Francesca Calamita headshot

Francesca Calamita

Associate Professor
Program Director of UVa in Italy: Siena and Florence
College Fellow (Cohort 6)
Affiliated Faculty - Women, Gender and Sexuality
Unit: College of Arts and Sciences
Department: Department for Spanish, Italian, and Portuguese
Office location and address
NCH 461
1335 Lee St
Charlottesville, Virginia 22903
Ph.D., Victoria University of Wellington (2013)
M.A., Università degli Studi di Bergamo (2008)
B.A., Università degli Studi di Perugia (2005)

Dr Francesca Calamita’s interdisciplinary research, transnational and anchored in feminist theory, bridges Italian women’s writing, cultural studies and gender studies. More specifically, she investigates how women’s relationship with food and body is portrayed in fiction, as well as pop culture, advertisements, video performances and films. Her research interests also include the intersections between gender and medical humanities as well as migrant literature.

She is the author of the monograph Linguaggi dell’esperienza femminile: disturbi alimentari, donne e scrittura dall’Unità al Miracolo Economico (2015), featured in the prestigious literary journal Nuovi Argomenti and at the 2016 edition of Feminism: Fiera dell'editoria delle donne, a number of peer-reviewed articles and book chapters. She is co-editor of a volume on anorexia and bulimia in French, German and Italian literature, funded by a Buckner W. Clay Dean of Arts and Sciences grant and she has just published a new edited collection (with Bloomsbury Academic) on gender, women and food. Before joining UVa, Dr Calamita was a Visiting Fellow at the University of London’s Centre for the Study of Contemporary Women’s Writing where she completed her post-doctoral research project and where she currently continues to serve as an associate member. Previously Dr Calamita was a Teaching Fellow at Victoria University of Wellington in New Zealand where she earned her PhD in 2013 and taught European Studies and Italian Studies. She is thrilled to join the cohort of College Fellows at UVa in Fall 2021 and to offer an Engagement course on food and gender across countries and cultures.

She is a member of the interdisciplinary research network “Hungry for Words”, based at the University of Nottingham and funded by AHRC, where she was an invited speaker at the inaugural workshop of the collective.In Spring 2018 at UVa Dr Calamita organised the symposium "Through Their Gazes: Screening Women and Feminism" with Shilpa Davé (Media Studies) and a series of collateral events supported by a UVa Inclusion and Diversity grant and she is currently working on a new interdisciplinary project with Giulio Celotto (Classics) and Giulia Paoletti (Art) on women's voices across several disciplines supported by an AHSS, DDEIs and Clay Endowment grants. Dr Calamita is also interested in the intersections between Italian language and gender and has published in this area; she is currently working on a textbook (under contract with Kendall Hunt) to teach elementary Italian with inclusion, diversity and gender equality with Chiara De Santi (Farmingdale).

In the Italian Program, she serves as co-director of the language program (1000-2000 level) and the placement and transfer of credits coordinator. She is the project leader for Dolcissimo: Speak the Sweet Life, a second language acquisition and food studies activity funded by the Institute of World Languages, and for A Gendered Wor(l)d: Grammar, Sexism and Cultural Changes in Italian Language and Society, a multimodal learning experience which allows students to engage critically with Italian media and to become sensitive to the gendered politics of the language.

Outside her home Department, she collaborates with ISO; Dr Calamita is the director of UVa in Italy (CET-Siena and ISI-Florence) and oversees the academic development of the Programs, serving also as chair of the SCOC committee and co-chair of the ISI Consortium. She is delighted to see students travelling the world, opening their minds, learning new languages and choosing Italy as their destination for study abroad. She serves as the Institute of World Language Reading & Research Group's coordinator for the Language Forward Initiative (supported by a Jefferson Trust award) and chair of the Speaker Series committee. Dr Calamita is an affiliate faculty of the Department of Women, Gender and Sexuality and offers regularly classes on gender issues from a transnational perspective; she also teaches a COLA seminars and enjoys helping her advisees with their academic careers. In this spirit, she has recently created a Global Studies J-term course "Global Challenges, Local Responses" with colleagues across various disciplines.


Linguaggi dell’esperienza femminile: disturbi alimentari, donne e scrittura dall’Unità al Miracolo Economico (Padua: Il Poligrafo, October 2015)

Edited volumes

Starvation, Food Obsession and Identity: Eating Disorders in Contemporary Women’s Writing, co-edited with Petra Bagley and Kathryn Robson (“Studies in Contemporary Women’s Writing”, Peter Lang: Oxford, 2017)

Eve’s Sinful Bite: Food and Women in Italian Literature, Culture and Society, co-edited with Claudia Bernardi and Daniele DeFeo (Bloomsbury Academic: London, November 2020)

Edited Journal

With Mabel Richart Marset (Valencia), MonTI (12), “Revista académica de Traducción e Interpretación de las universidades públicas valencianas”, Translation and Media Accessibility: from Theory to Practice [Traducción y Accesibilidad en los medios de comunicación: de la teoría a la práctica] (May 2020)


