American Association for Italian Studies

Recent Updates
A letter from Carol Lazzaro-Weis, AAIS President

Dear Colleagues:

As your President, it is my pleasure to write to all of you with an update on the activities and initiatives of the AAIS. Many of you have recently returned from our very successful annual conference held at the University of Colorado in Boulder. Former AAIS secretary, Valerio Ferme, graciously hosted the conference. Attendance again was high and the weather cooperated. The conference attracted a large number of University of Colorado faculty as well. Plenary speakers included: award-winning Italian filmmaker Edoardo Winspeare introduced by Professor Gaetana Marrone, and Michael Caesar, from the University of Birmingham, UK. Professor Ferme worked with our Jewish Caucus and the University’s Program in Jewish Studies, the Department of German and Slavic Literatures and Languages, and the CU Art Museum to organize a talk on Italian concentration camps by the top expert in the field, Professor Carlo Capogreco, from the Università della Calabria, and a closing performance by Jewlia Eisenberg and Charming Hostess on the “Ginzburg Geography.”

Another prominent guest speaker was Dennis Looney who is now serving as Director of Programs and of the Association of Departments of Foreign Languages, replacing Nelly Furman at the MLA. Dennis spoke to a crowded room about the MLA report on language enrollments and the implications for Italian. His talk is part of a series of sessions on the state of the profession started in Zurich, Switzerland in May 2014 and which will continue in Baton Rouge next year.

I am most pleased to announce the recipients of the 2014 AAIS Book Prizes and Graduate Student Travel Awards.

Book Prize 2014

  • Medieval, Renaissance and Baroque: Guido Ruggiero, The Renaissance in Italy (Cambridge)
  • Eighteenth and Nineteenth Century: John Bessler, The Birth of American Law: An Italian Philosopher and the American Revolution (Carolina Academic Press)
  • Twentieth and Twenty-First Century: David Forgacs, Italy’s Margins: Social Exclusion and Nation Formation since 1861 (Cambridge University Press)
  • General: Rocco Rubini, The Other Renaissance: Italian Humanism between Hegel and Heidegger (The University of Chicago Press)

I would like to inform members of some changes in the Book Awards for next year that reflect the scholarly contributions to our changing field. Following the proposal by an ad-hoc committee composed of Joseph Buttigieg, Massimo Lollini, Charles Klopp, and Zygmunt Baranski and approved by the Executive Committee in Boulder, the categories for 2015 and beyond are:

  • Medieval

  • Renaissance, 18th, and 19th
  • 20th and 21st

  • Film and other Media Studies

Information on how to apply for the 2016 Book Prize is available on the Book Prize page. I would like to advise all who plan to submit manuscripts that Professor Bouchard’s address has changed. Her new address is: College of Arts and Letters, San Diego State University, 5500 Campanile Drive, San Diego, CA 92182-6060.

Graduate Student Travel Awards
This is the third year we have made travel funds available to students currently writing their dissertation. We will again call for submission during January 2016. This year’s winners and the titles of their presentations are:

  • Heather Sottong, UCLA: “Young Italy, Young Argentina”
  • Fabiana Viglione, The University of Connecticut: “The Versatility of Cinema as a Tool in the Language Classroom”
  • Darian Bolzano, University of North Carolina: “L’erotismo e la macchina: Il desiderio futurista in Marinetti e Alvaro de Campos”
  • Sara Mattavelli, University of Wisconsin Madison: “La frantumaglia del corpo ne I giorni dell’abbandono di Elena Ferrante”
  • Aria Cabot, University of Wisconsin-Madison: “Neither Holy Nor Royal: Petronilla Paolini Massimi (1663-1726): Onstage in the Roman Monastery of Santo Spirito”
  • Teodoro Katinis, Johns Hopkins University: “Poetry, Sophistry and Skepticism in the Late Renaissance: Jacopo Mazzoni’s Interpretation of Dante”

We will offer similar stipends next year to assist graduate students in attending the conference. I would like to express my personal thanks to the advisors that directed their graduate students to participate in this competition and to present their research at the AAIS annual conference.

The Women’s Studies Caucus
The Women’s Studies Caucus recently held elections for Secretary. Emanuela Zanotti Carney will replace outgoing President Chiara Fabbian and Cosetta Seno Reed will replace Emanuela as Secretary. Congratulations to all newcomers and and the executive would to express their heartfelt thanks to those past officers who have served their terms with much distinction. The Women’s Studies Caucus has coordinated sessions and worked with other caucuses and the conference host in organizing plenaries.

AAIS 2016: Baton Rouge
Next year’s annual conference will take place in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, April 21-23 with our host, Paolo Chirumbolo, from Louisiana State University. The conference site hotel is the renovated Hilton, located downtown on the Mississippi. We expect that there will be plenty of music, good food and, as always, great presentations to enjoy. The website is under construction and calls for sessions and session organizers have been posted to the list-serve. Please put us on your calendar. The conference for 2016 will be held at The Ohio State University and will be hosted by faculty in The Department of French and Italian. Dates will be announced later so as to avoid conflicts with other organizations of interest to our members.

We continue to post member publications at the beginning of each month on our website. Please do not post member publications to the list-serve, and instead send information on member publications (monographs, edited volumes, and journal issues) to Please note that the AAIS does not post information regarding summer programs or language programs to the list-serve.

Italian Culture
Italian Culture is currently accepting submissions for 2016. Please send articles to the Senior Editor, Joseph Francese ( and send book reviews and books to be reviewed to the Book Review Editor, Laura Benedetti ( ). The journal’s webpage ( includes guidelines for submitting articles and book reviews, and for submitting books for review. Please support the AAIS by asking your library to subscribe to Italian Culture if it does not already do so. For details, please see the Italian Culture page.

AAIS is in the process of updating the by-laws. The committee, composed of professors of all ranks and graduate students from both the US and Europe, will request input from members in the coming months.

Elections for new Officers of the AAIS Executive Committee will be held in Fall 2015. I will appoint a committee and they will solicit nominations for the positions of President, Vice-President, Secretary, and Treasurer. Elections will be by electronic ballot. The last electronic ballot was successful although there was an objection that there was no room for write-ins. There certainly will be space for write-ins on this ballot; however, I urge you to seriously consider nominating candidates whom you will have contacted in advance and who have agreed to run. We will call for nominations in the Fall.

I wish all of our members here and abroad a restful and productive summer. I look forward to seeing many of you in Baton Rouge next spring.


Carol Lazzaro-Weis
University of Missouri-Columbia