Call for Papers

Volume XLII (2021)

"Per acque nitide e tranquille"

The Free Will and Subjective Agency of Women in Dante and Medieval Italian Literature

Deadline: August 31, 2019

Free will, pithily defined by Dante's Virgilio as the noble power to guide and constrain the soul's natural inclination and desires (Purg. 18.73), holds a place of central concern in the Commedia. This volume intends to propose a discussion on the representation of free will and the subjective agency of women not only in the Commedia, but also in Dante’s other works and in those of near contemporary Italian writers.

Essays can include:

  • models of representation that frame the scope of women’s agency based on established social roles.
  • exploration of prevailing tropes to advance critical conceptions of the free will and agency of the female subject in late medieval writers.
  • the willful agency of women in the Commedia.
  • the question of free will and the ethical, intellectual and poetic authorities of women in the Commedia.
  • criteria for accountability applied to the female subject in late-medieval Italian texts (to what extent is the acclaim or censure of the subject’s choices and actions transparently justifiable by these criteria? How do the literary characterizations of these conventions represent, commend, or even critique the female subject’s compliance or contravention?)
  • pertinent areas of consideration may include a wide range of female roles as mothers, wives or daughters; their social, political, and, or religious functions; their literary engagement and intellectual agency; their attributions of virtues, vices, beatification, and damnation.

Background, Book Organization, and Methodology

Quali per vetri trasparenti e tersi,
o ver per acque nitide e tranquille,
[...] vid'io più facce a parlar pronte... (Par. 3.10-16)


As through clear, transparent glass
or through still and limpid water,
[...] I saw many faces eager to speak...

The pilgrim turns to find the people whose reflections he imagines he is seeing, only to discover, as Beatrice puts it, that his still juvenile intellect has misdirected his steps toward a meaningless void, and away from the reality he sees before him (Par. 3.19-29). The passage chosen for the title of this collection of essays synthesizes the subtle multiplicity of the themes it explores. Primarily, the passage points to the perceptual errancy of the observer who does not initially grasp the reality and legitimacy of the female subjects prepared and eager to speak and act through their own agency.

Contributors are invited to consider how various representations of the subjective agency of women throughout the pilgrim’s journey in the Commedia serve as case studies in exemplum for the poem’s extended discourse on free will. Contributors are also invited to cast farther afield and integrate related or near contemporary works including but not limited to sources in the Classical tradition, patristic authorities, political treatises and other poetic and literary concerns.

Submissions should not exceed 5,000 words (including notes and bibliography) and can be either in English or Italian (with preference given to English). Authors must comply with the MLA bibliographic standards for citations and documents of source.

Contributors should send their manuscripts together with a 300-word abstract and 50-word bio and CV to the editors by August 31, 2019.

All essays will be reviewed on a double-blind review basis. Interested authors should contact the editors by e-mail (please include all of them): Francesco Ciabattoni (fc237@georgetown.edu), Catherine Adoyo (ADOYO@post.harvard.edu), and Simona Wright (simona@tcnj.edu). Please use the subject "NIS VOLUME XLII."

Volume XLI

How to Use Literature in the Italian Language Class

The use of literature in language classes can be considered as one of the most effective way to teach language and culture. As a rich resource of authentic texts, literature offers a large variety of motivating material (Ghosn: 2002, Collie & Slater: 1987, Freddi: 2006, Balboni: 2006), providing a fertile territory for the enhancement of interpersonal, interpretive and presentational abilities (Belcher & Hirvela: 2000). Literary texts are also fundamental tools for the development of critical thinking and intercultural awareness (Ghosn: 2002), contributing to the students’ personal process of education and growth (Lazar: 1993).

In this call for papers the editors welcome original contributions that investigate the relevance of the use of literary-based input for teaching and learning Italian language and culture, and highlight strategies educators can use to effectively engage students through literature in the classroom.  Preferred contributions should address all levels of Italian courses, particularly the beginning and intermediate ones.

Essays can cover the following:

  • To what extent does a literature-based input help build a high level of (literary) language and cultural proficiency as well as critical thinking
  • How a literary content-based input can contribute to bridge the gap between Italian language and literature curricula in North America
  • Which communicative and cultural learning outcomes can be met through a literary text
  • How L2 Italian language students can be motivated through a literature-based input
  • At which language proficiency level should literature-based input be introduced
  • What are the pros and cons of such an input in the language classroom
  • What kind of literature would best suit a content-based input

Submissions should not exceed 5,000 words (including notes and bibliography) and can be either in English or Italian (with preference given to English). Authors must comply with the MLA bibliographic standards for citations and documents of source.

Contributors should send their manuscripts together with a 300-word abstract and 50-word bio and CV to the editors by June 30, 2019.

All essays will be reviewed on a double-blind review basis.

Interested authors should contact the editors by e-mail (please include all of them): Paola Nastri (paola.nastri@gmail.com), Paola Quadrini (paolaquadrini@gmail.com), and Simona Wright (simona@tcnj.edu). Please use the subject "NIS VOLUME XLI."

Volume XXXIX

The Italian Digital Classroom

Italian Culture and Literature through digital tools and social media

Our students live in the midst of digital information. They skype, tweet, facebook, text and share as part of their daily life.  As educators, we cannot ignore the new skills that they have developed. We have the opportunity, instead, to leverage their digital expertise toward the realization of a collaborative and creative learning model in our language and literature classes.

