Graduate Students

Anna Aresi
Anna AresiAnna AresiAnna Aresi graduated summa cum laude from the University of Padua, Italy, in Classics and Italian Literature and Philology. She is close to completing her Ph.D. degree with a dissertation entitled Modernism through Dante: T. S. Eliot, Clemente Rebora, and Osip Mandelstam. Her dissertation project explores the reception of Dante in European modernism, focusing on how the reception of Dante influenced modernist poetics and poetic practice. Anna’s areas of interest include Dante Studies, Italian Modern and Contemporary Literature, Italian and European Modernism, Reception and Translation Studies, Second Language Acquisition, and Contemplative Pedagogy. She is currently a Visiting Assistant Professor at Villanova University.
Lianca Carlesi
Lianca CarlesiLianca CarlesiLianca Carlesi (Ph.D. candidate in Italian Studies) graduated summa cum laude from the University of Bologna where 
she earned a Master Degree in Contemporary Italian Literature with a thesis on a comparative reading of a selection of 
Italian Resistance novels. She started her Ph.D. at Brown in 2010, and she is currently in her fellowship year. At Brown she taught beginning and intermediate level Italian courses, she was a TA for an Italian culture course, and she organized the 2014 edition of Chiasmi, the Brown-Harvard Graduate Student Conference. Her main interest is Twentieth Century Italian literature, with particular regard to postwar and Resistance literature. Her dissertation project focuses on Cesare Pavese, especially on the last years of his literary and intellectual activity.
Wuming Chang

Wuming ChangWuming ChangIn 2010, Wuming Chang received a B.A. in Philosophy from Peking University, China. In college he also worked extensively in theatre as an actor in both the English and Chinese languages, acting in 7 university, festival and commercial productions. His undergraduate project attempted a critique of the theory of the metaphysical foundation of human rights outlined in philosopher James Griffin’s 2008 book On Human Rights. In 2011 he entered the department of Italian Studies at Brown University as a PhD student. His interests include Pico della Mirandola, Dante, the classical traditions in Medieval and Renaissance theatre and literature, and the role of “the canon” in modern society. Other maybe less academic yet no less serious interests include philosophy, Christan theology, theatre performance, and music.

Mena Fantarella

Filomena FantarellaFilomena Fantarella

Filomena Fantarella (Ph.D. candidate in Italian Studies) graduated summa cum laude from Sannio University. After her graduation she worked as an intern editor at L'Indipendente and Il Manifesto. From 2009-2010 she was a visiting scholar at Harvard University, where she studied Gaetano Salvemini’s antifascist activity in the United States. She is currently working on her dissertation, a biography of Salvemini, tentatively entitled: “Broken circle. The family of Gaetano Salvemini under Fascism.” Her academic interests include: Modern Italian Literature, the Relationship between Literature and Politics; Intellectual History; European Avant-garde; the Emergence of  Fascism in Italy; the exile of Italian intellectuals to the United States during the Fascist era; biographical and historical narratives. She has organized the panel “Italian intellectuals in exile in the United States during the fascist era” for the NeMLA 2014 and the panel “Literature and Politics” for the AAIS 2014. She is currently editing the issue: “Letteratura e Politica in Italia tra la fine dell’Ottocento e gli inizi del Novecento. Il caso siciliano: Luigi Pirandello, Federico De Roberto e Giovanni Verga.

Valeria Federici 

ValeriaValeriaValeria Federici graduated in Lettere with a concentration in Art History from the University RomaTre in Rome, Italy. Herthesis “Il ferro battuto nei Villini di Roma” focused on the urban architectural interventions in the Prati neighborhood (north-east of Vatican City) between 1886 and 1925, and in particular on the realization of ornaments for one-family homes which reflected the “Italian style” as conceived by a particular institution active at that time in Rome: the Museo Artistico Industriale. The thesis revolved around the debate intercourse among members of the Italian intelligentsia on how best to present the city to the world in order to successfully reflect its leadership as the political and moral capital of the recently formed Kingdom of Italy and how to distinguish the modern city from the “Rome of the Vatican”. Through her research project, she explored the role of the district council, the Ministry of Culture, and the Ministry of Public Education in controlling the cultural representation through initiatives such as the Universal Exposition held in Rome in 1911 to celebrate the fiftieth anniversary of the unification of the nation. Following her interest in modern and contemporary art and culture, in 2007 she started a career as an arts manager in the US, between New York City and the Berkshire of Western Massachusetts also working as an independent curator and art editor. Her more recent research projects include exhibitions and art writings on the intersections between contemporary art practices and social change. Before moving to the US, she worked as a freelance journalist and held a position of project manager for a Rome-based communication company for three years. Her teaching experience includes Italian language instruction in Barcelona, Spain and several guest lectures and roundtables about arts management, art and activism and the role of cultural institutions in place-making and community-building in post-industrial cities. Currently a second year PhD student at Brown, her academic interests include modern and contemporary art, activism and technology.
Alessandra Franco

