The Program in Italian-American Studies is an interdisciplinary major that focuses on Italian-American experiences as they relate to both the Italian and American contexts. The program provides the student with the opportunity to investigate the social, cultural, psychological, historical, and esthetic dimensions of the Italian-American experience. The Major in Italian-American Studies offers an area of specialization for students who plan graduate training in ethnic studies, and for those who expect to teach in urban areas where there are large numbers of Italian-Americans.
For those students who will pursue advanced degrees in the arts, the humanities, or in the various social and behavioral sciences, a major in both the field of their choice and in Italian-American Studies, a dual major, permits a specialty within the academic discipline. The curriculum has practical applicability to teaching at all levels, and to the service-oriented professions (medicine, psychology, social work, law, etc.). A dual major is required of all students majoring in Italian-American Studies except those preparing to qualify for a provisional certificate in education. In most instances, 12 credits from the second major may serve as part of the Italian-American studies major as well (see outline of requirements below).
In consultation with a member of the Italian-American Studies Committee, each student will formulate an individual program of study, without reference to traditional departmental fields. The program thus offers the opportunity to investigate those features of Italian-American culture that match student interests. Special courses emphasizing research and critical thought, such as seminars and tutorials taught by participating faculty, will be provided to synthesize the work of each student in the major.
Alexandra Coller received her B.A. in Romance Languages (French and Italian) from Hunter College (CUNY) and her doctoral degree from New York University. While at NYU, she offered courses on Dante, Shakespeare, Machiavelli, and Montaigne for the Department of Italian Studies and for the Medieval and Renaissance Center. Dr. Coller held visiting posts at SUNY-Stony Brook in the Department of Comparative and Literary Studies, at Dickinson College in the Department of French and Italian, and at Fairfield University in the Department of Modern Languages and Literatures. She joined Lehman College in August 2010 as an assistant professor where she teaches courses in Italian language, literature, and culture as well as the core curriculum. At Lehman, she serves as the Italian Program Coordinator, the faculty advisor for the Italian Club; in addition, she organizes and presents the Italian Film Series in an effort to ensure that the Italian program forms an integral part of campus life. For the last five years, she has served as a member of the College’s Arts and Humanities Curriculum Committee and continues to serve as a member of the Arts Committee. Dr. Coller represents Lehman College at various cultural institutes around the metropolitan area (at NYU’s Casa Italiana, Columbia University’s Italian Academy, and the Italian Cultural Institute). Recently, in collaboration with New York City Opera, Dr. Coller organized and hosted a trip to Lincoln Center to see Gaetano Donizetti’s L’elisir d’amore. She is actively involved in organizing such off-campus activities in order to provide our students with the richest possible exposure to cultural events. Her publications on women, gender, drama, early opera, Renaissance books of conduct, and Renaissance tragedy have appeared in The Italianist, Italian Studies, Italian Quarterly, Modern Language Notes, California Italian Studies, and Italica. Her first book, Women, Rhetoric, and Drama in Early Modern Italy is in press (Routledge, 2017). In addition, Dr. Coller is the editor and translator of two volumes of Italian women’s pastoral drama from the early seventeenth-century for The Other Voice in Early Modern Europe Series (Toronto), forthcoming in 2017 and 2018. Dr. Coller is currently at work on her second book, Women and Letterati in Italian Dialogues and Treatises of the Late Renaissance (forthcoming, 2020).
Maria Grazia DiPaolo, Professor Emeritus