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Michele Monserrati

Assistant Professor of Italian Studies

Michele Monserrati


Hatfield Hall 314


Michele Monserrati is a scholar of Modern Italian Studies, with varied and interrelated interests in diaspora, mobility, and environmental humanities. Through his research, he examines the cultural formation of Italian spaces and communities beyond the peninsula, to investigate how they redefine the place of Italian culture in the world. In his most recent book Searching for Japan: 20th Century Italy’s Fascination with Japanese Culture (Liverpool University Press, 2020), Monserrati argues that a unique set of historical circumstances, which projected both Italy and Japan as late-comers on the modern world stage, allowed Italy to develop a “fascination” with a model of nation-building and empire-formation that, like Italy itself, was challenging the existing world order.

He is currently immersed in a new book project, provisionally titled Bacchus’ Landscapes, the first monograph to examine how the cultural practice of winemaking and the representation of the landscapes of vines inscribe Italian migrants in a specific class and racial order. Through this focus on space, material practice, and identities, he demonstrates how the Mediterranean landscapes of grapevines in Libya, Australia, and California transplanted Western colonialism while they uprooted indigenous socio-ecologies. A set of case studies shows how Italian vineyards, which migrants built in the period between the country’s Unification and the end of Fascism (1861-1943), generated a complex matrix of cultural symbols and signs that uphold the place of Italy within the civilizational discourse of Western colonialism and imperialism.

Monserrati published articles on transnational relations between Italy and Japan, Cold War literature, and Italian colonialism in various peer-reviewed journals, including “California Italian Studies,” “Forum Italicum,” “Italian Studies,” and “Modern Italy.” His scholarship has been funded by research grants and fellowships at various stages, including the Coccia Foundation scholarship, the University of Wisconsin Madison Library research grant, the Bryn Mawr College research award, a 3-month funded residency at the National Library of Australia and, most recently, a grant from the Oakley Center for Humanities and Social Sciences at Williams College.

Office Hours

Spring 2024

Tuesday, 2-4 p.m.
or by appointment.


Ph.D. Rutgers, 2012
Dottorato di ricerca, University of Florence, 2007