Past Meetings and Events


2024 Events

International Congress on Medieval Studies, May 9-11, 2024

The 59th International Congress on Medieval Studies will be held at Western Michigan University in Kalamazoo, Michigan, from May 9-11, 2024. The Dante Society of America has organized the three panel sessions and an evening lecture:

Dante (1)
Friday May 10, 2024
10:00-11:30 AM
Sangren Hall 4725
Sponsor: Dante Society of America
Presider: Alejandro Cuadrado (Yale University)
Organizer: Akash Kumar (University of California, Berkeley)

  • Samuel F. McMillan (Flagler College), "A Twisted Canon: Dante and the Authorship of Horror"
  • Matteo Ottaviani (McGill University), "Charting Dante’s Political Landscape: Chronicles as Crucial Narratives in Romagna"
  • Andrea Celli (University of Connecticut), "Climbing the Trees of Purgatorio: Early Commentaries and Visual Sources"
  • Kalena Holeman (University of Houston), "Katabasis in the Black Diaspora: Dante’s Pilgrim in Ellison’s Invisible Man and Walcott’s Omeros"

Dante (2)
Friday May 10, 2024
1:30-3:00 PM
Sangren Hall 4725
Sponsor: Dante Society of America
Presider: Akash Kumar (University of California, Berkeley)
Organizer: Akash Kumar (University of California, Berkeley)

  • Elizabeth Coggeshall (Florida State University), "Lorna Goodison’s Dante: A Case Study in Tradaptation"
  • Virginia Jewiss (Johns Hopkins University), "Dante’s Vita Nuova: Translations and Transpositions"
  • F. Regina Psaki (University of Oregon), "'Even a flicker of the blissful realm': Mary Jo Bang's Comedy and Its Readers"
  •       Respondent: Mary Jo Bang (Washington University in St. Louis)

Dante (3)
Friday May 10, 2024
3:30-5:00 PM
Sangren Hall 4725
Sponsor: Dante Society of America
Presider: Elizabeth Coggeshall (Florida State University)
Organizer: Akash Kumar (University of California, Berkeley)

  • Rookshar Myram (University of Notre Dame), "Beatrice and the Eyes of Contemplation: Dante’s Transformation in Paradiso 26"
  • Humberto Ballesteros, Hostos Community College, CUNY), "'Libertà vanno cercando': On Cato’s Guardianship of Purgatory in the Light of Piccarda’s Exemplum of Freedom"
  • Sally A. Tucker (University of California–Berkeley), "A Queer Femmina Balba: Unproductive Stasis and Queer Temporality in Dante’s Purgatorio"
  • Michael Sherberg (Washington University in St. Louis), "In the Center, at the Margin"

Dante Society of America Lecture
Friday May 10, 2024
7:00 PM
Sangren Hall 1910
Sponsor: Dante Society of America
Presider: Alison Cornish (New York University)

  • Martin Eisner (Duke University), "Black Limbo: Dante and Global Ethnic Studies"

DSA Annual Meeting, May 17, 2024

The Annual Meeting for members of The Dante Society of America will convene online 5-6pm on Friday, May 17. In addition to Society business, we will have some flash talks from graduate students and a tour through our new DSA website — coming soon! More information and the meeting link will be shared on the Society's members mailing list.

Renaissance Society of America Annual Convention, 21-23 March 2024

The Dante Society of America is sponsoring five panel sessions at the 2024 Annual Convention of the Renaissance Society of America, which will be held in Chicago, Illinois, 21-23 March 2023. Descriptions of each panel follow below.

The Canon(s) of Dante's Works
Thursday, March 21, 2024, 11:00am-12:30pm
Palmer House Hilton - Madison Room - Third Floor
Organizer: Filippo Gianferrari (University of California, Santa Cruz)
Chair: Laura Banella (University of Notre Dame)

  • Francesco Feriozzi (University of Notre Dame, Rome), "Fashioning Dante through His Latin Works: Early Approaches"
  • Dr. Calogero Giorgio Priolo (Università di Torino, Italy), "The Sixteenth-Century Dante Canon during the Seventeenth Century"
  • Giulia M. Cipriani (Johns Hopkins University), "How to Interpret Dante's Demons: The Fifteenth- and Sixteenth-Century Commentaries to the Divine Comedy"
  • Deborah Parker (University of Virginia), "Loving by the Book: Dante's Vita Nuova in the Gilded Age"

Dante and the Jewish World, Dante in the Jewish World I
Thursday, March 21, 2024, 2:30pm-4:00pm
Palmer House Hilton - Salon 10 - Third Floor
Organizer: Alberto Gelmi (Vassar College)
Chair: Gur Zak (Hebrew University of Jerusalem)

  • Matteo Maselli (Università di Macerata), "Allegorical Hermeneutics with Apologetic Ends: The Case of Dante and Philo of Alexandria"
  • Dr. Alberto Gelmi (Vassar College), "Dantean Echoes in Late Sixteenth-Century Mantua: Abraham Yagel's A Valley of Vision"
  • Dr. Dana Fishkin (Touro University), "What's so Jewish about the 'Jewish Dante' (Immanuel of Rome)?"

Dante and the Jewish World, Dante in the Jewish World II
Thursday, March 21, 2024, 4:30pm - 6:00pm
Palmer House Hilton - Salon 10 - Third Floor
Organizer: Alberto Gelmi (Vassar College)
Chair: Justin Steinberg (University of Chicago)

  • Jilian Anne Pizzi (Columbia University), "The Deicide Charge and the Absence of Contemporary Jews in Dante's Commedia"
  • Giulia Gaimari (University of Toronto), "From Pietas to Tolerantia: Talking to the Other in Dante"
  • Fabian Roberto Alfie (University of Arizona), "'Sì che 'l Giudeo di voi tra voi non rida!': Jews as Aliens (Mostly!)"

Dante, Islamo-Judaic Rationalism, and the Renaissance
Friday, March 22, 2024, 1:30pm - 3:00pm
Palmer House Hilton - Salon 4 - Third Floor
Organizer: Filippo Gianferrari (University of California, Santa Cruz)
Chair: Jason Aleksander (San Jose State University)

  • John Cornell (St. John's College), "Parody in Paradise: Dante's Portrait of Thomas Aquinas"
  • Olivia Holmes (Binghamton University), "Dante, Personal Immortality, and the Possible Intellect"
  • Alexander Eliot Schmid (Louisiana State University), "Dante, Islamic-Judaic Rationalism, and the Doctrine of Double Truth"
  • Gregory Stone (Louisiana State University), "No Peace, No Science: Casella's Song (Purgatory 1)"

Poetry at Play: Dante in Sports, Games, Songs, and Popular Culture
Friday, March 22, 2024, 5:30pm - 7:00pm
Palmer House Hilton - Montrose 5 - Seventh Floor
Organizer: Filippo Gianferrari (University of California, Santa Cruz)
Chair: Filippo Gianferrari (University of California, Santa Cruz)

  • Donato Pirovano (Università di Milano), "A Blacksmith and a Donkey Maker: Clues to the Publication of the Comedy"
  • Francesco Brenna (Towson University), "Dante and the Ultras: The Divine Comedy in Soccer Fandom"
  • Francesco Ciabattoni (Georgetown University), "Between Song and Poetry: Dante in Caparezza and Vinicius de Moraes"

Modern Language Association Annual Convention, 4-7 January 2024

The Dante Society of America has organized three sessions for the 2024 Modern Language Association Annual Convention. The sessions will be held in person and are open to registered attendees only; they will not livestreamed or recorded. The convention will be held in Philadelphia from January 4-7, 2024.

Joy and Sorrow in Dante
Session 368: Joy and Sorrow in Dante Friday, 5 January 5:15 PM-6:30 PM, Franklin 4 (Marriott)

Sponsoring Entity: Dante Society of America
Cosponsoring Entity: American Association for Italian Studies

  • “Dante’s Ecoaffects,” Heather Webb (U of Cambridge, Selwyn C)
  • “The (Un)Familiar Affects: Bridging the Affective Gaps in Dante’s Comedy,” Aisté Kiltinavičiūtė (Vilnius U) 
  • “The Marvelous in Dante’s Comedy,” James Kriesel (Villanova U) 
  • “Statius’s Cataclysmic Joy: Passions of the Soul and Affects of the Will in Dante,” Joseph Romano (Columbia U) 

Surviving Troubled Waters: Music, Literature, and Transformation behind Bars
Session 489: Saturday, 6 January 12:00 PM-1:15 PM, Franklin 4 (Marriott)
Sponsoring Entity: Dante Society of America

This special event features a performance of an original musical theater piece, inspired by the experiences of two formerly incarcerated individuals and their readings of Dante’s Comedy. Performers include:

  • Dinny Aletheiani (Yale)
  • Ron Jenkins (Wesleyan U)  
  • Monique (BL Shirelle) Mull (Die Jim Crow Records)  
  • Naomi Blount Wilson (Shining Light Academy)

Dante’s Economies Sunday
Session 632: 7 January 8:30 AM-9:45 AM, 410 (Marriott)
Sponsoring Entity: Dante Society of America
Presiding: Anne Leone (Syracuse U) 

  • “Dante in the Streets: Poverty, Disabled Beggars, and Franciscan Charity,” Catherine Bloomer (Columbia U) 
  • “Assaying Fiction: Literary Text, Monetary Test, and Dante’s Commedia,” Filippo Petricca (Indiana U, Bloomington)
  • “Dante and Twenty-First-Century Financialization,” Matthew Treherne (U of Leeds) 
  • “Physical and Moral Debasement: Master Adam in Canto XXX” Anthony Nardini (Mount St. Joseph Academy)   

2023 Events

International Congress on Medieval Studies, May 11-13, 2023

The 58th International Congress on Medieval Studies will be held at Western Michigan University in Kalamazoo, Michigan, from May 11-13, 2023. The Dante Society of America has organized the three panel sessions; session times and locations will be posted closer to the conference:

Dante I
Presider: Akash Kumar (UC Berkeley)

  • Alejandro Cuadrado (Columbia University), "Dante’s Work Ethics, or, a Poet’s Guide to Career and Retirement"
  • Paolo Scartoni (Rutgers University), "'L’abito dell’arte e della scientia”: Rhetoric and Ethics in Purgatorio"
  • Wuming Chang (Independent Scholar), "'Tu sé lo mio maestro e ’l mio autore”: Volgarizzamento and the Allegorical Problem of the Commedia
  • Catherine Bloomer (Columbia University), "'Ciotto,' 'Sciancato,' 'Zoppo': A Dantean Hierarchy of Mobility Disabilities"

Dante II
Presider: Paolo Scartoni (Rutgers University)

  • Nassime Chida (Columbia University), "History as Resistance: Montaperti, Farinata, and the Historical Argument of Inferno X"
  • Antonio Raschi (CNR-Istituto per la BioEconomia), "Fact and Fiction in Dante’s Description of Hell: A Geological Approach to Inferno XII-XVI"
  • Dabney G. Park (University of Miami), "Magnificent Vitriol: Dante’s Letter to the Italian Cardinals"
  • Kevin Martín (UC Berkeley), "Blaming Babylon: Dante’s Linguistic Journey from De vulgari eloquentia to La divina commedia"

Dante III
Presider: Nassime Chida (Columbia University)

  • Kathleen Verduin (Hope College), "Dante’s Face in America"
  • Alexander E. Schmid (Louisiana State University), "Dante and Milton’s Respectiver Usuries: Difference and Uniformity in the Divine Comedy and Paradise Lost"
  • Amy Elise Eriksen (The Catholic University of America), "Growing Gentilesse: How Chaucer’s Wife of Bath’s Tale Cultivates Dante’s Nature Imagery of Convivio IV"
  • Ying Zheng (Taiyuan Normal University, Shanxi; Renmin University of China, Beijing), "Lao She as an Unrecognized Pioneering Dantist"

DSA Annual Meeting, May 6, 2023

The Dante Society of America held its 141st Annual Meeting via Zoom on Saturday, May 6, 2023 at 12:00pm EDT. All current members were welcome to attend.

