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Gianna Albaum

Lecturer in Italian Studies (Department of German and Italian)


22 Green #204


Gianna Albaum teaches Italian literature and culture from a comparative perspective. Her research explores intoxication and addiction in modern literature and film. Tracing drugs and their many entanglements across philosophy, science, medicine, and literature, her work brings to light the fraught relationship between colonial plant-drugs and European modernity. She has recently taught courses on Boccaccio's Decameron, Elena Ferrante, Black Italy, and Italian crime fiction. In the spring, she will teach a First-Year Seminar on banned books that examines literary anxieties about the intoxicating and addictive qualities of fiction from antiquity to the present.

Albaum is currently working on a book manuscript titled Bad Medicine: Literature and Drugs in Modern Italy. This project examines the role of medicine and drugs in modern Italian literature, including works by Ippolito Nievo, Giovanni Verga, Annie Vivanti, Pitigrilli (Dino Segre), Dino Buzzati, and Primo Levi. She has published articles in Italian Quarterly and California Italian Studies.


"In Defense of Moral Contagion: Annie Vivanti's Naja Tripudians and the 1918 Influenza Pandemic," California Italian Studies 11, no. 1: 1-16.

"Mantegazza's Coca Dreams." Italian Quarterly 56 (2020): 1-23.

“NYU Black Italia: Resource Hub & Guide to Black Italy.” Site co-authored with students of my Black Italia course, taught Spring 2022.

Office Hours

Spring 2024

Wednesday 3-5 p.m.
Or by appointment


Ph.D., New York University
B.A., University of California, Berkeley