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Teresa Fiore

Professor and Inserra Chair in Italian and Italian American Studies, World Languages and Cultures

Laurea, Università degli Studi di Trieste (Italy)
PhD, University of California, San Diego
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Teresa Fiore holds the Inserra Endowed Chair in Italian and Italian American Studies,* and serves as Full Professor in the Italian Program, Department of World Languages and Cultures.

She received her B.A. in Italy (University of Trieste) and her Ph.D. in the Literature Department at the University of California, San Diego (2002). The recipient of several fellowships (NEH, De Bosis at Harvard University, Rockefeller at Bellagio, and Fulbright), she has been Visiting Assistant Professor at Harvard University (2007), NYU (2008), Rutgers University (2009), and Yale University (2022). Between 2011 and 2017 she has been a Visiting Fellow at the Center for European and Mediterranean Studies at NYU. As of Fall 2017, she is member of the Seminar in Modern Italian Studies at Columbia University. Fiore was awarded the Italian national honor of “Cavaliere dell’Ordine della Stella d’Italia” (Knight of the Order of the Star of Italy) by the Italian Consulate in 2019. For her publications and academic presentations, see Specialization section and full CV below.

*The Theresa and Lawrence R. Inserra Endowed Chair was created through a major gift of Lawrence R. Inserra, Jr. and thanks to the support of other individual donors active in local Italian American organizations. Besides the regular duties of a professor (teaching, research, and service), the responsibilities of the Chair include the development of research projects, cultural programs, and educational activities vital to the continued growth of Italian and Italian American Studies at Montclair State University. Teresa Fiore started in this position in Jan. 2011.


Fiore's teaching and research interests focus on a transnational reading of Italian culture that privileges the mobility of people, ideas and goods as part of migrations, diaspora, commercial exchanges, and colonial and post-colonial relocations across the world. Her areas of expertise include 19th-, 20th-, and 21st-century Italian literature, Italian cinema, and Italian American culture, with a theoretical emphasis on space. She has recently developed an interest in Adoption Studies from a cultural perspective, and is teaching and writing on the subject with an eye to both Italian texts and texts produced about this topic globally.

PUBLICATIONS (for a full list see CV below)
Fiore is the author of Pre-Occupied Spaces: Remapping Italy’s Transnational Migrations and Colonial Legacies (Fordham University Press, May 2017) - see and Pre-Occupied Spaces was awarded the 2017 AAIS/American Association of Italian Studies Book Prize in the 20th-21st centuries category, received an Honorable Mention as part of the 2018 MLA Marraro Prize in Italian Literature, was awarded the 2019 Gadda Prize (Runner Up) in Edinburgh, UK, and was one of five candidates for the 2018 Bridge Book Award.
The book is also available in Italian translation through a major publishing house:
Spazi Pre-occupati: Una rimappatura delle migrazioni transnazionali e delle eredità coloniali italiane (Florence: Mondadori Educational-Le Monnier, 2021).

Fiore is also the editor of the 2006 issue of Quaderni del ‘900, devoted to John Fante, and the co-editor (with Ernest Ialongo) of a special section titled “Italy and the Euro-Mediterranean ‘Migrant Crisis’: National Reception, Lived Experiences, E.U. Pressures,” included in an issue of the Journal of Modern Italian Studies (Sept. 2018).

Fiore's essays on issues of Italian migrations, space, and identity have appeared in Italian, English, and Spanish both in journals (Annali d’Italianistica, Diaspora, Bollettino d’italianistica, Zibaldone, El hilo de la fábula) and edited books such as the MLA volume Teaching Italian American Literature, Film, and Popular Culture (2010); The Cultures of Italian Migration: Diverse Trajectories and Discrete Perspectives (Fairleigh Dickinson, 2011); Postcolonial Italy: Challenging National Homogeneity (Palgrave, 2012 - in Italian translation, Le Monnier-Mondadori, 2014). Recent publications include an article on films and plays about the Mediterranean migrant crisis in the Journal of Modern Italian Studies (2018); two essays on contemporary immigration from Italy to the U.S. in edited volumes (Routledge, 2017; University of Illinois Press, 2018); an article on migrant detention camps as represented in film (Journal of Italian Media and Cinema Studies 2018); and an article on innovations in Italian teaching (2018). For current and forthcoming projects see section below.

2021 NEH Faculty Award(“Memoria Presente: The Common Spanish Legacy in Italian and Latin American Cultures”)
2010-17 Visiting Scholar. CEMS (Center for European & Mediterranean Studies), NYU
2017-present Member of Columbia Seminar in Modern Italian Studies. Columbia University.
2007-08 Lauro De Bosis Fellowship. Harvard University. Visiting Assistant Professor and Scholar.
2003 Scholarly Residency Program. Rockefeller Foundation. Bellagio Center (Como Lake), Italy.
2004-present Funding for specific teaching and research projects coming from: IACE, MAECI, and Cali Fund.