Immediately following the business meeting (agenda), attendees were invited to remain online for the following program:


DSA Annual Symposium, April 29, 2023

The Dante Society of America held its 2023 annual symposium, titled "Dante's Cosmos," at Johns Hopkins University on Saturday, April 29, 2023, with an opening reception the evening before. The symposium was organized and hosted by Virginia Jewiss and Arielle Saiber with support from JHU's Alexander Grass Humanities Institute. Please see the program for further details.


Renaissance Society of America Annual Convention, 9-11 March 2023

The Dante Society of America sponsored five panel sessions at the 2023 Annual Convention of the Renaissance Society of America, held in San Juan, Puerto Rico, 9–11 March 2023. Descriptions of each panel follow below.

Women, Authority, and Will: Dante's Multifaceted Beatrice and Her Legacy
Friday, March 10, 2023, 9:00am-10:30am
Caribe Hilton - Tropical C - Beach Wing 2nd Floor
Chair: Filippo Gianferrari (University of California, Santa Cruz)

  • Mattia Boccuti (University of Notre Dame), "Two 'Beatrices' for Two 'Dantes': The Duality of the Vita nova"
  • Francesco Giusti (University of Oxford), "What is Beatrice Asking for? Dante and the Poetics of Martyrdom"
  • Alyssa Madeline Granacki (Duke University), "Reason and Desire: Echoes of Dante in Tullia d'Aragona's Dialogo della infinità d'amore"

"Le donne antiche e' cavalieri": Dante and the Renaissance Epic Romance I
Friday, March 10, 2023, 2:30pm-4:00pm
Caribe Hilton - Guayacán Suite - Wave Wing 2nd Floor
Chair: Albert Russell Ascoli (University of California, Berkeley)

  • Heloísa Abreu De Lima (Università degli Studi di Roma "La Sapienza"), "The Sententiae of the Commedia as an Expression of Dante's Authorial Voice"
  • Francesco Brenna (Towson University), "Dante and Sixteenth-Century Theoretical Reflections on Epic: The Case of Mazzoni and Tasso"
  • Leah Schwebel (Texas State University) "Allusive Rivalry in the Poetic Triumph"
  • Kate Driscoll (Duke University), "Loss and its Reverberance: Lament and Polyvocality in Dante and Ariosto"

"Le donne antiche e' cavalieri": Dante and the Renaissance Epic Romance II
Friday, March 10, 2023, 4:30pm-6:00pm
Caribe Hilton - Guayacán Suite - Wave Wing 2nd Floor
Chair: Eleonora Stoppino (University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign)

  • Laura Ingallinella (University of Toronto), "Carlo del Nero's Dante: Mediating Courtly Romance and Mercantile Culture in Fifteenth-Century Montpellier"
  • Giulia Maria Cipriani (Johns Hopkins University), "Dante's Demons and the Renaissance Epic Poems (Boiardo, Ariosto, and Folengo)"
  • Alexander Eliot Schmid (Louisiana State University), "Dante and Milton's Respective Usuries: Difference and Uniformity in The Divine Comedy and Paradise Lost"

Dante's Echoing Woods in Renaissance Pastoral
Saturday, March 11, 2023, 2:30pm-4:00pm
Caribe Hilton - Magüey Suite - Wave Wing 2nd Floor
Chair: Jonathan Combs-Schilling (The Ohio State University)

  • Victoria Pipas (Harvard University), "''l mondo aver cangiata facia': Iconoclasm and Virgilian Pastoral in Dante's Inferno"
  • Rino Modonutti (Università degli Studi di Padova), "Epic, Pastoral, and the Role of Poets: Albertino Mussato's Reading of Dante's Eclogues?"
  • Hannah Newburn (University of California Santa Cruz), "Pastoral, Enclosed: Versions of Pastoral in Bocaccio's Decameron"

The Renaissance of Dante's Vita nuova
Saturday, March 11, 2023, 4:30pm-6:00pm
Caribe Hilton - Magüey Suite - Wave Wing 2nd Floor
Chair: Martin Eisner (Duke University)

  • Laura Banella (University of Oxford), "Magistra Beatrice: Constructing Female Cultural Authority Between the Commedia and Its Visualizations"
  • Filippo Gianferrari (University of California, Santa Cruz), "Donne Divisioni: A Poetics of Vernacular Instruction"
  • Akash Kumar (University of California, Berkeley), "Bruni's Vita di Dante and the Perils of the Vita Nuova"

Modern Language Association Annual Convention, 5-8 January 2023

The Dante Society of America organized two sessions for the 2023 Modern Language Association Annual Convention. Both sessions were held in person and were open to registered attendees only; they were not livestreamed or recorded. The convention was held in San Francisco, CA from January 5-8, 2023. The deadline for the call for papers was March 25, 2022.

Confession and Penance in Dante
Session 8: Thursday, 5 January 2023, 12:00pm - 1:15pm, Marriott Marquis - Nob Hill D
This session includes presentations that explore issues relating to confession and penance across Dante’s works and in the medieval Italian context. It was organized and will be chaired by Anne Leone (Syracuse University).

  • “Dante, Falsembiante: False Confessions from the Fiore to the Commedia,” Max Matukhin (Princeton University)
  • “Dante’s Totus Christus? Augustine and the Communality of Penance in the Earthly Paradise,” Thomas Graff (University of Cambridge)
  • “Classical Rhetoric and Minos’s Trial in Inferno 5,” Paolo Scartoni (Rutgers University, New Brunswick)

Ecocritical Approaches to Dante
Session 490: Saturday, 7 January 2023, 12:00pm - 1:15pm, Marriott Marquis - Pacific Suite A
This session includes presentations that approach Dante’s works from ecocritical perspectives, interrogating the boundaries between the natural, non-natural, unnatural, supernatural, or investigating particular issues such as nature as a theoretical concern, natural imagery, meteorology, etc. The session was organized and will be chaired by Anne Leone (Syracuse University). It is co-sponsored by the American Association for Italian Studies (AAIS).

  • “From the ‘Selva Oscura’ to the ‘Bel Giardino’: Dante, Humans, and the Natural World(s) in the Comedy,” Mattia Boccuti (University of Notre Dame)
  • “‘Quell’è Natura’: Revisiting the Lyric Tradition of Nature at the Core of the Comedy,” Leonardo Chiarantini (University of Michigan, Ann Arbor)
  • “Pastoral Crossovers: Dante and Boccaccio Stay in the Countryside,” Filippo Gianferrari (University of California, Santa Cruz)

2022 Events

International Congress on Medieval Studies, 9-14 May 2022

The DSA will sponsor two sessions on Dante at the 57th International Congress on Medieval Studies at Western Michigan University in Kalamazoo, May 9-14, 2022, and one themed session, organized by Matteo Pace, on “Dante and the Sciences of the Human.” Online registration will open in March.

Dante 1: Signs and Systems, Appropriation and Apprehension
Presider: Akash Kumar (IU Bloomington)

  • Elizabeth Coggeshall (Florida State University), “‘I liked Dante’s Inferno when it was still a poem’: Dante Memes
  • Maria Teresa De Luca (Rutgers University), “Fervore and Lexical Semantics in Dante’s Convivio”
  • Pierangelo Blandino (University of Lapland), “The Influence of Dante’s Thinking over the Notions of Sovereignty, Imperialism, and its Potential in the Realm of the Fourth Industrial Revolution”
  • Aistė Kiltinavičiūtė (Cambridge University), “Dante’s “Other” Women and the Socially Extended Mind in the Vita Nova”

Dante 2: History, Theology, Conflict
Presider: Elizabeth Coggeshall (FSU)

  • Jilian Pizzi (Columbia University), “Historicizing the Deicide Charge in Paradiso VII: 46-8”
  • Max Matukhin (Princeton University), “Dante’s Sacramental Poetics: Confession in the Commedia”
  • Christiana Purdy Moudarres (Yale University), “Dante’s Hope for Heresy’s Redemption”

Dante 3: Dante and the Sciences of the Human: Medicine, Physics, Soul
Presider: Matteo Pace (Connecticut College)

  • Joseph Abraham Levi (George Washington University), “Inferno Canto XXVIII: 30-31. The Prophet Muhammad and the Caliph ‘Ali: (Mis)Representing the Body, Discovering the Soul”
  • Edward Allnutt (University College London), “Body and Soul in Systematic Approaches to the Design of the Comedy”

DSA Annual Meeting and Program, 7 May 2022

The Dante Society of America will hold its 140th Annual Meeting via Zoom at 2:00PM Eastern Time on Saturday, May 7, 2022. To receive a personalized Zoom link, please register using the following link: Registration is free and open through Friday, May 6, 2022.

Following the annual membership meeting, during which the results of the Council election will be presented along with financial, membership, and other reports, President Alison Cornish will host a program commemorating Robert Hollander and John Freccero, two influential American Dantists who died in the last year. Six formal reminiscences will precede a general discussion among those present:

"Quel savio gentil": Honoring our Teachers John Freccero and Robert Hollander

Reminiscences by:

David Quint
Eileen Reeves
Danielle Callegari
Georgia Nugent
William Stull 
Jessica Levenstein

The Society is grateful to Warren Ginsberg, Simone Marchesi, and Frank Ordiway for organizing this special program. A recording of the annual meeting and program is available on the Society's YouTube channel.

