cinema

Jorge Ruffinelli

portrait: Sylke Tempel
Contact: 

Pigott Hall 221
650 725 0112
ruffin@stanford.edu

Office Hours: 
Thursdays by Appointment

Professor Jorge Ruffinelli (Uruguay), a disciple of Angel Rama at the University of Uruguay, followed him as Director of the literary section of the seminal Uruguayan weekly Marcha in 1968. In 1973 he was Adjunct Professor of the Latin American literature program (directed by Noé Jitrik) at the University of Buenos Aires. In 1974 he emigrated to México, where he was appointed Director of the Centro de Investigaciones Lingüístico-Literarias at the Universidad Veracruzana, a position he held for for twelve years. At the Universidad Veracruzana he was also Professor in the school of Letters, and collaborated in all the major cultural journals and newspapers of the Latin American continent. In 1986 he was appointed Full Professor in the Department of Spanish and Portuguese at Stanford. In Mexico he founded and directed the literary journal Texto crítico for twelve years. A member of various international editorial boards, in the United States he has directed the journal Nuevo texto crítico since 1987.

He has published twenty books of literary and cultural criticism and more than five hundred articles, critical notes and reviews in journals throughout the world. A recognized authority on Onetti, García Márquez, Juan Rulfo, and Latin American literary history, during the nineties his critical work has centered on Latin American cinema. In 1993 he filmed a documentary on Augusto Monterroso for which he interviewed major Mexican writers and critics. He is completing the first Encyclopedia of Latin American Cinema, for which he has written around two thousand articles on feature films from and about Latin America. His current work also includes a book of interpretation and survey of the most recent Spanish American prose published by writers born after 1968, a project that analyzes the work, marketing, and reception of over more than fifty authors (Ana Solari, Milagros Socorro, Karla Suarez, Mayra Santos, David Toscana, Rodrigo Fresan, Juan Forn, Martin Kohan, Jorge Vopli, among others). His teaching centers on the intersection of the interests above and cultural politics.

Professional Activities

At Stanford University, he has been Department Chair (1990-91, 1997), and Director of the Center of Latin American Studies (1994, 1997-1998), as well as a member of numerous university and interdepartmental committees. Throughout the years he has been a Jury Member in several international literary prizes and film Festivals: Marcha (Uruguay); Casa de las Américas (La Habana, Cuba); Premio Internacional Juan Rulfo (Guadalajara, Mexico); Festival Internacional del Nuevo Cine Latinoamericano (La Habana, Cuba); Festival Internacional de San Sebastian-Donostia (Pais Vasco, Espana), Festival Internacional de Trieste (Italia).

Language(s): 
Portuguese
Language(s): 
Spanish

Laura Wittman

portrait: Laura Wittman
Contact: 

101 Pigott Hall
650 725 5243
lwittman@stanford.edu

Office Hours: 
Spring 2013: Wednesdays, 1-3, or by appointment.
Focal Group(s): 
Humanities Education
Focal Group(s): 
Philosophy and Literature

Laura Wittman primarily works on 19th- and 20th-century Italian and French literature from a comparative perspective. She is interested in connections between modernity, religion, and politics. Much of her work explores the role of the ineffable, the mystical, and the body in modern poetry, philosophy, and culture.

Her book, The Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, Modern Mourning, and the Reinvention of the Mystical Body (University of Toronto Press, 2011) has just been awarded the Marraro Award of the Society for Italian Historical Studies for 2012. It explores the creation and reception of the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier – an Italian, French, and British invention at the end of the First World War – as an emblem for modern mourning, from a cultural, historical, and literary perspective. It draws on literary and filmic evocations of the Unknown Soldier, as well as archival materials, to show that Tomb of the Unknown Soldier is not pro-war, nationalist, or even proto-Fascist. Rather, it is a monument that heals trauma in two ways: first, it refuses facile consolations, and forcefully dramatizes the fact that suffering cannot be spiritualized or justified by any ideology; second, it rejects despair by enacting, through the concreteness of a particular body, a human solidarity in suffering that commands respect. Anticipating recent analyses of PTSD, the Memorial shows that when traumatic events are relived in a ritual, embodied, empathetic setting, healing occurs not via analysis but via symbolic communication and transmission of emotion.

