Massimo Riva

Professor of Italian Studies
Director of Graduate Studies
Coordinator of the Virtual Humanities Lab
Affiliated Professor of Modern Culture and Media
190 Hope St., Rm 202


Massimo Riva ​was educated in Italy (Laurea in Filosofia, University of Florence, 1979) and the United States (Ph.D. in Italian literature, Rutgers University, 1986). He is the author of four books, published in Italy, on literary maladies and national identity, post-humanism and the hyper-novel, and literature in the digital age. He is the editor of an anthology of contemporary fiction, Italian Tales (published by Yale University Press in 2004) and the co-editor of the Cambridge edition of Pico della Mirandola's Oration On Human Dignity (2012). He was the recipient of three major grants from the National Endowment for the Humanities and a Digital Innovation Fellowship from the American Council of Learned Society, in support of various digital projects, now part of the Virtual Humanities Lab. Among his collaborative initiatives, a series of interactive installations of the Garibaldi moving panorama were featured in library and museums in Brazil, Italy and the U.K in 2011-12. His latest work, a digital monograph entitled Shadow Plays: Virtual Realities in an Analog World, a project of Brown University Digital Publications funded by a grant from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, was published in June 2022 by Stanford University Press and is the winner of a 2023 PROSE Award of the Association of Academic Publishers in the category of eProducts.  Prof. Riva's teaching ranges from Boccaccio's Decameron to modern and contemporary literature, film, media and the digital humanities. In recognition of his research-based teaching, he was nominated Royce Family Professor of Teaching Excellence. His awards and honors also include the Order of Merit of the Italian Republic (with the rank of Ufficiale) for his contribution to the dissemination of Italian culture in North America.