Renaissance Society of America Annual Meeting, 30 March - 2 April 2022

As an associated organization of the Renaissance Society of America, the Dante Society of America has organized two panel sessions for the 2022 RSA Annual Meeting, which will take place in Dublin, Ireland, from 30 March - 2 April 2022.

Dottrina: Poetics of Vernacular Learning In and After Dante
Saturday, April 2, 2022, 11:00 AM - 12:30 PM (IST)
The Convention Centre Dublin - Liffey Meeting Room 4 - 1st Floor
Filippo Gianferrari (University of California, Santa Cruz), chair
Julianna Visco (Princeton University), panel respondent

  • Arielle Saiber (Bowdoin College), “The Thing Is... The Explosion of Thinginess in Renaissance Fables”
  • Francesco Feriozzi (University of Oxford), “Dante in Pietro Bembo’s and Giammaria Barbieri’s Occitan Studies”
  • Filippo Gianferrari (University of California, Santa Cruz), “Pastoral Syncretism: The Ecloga Theoduli Between Dante’s Purgatorio and Boccaccio’s Olympia”

Dante’s Thought in Context: Theology and Philosophy in Late-Medieval Italy
Saturday, April 2, 2022, 4:30 PM - 6:00 PM (IST)
The Convention Centre Dublin - Liffey Meeting Room 4 - 1st Floor
Daragh O'Connell (University College Cork), chair

  • Lorenzo Dell'Oso (Trinity College, Dublin), “Cosmology, Theology, and Philosophy in Florence’s ‘Schools of the Religious’: Some Research Hypothesis)”
  • Nicolò Maldina (Università di Bologna), “Dante's in the Context of Late-Medieval Preaching”
  • Andrea Aldo Robiglio (University of Leuven), “Dante as Romance Philosopher”
  • Helena Phillips-Robins (University of Cambridge), “Dante and vernacular preaching: Living out the Credo in Paradiso 24”

New College Conference on Medieval & Renaissance Studies, 3-5 March 2022

The 2022 Dante Society of America annual symposium will take place in Sarasota, Florida, on March 3-5, 2022, as part of the New College Conference on Medieval & Renaissance Studies. The DSA will sponsor two panels, a keynote lecture, and conference reception, all of which will be held on Saturday, March 5.

Registration for the 2022 Conference opened in December 2021. Registration of for in-person attendance remains open at the following rates:

  • Full-time faculty: $125 on before February 23; $175 after February 23
  • Part-time, contingent, and retired faculty, and independent scholars: $75 on before February 23; $125 after February 23
  • Graduate students: $50 on before February 23;  $100 after February 23
  • Local residents (non-academics): $25

Please see further below and the conference website for information on virtual conference registration and access ($25).

The theme of the 2022 DSA Symposium is “A lo stremo del mondo: Dante and the World.” The keynote speaker will be Jamaican poet Lorna Goodison. Former professor and MLA program director Dennis Looney will offer a response, which will be followed by audience Q&A. Those not able to attend in person may watch the livestream of the event on YouTube beginning at 5:30pm ET, Saturday, March 5: (note: the event will not be recorded nor available for later viewing). Please click here to view the promotional poster, which includes additional details. 

DSA-sponsored sessions

Viewing the DSA-sponsored panel sessions, and Q&A participation in the plenary sessions, requires $25 registration for virtual access to the full conference; see further below for details and instructions. The conference program includes many other sessions of potential interest to Dantists, so please take time to review it and derive further benefits from your registration should you choose to attend.

Session 38. Dante & the Global Middle Ages
Saturday, March 5, 2:00-3:30pm ET
Chair: Beth Coggeshall

  • Danielle Callegari (Dartmouth University), "The Taste of Home: Cookbooks and Culinary Culture in Dante’s Works"
  • Laura Ingallinella (Wellesley College), "Charting the World with the Commedia: Dante and Geographical Literature"
  • Andrea Celli (University of Connecticut), "A Mediterranean Dante? Reading the Comedy Against the Tide"

Session 43. Roundtable: Dante as World Author?
Saturday, March 5, 3:45-5:15pm ET
Chair: Mary Watt

  • Jorge Wiesse Rebagliati (Universidad del Pacifico, Lima), "Universal, Historical, Expressive: Three Levels of the Appropriation of Dante’s Oeuvre in Latin America"
  • Jacob Blakesley (University of Leeds), "Problematizing Dante as World Author"
  • Catherine Adoyo (George Washington University), "Se quel che s'inizia: Canonizing Dante and Ossifying the Commedia"
  • Akash Kumar (Indiana University), "Empire or Decolonized World? Approaches to a Global Dante"

Anyone who is NOT presenting is welcome to register for Zoom access to the entire conference—including all sessions and plenaries—at the low rate of $25. Fill out the regular registration form, selecting "Virtual only." You will receive an email with instructions on how to register for the Zoom meeting(s). This will give you access to all five concurrent sessions of the conference and webinar access to the plenaries, including the ability to participate in Q&As. Zoom registration: About a week before the conference, you will receive an email with instructions about how to register for the Conference Zoom meeting. This registration process is separate from registering for the Conference: while you will not be asked to pay any money when you register for the Zoom meeting, only those people who have already registered and paid via our regular registration portal will be approved to join the Zoom meeting. Please ensure you are registered for the Zoom meeting at least 48 hours before the Conference begins on Thursday morning 3 March, to ensure you are approved in time to join the Zoom meeting punctually. (In case you don't receive the Zoom registration email, here's a direct link to the Zoom registration page—but we reiterate that only those who already registered for the Conference at large will be approved to join the Zoom meeting.) Once your Zoom registration is approved, you will receive two emails with unique Zoom links:

  • One to the Conference, a single Zoom meeting with 5 breakout rooms.
  • Another for the plenaries, which are being run as a Zoom webinar.

As an approved registrant, you may enter and leave both Zoom spaces over the course of the conference at your convenience. Please note that the two spaces are distinct: you will not be able to access the plenaries by logging into the meeting, and vice versa. Also, please do not share these access links as they are unique to each person, and serve as our only form of gatekeeping. Plenary Zoom link: Because the three plenaries will be run in Zoom Webinar mode rather than Meeting mode, you will receive a different Zoom link for the plenary lectures. If you don't care about being able to participate in the Q&A, you are also free simply to watch the livestream on YouTube. Help: If at any point you have problems with your Zoom access that you think the organizing committee might be able to help with, please email us at

DSA Graduate Students Group - Kick-off Meeting, 16 February 2022

A new Graduate Students Group is being organized by and dedicated to the student members of the Society. Currently in a formative phase, its first virtual meeting will be held on Wednesday, February 16, from 6 to 7 p.m. EST. All graduate students are encouraged to participate and to invite fellow students interested in Dante’s life and work. We will get to know each other and share ideas on how the Graduate Students Group can address our individual needs. Registration is required at this link.

For more information, reach out to us at

We look forward to meeting you!

Leonardo Chiarantini, University of Michigan
Mario Sassi, University of Pennsylvania
Paolo Scartoni, Rutgers University

Modern Language Association Annual Convention, 6-9 January 2022

As an allied organization of the Modern Language Association, the Dante Society of America has organized three panel sessions for the 2022 MLA Annual Convention, which will take place in Washington, DC, and online, from 6-9 January 2022. NOTE: On December 27, the DSA announced that all three of its sessions would be held online only; those who wish to attend virtually must still register for the convention and pay the applicable registration rate.

235V - Translations and Adaptations of Dante’s Comedy
Friday, 7 January 2022, 10:15 AM - 11:30 AM
Anne Leone (Syracuse University), presider

  • Jacob Blakesley (University of Leeds), "Toward a History of Worldwide Translations of the Commedia"
  • Demetrio S. Yocum (U of Notre Dame), “A Soul’s Journey: From Dante’s Commedia to Luigi Santucci’s Éschaton”
  • Humberto Ballesteros (Hostos Community College, City University of New York), “An Infierno Twenty-Two Years in the Making: A Brief History of a Lengthy Scholarly Journey”
  • Giulio Genovese (University of Pennsylvania), “After the Attack: A Reassessment of Carmelo Bene’s 1981 Lectura Dantis”

543 - Multilingual and Multimedia Dante
Saturday, 8 January 2022, 3:30 PM - 4:45 PM
Kristina Marie Olson (George Mason University), presider

  • Julie E. Singer (Washington U in St. Louis), “Medieval ‘Motherese’; or, The Nursery as Multilingual Space”
  • Mads Larsen (University of California, Los Angeles), “Mediating Presence in Dante’s Inferno from Silent Cinema to Virtual Reality”
  • Madison U. Sowell (Brigham Young University), “On Making Good Use of Postmodern Versions of Dante’s Epic”
  • Elizabeth Coggeshall (Florida State University), “The Hell Franchise: Dante’s Commedia in American Marketing”

648 - Animal Dante
Sunday, 9 January 2022, 10:15 AM - 11:30 AM
Anne Leone (Syracuse University), presider

  • Alejandro Cuadrado (Columbia University), “‘Due bestie van sott’ una pelle’: Horses and Humans in Paradiso 21”
  • Patricia Vazquez (College of Southern Nevada), “The Spotted Pelt of Fraud: A Dissection of Dante’s Lonza”
  • Leonardo Canova (University of Pisa), “‘Quale allodetta che ’n aere si spazia’: Transmutations of the Eagle in the Heaven of Jupiter”
  • Maria Teresa De Luca (Rutgers University), “Cranes and the Divine Skywriting in the Heaven of Jupiter”

2021 Events

Harvard-DSA Symposium: Tra liti sì lontani - Dante for the Americas (May 5-13, 2021)

Click here for conference program and registration information (all sessions are free and open to the public)

To mark the 700th anniversary of the Dante's death, the Dante Society of America and Harvard University are together organizing an international symposium on the reception and influence of Dante and his work from Canada to Chile from May 5-13, 2021.  This collaboration commemorates the origins of "The Dante Society" in 19th-century Cambridge, but aims also to display the wider range of Dante’s presence as found in the Harvard collections. Yet our main goal is to highlight the reception of Dante in all parts of the Americas, and among readers of different intersectional identities. Our sessions include a wide range of contributions that consider the poet’s legacy in a variety of different spheres.

DSA Kalamazoo 2021 Sessions (May 10, 2021)

The 56th International Congress on Medieval Studies will be held live on the internet from Monday, May 10, through Saturday, May 15, 2021. The Dante Society of America has organized three panel sessions on Monday, May 10. Sessions are open to registered attendees only.

