2020 Annual Meeting and Symposium - virtual

Dante, Somma Luce

Dante Society of America, 2020 Annual Meeting and Symposium

A virtual event organized and hosted by Washington University in St. Louis

Friday, 25 September and Saturday, 26 September 2020

last updated 21 August 2020


The 2020 annual meeting and symposium of the Dante Society of America, “Dante, Somma Luce,” organized by, and scheduled to be held last May at Washington University in St. Louis, has been rescheduled as a series of virtual sessions on Friday, September 25, and Saturday, September 26, 2020.

The symposium will be held on Zoom, and will feature presenters from North America and Italy, including keynotes by Alison Cornish of New York University and Arielle Saiber of Bowdoin College.

There is no charge to attend, but registration is required. The registration deadline is Friday, September 18, at 11:59 CDT. Registered attendees will receive Zoom credentials and additional conference information via email.

Symposium sessions are open to all. The Dante Society of America annual membership meeting is open to current members.

Symposium session will be recorded for those who cannot attend or wish to share them with others.

I would like to register (please click here)


Friday, September 25

All times are United States Central Daylight Time (GMT -5)

10:00am-11:30am CDT / Session I: Dante, Knowledge and Wonder / Organizer and chair: Federica Coluzzi, University College Cork

1. “Dante and Odysseus: Masters of Wonder, Travelers to the Unknown.” Niccolò Benzi, University of Winchester

2. “‘A Story for Little Children’: Mediating Knowledge and Wonder in Nineteenth-Century Adaptations of Purgatorio.” Federica Coluzzi

3. “Exploring Wonder in Dante’s Paradiso.” Emilia di Rocco, Università di Roma “La Sapienza”/Northwestern University


1:00pm-3:00pm CDT / Session II: Dante beyond Dante / Chair: Christian Dupont, Boston College

1. “Who is Afraid of the Big Bad Wolf? Dante, Aesop, and the Latin Fable.” Filippo Gianferrari, University of California, Santa Cruz

2. “Dante’s Hellmouth. Drawings and Graffiti in the Prisons of the Inquisition in Palermo.” Andrea Celli, University of Connecticut, Storrs

3. “The Music of the Spheres Gone Acoustic: Folk Music as the “Bread of Angels” for High School Dante Students.” Daniel Christian, Independent Scholar

4. “Back to the Human: Filippo Balducci and Son in Florence as a Parody of Paradiso 31.” Olivia Holmes, Binghamton University


3:30pm-4:45pm CDT / Session III: Keynote / Welcome and introduction: Michael Sherberg, Washington University in St. Louis

“Circles in the Sky: Halos, Coronae, and Round Meteorological Phenomena in Dante’s Paradiso.” Arielle Saiber, Bowdoin College


Saturday, September 26

All times are United States Central Daylight Time (GMT -5)

10:00am-11:30am CDT / Session IV: Thinking about Dante’s Politics / Chair: Eleonora Stoppino, University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign

1. “Pope Gregory X, Empire, and Dante’s Florence in International Perspective.” William Caferro, Vanderbilt University

2. “Dante’s ‘Optimum Homo’: Decoding Traces of Divine Participation in Monarchia III.xii.” Corey Flack, Independent Scholar

3. “Dante’s Garisenda Puzzle Solved: A Rhetoric of Hyperbole.” Ronald Martinez, Brown University


11:45am-12:30pm CDT / Annual Meeting of the Dante Society of America / Presiding: Alison Cornish, New York University, President, Dante Society of America


1:30pm-3:00pm CDT / Session V: Thinking about the Comedìa / Chair: Olivia Holmes, Binghamton University, SUNY

1. “Note marginali nei manoscritti della Commedia di Dante.” Elisabetta Tonello, eCampus University and Luca Lombardo, Università di Ca’ Foscari Venezia and University of Toronto 

2. “‘Chi intender ben cupe’: Desire for Knowledge in Paradiso 13.” Albert Ascoli, University of California, Berkeley

3. “Dante and the Language of Infinity.” P. Christopher Smith, University of Massachusetts, Lowell


3:30pm-4:45pm CDT / Session VI: Keynote / Welcome and introduction: Albert Ascoli, University of California, Berkeley 

“‘Faith: What is it?’ The Problem of Credibility.” Alison Cornish, New York University