Recently Awarded Ph.D.

Carol Chiodo (Ph.D. '14) dissertation "Dante's Poetry: Techne and Transcendence" examines the epistemological knot prompted by Dante's poetic reconfiguration of the relationship between the earthly body and the rational soul. My critical approach to the poem is unique in Dante scholarship, drawing on the material realities of the embodied experience to illuminate the possibilities of poetry. My other research and teaching interests include the Italian lyric tradition, the novella, art and technology, literature and science, and medieval philosophy. I am also founder and co-coordinator (with Siobhan Quinlan) of the Dante Working Group at the Whitney Humanities Center. Education: B.A. magna cum laude, Italian, Fairfield University, 2006 M.A. Italian, Yale University, 2009 M. Phil. Italian, Yale University, 2010

Alexia Ferracuti (Ph.D. '14) dissertation, “Mirroring, Mimesis, and Metamorphosis in Italian Renaissance Comedy” points to the centrality of comedy in the Cinquecento, specifically focusing on its imitative mode as a nexus between eroticism, performance, and the art of dissimulation.  At Yale she has taught courses in Italian, including the Yale Summer Session in Siena; Theatre Studies; and Women, Gender, and Sexuality.  Alexia has also served as a Graduate Fellow for the Yale Teaching Center, and has experience teaching writing-intensive courses as well as courses featuring performance.

Stanley Levers (Ph.D. '14) dissertation, "Harmony and Letter: The Vicissitudes of Literal Meaning" investigates medieval attitudes on the "literal sense" of words, and the broad impact of those attitudes on philosophy and culture in the Renaissance and beyond (looking mostly at the works of Augustine, Dante, Pico della Mirandola, and Vico). Beyond this work, Toby is interested in Old/Middle English and Old French literature, twentieth century novels, and topics in twentieth century philosophy and psychology.

Michael Meadows (Ph.D. '14) dissertation, "Tropological Space: The Regional Identities of Milan, Rome and Naples in Post-war Italian Cinema 1945-present",  explores the regional identity of three major Italian cities through film, theorizes how such identities developed, and argues for the cultural significance of cinema in negotiating how they changed over time. Michael attended Cornell University and graduated with a Bachelor of Architecture professional degree. After working at various design firms in New York City, he matriculated to Yale where he received both his M.A. and M. Phil.  Education Cornell University, 2003

Griffin Oleynick (Ph.D. '14) dissertation explores the connections between early Franciscan literature, monastic spirituality, and Dante's "Divine Comedy." I have always been fascinated by the richness of Dante's idiosyncratic views on poverty, and I am excited to find out more as I begin to research the dissertation! I currently teach Intermediate Italian in Yale College. Outside the Italian department at Yale, I work as a fellow at the McDougal Center for Graduate Student Life. In my free time, I enjoy activities such as running, writing, reading, skateboarding, snowboarding, and serving others." graduated from Cornell with a B.S. in Industrial and Labor Relations in 2008.

Siobhan Quinlan (Ph.D. '14) interests include early Italian poetry up to and including Petrarch, the study of cinema, and Boccaccio. Education B.A.: Harvard '01, cum laude M.A.: Middlebury '06

Francesco Rabissi (Ph.D. '14) received his 'Laurea' in History from the Università Statale of Milano in 2004. His research interests include: Modern Italian culture and history; film history.

Maria Clara Iglesias Rondina (Ph.D. ’13) received her Ph.D. in Italian from Yale University in May 2013. Her dissertation, entitled The Trinitarian Language of the Soul: Dante’s Theological Virtues and the Ethical Self, explores the role of the theological virtues in Dante’s Monarchia and Paradiso, its impact on language, moral theology, and political philosophy. Prior to Yale, she obtained a B.A. and M.A. in Italian Studies from the Universidad Complutense de Madrid (Spain), as well as a B.A. in Fine Arts from the Escuela Prof. Juan Mantovani of Santa Fe (Argentina). Maria Clara’s research interests include Italian medieval literature, Dante studies, Renaissance theology, ethics in Italian literature, and Italian-Spanish comparative studies. She has published articles and book chapters on Dante, Borges, Domenico Cavalca, and Leopardi. Currently she is working as Visiting Faculty at Fairfield University in Connecticut, while preparing several essays for publication and a book manuscript based on her dissertation.

Christopher Nixon (Ph.D. '13) recevied his Ph.D. in Italian from Yale University in May 2013.  His dissertation is on the pedagogical, utopian, and anti-utopian strains of thought in the philosophy and Giambattista Vico. He is also interested in Renaissance and Early-Modern poetics more generally. He is originally from Southern California, and developed a love for Italian literature while studying abroad at the University of Bologna.