Monday May 10, 11:00 AM EDT

Dante 1: Bodies, Senses, Spaces

Elisabeth Trischler (University of Leeds), “The ‘Chiostro’ Paradox of Dante’s Commedia:  Creating Meaning through Contemplative Modes”

Raphael Stepken (Humboldt University), “L’esperienza di retro al sol, del mondo sanza gente: Ulysses and the Metaphysical Meaning of Space as Void in Inferno 26”

Paolo Scartoni (Rutgers University), “‘Mi dirizzò con le parole sue’: From Counsel to Action in Paradiso

Ben David (Lewis and Clark College), “The Wisdom of Dante’s Body in Inferno 21-23”

Monday May 10 1:00 PM EDT

Dante 2: Poetry, Philosophy, and Fabricated Meaning

Matteo Pace (Connecticut College), “Pneuma, ventus, bufera: On Violent Compulsion and Dante’s Circle of Lust”

Alani Hicks-Bartlett (Brown University), “e vei jausen lo joi qu’esper denan”: Dante’s Fabrication of Arnaut Daniel in Purgatorio XXVI and De vulgari eloquentia

Humberto Ballesteros (Hostos Community College), “How to Reach the Point Enclosed by that which it Encloses:  A Proposal for Reading Paradiso 28”

Aistė Kiltinavičiūtė (University of Cambridge), “The Body and the Senses in Dante’s Dreams”

Monday May 10 5:00 PM EDT

Dante 3: Historical Contexts, Hybrid Forms

Mattia Boccuti (University of Notre Dame), “Mary and Beatrice: A Study of Three Episodes of the Vita Nova

Paola M. Rodriguez (Graduate Center, CUNY), “Però ch’a le percosse non seconda: The Confluence of Occitan and Latin Pastoral in Dante’s Purgatorio I and XXVIII

Nassime Chida (Columbia University), “Historicizing Inferno 27: Guido da Montefeltro and the Warlords of Romagna”

Marco Sartore (Columbia University), “Contrition and Absolution: Dante between Theologians and Popular Religious Culture in the Episodes of Guido da Montefeltro, Manfredi, and Buonconte”

Renaissance Society of America (April 13-14, 2021)

The Dante Society of America organized five panel sessions for the 2021 Virtual Annual Meeting of the Renaissance Society of America. The conference dates are:

April 13–15, 10:00 a.m. – 3:30 p.m. EDT (DSA sessions on April 13, 14 - see below)
April 20–22, 10:00 a.m. – 3:30 p.m. EDT

Dante's Legacy I: Dante and Measurement
Tuesday, April 13, 2021 / 10:00 AM - 11:30 AM EDT
RSA Virtual 2021 - Meeting Room 05

  • Panel Monitor: Aileen A. Feng, University of Arizona
  • "Amor Oltre Misura: Love and the Politics of Measurement Standards in the Age of Dante" (Emanuele Lugli, Stanford University)
  • "Measure and the Trinity in Dante's Heaven of the Sun" (Corey Flack, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign)
  • "Measurement between Medicine and Ethics in Dante's Writing" (Paola Ureni, College of Staten Island and The Graduate Center CUNY)
  • "Fabrica Inferni: Mapping Dante in the Renaissance" (Pasquale Terracciano, Istituto Nazionale di Studi sul Rinascimento)

Dante's Legacy II: Echoes of Dante in Boccaccio
Tuesday, April 13, 2021 / 12:00 PM - 1:30 PM EDT
RSA Virtual 2021 - Meeting Room 05

  • Panel Monitor: Gur Zak, Hebrew University of Jerusalem
  • "The Elegies of Fiammetta and Francesca: Inferno V and Boccaccio's Politics of Adultery" (Maggie Fritz-Morkin, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill)
  • "Dante, Boccaccio, and the Body" (James Kriesel, Villanova University)
  • "The Viability of Dante's Eclogues in Boccaccio's Buccolicum Carmen" (Jonathan Combs-Schilling, Ohio State University

Dante's Legacy III: Visual Arts
Tuesday, April 13, 2021 / 2:00 PM - 3:30 PM EDT
RSA Virtual 2021 - Meeting Room 05

  • Panel Monitor: Aileen A. Feng, University of Arizona
  • "Dante and the Physical Arts: World-building outside and within the Commedia" (C. Jean Campbell, Emory University)
  • "Diagrammatic Formats from Page to Wall: Dante and the Strozzi Chapel, Revisited" (Karl Whittington, Ohio State University)
  • "The Intellectual Culture of Florence's Confraternity of John the Baptist: Andrea del Sarto's Dante Portrait" (Christine Zappella, University of Chicago)
  • "Tele-Visionary: Imagining the Future in the Circle of Pride" (Mary Watt, University of Florida)

Dante's Legacy IV: Renaissance Italian Literature
Wednesday, April 14, 2021 / 10:00 AM - 11:30 AM EDT
RSA Virtual 2021 - Meeting Room 05

  • Panel Monitor: Timothy Kircher, Guilford College
  • "In Sheep's Clothing: A False Attribution and Dante's Reception in the Tre- and Quattrocento" (Fabian Roberto Alfie, University of Arizona)
  • "Machiavelli's Dante: Medicating the Belly in Mandragola" (Susan Gaylard, University of Washington)
  • "The Science of Poetry: Dante as Read by Varchi, Giambullari, and Galileo" (Akash Kumar, Indiana University, Bloomington)

Dante's Legacy V: European Politics and Religion
(co-organized with Erminia Ardissino)
Wednesday, April 14, 2021 / 12:00 PM - 1:30 PM EDT
RSA Virtual 2021 - Meeting Room 05

  • Panel Monitor: Erminia Ardissino, Università degli Studi di Torino
  • "Universitates superiorem non recognoscentes: Dante's Monarchia and its Influence on Bartolo's Theory of International Law" (Alexandre Ginzel, Università degli Studi di Roma Tor Vergata)
  • "Le ragioni politiche e religiose della prima traduzione integrale della Commedia in Francia" (Franziska Friederike Meier, University of Göttingen)
  • "Enea Silvio Piccolomini as a Reader of Dante's Monarchia" (Simona Iaria, Università Cattolica del Sacro Cuore)

Modern Language Association (January 7-10, 2021)

The 2021 Convention of the Modern Language Association was held online from January 7-10, 2021. The Dante Society of America sponsored a panel titled “#Dante2021: Approaches to the Contemporary Reception of the Divine Comedy.” The panel featured two speakers, Simone Marchesi (Princeton University), who spoke on Dante-focused political cartoons and their relationship to Italian nationalist rhetoric, and David Bowe (University College, Cork), who spoke on the re-mediation of the viewer’s perspective in Rachel Owen’s Inferno illustrations. The session was organized and chaired by Elizabeth Coggeshall (Florida State University).

2020 Events

DSA Annual Meeting and Symposium (September 25-26, 2020)

The Dante Society of America held its 138th Annual Meeting and a symposium titled "Dante, Somma Luce" organized by Washington University in St. Louis virtually via Zoom on Friday, September 25, and Saturday, September 26, 2020. The symposium program is available online.

Modern Language Association of America (January 9-12, 2020)

The Dante Society of America sponsored two sessions at the annual meeting of the Modern Language Association, which was held in Seattle from January 9-12, 2020:

Dante: Human and Non-Human (Session 12)

Thursday, Jan. 9, 12-1:15pm (WSCC 614)

1. Talking Beasts and Human Instruments, Alison Cornish (New York U)

2. ‘Fiammeggiante come sangue’: Lithic Language and Dante’s Purgatory Steps, Catherine Illingworth (U of California, Los Angeles)

3. Thinking with Demons: A Path to Salvation, Giovanni Braico (New York U)

4. The Human Moment of the Soul in Dante’s Commedia, Lorenzo Bartolucci (Stanford U)

Perspectives on Gender in Dante's Works (Session 233)

Friday, Jan. 10, 10:15-11:30am (WSCC 614)

1. Gender and Genre in Occitan and Italian Prosimetra: Occitan Songbook and Dante's Vita Nova, Katherine Travers (New York U)

2. ‘Come ’l Vecchio Sarto Fa ne la Cruna’: Brunetto Latini, Sodomy, and Sumptuary Legislation in Dante’s Florence, Kristina Olson (George Mason U)

3. Beatrice Ammiraglio: Master and Commander of Poetic Authority in the Commedia, Catherine Adoyo (Georgetown U)

4. Gender and Typology in the Commedia, Marguerite Waller (U of California, Riverside)

2019 Events

International Congress on Medieval Studies (May 9-12, 2019)

The 53rd International Congress on Medieval Studies will take place on the campus of Western Michigan University in Kalamazoo, Michigan, on May 9-12, 2018. The Dante Society of America has organized three panel sessions (download PDF schedule):

Session 190: Dante Studies I: Civic Life in the Commedia and Other Texts
Friday, May 10, 10-11:30 AM
Presider: Jason Aleksander, San José State University

  • Akash Kumar, Indiana University, Bloomington, “Perfidy Most Foul: Assassins and Their Masters in Dante’s Commedia
  • Christina McGrath, Columbia University, “Nobil Anima in Vil Corpo: The Problem of Inner Nobility and Social Class”

Session 249: Dante Studies II: Love, Mysticism, and the Ineffability of Being in the Commedia
Friday, May 10, 1:30-3:00 PM
Presider: Akash Kumar, Indiana University, Bloomington

  • Rory Sellgren, University of Leeds, "Amor and Carità: “The Two Loves of Francesca and Piccarda”
  • Humberto Ballesteros, Hostos Community College, CUNY, “Loving the Forest for the Trees: The Philosophical Implications of Dante’s Definition of Carità in the Light of His Use of the Neologism Infiorars
  • P. Christopher Smith, University of Massachusetts, Lowell, “Dante and Virgil on Saying Not-Being”

Session 307: Dante Studies III: Scriptural and Liturgical Considerations in the Commedia
Friday, May 10, 3:30-5:00 PM
Presider: Rory Sellgren, University of Leeds

  • Marsha Daigle-Williamson, Spring Arbor University, “Dante’s Angels as Demonstrations of the Function of Scripture”
  • John Bugbee, Universityof Virginia, “Dante’s Three Beasts: One or Two Overlooked Possibilities”
  • Elisabeth Trischler, University of Leeds, “The Procession in the Earthly Paradise of Dante’s Purgatorio: A Case Study Considering the Connections”

DSA Annual Meeting and Symposium (May 4, 2019)

The 137th Annual Meeting of the Dante Society of America was held at University of Toronto, on Saturday, May 4, 2019. The Annual Meeting was followed by a day-long symposium open to the public. Program details are available here.