A. FrancoA. FrancoAlessandra Franco (Ph. D. candidate in Italian Studies) graduated summa cum laude in Lettere classiche from the University of Rome “La Sapienza.” Her laurea thesis, “La Vita di Macrina: una biografia femminile dalla tarda antichità” (The Life of Macrina: A Female Biography from Late Antiquity), explored the development of female monasticism during the course of the fourth century. She has taught Italian in Rome and in the United States (University of Dayton and Saint Louis University). She started her PhD work at Brown in 2009. Her academic interests include Dante studies, medieval and early modern religious history and women's history. Her current research focuses on sixteenth-century Rome charitable institutions devoted to the education of women. 

Nicole Gercke

 N. GerckeN. GerckeNicole Gercke (Ph. D. candidate in Italian Studies) received a B.A in Classics from Dartmouth College with a minor in Studio Art. After college, she spent time in Edinburgh, Scotland and at a small art school in Greece. She worked for several years writing and designing elementary math lessons for an online instructional company based in her hometown of Charlottesville, VA. After working as an English teacher in various regions of Italy, she completed her M.A. in Italian Literature at Middlebury College in Florence. Her M.A. thesis, Le connotazioni di Zeno, explored the various critical interpretations of Svevo's novel which are suggested by the protagonist's name. Her teaching experience includes English language instruction in Italy and Italian instruction at Brown University. she is at work on a dissertation on the ides of Hybrid in the work of Alberto Savinio.

Zoe Langer

Zoe LangerZoe Langer

Zoe Langer received her BA in Art History and Italian Studies at UC Berkeley in 2009. She also studied at the University of Padova in 2007-2008, during which she received a research fellowship to study at the state archives in Siena. She then pursued graduate studies at the University of Cambridge, where she received an MPhil in European Literature and Culture in 2010. Her thesis, “Constructing a Vernacular Politics in the Sala dei Nove in Siena: Art, Language, and Ideology,” examined medieval political culture in Siena through the lens of literature, art history, politics, and linguistics. Zoe’s interests include text and image studies, vernacular literary culture, translation and reception theory, the history of the Italian language, and medieval political culture.


Michela RonzaniMichela RonzaniMichela Ronzani

Michela Ronzani (Ph. D. candidate in Italian Studies) graduated from the University of Ferrara with a BA in History of Visual and Performing Arts and she completed a MS in Arts Administration at Bocconi University in Milan. Her main research interest is Italian Opera, in particular opera's role during the Risorgimento and the intersections between opera, politics and socio-economic history at the end of 19th century. During this academic year, Michela will be completing her dissertation titled Melodrama, Market, and Modernity. Opera between Popularization and Elitism in fin de siècle Italy. She is also TAing for the course Introduction to Italian Cinema and organizing with Professor Riva the second edition of the film festival and talk series Cinema RitrovatoIn the past years at Brown, she taught various language courses and she is currently collaborating with the language program coordinator Professor Abbona-Sneider for a project to create and implement online versions of Elementary Italian tests. Before coming to Brown she worked in Milan as booking agent for classical musicians and orchestras, she was a private teacher of Italian language in New York, and a Teaching Assistant at Middlebury College. 
Anna SantucciAnna SantucciAnna Santucci

Anna Santucci received her BA in Modern Languages and Literatures (English, German and Spanish) at the University of Padua (Italy) in 2009; her final dissertation was entitled “‘Curious, if True’: a Translation into Italian of a Tale by Elizabeth Gaskell.” In 2011 she completed an MA in English Literature at the University of Nottingham (UK); her dissertation was entitled “Cinematic Dickens? An Analysis of Characterization in ‘Little Dorrit’ and its 1987 Film Adaptation by Christine Edzard.” In 2011 she co-authored an article published in the on-line journal Scenario: ‘Rewriting the “Duchess of Malfi”: Adapting Webster’s tragedy for an ESL drama production.’ Anna’s interests include second language acquisition, literary translation, drama, performance studies, and adaptation and appropriation issues. Currently a member of Brown’s Open Graduate Education Program, Anna is a third year PhD student of Italian Studies as well as an MA student of Theater Arts and Performance Studies; she is teaching language courses at Brown and working towards her dissertation project on the performative aspects of second language acquisition and the intersection of theater arts and foreign language teaching.