Francesca Calamita

Associate Professor, General Faculty, Director of UVa in Siena and Florence
New Cabell Hall 461
Office Hours:

Research Summary & Bio

Dr Francesca Calamita is Associate Professor, General Faculty, and Director of the Undegraduate Programs in Italian Studies as well as Director of UVa in Siena and UVa in Florence. She is an affiliate faculty member of the Department of Women, Gender and Sexuality and currently she also serves as College Fellow in the Engagements.

Accademically raised in Europe, the UK and New Zealand, she works in the area of women, gender and sexuality in Italian, European and global contexts, and she is internationally recognised for her publications on the fictional depiction of eating disorders and other complex relationships with body and food in Italian literature and culture. Her interdisciplinary research, transnational and anchored in feminist theory, bridges women’s writing, cultural studies and gender studies. Her research interests also include the intersections between second language acquisition, sociolinguistics and gender studies.

She is the author of the monographs Linguaggi dell’esperienza femminile: disturbi alimentari, donne e scrittura dall’Unità al Miracolo Economico (2015), featured in the prestigious literary journal Nuovi Argomenti and at the 2016 edition of Feminism: Fiera dell'editoria delle donne, and Visibili e influenti (2023) as well as a number of peer-reviewed articles and book chapters with prominent publishers. She is co-editor of a volume on anorexia and bulimia in European literature, funded by a Buckner W. Clay Dean of Arts and Sciences grant and she also published a further co-edited collection on gender, women and food.  Before joining UVa, Dr Calamita was a Visiting Fellow at the University of London’s Centre for the Study of Contemporary Women’s Writing where she completed her post-doctoral research project and where she currently continues to serve as a steering committee member by invitation. Previously Dr Calamita was a Teaching Fellow at Victoria University of Wellington in New Zealand where she earned her PhD in 2013 and taught European Studies and Italian Studies.

Dr Calamita has published also extensively at the intersections of Italian language and feminist pedagogy; she is the co-author of DiversITALY, one of the first textbooks to teach and learn Italian with gender equality and inclusive language which stems from her initiative 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 the language.

In the past she served in a variety of roles at the Institute of World Languages at UVa and she is currently chair of the Siena Oversight Committee, co-chair of the ISI Consortium in Florence, Academic Senator on the Grievance Committee and member of the Academic Strategy Committee for the Academic Program Review in the Office of the Executive Vice Provost and Provost.

She is the recipient of numerous internal and external, single and collaborative research and pedagogical grants and has been an invited speaker in US universities as well as around the world.

Passionate about women's rights activism, she is currently pursuing an MA in Global Politics in her spare time. She is delighted to see students actively working towards gender equality, learning new languages, travelling the world, opening their minds, and choosing Italy as their destination for study abroad.


Ph.D., Victoria University of Wellington (2013)

M.A., Università degli Studi di Bergamo (2008)

B.A., Università degli Studi di Perugia (2005)

Research Interests

  • Italian women’s writing
  • Gender Studies
  • Cultural Studies
  • Representations of food and the body in diverse genres -- fiction, pop culture, advertisements, and film
  • Politics and gender
  • Medical Humanities
  • Italian Language and Gender
  • Italian Language taught with Diversity and Inclusion


  • 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”
  • ITTR3685/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”
  • ITTR3559 "Global Women's Writing: Stories of Empowerment from Italy and the World" (counts as elective for WGS)
  • GSGS2559 "Global Challenges, Local Responses"
  • EGMT1530 "Food for Global Feminist Thought"
  • COLA1500 "Twenty-first Century Women"
  • ITAL3020 "Advanced Italian II: Achieve Fluency through Experiential Learning"
  • ITAL2030 "Italian for Intercultural Mediators"
  • ITAL2020 “Intermediate Italian Language II” (focus on gender and language)
  • ITAL2010 “Intermediate Italian Language I”
  • ITAL1020 “Elementary Italian II”
  • ITAL1010 “Elementary Italian I”
  • ITAL4993 “Independent Study” – Elena Ferrante's Neapolitan Quartet (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)
  • ITAL4993 "Independent Study" – Elena Ferrante and Natalia Ginzburg (Adelaide Brooks)
  • ITAL 4989 Distinguished Major Thesis Director – Postcolonial Women's Writing: Igiaba Scego (Mary Collins)

Selected Publications


Linguaggi dell’esperienza femminile: disturbi alimentari, donne e scrittura dall’Unità al Miracolo Economico (Il Poligrafo: Padua, October 2015)

Visibili e influenti: le donne italiane ci sono (Biblion: Milan, 2023)

Edited volumes

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 (Bloomsbury Academic: London, November 2020)

Edited Special Issue of Journal

With Mabel Richart Marset (Valencia), MonTI (12), “Revista académica de Traducción e Interpretación de las universidades públicas valencianas”, Translation and Media Accessibility: from Theory to Practice [Traducción y Accesibilidad en los medios de comunicación: de la teoría a la práctica] (May 2020)

With Mabel Richart Marset (Valencia),Quaderns de Filologia : Estudis Literaris, La literatura contemporánea mundial como espejo-denuncia de los trastornos de la conducta alimentaria,  Vol. 27 (2022) (

With Stefano Baldassarri and Nina Peci (ISI- Florence), Beyond, special issue on Inclusion, Diversity and Education, November 2022 Inclusion, Diversity, and Education (


With Chiara De Santi (Farmingdale College), DiversITALY: Elementary Italian with Gender Equality, Inclusion and Diversity - volume 1 (Kendall Hunt: Dubuque, 2022)

With Chiara De Santi (Farmingdale College), DiversITALY: Elementary Italian with Gender Equality, Inclusion and Diversity - volume 2  (Kendall Hunt: Dubuque, 2023)

