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Department of French and Italian
(847) 491-8259
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Alessia Ricciardi is a Professor in the French and Italian Department and the Comparative Literature Program. She has a BA in philosophy from the University of Pisa, a DEA (master's degree) from Paris VII in psychoanalysis, and a Ph.D. in comparative literature from Yale University. Her main areas of interest are French and Italian contemporary literature, cinema, political philosophy, psychoanalysis and gender studies.


Her first book, The Ends of Mourning, won the Modern Language Association's 2004 Scaglione Prize for Comparative Literature. Her second book, After La Dolce Vita: A Cultural Prehistory of Berlusconi's Italy, won the MLA’s 2012 Scaglione Prize for Italian Studies. Divided into four chapters titled, respectively, "Sweetness" "Lightness," "Weakness," "Softness," the book describes how the dominant figures in Italian culture in the 1980s dangerously abandoned any attempt at critical thinking. An Italian edition of After La Dolce Vita is forthcoming.


Currently, she is completing her third book, which is titled Woman as a Form of Life: Gender Politics in Antonioni's Films. The book revisits the films that Antonioni made in the early 1960s starring Monica Vitti in light of their ongoing influence on contemporary artists such as Anne Carson and Cindy Sherman.


Her essays have appeared in PMLA, Modernism/Modernity, Modern Language Notes, Diacritics and The Romanic Review, among other publications. Her most recent articles are about works by Pasolini, Foucault, Deleuze, and Agamben.

Professor Ricciardi has just completed a term as a senior fellow at the IFK in Vienna, where she worked on a new project on Agamben and Foucault. She is now building on this research toward a book-length exploration of the politically fraught place of technology in Agamben’s philosophy.


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