Laura Wittman is the editor of a special issue of the Romanic Review entitled Italy and France: Imagined Geographies (2006), as well as the co-editor of an anthology of Futurist manifestos and literary works, Futurism: An Anthology (Yale University Press, 2009). She has published articles on d’Annunzio, Marinetti, Fogazzaro, Ungaretti, Montale, and Sereni, as well as on decadent-era culture and Italian cinema.

She received her Ph.D. in 2001 from Yale University where she wrote a dissertation entitled "Mystics Without God: Spirituality and Form in Italian and French Modernism," an analysis of the historical and intellectual context for the self-descriptive use of the term "mystic without God" in the works of Gabriele d'Annununzio and Paul Valéry.

In Spring 2009, she was organizer of the California Interdisciplinary Consortium for Italian Studies (CICIS) Annual Conference, held at the Stanford Humanities Center. She was also organizer of the interdisciplinary conference on Language, Literature, and Mysticism held at the Stanford Humanities Center on 15 and 16 October 2010.

She is currently working on a new book entitled Lazarus' Silence: Near-Death Experiences in Fiction, Science, and Popular Culture. It is the first cultural history of near-death experiences in the twentieth-century West, and it puts literary rewritings of the Biblical Lazarus story – by major authors such as Leonid Andreyev, Miguel de Unamuno, D. H. Lawrence, Luigi Pirandello, Graham Greene, Georges Bataille, André Malraux, and Péter Nádas – in the double context of popular versions of coming back to life in testimonies, fiction, and film, and of evolving medical and neuroscientific investigation. Its central questions are: how near-death stories shape our understanding of consciousness; and how they affect our care for the dying.

Education: 

2001: PhD, Department of Italian Language and Literature, Yale University
1991: BA, Yale University, Summa cum Laude, double major in French (with Distinction) and Italian (with Exceptional Distinction)
1986: French Baccalaureate, Lycée Français de Washington (Washington, D. C.), with honors

Language(s): 
French
Language(s): 
Italian

Carolyn Springer

portrait: Beverly Allen
Contact: 

135 Pigott Hall
650 723 1531
springer@stanford.edu

Focal Group(s): 
Renaissances

Professor Carolyn Springer came to Stanford in 1985 after receiving a Ph.D. in Italian language and literature from Yale University. She has received fellowships and awards from the National Endowment for the Humanities / American Academy in Rome, the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, the Harvard Center for Italian Renaissance Studies / Villa I Tatti, the Ford Foundation, and the Fulbright Foundation. Her research has focused primarily on Renaissance and nineteenth-century literature and cultural history. She has published articles and reviews in Annali d’italianistica, Boundary 2: A Journal of Postmodern Literature, Canadian Journal of Italian Studies, Forum Italicum, GRADIVA: International Journal of Literature, The International Journal of the Humanities, Italian Quarterly, The Italianist, Italica (Journal of the American Association of Italian Studies), Modern Language Studies, NEMLA Italian Studies, Quaderni d’italianistica, Renaissance Quarterly, Sixteenth Century Journal, Stanford Italian Review, Versus: Quaderni di studi semiotici, Woman’s Art Journal, The Wordsworth Circle, and Yale Italian Studies.  Professor Springer’s books include The Marble Wilderness: Ruins and Representation in Italian Romanticism, 1775-1850 (Cambridge University Press, 1987; reprinted in paperback, 2010); Immagini del Novecento italiano (Macmillan, coeditors Pietro Frassica and Giovanni Pacchiano); and History and Memory in European Romanticism (special issue of Stanford Literature Review).  Her latest book, Armour and Masculinity in the Italian Renaissance, appeared in 2010 with University of Toronto Press.

Education: 

Ph.D., Italian Language and Literature, with Distinction

Yale University

M.A., Italian Language and Literature

Yale University

B.A., magna cum laude, Phi Beta Kappa
College of Letters,
Wesleyan University

Language(s): 
Italian
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