Prof. Catherine Ramsey-Portolano
Chair of Department, Italian Studies, The American University of Rome (AUR) Associate Professor.
Professor Ramsey-Portolano has taught Italian Literature, Culture and Language courses in the United States and Italy for more than fifteen years. Her principal areas of research are Gender Studies, 19th & 20th century Italian literature, with a particular emphasis on women writers, and Italian film, particularly from the early and fascist periods. She has published articles on the films Malombra (1917) Ossessione (1942), on Igino Ugo Tarchetti’s novel Fosca, on the women writers Neera, Sibilla Aleramo, Fausta Cialente and Dacia Maraini, on the representation of femininity in Italian literature and film and on the theme of homosexuality in Pietro Aretino’s play Il Marescalco. She has contributed to edited volumes on Italian women writers and representations of femininity and co-edited a special issue of The Italianist entitled Rethinking Neera. She is currently working on a book project dedicated to the representation of female illness in fin de siècle Italian narrative and early Italian cinema. She has been teaching at AUR since 2000.
- Associate Professor of Italian Studies
- Department Chair of Italian Studies
- Ph.D., University of Chicago
- M.A., University of Wisconsin-Madison
- Laurea di Dottore, Libera Università Maria SS. Assunta
- B.A., University of Tennessee, Knoxville
Current Teaching Activities
Associate Professor and Chair, Department of Italian Studies, AUR
Prof. Ramsey-Portolano teaches courses on Italian literature in Italian, Italian literature in English, Italian Culture and Italian Language (all levels).
Her specialization topics are: Modern and contemporary Italian literature and culture, with a particular interest in women writers; Italian cinema; the relationship between Italian and American literature; and gender studies, with a particular interest in feminist theory and practice and gender constructions.
Courses taught at AUR:
- Dante’s Inferno (ITL 410)
- Italian Feminism and the Woman Writer 1860-present (ENIS 316);
- Devils and Angels in Medieval Italian Literature (ITL 311)
- Major Italian Writers in Translation I (ENIS 302)
- Major Italian Writers in Translation II (ENIS 304)
- Survey of Italian Literature in English 1200-1950 (ITL 211)
- Italian Culture (ITL 210)
- Italian Culture at the Movies (IS 206)
- Italian Language courses at Elementary and Intermediate levels (ITL 100, 101, 102, 201, 202)
Past Teaching Activities
- Oct–Nov 2011, Visiting Scholar, Robert Morris University (Pennsylvania, USA)
- Oct 2007 – present, Cultrice della materia, Department of Italian Literature, Libera Università Maria Santissima Assunta (Rome, Italy)
- Jan. 2001 – June 2003, Adjunct Professor of Italian Language, John Cabot University (Rome, Italy)
- Sep 2000-Dec. 2005, Adjunct Professor of Italian Language, Temple University in Rome
- Aug. 1998–June 1999, Adjunct Professor of Italian Language, Loyola University, Chicago
Modern and contemporary Italian literature and culture, with a particular interest in women writers; Italian cinema; the relationship between Italian and American literature; and gender studies, with a particular interest in feminist theory and practice and gender constructions
Co-editor of Special issue of The Italianist entitled Rethinking Neera – December 2010
Essays in Edited Volumes
“The Sick Woman: Cultural and Artistic Models of Femininity and Sexuality in Fin de Siècle Italian Literature and Early Italian Cinema,” in Desiring Divas: the Diva in Modern Italian Culture, eds. Clorinda Donato and Katharine Mitchell. Italian Studies 2013.
“Italian Women Writers Confined: The Case of Neera”, in Borders and Boundaries. Ed. Patrizia Sambuco. Toronto: U of Toronto P, 2013
“A modern feminist reading of Neera’s maternal instinct.” The Italianist. Rethinking Neera. Eds. Katharine Mitchell and Catherine Ramsey-Portolano. December 2010
“Introduction.” The Italianist. Rethinking Neera. Eds. Katharine Mitchell and Catherine Ramsey-Portolano. December 2010
“Ossessione and Visconti’s alternative cinema.” Pagina, Pellicola, Pratica: Studi sul cinema italiano. Ed. Rebecca West. Ravenna: Longo, 2000
“Fausta Cialente tra letteratura e giornalismo: un’attenzione costante al mondo femminile.” Cuadernos de filologia italiana, 2012
“Marginalità/omosessualità ne Il Marescalco di Pietro Aretino.” Atti del Convegno ADI 2009 (Pugnochiuso 2009)
“Il film Malombra di Carmine Gallone: l’isteria, l’attrice passiva e lo stile pittorico di recitazione.” Forum Italicum. 42, 2, Fall 2008: 284-295
“The Evolution of the Theme of Sexual Difference as Revealed Through the Experience of Rape in Sibilla Aleramo’s Una donna and Dacia Maraini’s La lunga vita di Marianna Ucrìa.” Cahiers d’études italiennes. Novecento… e dintorni. GERCI. Université Stendhal, Grenoble. 7/2008: 231-240
“Da Cain a Visconti: un percorso contro il mito del maschio fascista.” Romanica Olomucensia XVI. Dalla Letteratura al film (e ritorno). Atti del convegno internazionale Olomouc 20-21 ottobre 2005. Philologica 88-2006: 291-300
“Neera the verist writer.” Italica. 81, 3, Autumn 2004: 351-366
“La dimensione isterica in Fosca di Igino Ugo Tarchetti.” Romance Languages Annual 1998 X, 1999
“L’insegnamento dell’italiano nei licei statunitensi.” Civiltà dei Licei dicembre 1994
“Neera”, The Literary Encyclopedia. Oct. 25, 2010. http://www.litencyc.com/index.php
“Neera – Biography”, Italian Women Writers, The University of Chicago Library, 2003. http://www.lib.uchicago.edu/efts/IWW/BIOS/A0034.html
Gambaro, Elisa. Il protagonismo femminile nell’opera di Ada Negri. Milano: Edizioni Universitarie di Lettere Economia Diritto, 2010. Forum Italicum. 46, 2, Fall 2012.