Mattia Acetoso (Ph.D. '12) received his Ph.D. in Italian Literature from Yale University in May 2012. His dissertation, completed under the supervision of Professor Giuseppe Mazzotta, is entitled "In Two Voices: opera, melodrama and music in Umberto Saba and Eugenio Montale". This work analyzes the relationship between the tradition of opera librettos and Italian modernist poetry. His main areas of focus are Modernist Poetry, Contemporary and Political Cinema, 19th and 20th Century Novel, Opera Librettos, Romanticism.

Kenise Lyons (Ph.D. '12) is a graduate of both the University of Maryland, College Park (B.A 2001, Political Science) and the Catholic University of America (M.A 2005, Italian).  Kenise received her Ph.D. in Italian Literature from Yale University in May 2012.  Her dissertation, completed under the supervision of Professor Millicent Marcus, is entitled Beyond Blow-Up: Photographic Writing in Post War Italian Literature and Film. The beginning of a larger project that addresses the cultural import of photography in 19th, 20th, and 21st century Italy, this dissertation explores post-war texts from the 1950s and 1960s other than Michelangelo Antonioni’s Blow-Up (1966) in which photography features prominently. It specifically explores the ways in which the inclusion of photographic language in the work of Rossellini, Calvino, Romano and Pasolini was more than the appropriation of the medium’s representational and narrative functions. It also served as means through which these filmmakers and authors could reflect upon their expressive medium of choice and articulate their contributions to the intense critical debates of the period surrounding the nature of art, its function.

Diego Bertelli (Ph.D. '11) received his Laurea from the University of Pisa in 2002 and his M.A. from Yale in 2004. After completing two years of research as a visiting scholar at the University of Freiburg and the University of Heidelberg in 2005 and 2008, Diego obtained his Ph.D. from Yale in 2011. Diego's main interests include Italian nineteenth and twentieth-century poetry and novel, and translation. He contributed for The Encyclopedia of Italian Studies (Routledge, 2005) and published articles and translations on both American and Italian literary journals. Diego was awarded The Premio Astrolabio Opera Prima for his poetry collection, L'imbuto di chiocciola, in 2008 and ranked as finalist at the Premio Alinari 2012, with the poetry collection Lo stato delle cose in sospeso. Diego is currently completing the official biography of the Italian poet, Bartolo Cattafi. He also curated all of the bio-bibliographical content of the poet's Official Website at

Andrea Moudarres (Ph.D. '11) received his Ph.D. in Italian from Yale University in May 2011. His dissertation, completed under the supervision of Professor Giuseppe Mazzotta and entitled The Mirror of the Enemy: Boundaries of Power in the Italian Renaissance, examines the question of violence with regard to both internal and external forms of hostility. Andrea is currently a Visiting Assistant Professor in Italian at College of the Holy Cross. His interests include Renaissance epic, Machiavelli, Humanism, Dante, political philosophy, and the presence of classical literature in late medieval and early modern culture. He has published articles on Dante, Pulci, Tasso, and Vico.

Daniel Leisawitz (Ph.D. '10) received his M.A. in Italian Studies from the University of Pennsylvania, and his Ph.D. in Italian from Yale in December 2010.  His dissertation, which he completed under the supervision of Prof. Millicent Marcus, is entitled, Rebirth on the Screen: Representations of the Renaissance in Italian Cinema.  Daniel’s interests include: adaptation theory; the intersection of technology, literature and the arts; twentieth- and twenty-first-century Italian film and literature; Renaissance literature and historiography; and Jewish-Italian literature and culture.   He is currently working on several articles based on his thesis and on the theater culture of the sixteenth-century Gonzaga court at Mantua. 

Christiana Purdy Moudarres  (Ph.D. '10) will be completing her MAR at Yale Divinity School this year (2011-12) while she begins work on a book manuscript based on her dissertation, “A Sacred Banquet: Medicine and Theology in Dante’s Inferno.”  This past year, she was awarded the Charles H. Grandgent Award by the Dante Society of America for her essay on Inferno 6, “Devouring Selves in the Circle of Gluttony” and published her first edited volume of collected essays, Table Talk: Perspectives on Food in Medieval Italian Literature (Cambrdige, U.K.: Cambridge Scholars Press, 2011). Together with her colleague Carol Chiodo, she is currently co-editing the proceedings of the Italian Department’s recent graduate conference on Dante, Dante’s Volume from Alpha to Omega (ACMRS, forthcoming).