Selected Articles

With Roberta Trapé (Melbourne), "Women’sVisibility Matters in Italian Language and Beyond: Intercultural Citizenship throughGender-Inclusive Toponymy on Both Sides of the Atlantic", JOMELA, Mediterranean and European Linguistic Anthropology, 2023, Vol. 5(1):4-21

"Affidamento and (Pop)-Feminism: Advocating  for Women’s Rights in The Handmaid's Tale and Luna Nera",  Romance Studies (special issue on "Female Filiations",  issue 40, n. 3-4, edited by Eliana Maestri - Exeter, UK and Christina Horvath - Bath, UK), December 2022

“Post-pandemic Messages of Gender Equality, Inclusion and Diversity in Italian Language Courses and Beyond: Yes, You Can (too)!”, Beyond (ISI-Florence and Umbra Institute-Perugia), n. 4, October 2021, pp. 8-20.

‘“Fainting is one way of disappearing. Anorexia is another’: Disorderly Eating in Louise De Salvo’s Vertigo”, Journal of Romance Studies,Vol 20,No 2 (Summer 2020), pp. 249–271

With Mabel Richart Marset, “The Great Challenge of Translation and Audiovisual Accessibility in the Media [El gran reto de la traducción y la accesibilidad audiovisual en los medios de comunicación]”, MonTI (12) (May 2020), Translation and Media Accessibility: from Theory to Practice [Traducción y Accesibilidad en los medios de comunicación: de la teoría a la práctica] edited by Richart Marset and Calamita, pp. 7-52.

With Roberta Trapé (Melbourne) “Expanding Learning Spaces: Virtual Places of Learning in a Transnational Telecollaborative project between the U.S.A. and Italy”, Italian Studies in Southern Africa/Studi d'italianistica dell'Africa australe, Vol 32, No 2 (2019), pp. 275-304.

“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

With Robertà Trapè, “Virtual Exchanges and Gender-inclusive Language: An Intercultural Citizenship Project to Foster Equality” Blended Learning and the Global South, edited by Giovanna Carloni, Christopher Fotheringham, Anita Virga, Brian Zuccalà (Edizioni Ca’ Foscari- University of Venice: Venice), pp. 115-130.

“Beyond Size and Weight: Gianna Schelotto’s “La ragazza che mangiava la luna [The Girl who Ate the Moon]” (1992) in Eve’s Sinful Bite: Food and Women in Italian Literature, Culture and Society, edited by Claudia Bernardi, Francesca Calamita and Daniele DeFeo (Bloomsbury Academic: London, November 2020)

“Identica a loro?”: (In)digesting Food and Identity in Igiaba Scego’s Short Story “Salsicce” (2003) eds, Niki Kiviat and Serena J. Rivera, Complications of Eating: Investigating (In)digestion in Literature and Film (Routledge: New York, May 2020), pp. 186-200

“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.

Digital Work

Interview on gender equality in Italy with the TV channel TeleRomagna. Link: , March 2021

Interview on gender issues in "My Name is Francesca", a virtual exhibition at the time of COVID-19 with Francesca Lolli, Francesca Leoni and Francesca Fini, curated by Francesca Interlenghi, April 2020.

Natalia Ginzburg e la rappresentazione dell’esperienza femminile”, Nuovi Argomenti, June 2016.

"Michela Marzano. Biography, Bibliography and Criticism", Centre for the Study of Contemporary Women's Writing, May 2017.

Selected Recent Presentations

“Debating Global Women’s Rights in The Handmaid’s Tale and Luna Nera”, Centre for the Study of Contemporary Women’s Writing, IMLR, University of London, UK 16 June 2022.

"The Politics of Words: Second Language Acquisition to Achieve Gender Equality in line with UN 2030 Agenda", University of Bath, UK, 28 April 2022 (invited)

“Le parole contano: Rethinking Second Language Acquisition to Achieve Gender Equality and Foster Diversity and Inclusion”, University of San Diego, San Diego, 25 March, 2022 (invited)

“Cambiare il mondo studiando una lingua: parità di genere, inclusione e diversità in italiano e oltre", Georgetown University, Washington, DC, 19 October 2021 (invited)

“(In)digesting the Self: Migration, Patriarchy, Post-colonialism and Food in Igiaba Scego’s “Salsicce” (2003)”, Victoria University of Wellington, New Zealand, July 9 2019 (invited)


Selected Grants & Awards

Page Barbour Workshop Award (with Giulio Celotto and Giulia Paoletti, 2023)

Center for Global Inquiry + Innovation Grant, UVa  (with Giulio Celotto and Giulia Paoletti, 2022)

AHSS Teaching Support, UVa (2021)

UVa Library Course Enhancement Grant. (2021)

Institute of World Languages, UVa. Faculty Research Grant (2021)

Buckner W. Clay Endowment Grant. Institute of the Humanities and Global Cultures, UVa. (with Giulio Celotto and Giulia Paoletti, 2020)

Buckner W. Clay Dean of Arts and Sciences, UVa. AHSS Research Grant ( 2015; and with Giulio Celotto and Giulia Paoletti, 2020)

UVa's Center for Teaching Excellence, Thrive Grant (2019; 2022 with Gianluca Guadagni)

College of Arts and Science, UVa. LTi Grant (2018 and 2021)

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 (with Shilpa Davé -2018; with Giulio Celotto and Giulia Paoletti - 2020)

Institute of World Languages, UVa, Course Enhancement and Developement Grant ( 2019 and 2017)

Institute of World Languages, UVa, Language Program Grant (2019, 2018,2017, 2016, 2015)

AHRC (Arts and Humanities Research Council, UK) and the University Nottingham, Travel and Research Grant (2016 and 2017)