Renaissance Society of America (March 17-19, 2019)

The 2019 Annual Meeting of the Renaissance Society of America(RSA) was held in Toronto from March 17-19, 2019. The Dante Society of America organized the following panel session:

The Lives of Dante: Poetics, Visual Arts, Historiographies Organizer: Jonathan Combs-Schilling, Ohio State University;Chair: Albert Russell Ascoli; Presenters:

  • Johannes Bartuschat, University of Zurich, "Boccaccio’s Life of Dante, the Defence of Poetry and Renaissance Poetics"
  • Teresa Russo, Italian National Research Council, Rome, "Dante’s Biographies as Model for Vasari’s Lives of the Most Excellent Painters, Sculptors, and Architects"
  • Elisa Brilli, University of Toronto, "Dante’s New Lives: Ancient Idiosyncrasies and Current Trends in Biographical Studies on Dante"

Modern Languages Association (January 3-6, 2019)

The 2019 MLA Annual Convention was held in Chicago from January 3-6, 2019. The Dante Society of America sponsored two panels, both were included in the 2019 MLA conference theme, "Textual Transactions." The first, "Textual Transactions: Dante Outside of Italy," focused on two 19th century responses to Dante's work, presented by accomplished scholars in the field of Dante reception. Kathleen Verdiun (English, Hope College) presented a paper entitled "'Why Do You Rend Me?': Dante and the Pain of James Russell Lowell," and Aida Audeh (Art History, Hamline University) spoke on "Vincent Van Gogh's Dante." Elizabeth Coggeshall (Florida State University) chaired the session.

The second panel invited contributions on the role of women in the making of the field of Dante Studies. The panel included three presentations: "Dante for Mothers" (Carol Chiodo, Harvard Library), "Maria Francesca Rossetti’s A Shadow of Dante: Negotiating Scholarly Identity in the Age of Patriarchal Dantismo (1870s–1910s)" (Federica Coluzzi, University of Manchester), and "Remembering Joy Potter and 'Beatrice, Dead or Alive'" (Michael Sherberg, Washington University, St Louis). Kathleen Verduin (Hope College) chaired the session.

2018 Events

International Congress on Medieval Studies (May 10-13, 2018)

The 53rd International Congress on Medieval Studies was held on the campus of Western Michigan University in Kalamazoo, Michigan, on May 10-13, 2018. The Dante Society of America has organized the following three panel sessions:

Dante Studies I: Dante’s Appeals to Classical Sources
Session Chair: Albert Ascoli, University of California, Berkeley

  • Andrea Moudarres, University of California, Los Angeles, "Dante’s Curio: Empire and Civil War in Inferno 28 and Epistle 7"
  • Rory Sellgren, University of Leeds, "Expecting the ‘Unexpected’: Statius’s Salvation in Purgatorio 20-22"
  • P. Christopher Smith, University of Massachusetts Lowell, "Dante Re-Sings Aeneid IV"
  • John Bugbee, University of Virginia, "Dante's Virgil on Free Will: What's Missing, and Why"

Dante Studies II: Corporeality, Materiality, Sin, and Suppression in the Divine Comedy
Session Chair: Rory Sellgren, University of Leeds

  • R. James Goldstein, Auburn University, "Il Tristo Buco: Sacred Parody and the Backdoor of Hell in Dante’s Inferno 34"
  • Denis Chuvilkin, State University of New York at Binghamton, "Discrete Gravity of Sin: On the Corporeality of Souls in The Divine Comedy"
  • Colleen Harris, Pacifica Graduate Institute, "Woman, Embodied and Beatified: Using Feminist Depth Psychology as a Hermeneutic for Exploring the Figure of Beatrice Portinari"
  • Donna Distefano Thomas, Independent Scholar, "Dante and Gems"

Dante Studies III: Theological, Historical, and Pedagogical Contexts
Session Chair: Andrea Moudarres, University of California, Los Angeles 

  • Hans Boersma, Regent College, "Speech and Vision in Dante’s Transhumanizing Journey"
  • Giovanni Vedovotto, University of Notre Dame, "The ‘Anti-Franciscanism’ of the Simoniac Popes (Inferno 19)"
  • Vanessa DiMaggio, University of Pennsylvania, "Tyrants and Traitors in Inferno 34: The Renaissance Reception of Dante"

DSA Annual Meeting and Symposium (May 5, 2018)

The 136th Annual Meeting of the Dante Society of America was held at Boston College in Chestnut Hill, Massachusetts, on Saturday, May 5, 2018. The Annual Meeting was followed by a day-long symposium open to the public. Please refer to the following web page for program details as well as directions, parking, and lodging information.

Renaissance Society of America (March 22-24, 2018)

The 2018 Annual Meeting of the Renaissance Society of America (RSA) was held in New Orleans from March 22-24, 2018. The Dante Society of America organized the following two panel sessions on Dante and Music. Additional Dante-related sessions may be found by searching the online program schedule for "Dante."

Dante and Music I (see online schedule for abstracts) Friday, March 23, 2:00pm - 3:30pm (Hilton Riverside Complex, Bridge Room)Organizer: Jonathan Combs-Schilling, Ohio State University, "Chair: Renata Pieragostini, Independent ScholarPresenters:

  • Catherine Adoyo, Georgetown University, "Hearing the musica instrumentalis in the Textual Architecture of Dante's Commedia"
  • Alison Cornish, University of Michigan, "Sound in Dante, Musical and Not"
  • Juliana Marie Chapman, "Dante's Musical Rhetoric Beyond the Commedia"

Dante and Music II (see online schedule for abstracts) Friday, March 23, 4:00pm - 5:30pm (Hilton Riverside Complex, Bridge Room)Organizer: Jonathan Combs-Schilling, Ohio State University, "Chair: Giuseppe Gerbino, Columbia UniversityPresenters:

  • Francesco Brenna, Johns Hopkins University, "The De Vulgari Eloquentia in Tasso's Reflections on Music and Poetry"
  • Eugenio Refini, Johns Hopkins University, "Sighs, Wailing, and Laments: Voicing Harshness in Renaissance Music"
  • Maria Ann Roglieri, St. Thomas Aquinas College, "The Slow Crescendo of Dante's Popularity among Composers"

Modern Languages Association (January 4-7, 2018)

The 2018 MLA Annual Convention will be held in New York City from January 4-7, 2018. The Dante Society of America has organized a session titled "Texts and Dialogue in the Age of Dante" has co-sponsored a session titled "Dante on Crisis" organized by the MLA Languages, Literatures, and Cultures forum on Medieval and Renaissance Italian.

Texts in Dialogue in the Age of Dante (Session 586) Organized by the Dante Society of America, Saturday, January 06, 2018, 1:45pm - 3:00pm (Hilton - Lincoln Suite) Presider: Teodolinda Barolini, Columbia UniversityPresentations:

  • Akash Kumar, University of California, Santa Cruz, "Cotale gioco mai non fue veduto: Reading Tenzoni in a Ludic Key"
  • David Bowe, University of Oxford, "Beyond Anti-types: Beatrice, Becchina, and the Tenzone Fittizia"
  • Andrea Placidi, Princeton University, "Dante’s ‘Amicus Sollicitus’: A Hidden Dialogue in Book II of De vulgari eloquentia"

Dante on Crisis (Session 798) Organized by the MLA Languages, Literatures, and Cultures forum on Medieval and Renaissance Italian in affiliation with the Dante Society of AmericaSunday, January 07, 2018, 12:00pm - 01:15pm (Hilton - Hudson) Presider: Martin G. Eisner, Duke UniversityPresentations:

  • Teodolinda Barolini, Columbia University, "Dante’s Moral Canzoni Le dolci rime and Poscia ch’Amor: The Crisis of Mid-1290s Florence and the Commedia
  • William Franke, Vanderbilt University, "Dante and the Crisis of Representation in the Modern Age"
  • Kristina Marie Olson, George Mason University, "Maintaining Neutrality in Moral Crisis: The Appropriation of Inferno 3 from John F. Kennedy to Martha Nussbaum"

2017 Events

DSA Sessions at 2017 International Congress on Medieval Studies (May 11-14, 2017)

The Dante Society of America sponsored three sessions on Dante at the 52nd International Congress on Medieval Studies at Western Michigan University in Kalamazoo, May 11-14, 2017.


Chair: Catherine Adoyo

Laurence Hooper (Dartmouth College) “Dante’s Exiles, Figures of Injustice or Figures of Hope?”

Philip F. O’Mara “‘The Whole Catastrophe’: Kinship and Tragic Transformation in the Commedia

Dabney Park (University of Miami) “The Pope in Hell—Nicholas III”

Kathleen Verduin (Hope College) “‘A Mare Magnum for Adventure’: The Dante Studies of George Ticknor”


Chair: Laurence Hooper

Leonardo Chiarantini (University of Michigan) “‘And that bending is love’: Dante’s Exposition of Aristotle’s Desire.”

Christiana Purdy Moudarres (Yale University) “‘The Face That Most Resembles Christ’: The Matter of Motherhood for Dante’s Holy Family”

Catherine Adoyo (Independent Scholar) “The Geometer’s Trinitary Ontology of Dante’s terza rima

Roberto Casazza (Universidad de Buenos Aires) “Spherical Radiation, Astral Determinism and Philosophical Happiness in Dante’s Convivium


Chair: Kathleen Verduin

Wuming Chang (Brown University) “Dante’s Three Styles Revisited: Constructio”

James T. Chiampi (UC Irvine) “Dante’s Retrospective Illumination of Irony–the Inferno.”

Henry Ansgar Kelly (UCLA) “Dantean Contradictions: ‘Cangrande’ on Tragedy, and Satan as Both Active and Inactive”

Aparna Chaudhuri (Harvard University) “Studying Death with Dante: The Vita Nuova and Chaucer’s Book of the Duchess”

2017 Annual Meeting and Symposium (May 5-6, 2017)

The 135th Annual Meeting of the Dante Society of America was held at the University of Oregon on Saturday, May 6, 2017. In conjunction with our Annual Meeting, University of Oregon professors Regina Psaki and Warren Ginsberg hosted a symposium on "Translation in Dante: Dante in Translation." Please click here for program details and links to videorecordings of each of the sessions.

DSA Sessions at the 2017 Renaissance Society of America Annual Meeting (March 30 - April 1, 2017)

The Dante Society of America has organized three sessions for the next annual meeting of the Renaissance Society of America, which will be held in Chicago, on March 30 - April 1, 2017.


