Graduate Studies in the Romance Languages
The Graduate Program in Italian in the Department of Romance
Languages at the University of Pennsylvania offers students
a liberal range of curricular options that provide a broad
academic base in Italian literature, film, cultural studies,
and critical theory, as well as the most current pedagogical
theory and practice. Students are encouraged to shape a curriculum
that will prepare them in a primary period of interest as
well as a secondary focal area. The goal is to develop both
a rigorous historical sense of Italian cultural traditions
and the flexibility to function effectively as scholars and
teachers in American university Italian programs.
In addition, the Graduate Program in Italian at Penn offers
a development track targeting special practical and technical
needs of graduate students as they prepare to enter the profession.
Concurrent informal colloquia, sponsored by both faculty and
students, are designed to address issues of professional concern
at various stages in a student's graduate formation. The graduate
students in the Department of Romance Languages--French, Italian,
and Hispanic Studies--jointly organize their own conference,
which takes place in the spring of every year.
Many resources are available to the graduate students in
Italian at the University of Pennsylvania. The nationally
renowned Van Pelt Library has excellent Italian holdings,
including periodical collections dating from the eighteenth
century and Special Collections with strengths in Dante, the
Renaissance, and Reformation. It has also established a video
library and provides state-of-the-art facilities for film
study and viewing.
The Center for Italian Studies coordinates scholarly activities
among faculty and students across the humanities, in the departments
of History, History of Art, Music, English, and Classical
Studies. Its interdepartmental colloquium series, "Italy
at the Center," features presentations by Penn Italian
Studies faculty from across the humanities. Other cultural
events sponsored by the Center include visiting lectures,
film screenings and a major annual academic conference.
Recent conferences have been devoted to such topics as "Romanticism
and the Idea of Italy"; "The Holocaust in Italy:
Ten Years After Primo Levi"; "A Colloquium on Film
Studies: Cinema Across the Disciplines"; "Translation
and Cultural Transformation"; "Strong Voices, Weak
History? Medieval and Renaissance Women in their Literary
Canons"; "Italian Roots, American Soil: Generations
of Immigrants to the Philadelphia Area"; "AAIS-American
Association of Italian Studies, XXI Annual Conference."
Guest lecturers have included Giuseppe Velli, Piero Boitani,
Albert Ascoli, and Fred Gardapahé. The Center also
has hosted visiting film directors, including the Taviani
Brothers, Carlo Lizzani, Francesco Rosi, and Gianni Amelio,
as well as authors who have come for readings, most recently
Gianni Celati and the poets Bianca Tarozzi and Antonio Riccardi.
The Italian Graduate Program provides opportunities for residence,
teaching, and research in Italy at the Penn-In-Florence program.
Individual dissertation research abroad is encouraged and
summer research funding is available competitively through
Penn's Salvatori Fund or other resources.
In addition to lectures, conferences, films, and concerts
sponsored on campus by the various departments, the Center
for Italian Studies, and the Casa Italiana of the Modern Languages
College House, Italian at Penn benefits from plentiful community
resources. They include in particular cultural events organized
under the auspices of the Italian Consul General of Italy
in Philadelphia and in connection with the sister city relationship
between Philadelphia and Florence, and initiatives of the
America-Italy Society of Philadelphia and the Friends of the
Center for Italian Studies at Penn.
Opportunities for Interdisciplinary Study
Students may complement their studies with up to four courses
outside the Italian Studies section--for example, in another
Romance language, Comparative
or History. Certificate
programs are also available in the areas of Women's
Studies and Urban
Studies. The University of Pennsylvania enjoys reciprocal
agreements with several other nearby institutions, which allow
students to complete a number of courses in them while enrolled
in a graduate program at Penn. Additionally, interdisciplinary
study is encouraged through participation in the wide range
of seminars, lectures, and colloquia sponsored by the various
Graduate Groups and affiliated research institutes and centers
at Penn, including the
Center for Italian Studies and the Latin
American Cultures Program. Students and faculty participate
in the weekly "History of the Book Seminar," which
draws scholars from a wide range of disciplines to discuss
the history and materiality of the book. The Graduate
Humanities Forum also provides a forum for doctoral students
to interact with colleagues from across the disciplines and
holds weekly meetings as well as special research seminars,
colloquia, and an annual student conference.
The Department offers guided preparation for students' participation
in the academic job market. Students receive advice and feedback
on their job application materials (CVs, cover letters, teaching
statements, research statements, etc.) and attend an intensive
week-long seminar in December that prepares them for the Annual
Convention of the MLA. Mock interviews and practice job talks
are also arranged. Recent graduates of our program have fared
extremely well on the job market, accepting tenure-track positions
at some of the best colleges and universities around the country,
including Berkeley, Harvard, Columbia, Dartmouth, and Princeton.
The Career Services Office makes every effort to assist students
in finding employment and offers a range of services geared
toward both academic and nonacademic career options.
The Van Pelt
Library, the University's central humanities research
collection, is especially rich in the Romance languages areas,
with outstanding collections of rare books and manuscripts.
The Italian literature collection includes a broad base in
literary scholarship from all periods. The Macauley Collection,
devoted to Italian Renaissance culture and literature, includes
one of the largest Tasso collections in the United States.
The Graduate Romanic Association, the graduate student organization
of the Department of Romance Languages, works to enhance the
general welfare of graduate students in both intellectual
and practical terms. This group helps to organize Department-sponsored
lectures and colloquia, organizes an annual graduate student
colloquium, and publishes a journal of its proceedings.
Graduate students have the opportunity to live and work as
resident advisors at the Gregory House, an undergraduate campus
dormitory that is staffed by native speakers, graduate students,
and faculty members from participating departments in French,
Spanish, Italian, and German. In addition to communal
dining for House residents, each floor offers weekly coffee
hours for informal conversation, movies, and other social
The Department of Romance Languages occupies the fifth
floor of Williams Hall, with a seminar room for Romance Languages graduate
classes, a graduate lounge, and a computer lab, as well as the Cherpack
Lounge, where faculty and graduate students meet informally, and where
lectures and colloquia sponsored by the Department are held.
University of Pennsylvania
521 Williams Hall
Philadelphia, PA 19104-6305
Telephone: (215) 898-1980
Fax: (215) 898-0933