With Chiara De Santi (Farmingdale), DiversITALY: first and second semeter Italian with inclusive language and gender equality (under contract with Kendall Hunt)

Selected Articles

‘“Fainting is one way of disappearing. Anorexia is another’: Disorderly Eating in Louise De Salvo’s Vertigo”, Journal of Romance Studies,Vol 20,No 2 (Summer 2020), pp. 249–271

With Mabel Richart Marset, “The Great Challenge of Translation and Audiovisual Accessibility in the Media [El gran reto de la traducción y la accesibilidad audiovisual en los medios de comunicación]”, MonTI (12) (May 2020), Translation and Media Accessibility: from Theory to Practice [Traducción y Accesibilidad en los medios de comunicación: de la teoría a la práctica] edited by Richart Marset and Calamita, pp. 7-52.

With Roberta Trapé (Melbourne) “Expanding Learning Spaces: Virtual Places of Learning in a Transnational Telecollaborative project between the U.S.A. and Italy”, Italian Studies in Southern Africa/Studi d'italianistica dell'Africa australe, Vol 32, No 2 (2019), pp. 275-304.

“Sexism and Gender Stereotypes in Italian Language Courses: No, Grazie!”, TILCA: Teaching Italian Language and Culture Annual, special issue edited by Louise Hipwell and Donatella Melucci. (2018), pp. 126-138.

“Tastefulness: Fashion, Food, Lust and Domesticity in Matilde Serao’s ‘La virtù di Checchina [Checchina’s Virtue]’ (1884),” altrelettere, DOI: 10.5903/al_uzh-28 February 2015.

“Voracious Dolls and Competent Chefs: Negotiating Femininity and Masculinity in Italian Food Advertisements of the 1990s-2010s,” Gender/Sexuality/Italy, 1, May 2014, pp. 1-13.

“Storytelling and Female Eating Habits at the turn of the Twentieth Century: Italo Calvino’s ‘Zio Lupo’ and Neera’s ‘Uno Scandalo,’” AUMLA, Special Issue, Refereed Proceedings of the 2011 AULLA Conference: Storytelling in Literature, Language and Culture, April 2012, pp. 67-75.

“Unspoken Feelings: Comparing the Feminism of Sibilla Aleramo’s Una donna and the Social Battle of the Present-day Anorexic,”Skepsi, vol. 4, 1 (2011), pp. 1-11.

Selected Book Chapters

“Beyond Size and Weight: Gianna Schelotto’s “La ragazza che mangiava la luna [The Girl who Ate the Moon]” (1992) (forthcoming in the volume I am coediting with Claudia Bernardi and Daniele De Feo)

With Robertà Trapè, “Virtual Exchanges and Gender-inclusive Language: An Intercultural Citizenship Project to Foster Equality” (accepted for publication with Edizioni Ca’ Foscari- University of Venice)

“Identica a loro?”: (In)digesting Food and Identity in Igiaba Scego’s Short Story “Salsicce” (2003) eds, Niki Kiviat and Serena J. Rivera, Complications of Eating: Investigating (In)digestion in Literature and Film (Routledge: New York, May 2020), pp. 186-200

“On the Verge of Emotional Hunger: Anorexia, Bulimia and Interpersonal Relationships in Contemporary Italian Women’s Writing”, eds. Petra Bagley, Francesca Calamita and Kathryn Robson, Starvation, Food Obsession and Identity: Eating Disorders in Contemporary Women’s Writing (“Studies in Contemporary Women’s Writing”, Peter Lang: Oxford, 2017), pp. 67-89.

“Resistance through Starvation: Refusal of Food, Empowerment and Eating Disorders in Natalia Ginzburg’s short story ‘La madre’ (1948)”, Women in the Public Sphere in Modern and Contemporary Italy, eds. Marina Spunta, Simona Storchi and Maria Morelli (Troubador: Leicester, 2017), pp. 41-52.

Bird-Like-Eating Attitudes, Fat-Shaming and Ideal Body Shape in Italian Women’s Writing of the 1930s-1940s,” Bridges Across Cultures Conference Proceedings in collaboration with Voces del Caribe, eds Angela Tumini, Tim Wagner and Amparo Alpanes, pp. 60-67. (September 2016)

“Discussing Women’s Social Role through Paradoxical Behaviours: Starvation and Self-empowerment in Neera’s Teresa (1886) and L’indomani (1889),”Gendering Commitment: Re-thinking Social and Ethical Engagement in Modern Italian Culture, ed. Alex Standen (Cambridge Scholar: Newcastle, 2015), pp. 9-26.

