di Siena, and my struggles (and triumphs) as an ESOL teacher.

Each component has its own story and place in my heart, but I’ve decided to talk about teaching English here because I think it’s a pretty unique part of my experience. This is one of the service projects we’re offered as part of our program and it is truly an eye-opening opportunity. The basic idea is that teachers at the public elementary schools here in Siena are required to teach an hour of English per week, but often times these teachers don’t speak more than very basic English. So every Wednesday for the past four months instead of going to my regular Italian language course, I walked to the Scuola Pascoli where two 5th grade classes await the arrival of their English teacher. Yes, that’s me. With the help of their regular teacher, Daniella, I put together an hour-long English lesson for each class.

I saw immediately some of the difference between American and Italian classrooms. My students call Daniella and me either by our first names or simply “Maestra” (i.e. teacher). I saw that some of the taboos which exist in American classrooms are not found here. Teachers are much more affectionate with students – hugs and kisses are normal. If a student gets a question wrong or forgets his textbook at home, he is publicly denounced and shamed. Grades are announced in front of the entire class. I can honestly say that there are things I like better about the American system, while other things are simply done better by the Italians.

The majority of our lessons were spent putting together a skit in English about Scooby Doo and the Mystery Gang. Apparently, the classic television show “Scooby Doo” has been dubbed into Italian and airs frequently on public television here. The kids know all about Daphne, Fred, Shaggy, and the whole gang so they were very enthused to be putting on a play about one of their favorite shows. Putting this play together was a learning experience in so many ways. I had to think of not only how to explain the pronunciation of words, but also what their significance. I learned how difficult it can be to hear the difference between here and ear and her. To us, it’s second nature, but to a 10 year-old who has just begun to learn English, it’s extremely difficult. Trying to explain the difference (both for the pronunciation and meaning) between well and we’ll was, in a word, trying.

Often times, I had to explain something in Italian if they weren’t understanding it in English which was always scary and often embarrassing. My Italian is far from fluent and I had to check my pride at the door each week and not care about achieving perfection, but focus on communicating. At the end of the day, my goal was for them to understand. I hope (and think) that them hearing me speak in broken, imperfect Italian encouraged them to have no fear. I wanted them to know that it wasn’t important to me that their English was without error – it was important that they came to class each week and tried. If they tried their absolute best and never gave up, I could not ask one single thing more of them.

And believe me that’s what they did. Together, we worked hard to cross the pesky language barrier and found that we could communicate and learn together. Each week, I was surprised to find that not only had their English improved, but their personalities were shining more and more brightly. The icing on the cake was that my Italian began to just flow from my mouth with much less effort and minimal stumbling.

Unfortunately, as I write this piece, it’s drawing near to the end of my time in Siena. Last week was the last English lesson with my precious fifth graders. The play isn’t quite ready, but I’m absolutely sure that it will be by the end of the month when they will present it to their families. I was showered with thank you notes as I left and treasured all of their kind words. (I particularly loved their spelling errors – you can see in the pictures that I obviously didn’t teach well the difference between leaving and living!) We exchanged both email and home addresses so that we can be penpals if they wish. Regardless of whether we keep in touch (and I hope this happens), I leave knowing that I these students will always hold a special place in my heart.

Aside from improving my Italian, I had the opportunity to meet wonderful, intelligent, and vivacious children. I had the privilege of seeing them leave behind their fears and put in the courage and dedication necessary to put together something of which they can be tremendously proud. I know this because I am tremendously proud. I am also very grateful for this opportunity to see inside Italian culture. Not only did I find what I came for – to see beyond tourist Siena – but I walked away with an experience I will never forget.

Sally Wade

News News: Italian Studies Spring 2012

Student Profile: Casey Swann ’12 (Video Feature)

Casey Swann ’12 spoke to me a few days before graduation this May about her self-designed Italian Studies major, her study abroad research in Rome, Italy, and about her plans for after graduation.

