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Teresa Fiore

Professor and Inserra Chair in Italian and Italian American Studies, Modern Languages and Literatures

Conrad J. Schmitt Hall 241D
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 Modern Languages and Literatures.

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 (De Bosis at Harvard University, Rockefeller at Bellagio, and Fulbright), she has been Visiting Assistant Professor at Harvard University (2007), NYU (2008), and Rutgers University (2009). 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. 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.
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Fiore's teaching and research interests include 19th-, 20th-, and 21st-century Italian literature, Italian cinema, Italian American culture, and immigration in contemporary Italy, with a theoretical focus on space.

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.

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.

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). 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

Narrating New Italianness in the U.S. in the Late 20th and Early 21st Centuries

Growing out of a keynote speech given at the University of Oxford in 2016, the article addresses a less-talked-about topic related to the large and growing phenomenon of emigration of Italians to the U.S. since the 1990s: the narrativization of the experience of these new Italians in fiction works. The piece focuses specifically on recent novels written in Italian by Italian women who have themselves relocated to the U.S.: Elena Attala-Perazzini’s 2009 "Tre stop a New York" (Three stops in New York); Chiara Marchelli’s "Le mie parole per te" (My words for you, 2015), and in part both "L’amore involontario" (The involuntary love, 2014) and "Le notti blu" (The blue nights, 2017); and Tiziana Rinaldi Castro’s "Come della rosa" (As of the rose, 2017). Published in the early to almost mid-21st century, these books embrace stories of mobility with roots in the late 20th century. These texts design and thus embody contact points between two places (Italy and the U.S.), and the sub-cultures that they contain in terms of regional and ethnic variety respectively through the experience of people whose Italian-ness in the U.S. is defined by macro-structures (immigration bureaus) as well as individual discoveries (sexual and religious encounters).

The article will be included in the volume "Cultures on the Move: Italy and the USA," edited by Guido Bonsaver, Alessandro Carlucci, and Matthew Reza of the University of Oxford, UK, due out with Legenda (Oxford, UK) in 2020.

Italy and Italian Studies in the Transnational Space of Migration and Colonial Routes

This essay offers an overview of these transnational forms of mobility. While the awareness of these movements is widespread, interestingly, specific knowledge of dates, locations, statistics, etc. is often lacking as part of a shared repertoire of information, even among Italians and people of Italian descent abroad. The essay also addresses the pivotal role of cultural texts, by which I mean works of literature, music, film, etc. reflecting stories of mobility, and in particular in a correlated way, i.e., by dynamically linking experiences of outbound and inbound migration as well as colonialism. The final section of the essay hosts a close analysis of a text that connects these routes in powerful ways. The 2011 play Italianesi, written and performed by Saverio La Ruina, weaves tales of Italian departures and returns prompted by colonial expansion, international politics, and the lure of Italy that productively “confuses” the notion of Italian-ness vis-à-vis an Albanian identity. In the conclusion, I offer new possibilities for Italian studies via the yet-unexplored possibility of a multi-migration, and perhaps multi-language, learning space for migrations from/to Italy.

The volume is due out in 2020.

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).

“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.