Italian Graduate Studies in a Globalized World

For Italy, globalization as a modern process is neither the beginning nor the end of the story. Italy has always been situated in a complex space, often best understood transnationally, post-nationally, and in a variety of cosmopolitan contexts, from Europe to the Mediterranean.


The graduate program in Italian Studies is committed to the interdisciplinary study of Italian literature and culture. Our faculty work on areas ranging from literature and cinema to medieval and early modern culture to history and critical theory. Recent and current graduate students working in Italian have written on topics ranging from the literature of extracomunitari in Italy, Dante's body in the context of pilgrimage texts, the acquisition of verb morphology, to postmodernism and detective fiction. Prospective graduate students should know that they will receive a training appropriate for an ever-more interdisciplinary profession, and that they will have the resources of a major university, ranging from the European Union Center to the largest public university library in the world, containing world-famous Dante and Tasso collections, alongside equally important collections of Proust, Rilke and Milton.

In order to encourage innovative work that crosses disciplinary boundaries, the graduate program in Italian Studies requires students to pass exams on not only their dissertation topic and period, as well as a contiguous period, but also an outside field or chronological period. As a result, we strongly encourage students — while acquiring a solid foundation in Italian culture — to work outside the program during their stay here, particularly in those programs that offer graduate minors and certificates, such as the Unit for Criticism & Interpretive Theory, the Unit for Cinema Studies, the Medieval Studies Program and the program in Gender & Women's Studies. Italian at Illinois also has a strong connection with the Program in Comparative Literature, and the newly formed department of French and Italian encourages all graduate students to explore the many opportunities of collaboration within the Francophone and Italophone areas.