Fall 2011 News News: Italian Studies

My Internship in Rome, Spring 2011

by Cassie Prena

Last Spring, I spent an unforgettable semester abroad at John Cabot University in Rome. Although my courses at the university and my daily life in a foreign country allowed a certain level of immersion, I was nevertheless determined to experience the more intimate aspects of Italian culture. I decided that an internship would be the perfect complement to enrich my semester, and John Cabot University put me in contact with several potential positions. By mid-January, I secured an internship working in the studio of the American Contemporary Artist, Joseph Kosuth on the historic Tiber Island. As an Art History major, the internship was an absolute dream! Joseph Kosuth is one of the fathers of conceptual art and his exhibitions have been featured at museums such as the Georges Centre Pompidou, the Guggenheim, the Louvre and the MoMA. He is known best for his philosophically inspired works, such as One and Three Chairs (1965), and artworks which deal with language and its interpretation.

Since my internship was in a studio, not a gallery or museum, I was able to witness the creation and promotion of the works of a living artist, which is very rare in ancient town such as Rome. I worked closely with my Italian supervisor, Barbara, to help her organize the studio and prepare for upcoming international exhibitions. I was in charge of cataloging Joseph’s prints and works in the studio, which meant I was handling valuable pieces of art on a daily basis. From my window as I worked, I had an excellent view of a Ponte Fabricio, a Roman bridge that has been standing since 62 BC. Only in Rome would I be able to work with a cutting-edge contemporary artist, who has a studio situated among ruins from centuries before.

However, without a doubt, my favorite part of the experience was interacting with the Italian and International employees. Through our conversations I have come to look at America more objectively, understand Italian politics, learn about Italy’s university system and discover differences in cultural customs. Stepping out for un caffè with Barbara was not only a time to people watch in the beautiful piazza di San Bartolomeo all’Isola, but a chance to practice my Italian as I helped Barbara with her English. I believe it was these experiences outside my Italian classroom that helped me to develop my language skills and more deeply understand daily life in Italy. Returning to the states, I have become a well-rounded individual with a greater comprehension of the international art world and Italian culture.

News: Italian Studies

Faculty Profile: Anita Angelone (Italian)

In this video interview, I talk to Anita Angelone, Professor of Italian Language and Literature at the College. She discusses her latest research project on the Gypsies of Italy, some of the courses she’s currently teaching, and I also ask her to recommend something good to read.

News News: Italian Studies Spring 2011

Italian Documentarian Brings Trash Crisis to William and Mary

In February, the William and Mary Italian Studies Department invited Ivana Corsale, an up-and-coming Italian documentarian, to debut her latest film as part of the 2011 William and Mary Global Film Festival.

Corsale’s film, Unhappy Country, tackled a growing issue in Southern Italian society: the illegal and unhealthy handling of industrial waste. The beautiful, fertile area near Naples has been transformed into a toxic wasteland where even breathing the air is hazardous to Italians’ health. What is worse, Corsale argues in Unhappy Country that those who are polluting the area illegally—namely, members of the region’s organized crime group, the Camorra—not only do so with impunity, but are actually helped by the lack of government oversight, even complicity.

In a rare treat for William and Mary, Corsale brought Unhappy Country to Williamsburg as a first cut, with most of the film previously unscreened. This debut accompanied the screening of another documentary, Terra Madre, which also examined our relationship to the environment. While Terra Madre had a more optimistic ending, Corsale’s Unhappy Country offered a shocking portrait of an Italy that is hidden from tourists.

After the night’s double feature, the filmmaker visited two Italian Studies classes to discuss her film. The students were able to ask Corsale to elaborate on her documentary’s powerful images to gain a better perspective on this persistent problem. The students provided important feedback to Corsale, who plans to finish her documentary by May 2011. While she may find opposition by Italian distributors when she begins to screen Unhappy Country in Italy, she hopes that her film will inspire all Neapolitans to address the issue that many believe is slowly killing them.


Von dem kulturellen und interkulturellen anspruch der linse konnten wir hausarbeit schreiben regeln uns durch den kostenlosen besuch der kinoabendvorstellung selbst berzeugen.
News: Italian Studies

Filmmaker Ivana Corsale

presents her documentary (un)happy country in Washington Hall 201.

February 17, 2011 @ 7pm

In the summer of 2010 Ivana Corsale travelled to Campania Italy to document the ongoing environmental and humanitarian crisis caused by the endemic mismanagement of household and industrial waste caused by the Camorra.

Ludwigsburg, einem netzwerk fr kulturmanager und hausarbeit schreiben for war bei der interim e kunstbiennale im biosphrengebiet schwbisch alb 2013 als projektmanagerin angestellt.