ACADEMIC PRESENTATIONS (for a full list see CV below)
Besides regularly giving papers at professional association conferences (MLA, PAMLA, NeMLA, AAIS, AATI, and AIHA/IASA), Fiore has also presented her research work at international conferences (University of Oxford, The British School at Rome, Dartmouth College) and as invited lectures (Harvard, Duke, Rutgers, Georgetown, Princeton, Columbia, Brandeis, Yale). She gave the keynote address at the 2010 Conference on Romance Literatures (University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill) and the 2016 Cultures on the Move conference at the University of Oxford. Her book (Pre-occupied Spaces) has been presented on a dozen U.S. campuses from California (USC, UC Santa Barbara, SDSU) to North Carolina (Duke U) and New York (NYU, Columbia) as well as abroad (Università di Palermo) and as part of scholar-in-residence invitations (Ohio State U, Columbus).

* gender/sexuality/Italy, an online annual, peer-reviewed journal on gendered identities in Italian politics, culture, and society (
* The Routledge History of Italian Americans (800-page volume co-edited by Stanislao Pugliese and William J. Connell, published in 2018).
* Book review editor of Altreitalie, a Turin-based journal on the Italian diaspora (2009-12).

* Kim Ziegler, New York University: “Street-Smart: Critical Approaches to Space and Education in Contemporary Naples" 2016
* Arianna Fognani, Rutgers University (Italian intellectuals in/from Egypt) 2015
* Sarah DeMott, NYU (Sicilian immigrant communities in Tunisia) 2015
* Anita Pinzi, CUNY Graduate Center (Contemporary Italian Albanian writers) 2015
* Giusy Di Filippo, University of Wisconsin (Contemporary Italian immigrant writers) 2012
* Eveljn Ferraro, Brown University (Italian American and Canadian writers) 2010

* The Italian American Experience
* Italian Americans in Film
* Immigration Culture in Italy
* Italian for Spanish Speakers (Comprehensive beginning level)
* Contemporary Italian Cultural Studies
* Survey of Italian Literature II: 19th and 20th century
* Survey of Italian Cinema
* Sicilian Literature and Art
* Open Cities: Urban Spaces and Transnational Cultures in 19th- and 20th-century Italian Literature (graduate, NYU)
* Pre-occupied Spaces in Immigration Literature and Film in Italy (graduate, NYU)
* Italian Composition (Literature for Children from Collodi to Rodari)
* Italian Language and Conversation (all levels)


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Research Projects

Food, Hunger, Migration and the American Myth in Sicily at the Time of the WWII Allied Landing

The article analyzes Leonardo Sciascia’s masterful novella “The American Aunt” (1958) by offering a reading of Italian emigration via the lens of food distribution and consumption along the routes of transnational exchanges between Italy and the U.S.
After completing over a dozen interviews with Sicilians who have kept memories of those days, the current phase of this project includes editing of the footage and development of a conference paper. The project is sponsored by a grant made possible by the Cali Fund and matching Inserra Endowment funds, in the College of the Humanities and Social Science at MSU (Summers 2018 and 2019).

Memoria Presente: The Common Spanish Legacy in Italian and Latin American Cultures (NEH project)

“Memoria presente: The Common Spanish Legacy in Italian and Latin American Cultures” is a research and curriculum development project supported by a NEH (National Endowment for the Humanities) Faculty Award for Summer 2021 and linked to Montclair State University’s federal designation as a Hispanic Serving Institution.

The project focuses on the cultural commonalities between Italy and Latin America as the result of a shared colonial and migratory experience which has affected numerous aspects of life on different continents from architectural styles (baroque churches) to religious practices (the Holy Week celebrations) and food habits (the Aztec chocolate bars made in Modica, Sicily).

The project is linked to the teaching of Italian for Spanish Speakers on campus with classes that rely on intercomprehension and trans-languaging approaches leveraging the knowledge of two or more languages, and hence cultures. The project as a whole contains broad educational and community goals at once with the formation of:1. An interdisciplinary repository of printed texts and media files; 2. An initial set of oral histories from students with both a Hispanic and an Italian background; 3. A High School-University network for the teaching of Italian for Spanish Speakers.

For more information, see:

“A Home Away from Italy: Self-Taught Environmental Artists in Motion”

This piece offers an innovative take on Environmental Art. Generally tied to specific places, environmental art can hold a story of movement in space when work by migrant artists is involved, and in this case by three Italian self-taught artists. Baldassarre Forestiere's Underground Gardens in Fresno, CA, Sabato Rodia's Watts Towers in Los Angeles, and Filippo Bentivegna's Enchanted Castle in Sicily narrate the experience of migration from Italy to the U.S. through complex architectures, both real and imagined, revealing the space perceptions of artists in motion. Presented at conferences the piece needs to be adapted for publication.