Question: a brief outline of your training and scientific activity
I have a BA in philosophy and a PhD in English and American Literature from Marquette University, Wisconsin (USA) and did research for two years in Paris to complete my dissertation work on Lucien Goldmann’s sociology of literature. While in Paris I discovered the work of Antonio Gramsci and began to study and translate his insights on culture, literature, and politics. I taught two years in Italy as a Fulbright junior lecturer, and had the opportunity to meet and work with such scholars as Sergio Perosa, Rosella Mamoli Zorzi, Alide Cagidemetrio, Bianca Tarozzi, Daniela Ciani, and Gregory Dowling. Some years ago, I inaugurated an interdisciplinary center for Atlantic Studies at Louisiana State University, Baton Rouge (USA), and co-founded and co-edited the Routledge journal ‘Atlantic Studies.’ I was also part of a group of restless European scholars who founded MESEA (Multi-ethnic Studies, Europe and America), an international association which continues to thrive as a forum for the comparative study of multi-culturalism in in European societies.
Question: reasons for choosing Venice and the Department for your research and stay
I am delighted to be able to teach as a visiting professor in Venice and in the Department of Linguistics and Comparative Cultural Studies. So much seems to be happening at the university lately – new focus centers and new international connections. As for being in Venice, I am currently working on a biography of the sixteenth-century Humanist Giambattista Ramusio and his circle of friends as well as researching the presence of African slaves in Italy during the early modern period. And how can one not be interested in two only apparently disconnected Venetian issues: an overblown invasion of tourists, the city’s declining population, and the presence of migrants in the city. In this sense Venice has become a laboratory the way Chicago was for the Chicago School of Sociology at the beginning of the nineteenth century.
Question: have you ever had a research collaboration with the teaching staff of the Dept of Linguistics and Comparative Cultural Studies in the past?
I have collaborated with Professor Daniela Ciani in the past and know the work of Professors Simone Francescato and Pia Masiero. I am also acquainted with the admirable efforts of Professor Shaul Bassi and the Center for Humanities and Social Change.