Organized by Arielle Saiber (Bowdoin College) and Deborah Parker (University of Virginia); chair: Arielle Saiber (Bowdoin College)

Friday March 31, 1:30 to 3:00pm, The Palmer House Hilton, Seventh Floor, Sandburg 3

Diletta Gamberini (Kunsthistorisches Institut in Florenz, Max-Planck-Institut) “Francesco da Sangallo: The Construction of the Artist’s Persona as a Dantista”

Several painters and sculptors who operated around the Florentine court of Cosimo I de’ Medici shared with the contemporary literati of the Accademia Fiorentina a strong interest in Dante, an interest that was reflected in the creation of a number of artistic celebrations of the author and his writings. In fact, scholars have called attention to the literary meanings embedded in such iconic works as Agnolo Bronzino’s allegorical portrait of the writer, Giorgio Vasari’s figuration of the author within the group of the Six Tuscan Poets, or Pierino da Vinci’s relief of the Death of Count Ugolino. The significant interest in Dante on the part of Francesco da Sangallo, a prominent sculptor, architect, and medallist in Cosimean Florence, has, however, remained unnoticed. Drawing on newly discovered or little known documents, this paper sets out to illuminate the pivotal role of Dante for the artist’s careful self-fashioning and pronounced desire for intellectual self-promotion.

Aida Audeh (Hamline University) “Dante, Petrarch, and Boccaccio: The Tre Corone as Model of Creative Influence and Collaboration”

For Boccaccio and Petrarch, Dante existed as a formidable presence whose influence on Italian literature could not be ignored. Ultimately, the three poets would be grouped and labeled the “Tre Corone” in recognition of their part in establishing the Renaissance. Their dynamic of admiration, emulation, and deep rivalry was repeated by later writers and artists who saw it as a utopian model for collaboration in pursuit of creative innovation. The most ill-fated of these appropriations was that of Vincent Van Gogh who used it as model for his own collaborative effort with Paul Gauguin in which they replicated not only the Tre Corone’s positive aspects of inspiration and innovation, but also their rivalries and jealousies, ultimately shattering Vincent’s utopian aspirations for creation of a new “Renaissance” of painting.

Leyla Maria Gabriella Livraghi (Università degli Studi di Pisa) “Dante’s Thieves (Inf. 24–25): A Figurative Approach”

My talk focuses on the section of Dante’s Inferno devoted to the thieves (cantos 24–25). I discuss the specific punishments that are assigned to Vanni Fucci and to the second couple of Florentine thieves — which are based on classical subtexts mainly from Ovid. To demonstrate Dante’s original approach to his sources, I comment the way in which the illuminations in the famous Chantilly manuscript deal with the text of the Commedia, by misinterpreting it (in Vanni’s case) or on the contrary by making an effort to translate it into images in the best way possible (in the Florentine thieves’ case). I also compare Dante’s innovative respect to the representative features of Ovid’s metamorphoses of Cadmus and Armonia to the figurative tradition of the myth from Dante’s time to the Renaissance and the Modern Age, when it finally developed in a way comparable to the one reached by Dante centuries before.


Organized by Deborah Parker (University of Virginia) and Arielle Saiber (Bowdoin College); chair, Justin Steinberg (University of Chicago)

Friday March 31, 3:30 to 5:00pm, The Palmer House Hilton, Seventh Floor, Sandburg 3

Ronald L. Martinez (Brown University) “Dante Measures and Sews a Gown: Paradiso 32.127–51”

Paradiso 32.127-51, preparing the final prayer to the Virgin, is a  tour-de-force of metapoetics, in which Dante deploys, with the metaphor of the journey as a gonna, a visual blueprint of the Commedia. Dante invokes rhetorical texts regarding how a discourse is measured in advance, so that sufficient material is provided, but also to arrange what comes first, what last: implicitly showing how the Commedia was imagined from the beginning. The journey is recalled, from the pilgrim’s ruinarein Inf. 1.61 to the present punto, as well as the Brunetto episode (sartor, drappo). Describing the experience as “il tempo che t’assonna,” the sartorial image is troped so that punto defines a temporal point rather than a stitch, just as the idea of the journey as a dream is reintroduced, linking the passage back to Inf. 1.7 (“tant’era pien di sonno in quel punto / che la verace via abbandonai”).

Marguerite Waller (University of California, Riverside) “Dante’s Historiography and the Visual Culture of the Roman Jubilee”

The incorporation of pre-Christian Roman architectural elements in Rome’s churches are among the many instances of the production and location of meaning by Roman urban planners, architects, and artists in the relations between the structures and settings they inherited and their own contributions to ongoing visual and structural dialogues (Kessler and Zaccharias 2000, 65-79). Dante would have seen churches like San Clemente and Santa Prassede along the pilgrimage route he encountered during his diplomatic mission to Rome in 1300, the year of Pope Boniface VIII’s Jubilee and the year in which Dante sets the Commedia’s counter-pilgrimage. Challenging the typological reading of Rome enshrined in much contemporary Dante scholarship, I read the relations set up between the various and incommensurable images of the “Triumph of Christ” that make up the visual program in Santa Prassede as an analogue for Dante’s historiographical treatments of the Roman Empire in the Commedia.

Giovanni Braico (New York University) “Re-Constructing Demonic Anatomies: The Demons of Chantilly, MS 597”

By focusing on the famous MS 597 of Chantilly, this talk will point out the sophistication with which the often-ambiguous demonic representations of the Inferno are rendered in both the visual and written interpretations included in the manuscript. Scholars have already underscored how the text-image interactions conceived for the incipits of the texts contained in MS 597 address the complex issue of prophetic visio VS poetic fictio and impact the reception of the Commedia. This talk will build on this latter idea by suggesting that the editors of MS 597 not only shaped the accessus ad auctorem (and “ad textum”) but they also employed specific reading strategies to reconstruct the demonic anatomies and features depicted by Dante in a way that suits the moral and ethical program of the manuscript, dedicated to the eminent political figure of Lucano Spinola. This talk, then, will engage with questions related to the making of literary sense and practices of textual transmission in the Late Middle Ages.


Organized by Arielle Saiber (Bowdoin College) and Deborah Parker (University of Virginia); chair: Arielle Saiber (Bowdoin College)

Friday March 31, 5:30 to 7:00pm, The Palmer House Hilton, Seventh Floor, Sandburg 3

Victoria Kirkham (University of Pennsylvania) “Dante’s Beard”

Dante’s iconography, although strikingly constant through the centuries, conflicts both with his own words as poet and written commentary. From manuscript miniatures to monumental public art, he appears profiled in medieval headgear with an aquiline nose and strong but beardless chin. By contrast, precisely the dramatic cantos of Purgatorio that bear the artist’s signature and bring him at last to Beatrice, attribute him a beard. “Alza la barba,” [lift up your beard], she instructs in words of stinging rebuke (Purg. 31.68). Early biographers, beginning with Boccaccio, report the beard; commentators, on the other hand, have dealt with it variously—”removal” sometimes total, by reducing it to a synecdoche for the face; sometimes partial, by proposing that he wore the whiskers intermittently. This talk, turning on the beard, interweaves verbal and visual traditions of Dante portraits from the fourteenth through the sixteenth centuries.

Federica Caneparo (University of Chicago) “Illustration, Inspiration, and Interpretation: The Life of Dante’s Characters Inside and Outside the Commedia

This paper will investigate three different approaches to Dante’s Comedy experimented with artists through the centuries: first, illustrations conceptually and physically bound with the text, offering the reader a visual translation of the verses; second, references to the poem as an authoritative literary source. Representations of the Last Judgment are eloquent examples in this respect: for instance, Nardo di Cione’s frescoes in Florence, frequently remembered as the first pictorial reference to Dante’s Comedy in monumental art, represent Hell and Paradise accordingly to Dante’s description, but without showing Dante and Virgil traveling in the afterworld. Such an absence is nothing but the natural consequence of the fresco’s declared purpose, which is to represent the Last Judgement, and not the Divine Comedy. Finally, I will examine examples of artworks where characters from Dante’s Comedy acquired an independent life outside the poem, like in Pierino da Vinci’s bronze relief with the Death of Count Ugolino and his Sons.

Zoe Zane Langer (Brown University) “Mapping Dante’s Inferno in Renaissance Print: The Visual Context of the Accademia Della Crusca Map (1595)”

Often praised for its philological accuracy, the Accademia della Crusca’s edition of Dante’s Commedia (1595), also featured a detailed map of the Inferno as its frontispiece. Despite the map’s prominent position, scholars have tended to emphasize the literary context of the volume. This situates the map within a rich visual legacy of mapping the Inferno in editions of the Commedia, including the 1506 Giuntina and editions by Vellutello 1544 and Giambullari 1544. Attending to the role of maps in each edition and on the print market, in cartographic imagery as well as in the illustrations of Giovanni Stradano (1587-8) for example, also allows us to see how maps of the Inferno were not only used in scientific debates but were vital to arguments about Dante’s poetics and politics. Maps, therefore, contribute to our understanding of the Commedia’s production and reception across fields of knowledge in the early modern period.

2017 Annual Meeting and Symposium (May 5-6, 2017)


The 135th Annual Meeting of the Dante Society of America was held at the University of Oregon on Saturday, May 6, 2017. In conjunction with our Annual Meeting, University of Oregon professors Regina Psaki and Warren Ginsberg hosted a symposium on "Translation in Dante: Dante in Translation." Please click here for program details and links to videorecordings of each of the sessions.

DSA Sessions at the 2017 MLA Annual Convention (January 5-8, 2017)

The Dante Society of America has organized two sessions for the next Modern Language Association Annual Convention, which will be held in Philadelphia, January 5-8, 2017.


Chair: Beatrice Arduini, University of Washington, Seattle

Laura Banella, Duke University, "An Idea of Dante between Aï faus ris and the other rime."

The descort in three languages (French, Latin and Tuscan) Aï faus ris, pour quoi traï aves is one of the most fascinating and puzzling rime by Dante. Lyrics in more than one language can be found in various other vernaculars, but not in Italian before this one. In this canzone Dante makes the three languages work together and not just answer to each other, in order to represent the confusion and despair of the lover also through the signifier, proving himself in a genre of lyric that before him, in medieval Latin and in French and Occitan, and after him, is peripheral and tied to music.

This canzone has always been considered peculiar and fascinating for its experimental qualities, just like the petrose, to which – as Contini writes – it seems related. Yet Contini also claims that the content of the poem consists of platitudes. These statements summarize the main issues debated concerning this poem. Indeed, I argue that this lyric represents an example of how editors’ wills and (over)interpretation can forge the perception of an author. Indeed, from Michele Barbi’s 1921 edition of Dante’s Rime, until Domenico De Robertis’ edition in 2002, Aï faus ris has been filed among Dante’s uncertain poems, in spite of the fact that a large part of its tradition attributes it to Dante, while the other part witnesses it as anonymous. As Massimiliano Chiamenti argues, Barbi’s choice was probably due to his understanding of Dante, and some scholars still cast doubts on its authenticity. Thus, Aï faus ris is an  example of the tension between attention to the form and to the content in Dante studies. In my paper, exploring both a carefully selected specimen of its early tradition, and the contemporary accounts of its inclusion or exclusion as a possible product of Dante’s authorship, I will seek to review the vexata quaestio of the authenticity of the poem, and to open up the main issues at stake in the determination of the “Dante function” across time and space.

