Dr Francesca Calamita’s interdisciplinary research, transnational and anchored in feminist theory, bridges Italian women’s writing, cultural studies and gender studies. More specifically, she investigates how women’s relationship with food and body is portrayed in fiction, pop culture, advertisements, video performances and films. Her research interests also include medical humanities and migrant literature.
She is the author of the monograph Linguaggi dell’esperienza femminile: disturbi alimentari, donne e scrittura dall’Unità al Miracolo Economico (2015), featured in the prestigious literary journal Nuovi Argomenti, a number of peer-reviewed articles and book chapters. Francesca has also organized symposia over the course of her teaching fellowship at Victoria University of Wellington (2013) and Visiting Fellowship (2013-2014) at the University of London’s Centre for the Study of Contemporary Women’s Writing where she continues to serve as an associate member. In Spring 2018 At UVa she organised the symposium "Through Their Gazes: Screening Women and Feminism" with Shilpa Davé (Media Studies) and a series of collateral events supported by a UVa Inclusion and Diversity grant. She is co-editor of a volume on anorexia and bulimia in French, German and Italian literature, funded by a Buckner W. Clay Dean of Arts and Sciences grant and she is working on a new edited collection on gender, women and food with Claudia Bernardi (Wellington) and Daniele DeFeo (Princeton). Dr Calamita is a member of the interdisciplinary research network “Hungry for Words”, based at the University of Nottingham and funded by AHRC, where she was an invited speaker at the inaugural workshop of the collective. Dr Calamita is also interested in second language acquisition and in the intersections between Italian language and gender; she serves as the Institute of World Language Reading & Research Group's team leader for the Language Forward Initiative (supported by a Jefferson Trust award) and chair of the Speaker Series committee.In the Italian Program, she serves as co-director of the language program (1000-2000 level), the placement and transfer of credits coordinator, as well as the Shea House faculty liaison. She is the director of the UVa Study Abroad Programs in Italy (Siena and Florence).
Her teaching interests complement her research in gender systems, global modes of exchange, and foodways. At Victoria University of Wellington Dr Calamita taught and coordinated a number of courses in Italian and European Studies. At UVa, she is also the project leader for Dolcissimo: Speak the Sweet Life, a second language acquisition and food studies project funded by the Institute of World Languages, and for A Gendered Wor(l)d: Grammar, Sexism and Cultural Changes in Italian Language and Society, a multimodal learning experience which allows students to engage critically with Italian media and to become sensitive to the gendered politics of language.
Ph.D., Victoria University of Wellington (2013)
M.A., Università degli Studi di Bergamo (2008)
B.A., Università degli Studi di Perugia (2005)
- Italian women’s writing
- Gender Studies
- Cultural Studies
- Representations of food and the body in diverse genres -- especially fiction, pop culture, advertisements, and film
- Medical Humanities
- Literatures of Migration
- Italian Language and Gender
- ITTR/WGS3559 “TV and Web Series in Italy and the Globe: Gender, Sex and Society”
- ITTR/WGS3559 “My Body, My Choice: Women’s Rights in Modern Italy”
- ITTR/WGS3559 "Italy on Screen: Sex, Gender and Racial Identities in the Glocal Context"
- ITTR/WGS3680 “Eve’s Sinful Bite:Foodscapes in Women’s Writing, Culture & Society”
- COLA1500 "Twenty-first Century Women"
- ITAL2030 "Italian for Intercultural Mediators"
- ITAL2020 “Intermediate Italian Language II”
- ITAL2010 “Intermediate Italian Language I”
- ITAL1020 “Elementary Italian II”
- ITAL1010 “Elementary Italian I”
- ITAL4993 “Independent Study” – Elena Ferrante's Quadrilogy (Biyuan Gu)
- ITAL4993 "Independent Study" – Michela Marzano's Novels (Avery Morrison)
- ITAL4993 "Independent Study" – From Page to Screen: Elena Ferrante's My Brilliant Friend (Christine McDermott)
- ITAL 4989 Distinguished Major Thesis Director – Postcolonial Women's Writing: Igiaba Scego (Mary Collins)
Linguaggi dell’esperienza femminile: disturbi alimentari, donne e scrittura dall’Unità al Miracolo Economico (Padua: Il Poligrafo, October 2015)
Starvation, Food Obsession and Identity: Eating Disorders in Contemporary Women’s Writing, co-edited with Petra Bagley and Kathryn Robson (“Studies in Contemporary Women’s Writing”, Peter Lang: Oxford, 2017)
Eve’s Sinful Bite: Food and Women in Italian Literature, Culture and Society, co-edited with Claudia Bernardi and Daniele DeFeo (in preparation)
“‘Always Look Beautiful’, ‘Never Gain Weight’: Questioning Contemporary Ideals of Femininity in Francesca Lolli, Julia Wertheimer and Rahman Hak-Hagir ’s Video Performance How It Has To Be (2014)" (in preparation)
‘“Fainting is one way of disappearing. Anorexia is another’: Disorderly Eating in Louise De Salvo’s Vertigo” (in preparation)
“Sexism and Gender Stereotypes in Italian Language Courses: No, Grazie!”, TILCA: Teaching Italian Language and Culture Annual, special issue edited by Louise Hipwell and Donatella Melucci. (2018), pp. 126-138.
