My research interests lie in literature, cinema, semiotics, interpretation theory, and cultural studies. I have divided my intellectual work evenly between Italian and Italian/American studies, authoring fifteen books and more than one hundred essays circa on both subject areas in English and Italian. I have also edited of more than thirty volumes and special issues of journals.
My degrees are from Southern Connecticut State University (B.S., Italian & Spanish), Middlebury College (M.A., Italian), University of California, Berkeley (Ph.D., Italian & Spanish). In addition to teaching at Smith, Middlebury, and Auburn, I spent thirteen years at Purdue University, before moving to Florida Atlantic where, from 2000 to 2006, I served as Chair of Languages and Linguistics and subsequently Associate Dean for Research, Graduate, and Interdisciplinary Studies, as well as director of the Ph.D. in Comparative Studies and its Program for the Public Intellectual.
I am a member of numerous organizations for which I have also held administrative positions and national office. I was a Delegate for Foreign Languages of the Modern Language Association, a member of its Executive Committee for the Division on Modern Italian Literature, and co-founder of the Discussion Group on Italian/American Literature. For the Italian American Studies Association (then, American Italian Historical Association), I was the Newsletter editor for eight years, a member of its Executive Council since 1993, and its president from 2003-2007. I was also vice-president of the American Association of Teachers of Italian for 2006-2007, and served as president for 2008-2009.
I have founded and directed summer programs in Italy and also held positions for the University of Pennsylvania and Middlebury College’s Scuola Estiva Italiana. I was also the first Esposito Visiting Faculty Fellow at University of Massachusetts, Dartmouth.
As Dean of the John D. Calandra Italian American Institute, I am also executive producer of the TV program Italics (TW 75, RCN 77, FIOS 30) .
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Recent Awards & Recognitions
• National Council of Columbia Associations, “Man of The Year” Award. Brooklyn, New York. May 11, 2017.
• The Joseph Coccia Jr. Heritage, Language and Culture Award exceptional efforts by word and deed in promoting and preserving our Italian Heritage, Language or Culture. UNICO National. Cape Cod, MA. November 12, 2016.
• Italian American Heritage Society of Connecticut honored him for his work in the promotion of Italian language and culture. New Haven, CT. May 1, 2016.
• Puglia Center of America Awards Ceremony: “Distinguished Pugliesi in America.” New York, NY. 13 March 2014.
• Italian Teachers Association of New York, AATI Chapter: “Leonard Covello Award for Distinguished Service” for the promotion of Italian language and culture (December 17, 2013).
• AATI Award for Distinguished Service for Colleges and Universities for 2013; presented at the AATI general meeting at the ACTFL conference in Orlando (November 22-24, 2013).
• Cavaliere of the Order of Merit of Savoy. Conferred 8 December 2012.
• “The Lehman-LaGuardia Award for Civic Achievement.” Commission for Social Justice Order Sons of Italy (New York State) in America and B'nai B'rith International (Metro-North Region). 10 June 2012.
• “Certificate of Appreciation.” New Jersey Italian and Italian American Heritage Commission. 2011 Congress. Achievements of Italian Americans: 1861-2011. Rutgers Univ. 15 October 2011.
• “Recognition of Service to the Profession.” AATI (American Association of Teachers of Italian), annual convention at American Council of the Teaching of Foreign Languages in Boston, MA. 20 November 2010.
• “Frank Stella Person of the Year Award,” ILICA (Italian Language Inter-Cultural Alliance). New York, New York. 10 November 2010.
• Certificate of Special Congressional Recognition for Outstanding and Invaluable Service to the Community, presented at Snug Harbor Cultural Center and Botanical Garden. Staten Island, NY. 3 October 2010.
• “Amici della Cultura Italiana Award,” Snug Harbor Cultural Center and Botanical Garden. Staten Island, NY. 3 October 2010.
• Certificate of Special Congressional Recognition for Outstanding and Invaluable Service to the Community, presented at the22nd Annual Fundraiser of The Garibaldi-Meucci Museum. Staten Island, NY. 29 August 2010.
• Honoree for special service to the community, the 22nd Annual Fundraiser of The Garibaldi-Meucci Museum. Staten Island, NY. 29 August 2010.
• Cavaliere dell’Ordine al Merito della Repubblica Italiana. Conferred motu proprio by Hon. Giorgio Napolitano, President of Italy. 2 June 2010.
• Bronx President Adolfo Carrion’s Salute to Community Leaders: Certificate of Appreciation for work as educator and community leader for Italian Americans. Bronx, New York. 23 October 2008.
• Esposito Visiting Faculty Fellow—University of Massachusetts, Dartmouth. Meetings with faculty and students and delivery of the Distinguished Lecture. 29-30 April 2008.