ITAL 1010: Elementary Italian I
Credits: 4
Introduction to speaking, understanding, reading, and writing Italian. Five class hours and one language laboratory hour. Followed by ITAL 1020.
COLA 1500: College Advising Seminars
Credits: 1
COLA courses are 1-credit seminars capped at 18 first-year students, all of whom are assigned to the instructor as advisees. They are topically focused on an area identified by the faculty member; they also include a significant advising component centered on undergraduate issues (e.g., choosing a major, study abroad opportunities, undergraduate research, etc.). For detailed descriptions see
EGMT 1530: Engaging Differences
Credits: 2
In this class, students will learn to critically reflect on one's own situation and perspective in relations to one's expanding knowledge of other human experiences, seeking to cultivate a framework for informed reflection on human diversity and social complexity while developing empathy as a foundation for democratic citizenship.
ITAL 2010: Intermediate Italian I
Credits: 3
Continued grammar, conversation, composition, readings, and an introduction to Italian literature. Prerequisite: ITAL 1020 or the equivalent. Note: The following courses have the prerequisite ITAL 2010, 2020, or permission of the department.
ITAL 2020: Intermediate Italian II
Credits: 3
Continuation of ITAL 2010.
ITAL 2030: Intermediate Italian II for Professionals
Credits: 3
This is the fourth class in the four-course sequence that fulfills the language requirement with modules on issues applicable to the work context. Films, TV series and articles from Italian newspapers will help students to learn more about the Italian society of the new millennium and strengthen their listening, speaking, reading and writing skills at a high intermediate level appropriate for an intercultural professional environment.
GSGS 2559: New Course in Global Studies
Credits: 1–6
This course provides the opportunity to offer new topics in Global Studies.
ITAL 3020: Advanced Italian II
Credits: 3
Emphasis is placed on conversation, as well as composition and vocabulary. Students attending this class will deepen their knowledge of Italian culture and society, with a special focus on socio-cultural debates concerning politics, migration and gender issues. This course is designed with a series of activities focused on experiential learning to achieve fluency in Italian through real-life situations. Prerequisite: ITAL2020.
ITTR 3559: New Course: Italian in Translation
Credits: 3
This course provides the opportunity to offer new topics with the subject of Italian in Translation.
WGS 3559: New Course in Women, Gender and Sexuality
Credits: 3
This course provides the opportunity to offer a new course in the subjects of women, gender and sexualities.
WGS 3680: Eve's Sinful Bite: Foodscapes in Women's Writing Culture and Society
Credits: 3
This course explores how Italian women writers have represented food in their short stories, novels and autobiographies in dialogue with the culture and society from late nineteenth century to the present. These lectures will offer a close reading of the symbolic meaning of food in narrative and the way it intersects with Italian women's socio-cultural history, addressing issues of gender, identity and politics of the body.
ITTR 3685: Italy on Screen: Sex, Gender, & Racial Identities
Credits: 3
This course considers representations of sex, gender and racial identities in Italian films, television, advertisements and other forms of visual culture. With a focus on the contemporary Italian context, students will explore issues of intersectionality from a global perspective. What can Italian critically acclaimed and more mainstream works tell us about diversity and inclusion in the worldwide context?
ITAL 4980: Distinguished Majors Colloquium - Italian Studies
Credits: 3
The Colloquium allows DMPs in Italian Studies to meet regularly with the DMP coordinator to discuss research strategies, documentation styles, and structure and style in extended expository writing as they are working independently on a thesis. It also provides a forum for presenting and discussing work-in-progress. Prerequisite: Acceptance in DMP.
ITAL 4989: Distinguished Major in Italian Studies Thesis
Credits: 3
Distinguished majors in Italian Studies will meet individually with their thesis advisors to discuss progress and revise drafts of their theses. At the end of the semester, they will present the results of their research in a public forum.
ITAL 4993: Independent Study
Credits: 1–3
Independent Study

Program Director: UVa in Italy Siena and Florence

Co-Director of the Italian Language Program

College Fellow

COLA advisor

United Kingdom
Associate Member - Centre for the Study of Contemporary Women's Writing - IMLR - University of London

College of Arts and Science, UVa. Diversity and Inclusion Grant (2018)

Institute of World Languages, UVa, Course Enhancement and Developement Grant (2017)

Institute of World Languages, UVa, Language Program Grant (2017)

Institute of World Languages, UVa, Travel Grant (2016)

College of Arts and Sciences, UVa, Selected for the “Faculty Seminar on the Teaching of Writing” (2016)

Institute of World Languages, UVa, Language Program Grant (2016)

College of Arts & Sciences, Learning & Design Technology, UVa Development stipend (2016)

AATI (American Association of Teachers of Italian), Travel Grant (2016)

AHRC (Arts and Humanities Research Council, UK) and the University Nottingham, Travel and Research Grant (2016 and 2017)

Buckner W. Clay Dean of Arts and Sciences, UVa, AHSS Research Grant (2015)

Institute of World Languages, UVa. Language Program Grant (2015)

Visiting Fellowship, Centre for the Study of Contemporary Women’s Writing, University of London (2013-2014)

Teaching Fellowship, Victoria University of Wellington (2013)