“Tastefulness: Fashion, Food, Lust and Domesticity in Matilde Serao’s ‘La virtù di Checchina [Checchina’s Virtue]’ (1884),” altrelettere, DOI: 10.5903/al_uzh-28 February 2015.
“Voracious Dolls and Competent Chefs: Negotiating Femininity and Masculinity in Italian Food Advertisements of the 1990s-2010s,” Gender/Sexuality/Italy, 1, May 2014, pp. 1-13.
“Storytelling and Female Eating Habits at the turn of the Twentieth Century: Italo Calvino’s ‘Zio Lupo’ and Neera’s ‘Uno Scandalo,’” AUMLA, Special Issue, Refereed Proceedings of the 2011 AULLA Conference: Storytelling in Literature, Language and Culture, April 2012, pp. 67-75.
“Unspoken Feelings: Comparing the Feminism of Sibilla Aleramo’s Una donna and the Social Battle of the Present-day Anorexic,”Skepsi, vol. 4, 1 (2011), pp. 1-11.
Selected Book Chapters
“Beyond Size and Weight: Gianna Schelotto’s “La ragazza che mangiava la luna [The Girl who Ate the Moon]” (1992) (in preparation for the edited volume I am coediting with Claudia Bernardi and Daniele De Feo on women, gender and food)
“On the Verge of Emotional Hunger: Anorexia, Bulimia and Interpersonal Relationships in Contemporary Italian Women’s Writing”, eds. Petra Bagley, Francesca Calamita and Kathryn Robson, Starvation, Food Obsession and Identity: Eating Disorders in Contemporary Women’s Writing (“Studies in Contemporary Women’s Writing”, Peter Lang: Oxford, 2017), pp. 67-89.
“Resistance through Starvation: Refusal of Food, Empowerment and Eating Disorders in Natalia Ginzburg’s short story ‘La madre’ (1948)”, Women in the Public Sphere in Modern and Contemporary Italy, eds. Marina Spunta, Simona Storchi and Maria Morelli (Troubador: Leicester, 2017), pp. 41-52.
“Bird-Like-Eating Attitudes, Fat-Shaming and Ideal Body Shape in Italian Women’s Writing of the 1930s-1940s,” Bridges Across Cultures Conference Proceedings in collaboration with Voces del Caribe, eds Angela Tumini, Tim Wagner and Amparo Alpanes, pp. 60-67. (September 2016)
“Discussing Women’s Social Role through Paradoxical Behaviours: Starvation and Self-empowerment in Neera’s Teresa (1886) and L’indomani (1889),”Gendering Commitment: Re-thinking Social and Ethical Engagement in Modern Italian Culture, ed. Alex Standen (Cambridge Scholar: Newcastle, 2015), pp. 9-26.
“Natalia Ginzburg e la rappresentazione dell’esperienza femminile”, Nuovi Argomenti, June 2016.
"Michela Marzano. Biography, Bibliography and Criticism" http://modernlanguages.sas.ac.uk/research-centres/centre-study-contemporary-womens-writing/languages/italian/michela-marzano, Centre for the Study of Contemporary Women's Writing, May 2017.
Selected Recent Presentations
"Louise DeSalvo’s Vertigo (1996): Anorexia, Corporeal Self-harm and Empowerment”, AAIS 2018, Sant’Anna Institute, Sorrento, 14-17 June 2018
“A Shade of Black in Italian Women’s Writing: Body, Food and Identity in Igiaba Scego’s ‘Salsicce’ [Sausages] (2003)”, "Corporeal Restrictions, Embodied Freedoms: Italian Interventions on the Body" Conference, Calandra Institute, New York, 26-28 April 2018
“Sexism and Gender Stereotypes in Italian Language Courses: No, Grazie!”, Italian Language and Culture Conference, Georgetown University, 21 October 2017
“Experiential Learning in Second Language Acquisition through Food Studies”, IWL Roundtables Series, UVa, 29 September 2017 (with Rachel Geer and Liz Hall)
"My Body, My Choice?”: Present-day Beauty Standards and the Backlash of Patriarchy in Francesca Lolli’s Video Performances”, ACLA, University of Utrech, 6-9 July 2017
Book launch Linguaggi dell'esperienza femminile, Institute of Modern Languages Research, School of Advanced Studies, University of London, 26 June 2017
Selected Grants & Awards
College of Arts and Science, UVa. LTi Grant (2018)
Institute of World Languages, UVa and Jefferson Trust, Language Forward Initiative (grant team member, 2018)
College of Arts and Science, UVa. Diversity and Inclusion Grant (2018)
Institute of World Languages, UVa, Course Enhancement and Developement Grant (2017)
Institute of World Languages, UVa, Language Program Grant (2018,2017, 2016, 2015)
Institute of World Languages, UVa, Travel Grant (2018,2017,2016)
College of Arts and Sciences, UVa, Selected for the “Faculty Seminar on the Teaching of Writing” (2016)
College of Arts & Sciences, Learning & Design Technology, UVa Development stipend (2016)
AATI (American Association of Teachers of Italian), Travel Grant (2016)
AHRC (Arts and Humanities Research Council, UK) and the University Nottingham, Travel and Research Grant (2016 and 2017)
Buckner W. Clay Dean of Arts and Sciences, UVa, AHSS Research Grant (2015)
Visiting Fellowship, Centre for the Study of Contemporary Women’s Writing, University of London (2013-2014)
Teaching Fellowship, Victoria University of Wellington (2013)