The future of Italian teaching: media, social networks, new technologies and multi-disciplinary perspectives. The American University of Rome, 5-6 October 2012.
Panel Organizer and Chair:
May 2010 Panel 19th and 20th Century Italian Women Writers. AATI Conference in Lecce, Italy.
May 2008 Panel Neera: Una donna che scrive per le donne. AAIS/AATI Conference in Taormina, Italy.
Sept. 2011 “The Sick Woman: Cultural and Artistic Models of Femininity and Sexuality in Fin de Siècle Italian Literature and Early Italian Cinema”, Conference ‘Desiring Divas: the Diva in Modern Italian Culture’, held at The University of Cambridge on 21-22 Sept. 2011.
March 2011 “Italian Women Writers Confined: The Case of Neera”, Presented at “Borders and Boundaries: Italian Women Writers of the 19th, 20th and 21st century” held at the University of St. Andrews, Scotland on 21-22 March, 2011.
May 2010 “The work and art of letter writing in Neera.” Presented at AATI Conference in Lecce, Italy.
Sep. 2009 “Marginalità/omosessualità ne Il Marescalco di Pietro Aretino.” Presented at ADI (Associazione degli Italianisti Italiani) Conference in Pugnochiuso, Italy.
March 2009 “Ricezione dell’opera di Bonaventura Tecchi negli Stati Uniti.” Presented atLUMSA Centro Umanitas Conference in Rome, Italy.
July 2008 “Identification and Otherness in Cabiria’s child and adult female figures”. Presented at University of Exeter Conference “Re-envisioning the Child in Italian Film.”
May 2008 “A modern feminist reading of Neera’s maternal instinct.” Presented at AAIS/AATI Conference in Taormina, Italy.
Oct 2006 “Lyda Borelli and the “female” style of acting in early Italian cinema.” Presented at the conference “Women and the Mass Media in 20th Century Italy: Press, cinema, television, radio and the recording industry” at the Institute of Germanic and Romance Studies, University of London.
May 2006 “Malombra: l’isteria, l’attrice passiva e lo stile pittorico di recitazione.” Presented at AAIS/AATI Conference in Genova, Italy.
Oct. 2005 “Da Cain a Visconti: un percorso contro il mito del maschio fascista.” “Dalla Letteratura al Film (e Ritorno)” Conference organized by the Italian section of the Romance Languages Department of the University of Olomouc in the Czech Republic and in collaboration with the Italian Institute of Culture in Prague.
Nov. 2002 “Neera the verist writer;” American Association of Teachers of Italian Conference (AATI), Toronto, Canada.
Nov. 1998 “Visconti and Ossessione: Perversion of the ‘Italian Dream,’ An Adaptation of the ‘American Dream;’” American Association of Teachers of Italian Conference (AATI), Chicago, Illinois.
Oct. 1998 “La dimensione isterica in Fosca di Igino Ugo Tarchetti;” Conference on Romance Languages and Literatures, Purdue University.
Apr. 1998 “Il mito dell’America in Americana;” American Association of Italian Studies Conference (AAIS), Chicago, Illinois.
Nov. 1997 “Phenomenology of Hysteria in Tarchetti’s Una nobile follia e Fosca;” American Association of Teachers of Italian Conference (AATI), Nashville, Tennessee.
Feb. 1997 “Vittorini, Cecchi, Americana: una pubblicazione diffficile;” American Association of Italian Studies Conference (AAIS), Winston-Salem, North Carolina.
Membership in Professional Organizations
The American Association for the Studies of Italian (AAIS) 1997-1999, 2008-present
The American Association for Teachers of Italian (AATI) 1997-1999, 2002-present
The American Council for the Teaching of Foreign Languages (ACTFL) 2005- 2007
American Council on the Teaching of Foreign Languages (ACTFL) Certified Oral Proficiency Interview Tester April 2006