Alumni & Friends

Message from the Chair


Dear Alumni and Friends,

Welcome to the academic year 2016-17. Our department remains committed to disseminating the importance of Italian culture in the Southern California area, both in the classroom and outside the university walls through events co-sponsored with the Italian Cultural Institute (located just down the street at Hilgard Avenue) and conferences of wide appeal.

Our faculty is a distinguished one, and the B.A., M.A., and Ph.D. programs remain at the forefront of universities worldwide. Our Medieval and Renaissance fields are covered by Professors Massimo Ciavolella and Andrea Moudarres, the modern period by Professor Lucia Re and myself. Professor Ciavolella also heads up the Center for Medieval and Renaissance Studies where he hosts a staggering number of events per year, where you will always be welcome.

We also boast one of the most acclaimed American specialists in language instruction, Dr. Elissa Tognozzi; a fulltime lecturer sponsored by the Italian government, Dr. Ornella Spano; and carefully chosen PhDs as adjunct instructors. We are also fortunate this year to profit from the visiting appointments of Professor Daniel Stein Kokin, who will be teaching courses on the Jewish history of Italy, and Professor Valeria Finucci from Duke University, who specializes in theories of the body and the culture of Venice in the Renaissance and beyond.

Our graduate students are active as ever—engaged in exciting work on a variety fields from female biographies of the 16th and 17th centuries to studies of migrant writers and cinema in global contexts. Our graduate students will also host a conference on Terra e Mare | Land and Sea and edit the long-standing annual journal of Italian studies called Carte Italiane.

Dr. Tognozzi has recently launched a pioneering program in hybrid language learning (partially online, partially in class) as well other courses that are entirely online. The appeal to UCLA students has been great.

Upcoming Italian conferences include the annual graduate one mentioned above, highlighting the cultural geography of the peninsula, and another dedicated to the radical Italian artist Alberto Burri, whose collosal Grande Cretto Nero belongs to the UCLA Sculpture Garden and marks its 40th anniversary at the turn of 2016-17. For details on these and other lectures please consult Upcoming Events on our homepage.

Friends and alumni, you who have spent good times with us and wish to to do so in future, we look forward to being in touch with you. Your participation and pro-active interest in Italian studies at UCLA is extremely important, especially in these difficult times for public education. The generosity of dedicated alumni, donors, and friends abet the department’s goal of providing the best possible educational experience for our students. Because of it we are able to attract preeminent visiting faculty, co-involve the Los Angeles community in our mission, and conduct ground-breaking research. We welcome your support and look forward to your steadfast engagement. The Chancellor’s Society provides a series of options for contributing to the operations of the Department, as does the Give Back button at the top right of this page. Finally, if you have recommendations for improving our website or would just like to send your news, please do not hesitate to drop me a line at

Arrivederci e tanti cari saluti,
Thomas Harrison
Professor of Italian
Chair, Department of Italian