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[Online panel] Italy and Italianists of Asian Backgrounds in North America; March 3rd

23 Feb 2023 11:27 AM | Mohammad Jamali

Dear colleagues,


You’re cordially invited to attend the following online event:

Italy and Italianists of Asian Backgrounds in North America


We hope to open a public conversation for the growing number of Italianists of Asian backgrounds working in North America's Italian programs. The online session intends to provide a space for some of them to discuss their perspectives and experiences about transnational Italian Studies through engaging Asia or ideas inspired by Asia. Participants will tell personal stories, explain research projects, and discuss pedagogy. In particular, we ask the panelists and the audience to consider the following questions:


What cultural paradigms, critical approaches, and theoretical perspectives do you bring to Italian Studies from AsiaAsian Studies, or scholars of Asian origins? 


How are such scholarly practices enriching Italian Studies? 


How do you view your scholarship in relation to other transnational or transcultural practices within Italian Studies?


How do you think your research and pedagogy benefit the student bodies at your institutions? 


Please join us online on March 3rd, 2023 at 11:15 PST/14:15 EST/20:15 CET for a 1.5 hr panel. 


Zoom link

Meeting ID: 816 1944 3223
Passcode: t5d5ny




Mohammad Jamali, University of Toronto

Gaoheng Zhang, University of British Columbia (Moderator) 


Below please find a list of panelists and their bios:


Mohammad Jamali 

Mohammad Jamali is a Ph.D. Candidate at the Department of Italian Studies of the University of Toronto. Since 2016, he has been working on Mario Pratesi’s archives, kept at the E.J. Pratt Library of Victoria University in Toronto. Since 2019, he has also been researching gender and linguistic equity in Italian, a research that he continues to carry forward with his colleague, Sara Galli, parallel to his main thesis on Pratesi. 


Hiromi Kaneda 

Hiromi Kaneda is a Visiting Instructor at Pepperdine University and a Ph.D. candidate at Rutgers University, New Jersey. Her research interests include gender studies, masculinity, Italian and Japanese cinema, and cultural studies. She received her B.A. in English and American Literature major in Linguistics at Soka University of Japan. After working a few years as a translator, an interpreter, and an instructor at the Italian Cultural Institute in Tokyo, she went back to study to earn an M.A. in Italian Literature at the University of Virginia. She wrote an M.A. thesis on the relations between myths, astronomical figures, and animals in Il Gattopardo. In her doctoral dissertation, titled “Representing the Economic Boom and its Anxieties: Italy and Japan,” she investigates the momentous post-World War Two shifts in Italian and Japanese societies during the so-called “Economic Miracle” (1958-1965), which generated changes in gender roles, perceptions, identifications, practices, and interaction-relational issues. Using different approaches like cultural studies, gender studies, and theories of masculinity and space, she aims to analyze the changes in gender roles and their implications in Italian and Japanese novels and films. 


Hiju Kim 

Hiju Kim is a doctoral candidate in the Department of European Languages and Transcultural Studies at the University of California, Los Angeles. She has conducted research on a range of art, film and media topics, including the works of Federico Fellini, Henrike Naumann and the Watts Towers. She has worked for curatorial and education departments at the Peggy Guggenheim Collection, the Museum of Contemporary Art in Los Angeles and the Wende Museum, and has interned in the Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs at the U.S. Department of State. She is also a writer, editor and translator for online Korean pop culture media outlets.


Akash Kumar 

Akash Kumar is Assistant Professor of Italian Studies at the University of California, Berkeley. His research focuses on medieval Italian literature through the lens of Mediterranean and global culture, from the history of science to the origins of popular phenomena such as the game of chess. His recent work on a global Dante has appeared in the Blackwell Companion to World Literature (2020), the volume Dante Beyond Borders (Legenda, 2021), and a special issue of MLN dedicated to Charles S. Singleton (2022). Akash also serves as Editor of Dante Notes, the digital publication of the Dante Society of America.


Qian Liu 

Qian Liu is a Ph.D. Candidate in Romance Languages and Literatures at the University of Michigan. He specializes in modern Italian literature and culture, critical theory, urban studies, ecocriticism, and African diaspora studies. His dissertation project, tentatively titled “Urban Exergue: On Blackness, Spectrality and the Poetics of Landscape in Contemporary Italy,” theorizes the aesthetic innovation of Afro-Italian diasporic literature and visual productions to open up radically new possibilities for reimagining Italy's postcoloniality and Black existence. 


Vetri Nathan 

Dr. Vetri Nathan is Mellon Associate Professor of Global Racial Justice and Associate Professor of Italian at Rutgers University. His research and teaching interests include Global Migrations and Postcolonial Theory, Environmental and Public Humanities, Food Studies, Italian Cinema and Media Studies. His book, Marvelous Bodies: Italy’s New Migrant Cinema (Purdue UP, 2017) explores contemporary Italian films released between 1990 and 2010 that represent the nation’s cultural challenges caused by immigration from the Global South. Born in Mumbai, India, he holds his Ph.D. in Italian from Stanford University (2009) and is currently working on a new book and several articles and projects and that address diverse yet pressing global questions related to nationhood, biopolitics, natural ecosystems, climate change and new mediatic realities. 


Gaoheng Zhang

Gaoheng Zhang is Associate Professor of Italian Studies at the University of British Columbia. His first book, Migration and the Media: Debating Chinese Migration to Italy, 1992-2012 (University of Toronto Press, 2019), is the first detailed media and cultural study of the Chinese migration from both Italian and Chinese migrant perspectives. A second book is tentatively titled “Chinese Recipes, Italian Designs, American Resonances: Food and Fashion Cultures Through Migration and Tourism, 1980s-2010s.” It examines cultural representations and dynamics pertaining to food and fashion mobilities between China and Italy that migration and tourism help deepen. He is a Jean Monnet Fellow at the European University Institute in Florence during 2022-2023, where he studies media debates between Western Europe and China regarding the latter’s “Belt and Road Initiative” in certain East African countries.


Mohammad J. Jamali (he; lui)

Ph.D. Candidate

Dept. of Italian Studies
University of Toronto


timendi causa est nescire


I wish to acknowledge the land on which the University of Toronto operates. For thousands of years, it has been the traditional land of the Huron-Wendat, the Seneca and, most recently, the Mississaugas of the Credit River. Today, it is still the home to many Indigenous people from across Turtle Island, and we are grateful to have the opportunity to work on this land.

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