I am trained in both Italian and Brazilian Studies and my work focuses on the circulation and reimagination of ideas across time and space. In my work I explore the ways in which the concept of Italian identity has evolved beyond the strict geographical confines of the Italian nation-state and how it has impacted the way we imagine the bel paese. At the same time, I look at how the emigration of millions of Italians has shaped notions of class, race, and gender in the Americas—specifically in Brazil. The central questions that I grapple with in both my research and teaching include: What does it mean to be Italian in a culture defined by border crossing and internal diversity? How do we map the circulation of ideas that are supposedly anchored in a particular national context?
Currently, I am completing a book manuscript, tentatively titled “New World Italians: The Invention of a Brazilian Identity,” in which I study the discursive production of a modern, racialized Italian identity in São Paulo, Brazil. New World Italians focuses on the cultivation and exploitation of myths of Italian cultural, economic, and racial superiority in writings by Italian and Brazilian literary artists, politicians, and journalists in order to argue that Italians first became recognized as modern Europeans in the city of São Paulo. I trace the production of what I call “New World Italian” discourse in sources ranging from Italian travel accounts of Brazil to the works of São Paulo’s literary modernists, and from the autobiographies of Italo-Brazilian fascists to the pamphlets of Black Brazilian intellectuals. De-centering Italy altogether as the cynosure of Italian identity formation, my book project advances an innovative framework for understanding Italian cultural identity while expanding and challenging notions of nationality, modernity, and race. For an updated list of publications and projects please read here.
My teaching interests reflect the interdisciplinarity and transnationalism of my research. I teach courses on the circulation of fascist ideas across the Atlantic, on the contributions of Italians to ideas of race, gender, and class in the USA and Brazil, on the literature of Elena Ferrante, and on youth culture and politics in a multiracial Italy.
I am originally from Vignola, a picturesque borgo nestled in the hills of Modena and Bologna, famous for its cherries (morette and duroni) and for the torta Barozzi cake, named after the architect Jacopo Barozzi who gave the town its renowned spiral staircase. I am a former American Field Service (AFS) student, and I have been affiliated with the Universidade Clássica de Lisboa, the University of California Davis, the Universidade de São Paulo, and the Global South Studies Center of the Universität zu Köln.
- Italian Studies
- Brazilian Studies
- Global South
- Translation Studies
- Race and Ethnic Studies