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Transnational Italian Studies

Photo credit: © Emma Ricci-De Lucca.
Un giorno sul Lungarno a Pisa.

The Transnational Italian Studies Department at Bryn Mawr serves the Trico community and offers an interdisciplinary and a transnational course of study that explores the works of canonical Italian authors alongside traditionally marginalized voices, bringing together issues of gender and sexuality, language and class, race and ethnicity.

Students may complete a major or minor in Transnational Italian Studies. In voting unanimously to embrace this new name in 2021, we are joining other programs in the humanities across the world who are seizing the current moment to make curricular changes for the explicit decolonization of our field(s). By de-centering peninsular Italian culture, questioning concepts of “standard Italian” and “Italian civilization”, and evading ethnocentric, national, and nationalistic rhetoric, we wish to manifest our commitment to an anti-racist, transcultural, and post-colonial approach to Italian Studies.

The aim of our major/minor is to explore the social, linguistic, literary, artistic, ethnic, and political communities that have identified themselves as Italian throughout history. In order to do so across disciplinary boundaries, the Department actively cooperates with numerous institutions, primarily by offering cross-listed and co-taught courses in the Bi-Co.

In particular, we participate in the Romance Languages major with the Departments of French and Francophone Studies and Spanish, as well as with the many departments and programs that inform the Bi-Co major in Comparative Literature. Many of our courses, taught in English and in Italian, count towards History of Art, Growth and Structure of Cities, Russian, Classics, International Studies, Health Studies, Africana Studies, Film Studies, and Gender and Sexuality Studies.

Students may choose to study Italian as:

What to do with a major in Transnational Italian Studies?

Perhaps the best way to answer this question is to see what our alumnae have done over the years – 

  • Internships in Milano (SITE Program, one or two years). 
  • Graduate School (History, Literature, Linguistics, Romance Languages, Education, Public Health, Library and Information, Social Work, International Education), Law School, Medical School, Veterinary School.
  • Alumnae who decided not to continue with graduate school, have found employment as – Mortgage Brokers, Sales Associates, Business Managers, Project Managers, Special Youth Managers, Publishing/Translating, Acting, Realtors, Research Assistants, Business Analysts, Service Associates, Researchers, Advertising.

Can I start an Italian major from scratch?

Yes, a beginner in Italian has the same chance of majoring in Italian with honors (3.7 GPA) as a non-beginner. In our average first-year class enrollments of 35-40 students and of 7-10 majors in Italian, one third of these will have previous knowledge of the language.

Extracurricular Activities and Fellowships

The classroom experience is enriched through the mediation of the Italian Club (le Italianiste di Bryn Mawr), which sponsors a variety of cultural activities, including the Tavola Italiana (once a week), the Italian Major and Minor Information Session (once a semester), scholarly events, and films.The department also offers fellowship opportunities for students of Italian via Italian-American institutions. Visit our useful links and Internships page.

Pre-Employment Language Workshop for Teaching Assistants



Contact Us

Transnational Italian Studies Department

Old Library 103
Bryn Mawr College
101 N. Merion Avenue
Bryn Mawr, PA 19010-2899
Phone: 610-526-5198
Fax: 610-526-7479

Roberta Ricci, Chair
Phone: 610-526-5048

Oliva Cardona, Program Assistant
Phone: 610-526-5198