Bio: After graduating from University of Pisa and Scuola Normale Superiore, I earned a doctorate in Italian literature from the University of Padova. Currently, I am a Ph.D. candidate at Duke University. My main research interests lie in medieval Italian literature and material philology. Particularly, I am exploring the reception of Boccaccio’s edition of Dante’s Vita nuova, and the canonization of Dante through the study of lyric anthologies. Some of the results of my researches have been published in some journals of the field, such as Studi sul Boccaccio and Rivista di Studi Danteschi. My doctoral dissertation is in print for Editrice Antenore: La ‘Vita Nuova’ del Boccaccio. Fortuna e Tradizione.

Francesco Ciabattoni, Georgetown University, “Dante vs. Dante: The Ambiguity of the Term amico in Dante Alighieri’s Exchanges with Dante da Maiano.”

Moving from Barolini’s consideration that “Dante was not always already Dante,” I analyze Alighieri’s first steps as author of sonnets and his exchange with Dante da Maiano. In these tenzoni the two Dantes confront the importance of hermeneutics in visionary and love poetry. In each of their sonnets they employ the word amico (friend), but the meaning and function of this word shifts as the two writers measure up to one another: Alighieri will eventually end the correspondence with his interlocutor, whose identity has remained hidden, and use the word amico as a way to keep his distance rather than in the classical meaning of Ciceronian and Aristotelian noble friendship we read in the Convivio. This line of inquiry will shed light on the rhetorical ploys and mechanics of late Duecento tenzoni, as I will show resorting to Claudio Giunta’s notion of modo dialogico in the poetic exchanges of early Italian lyric.

Bio: Francesco Ciabattoni received his Ph.D. from Johns Hopkins University. He is Associate Professor and Director of Graduate Studies in the Italian Department at Georgetown University. He has published on international journals on Dante, Petrarch, Boccaccio, Berto, Pasolini and Primo Levi. His monograph Dante’s Journey to Polyphony (University of Toronto Press, Toronto, 2010) is a comprehensive study of the role of music in Dante’s Commedia. With P.M. Forni he has edited The Decameron Third Day in Perspective: Volume Three of Lectura Boccaccii (University of Toronto Press, Toronto 2014). Professor Ciabattoni’s main research focus is the interplay of music and literature. His book La “citazione” è sintomo d’amore (Carocci, 2016) is a study of the intertextual practice of literary in Italian songwriters.

Mirko Tavoni, University of Pisa, "Dante 1306-07: How He Gave Up Lay Philosophy and Linguistic Theory and Embraced Prophetic Poetry."

The paper aims at investigating under which biographical, geographical and political circumstances, in response to which stimuli, and pursuing which projects, between 1306 and 1307, Dante abruptly abandons the composition of the De vulgari eloquentia and the Convivio and hurls himself into the composition of the Inferno. There is a strong discontinuity between Dante the lay philosopher and theorist of the vernacular who writes the two treatises in prose and the prophetic Dante who writes the sacred poem. A discontinuity, and a change of authorial identity, which occurred in a very short time, and is manifested at all levels: building the earthly city vs disseminating an eschatological message;  rationalism vs visionarity; philosophy vs poetry; Aristoteles vs Virgil; “tragic” vs “comic” style; vulgare illustre vs native Florentine. Are there any specific events in Dante’s life and Italy's history of those years,which may have given rise to such a radical re-orientation? The paper, starting from the research results published in Qualche idea su Dante (Bologna: Il Mulino, 2015), correlates this change of authorial identity with traumatic events of Dante's life such as the defeats suffered by the Guelph exiles in their attempts to regain Florence by force of arms; with the various cities and different political and cultural environments in which Dante the exile lived (Forlì, Verona, Bologna, the Lunigiana ruled by the Malaspina); and with Dante’s view that his future would be outside Florence vs his hope to be readmitted to Florence. A historicizing interpretation under the sign of Sainte-Beuve’s statement: «Il y a un degré de poésie qui eloigne de l’histoire et de la réalité et un degré supérieur qui y ramène et qui l’embrasse».

Bio: Born in Modena, Mirko Tavoni studied at the Scuola Normale Superiore in Pisa from 1968 to 1972. He taught Italian Philology at the University of Calabria from 1976-79, and has, since 1994, been Full Professor at the Faculty of Letters of the University of Pisa, where he teaches Italian Linguistics, History of the Italian Language and Dante studies.

His early work concerned language history and the “language question” in 15th and 16th century Italy, in particular the relationships between Latin and the vernacular, the birth of vernacular grammar and the beginnings of historical linguistics. He later extended his research interests to linguistic theories of Renaissance Europe, coordinating the «Renaissance Linguistics Archive 1350-1700» bibliographic project at the Ferrara Institute of Renaissance Studies and promoting comparative historiographic research regarding the different national European traditions. A collection of his essays in this field, entitled Renaissance Linguistics in Italy and in Europe will be published by Nodus Publikationen (Münster).

Tavoni has studied the linguistic and poetic ideas and language of Dante and other aspects of Dante such as the visionary and prophetic dimension of his Commedia. A new translated and commented edition of the De vulgari eloquentia was published by Mondadori in 2012 and the book Qualche idea su Dante by Il Mulino in 2015. He has headed the research team that produced DanteSearch, complete corpus of the vernacular and Latin works of Dante with morphological and syntactic markup in XML-TEI format (, and DanteSources, knowledge base in RDF format on the sources of Dante’s oeuvre (, work in progress)

He has been working on digital text processing as a research resource, long distance learning of linguistic and literary subjects and general issues concerning e-learning. He was a founder of the Degree course in Digital Humanities at the University of Pisa. He is currently President of the ICoN (Italian Culture on the Net) Consortium, composed of 19 Italian Universities, which promotes the study of Italian abroad via the Internet and offers an online Degree course in Italian Language and Culture for Foreigners ( and online courses in Italian as L2.

Anthony Nussmeier, University of Dallas, "«Guidonem, Lapum [sic?], et unum alium, Florentinos, et Cynum Pistoriensem»: How Dante Became Dante in the De vulgari eloquentia"

As critics from Ascoli to Hollander have pointed out, the De vulgari eloquentia was not just “one more dialectical step on the way to the Commedia”. It goes without saying then, yet must still be said, that Dante the author of the DVE was not yet the “somma poeta”, the Dante of the Commedia. This paper explores Dante’s attempts in the Latin tractate to concretize his place in the intellectual milieu of the early Trecento, his desire, as Durling has observed, to “write for his intended audience, posterity”.

That Dante was not yet “Dante” is best illustrated by his place as a lyric poet at the time of the DVE’s composition, and this paper would further like to investigate how Dante frames his own poetry in the DVE by way of a determined program of ‘associative poetics’. Pier Vincenzo Mengaldo has argued that the DVE serves more and more as a basis for “ogni nostra ricostruzione di quel periodo [il Medioevo]”. Here I would like to show how Dante, in attempting to become “Dante” in the DVE, is responsible for the very construction of that period and its literature as it has been interpreted for centuries.

Bio: Anthony Nussmeier earned his Ph.D. in Italian Language and Literature from Indiana University and is currently Assistant Professor of Italian at the University of Dallas. His research interests include material philology and lyric anthologies, and he has authored articles on Dante, Boccaccio, Petrarca, and Guittone d’Arezzo, with his work appearing in journals such as Medioevo letterario d’Italia, The Medieval Review, and Textual Cultures. His book manuscript exploring the relationship between Dante’s selections of poetry in the De vulgari eloquentia and subsequent anthologies of medieval Italian vernacular poetry is under contract with the University of Toronto Press. Anthony is also eager to ensure that his research and teaching find an outlet outside the classroom, and as such he is the organizer of recent events such as a 20-hour, public marathon reading of the entire Commedia.


Chair: Beatrice Arduini, University of Washington, Seattle

Martin Eisner, Duke University, "Love Will Tear Us Apart, Again: Different Traditions for Bertran de Born in Inferno 28."

How can an exploration of Dante’s library change our understanding of Dante’s work? This talk reconsiders Dante’s encounter with Bertran de Born in Inferno 28 from the perspective of a codex, Martelli 12, which contains a narrative tradition about the Occitan poet that informed Dante’s representation of him in the Commedia. Examining the transcription of the Conti di antichi cavalieri in Martelli 12, which also contains Dante’s Vita nuova, the talk offers a new view of Dante’s library that allows for a novel understanding of his treatment of the Occitan poet, both in terms of his punishment and his association with figures such as Mohammad. Although Dante categorizes Bertran as a poet of arms in the De vulgari eloquentia, the Conti di antichi cavalieri reveals another tradition that makes Bertran the spokesman for Western ideas of love. In the Conti di antichi cavalieri Bertran travels east to visits the court of the Saladin and explains to the Saladin what "amore fino" means.  Inspired by this new idea of love Saladin begins a destructive war. Although this story has several suggestive connections to the figure of Bertran de Born found in Inferno 28, few critics have used this story to interpret the Dantean episode. The transcription of the Conti in the fourteenth-century Martelli 12 manuscript, however, suggests that these narrative traditions may have constituted an important context not only for Dante’s early readers but also for Dante himself. By analyzing the collection of the Conti in Martelli 12, this talk demonstrates how the material dimension of Dante’s early reception can provide a fresh perspective one of the most familiar episodes from the poem that can come some distance to explaining its particular contours.

Bio: Martin Eisner is Associate Professor of Italian Studies at Duke University. He is the author of Boccaccio and the Invention of Italian Literature: Dante, Petrarch, Cavalcanti, and the Authority of the Vernacular (Cambridge University Press, 2013) and editor-in-chief of a new Mellon-supported online research project entitled Dante’s Library, which aims to reconstruct Dante’s intellectual and material world in virtual form. His new monograph, Dante and the Afterlife of the Book: Rematerializing Literary History, uses Dante’s Vita nuova to experiment with a new mode of literary history that reinterprets Dante’s work through the lens of its transmission history. 

Corey Flack, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, " Quasi peregrino: Re-evaluating Dante and Pilgrimage."

