Dacia Maraini with a dog

Affiliated Event

In Praise of Disobedience: Clare of Assisi and Other Revolutionary Women

November 8, 2023
4:30 p.m. - 6:00 p.m. 
Carpenter Library B21

The internationally acclaimed and prize-winning author Dacia Maraini is joining Bryn Mawr College for her first time to discuss her latest works in conversation with Luca Zipoli, who is Assistant Professor in the Department of Transnational Italian Studies. Dacia Maraini will present her two most recent books: the English translation of her novel on Clare of Assisi (In Praise of Disobedience, transl. Jane Tylus, Rutgers University Press, 2023), and the collection of the historical essays and articles on women’s rights that she has written throughout her long career (In nome di Ipazia, Solferino, 2023). In her presentation, Maraini will discuss historical women figures as part of a broader focus on the key Flexner theme of responses to collective trauma, specifically how gendered traumas have impacted Italian communities of women in the 20th and 21st centuries. Maraini will tell how, as an engaged civic writer and a non-denominational activist, she got inspired by the religious figure of Clare of Assisi, a 13th-century Italian woman who followed the example of Saint Francis and was then proclaimed saint by the Catholic Church. She will explain why Claire’s choice for disobedience was revolutionary for her times, and she will compare her destiny to other influential female figures that pioneered the claim for women’s rights. Among them, she will focus in particular on Hypatia, the late antique philosopher who was murdered under the Roman Empire for her free thinking. The event will include live readings in English from Dacia Maraini’s books.

Light Refreshments and a book signing will follow in the Quita Woodward Room, Old Library.

The event is co-sponsored by the President’s Office, Praxis, Comparative Literature, the Gender and Sexuality Studies Program, and by the Consulate General of Italy in Philadelphia.


Dacia Maraini is an internationally acclaimed novelist, essayist, playwright, poet, translator, and one of the most prominent figures of modern and contemporary Italian culture. Her work focuses mostly on women’s issues, and she has won, among others, the most prestigious literature awards in Italy: Cam­piello, Strega, and Viareggio. In ad­dition to these achievements, Dacia Maraini is also a social activist, and throughout her life she has fought for transnational women’s, children’s, and incarcerated people’s rights, which are the main topics of both her research and her literary production. She has taught and lectured in many North-American Universities, including Harvard, Columbia, Stanford, and she was awarded three Honorary Degrees from Middlebury College, John Cabot University, and Chapman University.

Luca Zipoli is Assistant Professor in the Department of Transnational Italian Studies at Bryn Mawr College. He holds Ph.D. in Italian literature from the Scuola Normale Superiore in Pisa, where he also pursued his undergraduate degree. Before joining Bryn Mawr College, he researched and taught at Princeton University, New York University, and the Princeton Study Abroad Program. His main research interests include Early Modern and Modern Italian Literature, with a specific focus on how the transnational Italian Avant-Garde revived and adapted Italy's literary tradition throughout the 20th century.