Mena Mitrano holds a PhD in English from Rutgers University and a second doctoral degree in Literatures in English from Sapienza University of Rome. Her research interests include literary/critical theory, modernism, American literature, language, psychoanalysis, visuality.
She is the author of Gertrude Stein: Woman Without Qualities (Ashgate 2005), Language and Public Culture (Edizioni Q 2009), In the Archive of Longing: Susan Sontag's Critical Modernism (Edinburgh University Press 2016; paperback 2017), and the co-editor of The Hand of the Interpreter: Essays on Meaning after Theory (Peter Lang 2009). Her articles have been published in international peer-reviewed journals like Modern Language Studies, Women's Studies, College Literature, Callaloo, Post Script: Essays in Film and the Humanities, and Modernism/modernity. She has written on topics including modernist poetry, feminist theory, psychoanalytic theory, the New York School, visuality and literary criticism. She is a contributor to La letteratura americana dal Novecento a oggi (Einaudi 2011), with entries on Gertrude Stein, Laura Riding Jackson, Elinor Wylie, Hart Crane, Robert Hayden, among others, and to the Routledge Encyclopaedia of Modernism (https://www.rem.routledge.com/), edited by Stephen Ross, with entries on Peggy Guggenheim, Adrienne Monnier, Carlo Bo, Hermeticism.
Before joining Ca' Foscari University of Venice, Mena worked with language learners as docente di ruolo of English at Liceo "L. da Vinci" in Terracina (Latina) and was Adjunct Professor of literature at the John Felice Rome Center, Loyola University Chicago. At Loyola (2012-2019), she has taught undergraduate courses in Interpreting Literature, Human Values in Literature, European Masterpieces, Women's Studies and Gender Studies, and served as student tutor in the Ricci Scholar Program. Previous to the Loyola appointment she taught Expository Writing (English 100 and 101) and American Literature for the University of Maryland in Europe, and undergraduate and upper undergraduate language and cultural studies courses at Sapienza University of Rome. She has held appointments as Visiting Lecturer in English at the Weissman Center for Leadership, Mount Holyoke College, and as Research Associate at the Five College Women's Studies Research Center, Mount Holyoke College.
In 2015 she founded the Discourses of Modernity Seminar, which is also a founding member of ITN (Italian Thought Network), a new international research network on Italian Thought. She served on the editorial board of the official journal of the Italian Association of North American Studies, RSA Journal (2015-2017). For RSA Journal, she edited a forum on "American Studies and Italian Theory" which includes contributions by Donald E. Pease, Peter Carravetta, and Roberto Esposito (issue 26).
Mena is an alumna of the School of Criticism and Theory (Cornell University). Her interest in the phenomenon of "theory" led her to explore the link between literary criticism and philosophical thought through key twentieth-century figures like Walter Benjamin, Susan Sontag, Hannah Arendt, while her fascination with the magnificent question of language -- "What does it mean to speak?"-- accounts for her interest in intersections of language and psychoanalysis.
She is currently completing a book that takes on the notion of "postcritique."