Ph.D., University of Wisconsin, Madison,1995. Professor of Italian. I've been at the University of Arizona since 1997, after teaching for two years at the University of Wisconsin, Milwaukee. I teach courses in Italian language (all levels), literature, culture and folklore. In 2008 I was honored with a COH Distinguished Teaching Award; the nomination required a "Statement of Teaching Philosophy," which can be read here.
My research focuses on medieval comic literature, including books on Cecco Angiolieri (2001) and Dante (2011). This is a field that is vitally important, but frequently misunderstood. The literature of insult was viewed as a means to reinforce morality by publicizing and chastising people's misbehaviors. Therefore, it was considered an ethical art; it was called the literature of "blaming," which was juxtaposed to the literature of "praise" (for praiseworthy actions and individuals). My most recent book, Dante's Tenzone with Forese Donati: The Reprehension of Vice (University of Toronto Press, 2011), explores Dante's experiences with this type of poetry. I recently gave a talk on "Dante's Poetry of Insult" for Humanities Week, which fleshes out these ideas further. It can be viewed here.
In addition, I am the co-editor of a collection of essays in honor of my dissertation advisor, Christopher Kleinhenz (2012). I have also published numerous articles on medieval literature, including the other comic lyric poets, Dante, Boccaccio, and Petrarch. Most recently, I have published a translation of the irascible poet Rustico Filippi (ca. 1230-ca.1299).
From 2010 until May 2015 I was the Department Head of French and Italian. I was proud to serve in this capacity because during that time, we grew both programs: French reached over 160 majors, and Italian peaked over 100 majors, making it the largest Italian Program in the United States (by the count of Majors). For more information about our Italian Program, watch the spot done on us in 2009 by Arizona Public Media.
While I'm proud of my sholarship, I also believe fully in the importance of community engagement. To that end, I happily work with St. Philips in the Hills Episcopal Church in their annual "All-Night Reading of Dante's 'Inferno."" In 2012 I was interviewed with the Rev. Greg Foraker about the "All-Night Reading" on "Arizona Public Media" (scroll 20 minutes into the show to see the interview), and in 2014 I was interviewed about the all-night reading on the Bill Buckmaster radio program.
I'm also a board member of the Humanities Seminars Program, a non-profit that acts as a community outreach for the College of Humanities. In the summer of 2014 I offered a four-week seminar on Dante's "Paradiso." Coming in November 2015, I will be conducting a seminar on Dante's "Purgatorio."