College of Arts & Sciences

The Alberto Institute has created a program for faculty, in all the University's colleges and schools, as well as visiting and adjunct faculty, to affiliate themselves with the Alberto Institute by becoming "Research Associates."

The Alberto Institute will make available to Research Associates, who obtain outside sources of funding for their research, matching funds on a one-to-one basis for each fiscal year up to $1,000 and will contribute with a small publication subvention of $1,000 or $2,000 to book ventures involving reputable presses.

If interested, please complete this form and/or contact Dr. Romani at

Participating faculty members


Gabriella Romani, Ph.D. Associate Professor of Italian, Department of Languages, Literatures and Cultures
The Alberto Institute contributed to the publication of my book titled, Postal Culture: Reading and Writing Letters in Post-Unification Italy (University of Toronto Press, 2013), which studies the influence of the postal service on the cultural life of Italy after its 1861 political unification. The nationalization of the postal service marked an historical moment of transformation for the post-unification development of letter writing in Italy. As the postal service was perceived by contemporaries as an indicator of progress and a provider of a wider and more efficient circulation of information, readers and writers of letters relied on a shared set of conventions and perceptions that transformed the letter into a bridge between the private world of personal communication and the public arena of information exchange and production of public opinion. As letters circulated more widely, they helped produce a national network of social and cultural identities. My book analyzes the letters appeared in newspapers (letters to the editor) as well as the letters included in epistolary manuals and novels in an attempt to illustrate how the letter was used in the post-unification period as a cultural instrument for the education and modernization of the nation.

David P. BeneteauDavid P. Bénéteau, Associate Professor of Italian, Department of Languages, Literatures and Cultures
The Alberto Institute contributed to the publication of the critical edition of a fourteenth-century text entitled Li Fatti de' Romani, which can be roughly translated as The Feats of the Ancient Romans. This text is contained in two manuscripts, ms. Hamilton 67 in Berlin, Germany and ms. Riccardiano 2418 in Florence, Italy, and has been the object of years of study before becoming a modern edition. The book, which appeared in October 2012 (Alessandria: Edizioni dell'Orso, 2012), is a lengthy and well-researched legible edition of the medieval manuscripts, covering 640 pages, lengthy introduction and glossary, and around two thousand footnotes. These manuscripts are important for literary and linguistic reasons, as they were written while Dante was alive (in 1313), but especially because of by whom they were written: the wealthy Florentine wool-merchant Lapo, son of Neri Corsini. The cultural contribution of the mercantile social class demonstrated by this book is a fascinating topic which took the author to the Italian State Archives in Florence, along with numerous European libraries, among which the Biblioteca Apostolica Vaticana in Rome.

GuarinoRev. Thomas Guarino, Ph.D., Professor of Systematic Theology
The Alberto Research Fellowship aided the completion of a book entitled, Vattimo and Theology (T & T Clark, 2009), a study of, and dialogue with, the postmodern Italian philosopher, Gianni Vattimo. The Fellowship also helped with the completion of an article entitled, “Return of Religion in Europe?  The Postmodern Christianity of Gianni Vattimo” which will appear in Logos: A Journal of Catholic Thought and Culture.

Sandra LeeSandra Lee, Ph.D., Professor of Professional Psychology and Family Therapy
I have been working on a project to collect family and neighborhood history, and  scans of old photographs, from the old Italian neighborhoods of Newark, Belleville, and Nutley, 1880's to 1950's. The first book, Italian Americans of Newark, Belleville, and Nutley (Arcadia Press), was published in 2008 and has been well received. I was honored to be made the Grand Marshall of the Nutley-Belleville Columbus Day Parade (the largest in New Jersey). A second book is underway. In November, 2009, I was privileged to have a gallery exhibit: "From Italy to America: Faces of Italian Immigrants/Italian Americans." The exhibit and reception were sponsored by the Alberto Institute, and by the Italian Consulate in Newark, Andrea Barbaria. The Gallery exhibit was at Gallery One, One Gateway Center in Newark. Currently, I am working on getting the exhibit pictures posted in this web page. I have given many presentations about the research at libraries, UNICO chapters, and other Italian American organizations.

murzakuInes Murzaku, Ph.D., Professor of Religious Studies
The Survival of Byzantium (working title). The book is scheduled to appear in 2011 with the University of Leuven, Peeters Publishers, Eastern Christian Studies Series. My research has three foci: the history of the Byzantine Church in southern Italy; the Italian-Albanian contribution to the revival and preservation of Italy’s Byzantine heritage; and the roots of the Greek Monastery of Grottaferrata in Calabria, areas that are underrepresented in the field of Byzantine studies. The on-ground intersections and co-existence of two religious traditions, Byzantine and Latin, and the impact of religion in shaping the culture of southern Italy – that is, how religion is understood, observed, handed down, and revamped at the local level – constitute this study’s main questions. The book’s purpose is to explain the process of conservation of the Byzantine tradition when still under the jurisdiction of the Latin Church.  With this study I argue that Catholicism is far more than simply the Roman Latin Church and the tradition of the Byzantine Churches of Southern Italy is a vital part of universal Church’s heritage. The book is based on rare archival sources including the Secret Vatican Archive for the Congregation for Oriental Churches, Grottaferrata archives, as well as several local diocesan Calabrian archives.

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