Volume XXXIX of NEMLA ITALIAN STUDIES is a special issue dedicated to the use of digital tools in the Italian language, culture, and literature classroom. It aims to provide a forum for the academic investigation of digital pedagogy in the realm of Italian studies.  For this volume, the editors are seeking original, innovative research on the use of digital tools and social media in the teaching of Italian at any level. Possible areas of inquiry include but are not limited to: use of blogging, social reading and social media as well as digital storytelling, virtual reality tools and the use of text visualization tools to enhance the Italian classroom experience.

Submissions can be authored in English or Italian. Authors must comply with MLA standards for citation and documentation of sources.

Interested contributors should send a 500 words abstract to the editors by e-mail and a CV to: Tania Convertini – Dartmouth College: tania.convertini@ Dartmouth.edu and Simona Wright: The College of New Jersey (simona@tcnj.edu)

Manuscripts must be submitted electronically no later than December 15th, 2015.

Volume XXXVII (2015)

Special Issue: The Jewish Experience in Contemporary Italy

Even before his untimely passing in 1987, Primo Levi's contributions to the Italophone literary panorama inspired a significant amount of critical responses. One could argue that his name has become synonymous with contemporary representations of the Italian Jewry, including (but not limited to) artistic reflections of World War II and the Shoah. This volume aims to highlight new or underexplored approaches to the study of the Italkim, but also to properly contextualize and further the extant critical discourse on Italian-speaking, foreign-born authors such as Edith Bruck and Giorgio Pressburger who (among others) have had an undeniable impact on how Italian and European audiences perceive the modern Jewish experience. Contributions will be informed by the most recent scholarship on the subject and will endeavor to move beyond the barriers that all too often have helped create a compartmentalized scholarly inquiry with respect to Jewish artists operating in Italy. Essays exploring the literary and cinematic representations of the Italophone Jewish experience will constitute the principal focus of this issue. Submissions addressing unstudied/understudied artists and themes are especially welcome.

Possible topics include, but are not limited to:

Male and Female Jewish Identities, Migration, Transationalism and Translingualism, the Shoah, World War II and Fascism, Cinema, Theater.

Submissions can be authored in English or Italian. Authors must comply with MLA standards for citation and documentation of sources.

Articles may not exceed 10,000 words. Book reviews should not exceed 1,200 words.

Editorial communications should be addressed to the editors, preferably via e-mail, or mailed to Simona Wright, Dept. of Modern Languages, The College of New Jersey, 2000 Pennington Road, NJ 08628-0718. Manuscripts should be sent via e-mail attachment (Microsoft Word for PC). Attachments should be marked with the last name of the contributor, followed by the name/subject of the paper (Dunne/Boccaccio — Dunne/Postmodern). All submissions must be accompanied by a cover letter/message that includes the author’s relevant affiliations, a U.S. or international postal address, and an e-mail address. Contributors need to submit, in order, their name and work affiliation at the end of the article. NeMLA Italian Studies has a blind reader policy and the editorial staff will erase the personal information from the copy sent for evaluation to each of the readers.

NeMLA membership is not required to submit to NIS; however, membership is required for publication.

Interested authors should contact the editors by e-mail:

Philip Balma

University of Connecticut-Storrs (philip.balma@uconn.edu)

Simona Wright

The College of New Jersey (simona@tcnj.edu)

Manuscripts must be submitted electronically no later than February 15, 2015.

Volume XXXVIII (2016)

Special Issue: The Renaissance Dialogue

Volume XXXVIII of NIS is an interdisciplinary issue that aims at discussing the intersections and cultural interactions of a range of fields including philosophy, religion, history, art, architecture, literature, astronomy, politics, medicine, archeology, and music, during the early modern period in Italy.

The volume searches for contributions that investigate the vast and multifaceted scenario of the culture of the Renaissance in Italy in all its contradictions from Late Antiquity to the middle of the seventeenth century, with a special focus on the complex set of negotiations between innovative production and its tension with the past. We welcome essays that rethink, through a multidisciplinary perspective, the on going dialogue among disciplines, as well as illuminate the role of intellectuals in forging changes in the dynamic relationship between continuity and plurality of positions in the cultural field.

Submissions readdressing unstudied/understudied artists and non-canonical themes /works are especially welcome. Possible topics include but are not limited to: the rhetoric of marginalization, diversity, popular culture, vernacularization versus Latin authoring, private testimony, the use of dialect as anti-classical production, parody, authorship, anti-intellectual life, women’s studies.

Submissions can be authored in English or Italian. Authors must comply with MLA standards for citation and documentation of sources.

Articles may not exceed 10,000 words. Book reviews should not exceed 1,200 words.

Manuscripts should be sent via e-mail attachment (Microsoft Word). Attachments should be marked with the last name of the contributor, followed by the name/subject of the paper (Dunne/Boccaccio — Dunne/Postmodern). All submissions must be accompanied by a cover letter/message that includes the author’s relevant affiliations, a U.S. or international postal address, and an e-mail address. Contributors need to submit, in order, their name and work affiliation at the end of the article. NeMLA Italian Studies has a blind reader policy and the editorial staff will erase the personal information from the copy sent for evaluation to each of the readers.

Interested authors should contact the editors by e-mail:

Roberta Ricci

Bryn Mawr College (rricci@brynmawr.edu)

Simona Wright

The College of New Jersey (simona@tcnj.edu)

Manuscripts must be submitted electronically no later than April 30th, 2015. Editorial communications should be addressed to the editors, preferably via e-mail, or mailed to Simona Wright, Dept. of Modern Languages, The College of New Jersey, 2000 Pennington Road, NJ 08628-0718.