Jessica Sciubba is a third year PhD student in Italian Studies at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Chamapign. Her work explores the Mediterranean as a place of economic, social and cultural intersections, as an impure crossroad for relocations, conflicts and socio-environmental emergences. Her dissertation, in particular, analyzes the multiple layers of social abjection located at the junction between gender, colonialism, race and migration in the Mediterranean, with a specific focus on contemporary Italian literature and cinema. She is the co-founder of the Ocean Crossings reading group at UIUC, and her main areas of interest include Contemporary Italian Literature, Italian Literature of Migration, Immigration in the Mediterranean, Post-Colonial Italy, Contemporary Arabic literature, Biopolitics, Gender and Women’s Studies.
• Elisa Facetti
Elisa Facetti earned her BA in Languages and Cultures of Eurasia and the Mediterranean at the Ca’ Foscari University of Venice (2007), focusing on Turkish, Arabic, French and Urdu languages and literatures. During her last year as an undergraduate student she spent one semester in the Turkish literature department at Istanbul University where she became interested in contemporary migration literature and gender studies. She then moved to the Netherlands where she received an MA in Middle Eastern Studies from Leiden University (2011), concentrating on Kazakh language and Central Asian History. Before completing her MA, she spent one-and-a-half years in Almaty, Kazakhstan, where she conducted her MA thesis research on the reinvention of tradition in post-Soviet Kazakh weddings, taught EFL in an elementary and middle school and Italian language to adults in a local language center. She then moved to the USA in 2011 with her husband and worked in Student Services as an International Student Advisor in Columbia, Missouri, for four years, serving mostly international students and refugees. She is currently a first year Master’s student in the French and Italian Department and an instructor of Italian at the University of Illinois in Urbana-Champaign. Her main areas of interests are contemporary Italian literature, migration literature, gender studies, and post-colonial studies.
• Pierpaolo Spagnolo
Pierpaolo Spagnolo started his studies in Euro-Mediterrean Languages and Literatures (Italian, English, French and Spanish) at the University “La Sapienza” in Rome. Then, he worked in pursuit of his dream, which is to teach Italian (language and literature) in the United States. In order to do so, he moved to the United Kingdom for two years in order to improve his English. Then he went back to his hometown, Lecce, where he received his bachelor’s degree with a thesis on Shakespeare’s authorship titled Florio, De Vere, Bacon also known as William Shakespeare. After that, he spent two years in Barcelona, Spain for his master’s degree in “Research in Language and Literature Teaching” at the Autonomous University of Barcelona, with a dissertation entitled A detailed view of how Italian Proficiency as a Second Language is “Officially tested”. In June 2015 he obtained his second master’s degree in Romance Languages (Italian and Spanish) at the University of Oregon. He just started his PhD in Italian, with concentration in Medieval Studies at the University of Illinois at Urbana Champaign. His main research interest, among many others, is Italian literature from 13th to 16th century, principally the relationship between philosophy, religion and literature and the role of the Roman Church in the construction of the “Western self”.
• Priscilla Charrat
Priscilla Charrat is a Ph.D. candidate in French Studies, working on her dissertation titled “Documents et Cheminements: Tracing the Postmemory of the Second World War and the Algerian War of Independence.” She holds an M.A. in English with special focus on American Literature from the University of Paris III-Sorbonne Nouvelle, and an M.A. in Languages, Literature, and Translation from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee. Her dissertation proposes ways out of traumatic silence across generations in contemporary French and Francophone Algerian fiction, and highlights mechanisms of empathy that break down the victim-perpetrator divide and bridge communities in ways that acknowledge their ethnic or religious specificity. Her research aims at opening up discussions about identity and cultural memory beyond the sole assessment of sociological crises. Focusing on networks of empathy between victims, perpetrators, and their descendants, her analyses complement existing discussions of silence, oral transmission, and media as a way to privately transmit memory across generations.