Cynthia Nazarian is on research leave as a long-term fellow at the Huntington Library for the 2012-2013 academic year.
Prof. Nazarian received her B.A. in Comparative Literature and Creative Writing from Columbia and her M.A. and Ph.D. in Comparative Literature from Princeton. Her research explores figurations of violence in 16th-century French, English and Italian literature, analysing the rhetoric of suffering and brutality that shape sovereignties of the early modern Self and State.
Her current book project, Petrarch’s Wound: Love, Violence and the Politics of Renaissance Europe investigates widespread metaphors of dismemberment, constraint, cannibalism, wounding, and rape in 16th-century French, English, and Italian literature. Through its comparative, inter-genre studies of Petrarch and five major Petrarchan poets of the 16th century, Petrarch's Wound shows how love poetry was actively transformed into a powerful tool for defining the nation and for reflecting on and shaping state authority. Her second book project, Violent Sympathies: Literature, Sovereignty and the Hazards of Fellow-feeling brings together early modern literature, contemporary popular genres, and critical and political theory, to examine the challenges posed by sympathy for state authority and legitimacy. Violent Sympathies aims to show not only how often literature is political, but additionally how often politics is literary.
Nazarian’s articles and book reviews have been published or are forthcoming in Modern Language Quarterly, Renaissance and Reformation, Renaissance Quarterly, Metamorphosis: The Changing Face of Ovid in Medieval and Early Modern Europe (Alison Keith and Stephen Rupp, eds.) and the Folger Shakespeare Library website.
Nazarian was awarded Northwestern University’s Weinberg College of Arts and Sciences Distinguished Teaching Award for 2011-2012.