Friday, November 28, 2008

Laura E. Ruberto

Laura E. Ruberto is co-chair, Arts and Cultural Studies Department, Berkeley City College.

Her published works include the books Italian Neorealism and Global Cinema (Wayne State University Press, 2007, co-edited with Kristi M. Wilson) and Gramsci, Migration, and the Representation of Women's Work in Italy and the U.S. (Lexington, 2007).

Last week I asked her what she was reading. Her reply:
I’m in the middle of reading Emigrant Nation: The Making of Italy Abroad, by Mark I. Choate. It’s an impressive historical study on the construction of Italian national identity through the everyday lived realities of its emigrants. I find his approach refreshing since it sort of inverts the migration narrative back on to the country of origin and considers emigrants as agents of change in Italy (as well as in their adopted country). I’m especially interested in how Choate teases out the Italian government’s role in promoting Italo-culture beyond Italy.

I also recently started reading Grazia Deledda’s Dance of Modernity (by Margherita Heyer-Caput). The book situates itself among other contemporary examinations of this writer: sometimes Deledda’s been read as a regional (Sardinian) writer, at other times as a woman writer, or as a canonical Nobel Prize-winning writer. Heyer-Caput instead situates Deledda within the modernist philosophical framework of her contemporaries. My background in film studies led me to jump ahead to the chapter on the novel Cenere, since it was made into what is now considered a classic of Italian silent cinema starring the stage actress Eleonora Duse. The novel is a tragic story involving a mother and her son, and Heyer-Caput points to how the novel centralizes the son, whereas the film, through Duse’s body language and creative use of light, highlights the mother’s personal development and action.
Learn more about Laura E. Ruberto and her work.

--Marshal Zeringue