It is quite surprising that, since John G. Demaray’s foundational studies on historical pilgrimage and Dante in the 70s, there has no been relatively no work on the topic, in spite of the continual presence of “pilgrim” and “pilgrimage” in the lexicon on Dante Studies. This trend remains in spite of the anthropological turn in pilgrimage studies that has given more attention to the dynamic role of the pilgrims themselves instead of earlier structuralist views proposed by Victor Turner. This paper seeks to re-evaluate Dante’s knowledge and utilization of pilgrimage in precisely this sense: a journey of an individual to a sacred place who subsequently interacts with that space or a relic through physical means. Drawing off of communal practices evidenced by pilgrimage literature written from 333 to Dante’s death, I will show how the body was perceived as necessary to interact with the sacred, itself intimately tied to place through the life of Christ. Seen in this light, the physical presence of Dante’s body in the journey of the Commedia is then integral to its process of salvation, even in the cantica least associated with pilgrimage: the Inferno. It is here, through Dante’s frequent encounter with signs of Christ’s Death, that he is revealed to be “incarnate,” that is made in likeness of Christ, whose own Incarnation opened up the possibility of salvation.

Bio: Corey Flack is a PhD candidate in Italian at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. He is currently preparing to defend his dissertation, “True Flesh: Measure, Pilgrimage, and Perfecting the Human in Dante’s Commedia,” which analyzes embodied conceptions of space in medieval Italian literature and specifically Dante, contextualized through the material culture of travel and pilgrimage, as well as measurement practices.

Julianna Visco, Columbia University, "A Material Vision of Cloth Production in the Commedia"

Representations of cloth production form a rich discourse in the Commedia and have gone virtually unexamined in Dante studies. By historicizing the far-reaching impact of the textile industry in Florence, I demonstrate how Dante taps into this cultural imaginary.

Material objects are, and have always been, both indicative and constitutive of the world around them. Textiles occupy a unique position in Trecento Italy due to their central role in the Florentine economy, impact on labor hierarchies, and their position in relationship to the East. Textiles are particularly ripe for investigation because of their intimate relationship to the body (both in making and wearing), their ability to stand as shorthand for delineating identity, and the bridge they form between public and private space. In the text they become receptacles for meaning; shifting sites upon which values can be (re)inscribed.

Dante calls attention to raw materials such as silk, wool, and linen—all of which dominate mercantile trade and artisanal production. He makes explicit reference to tools used in creating textiles—including the needle, spindle, and shuttle—when technology in textile production was rapidly changing the products produced. The scope and scale of textile production resulted in a stratified labor force. Metaphors involving complicated figures such as the sartore appear in both Inferno and Purgatorio, while finished products from cloaks and veils to belts and shirts appear in all three cantiche.

I argue that Dante deploys a poetics of textiles to communicate what it means to be human, to construct a discourse on deception, and to gesture towards social tensions and power relations. In this paper I reconstruct the finished textile objects Dante represents by tracing a historical path from creation through raw materials and production to consumption and use in order to demonstrate how Dante exploits the cultural values embedded in cloth for maximum linguistic and poetic payoff.

Bio: Julianna Visco is a PhD candidate in the Italian Department at Columbia University and is writing her dissertation on the representation of textiles and clothing in the works of Dante and Boccaccio.  Besides the intersection of material culture, specifically textiles, with late medieval Italian literature, her research interests include artisanal workshop practices and theories of the body and materiality. She is an assistant editor on the Digital Dante Project.

2016 Events

"Digital Dante" Session at MLA (January 9, 2016)

For the Modern Languages Association (MLA) Annual Convention, which was held in Austin, TX, from January 7-10, 2016, the Dante Society organized a session on "Digital Dante" (Session 480), which took place on Saturday, January 9, from 8:30-9:45am.

The presenters included: Carol Chiodo (Yale University), Martin G. Eisner (Duke University), Akash Kumar (Columbia University), Scott Millspaugh (Dartmouth College), Guy P. Raffa (University of Texas, Austin). The session was organized by Beatrice Arduini (University of Washington) and was chaired by Albert R. Ascoli (University of California, Berkeley).

Participants emphasized the pioneering role of Dante studies in digitization and discuss multimedia Dante-related academic resources that combine traditional elements of scholarly research with new communication and presentation possibilities enabled by networked digital technology.

DSA Sessions at the Renaissance Society of America Annual Meeting (March 31-April 2, 2016)

The Dante Society of America sponsored two sessions at the 62nd annual meeting of the Renaissance Society of America, held in Boston on March 31-April 2, 2016. The first session on "Dante and Science" was organized by Arielle Saiber (Bowdoin College) and was chaired by Kristin  Phillips-Court (University of Wisconsin-Madison); the papers included:

     “The Two-Headed Monster at the Base of Dante’s Hell: Anatomizing Temporal and Spiritual Power”
     Christiana  Purdy Moudarres, Yale University

    “‘Colui che volse il sesto’: Dante and Geometry”
    Corey  Flack, University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign

    “Altro dove: New Ways of Visualizing Dante’s Cosmos”
    Arielle  Saiber, Bowdoin College

A second session on "Communities of Reading and Dante's Divine Comedy" was organized by Deborah Parker (University of Virginia) and chaired by Kristina Olson (George Mason University). The papers included:

    “Hope in Exile: Poetic Authorship and Augustinian Citizenship in Dante’s Comedy”
    Laurence  Hooper, Dartmouth College [note: withdrawn due to illness]

    “Dante: Friendship and Poetry”
    Filippa  Modesto, CUNY, Brooklyn College and The Graduate Center [note: withdrawn due to illness]

    “Women Readers of Dante: A New England Renaissance”
    Christian Yves Dupont, Boston College

2016 Annual Meeting and Conference (April 22-23, 2016)

The 134th Annual Meeting of the Dante Society of America was held at Brown University in Providence, RI, on Saturday morning, April 23, 2016, from 9:00am-10:00am. The meeting room will be confirmed shortly (see below and the associated conference ).

In conjunction with our Annual Meeting, Professor Ronald Martinez hosted a conference at Brown University titled "Dante and the Protocols of Performance: Theatricality, Ritual, Feasts." The conference opened with a keynote address on Friday evening, April 22, by Marvin Trachtenberg, and concluded with a reception on Saturday evening, April 23. The conference was sponsored by Brown University with additional support from the Dante Society of America.

Dante Sessions at Kalamazoo (May 12-15, 2016)

The 51st International Congress on Medieval Studies was held at Western Michigan University, Kalamazoo, MI, on May 12-15, 2016. The Dante Society sponsored three sessions.

Genre and Medium.  Presider Kristina Olson

  “Lifting Up the Low Reeds: The Status of Genre in Dante’s Eclogues
  Jonathan Combs-Schilling, The Ohio State University.

  “Dante/Giotto – Matter and Relief”
  Henrike Christiane Lange, University of California, Berkeley

  “Interpretative Mediations of Dante’s Commedia: From the editio princeps to New Digital Practices”
  Isabella Magni, Indiana University

  “‘E, vinta, vince’: Poetic Appropriation of Conquest in the Commedia
  Molly Bronstein, University of California, Berkeley

Philosophical Questions.  Presider Albert Ascoli

   “‘Il mal seme d’Adamo’: Soul, Body, and Original Sin in Dante”
   Dana Stewart, Binghamton University

   “Curiosity and the Excess of Prudence”
   Gabriel Pihas, St. Mary's College of California

   “The Piccarda Donati Thought Experiment: Dante’s Self-Forming Absolute Will”
   Humberto Ballesteros, Columbia University

    “Heresy and Faith as Matters of Praxis Rather than Belief in the Divine Comedy
   Jason Aleksander, Saint Xavier University

Female Figures.  Presider Dana Stewart

    “Skirting the Issue: Reconsidering Cacciaguida’s History of Florentine Fashion”
    Kristina M. Olson, George Mason University

    “Materna Locutio”
    Eugene Petracca, Columbia University

    “Dante’s Matelda: Queen, Mother and Saint”
    JH Moran Cruz, Associate Professor of History, Georgetown University

    “The Hidden Passion of Dante’s Mary”
    John Bugbee, University of Virginia


2015 Events

Annual Meeting (May 2, 2015)

Our 2015 Annual Meeting was hosted by the University of Chicago on Saturday, May 2, 2015, from 9:00am-10:00am in 408 Weiboldt Hall, with coffee and light breakfast available from 8:30am on. Draft minutes will soon be available. The Annual Meeting was followed by the Annual Conference (see below).

Annual Conference (May 2, 2015)

An international, interdisciplinary conference on Dante’s Political Theology sponsored by the University of Chicago in collaboration with the Dante Society of America, was held on May 2, 2015, from 10:30 a.m. to 6 p.m., in 408 Weiboldt Hall immediately following the Annual Meeting. The conference was free and open to DSA members and to the public, with no advance registration required. About 40 people attended.

Dante Sessions at Kalamazoo (May 14-17, 2015)

The Fiftieth International Congress on Medieval Studies was held at Western Michigan University, Kalamazoo, MI, May 14-17, 2015. The Dante Society sponsored the following series of sessions, arranged by Alison Cornish (University of Michigan).

For additional information, please visit:

Dante I: Hybridity

Chair: Roberta Morosini (Wake Forest University)

Albert Russell Ascoli (The University of California at Berkeley): “‘Ponete mente almen come sono bella’: Poetry and Prose, Goodness and Beauty, in Convivio.”

Jonathan Combs-Schilling (The Ohio State University): “Lifting Up the Low Reeds: The Status of Genre in Dante’s Eclogues.”

Akash Kumar (Columbia University): “He Said/She Said: Hybridity and Cultural Contamination in Dante’s Lyric Poetry.”

Meredith Ringel-Ensley (University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill): “Haptic Poetics and Dante’s De Vulgari Eloquentia.”

Dante II: Other discourses

Chair: Jason Aleksander (St. Xavier University)

Stanley Benfell (Brigham Young University): “The Resurrection in Dante’s Paradiso.”

Corey Flack (University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign): “The Counterfeiter and the Geometer: The Idea of Misura in Inf. XXX.”

Vincent Pollina (Tufts University): “The Fate of Courtly Convention in Dante’s Rime Petrose.”

Francis R. Hittinger (Columbia University): “Dante Sinistra: Aristotle and Discourses of Greed in the Medieval Italian Lyric.”

Dante III: Other Contexts

Chair: Albert Russell Ascoli (The University of California at Berkeley)

Roberta Morosini (Wake Forest University): “Un uom nasce a la riva de l’Indo (Par. XIX, 70). Mediterranean Dante or Tales that Travel in …. “Quel mar che la terra inghirlanda.”

Beatrice Arduini (University of Washington): “Reading Dante in the Eighteenth Century: Anton Maria Biscioni's 1723 Convivio.”

Jelena Todorović (University of Wisconsin-Madison): “Biscioni’s Edition of the Vita Nova and What It Meant for the Libello’s Fortuna.”

Zane D.R. Mackin (Columbia University): “Dante Shinkyoku: Fiction and Fact in Postwar Japan”