Seton Hall University

Research Associates

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 [email protected].

Participating Faculty Members

Gabriella Romani, Ph.D., Director, Charles and Joan Alberto Italian Studies InstituteGabriella 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. Bénéteau, Associate Professor of Italian, Department of Languages, Literatures and Cultures David Beneteau, Ph.D.
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.

William Connell, Ph.D.William J. Connell
William J. Connell is Professor of History and holder of the Joseph M. and Geraldine. C. La Motta Chair in Italian Studies at Seton Hall University, where he was also the Founding Director of the Charles and Joan Alberto Italian Studies Institute. He has been a Fulbright Scholar, a Fellow at Villa I Tatti/The Harvard Center for Renaissance Studies, and a Member of the Institute for Advanced Study, Princeton. A specialist in early modern Italy, he has written, edited and translated numerous books in Italian and Italian American history, including La città dei crucci, Sacrilege and Redemption in Renaissance Florence, Machiavelli's Prince, and Anti-Italianism: Essays on a Prejudice.

He has received funds from the Alberto Institute for the publication with the Italian publisher Franco Angeli of Machiavelli nel Rinascimento, a volume which collects ten essays concerning Machiavelli, the composition of The Prince, Renaissance statecraft, and historical thought during the Renaissance.

Rev. Thomas Guarino, Ph.D.Rev. 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 Lee, Ph.D.Sandra 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.

Ines Murzaku, Ph.D.Ines 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.

Marie Orton, Ph.D.Marie Orton
Marie Orton earned her Ph.D. in Italian language and literature from the University of Chicago and teaches at Truman State University. Her main field of research is migration literature, though she has also published articles in film studies and Holocaust studies. Her translation projects include co-editing with Graziella Parati the translation into English of works by seventeen migrant authors in Italy, collected in the anthology Multicultural Literature in Contemporary Italy, the volume Non-persons: The Exclusion of Migrants in a Global Society, an extensive study of the cultural discourses and forces that generate the cycle of fear and rejection of migrants, and two collections of comic anecdotes by Kossi Komla-Ebri, in Embaracisms: Daily Embarrassments in Black and White . . . and Color. Her last translation project is in connection to Edmondo De Amicis's novel, Across the Ocean, for which she received funds as a Research Associate from the Alberto Institute. A few notes from her about the translation: To read De Amicis is to enter a world of nineteenth-century charm. To translate him is to attempt not only to transform this older Italian with all its idioms and regionalisms into contemporary English, but also to make the author's nineteenth-century sensibilities meaningful to a twenty-first century audience. While trying to bridge the linguistic gaps between disparate times and places, accurately rendering De Amicis' sensibilities has proven the greater challenge.

De Amicis' nineteenth-century characters can be off-putting to an age that rejects all forms of sentimentalism, but the issues the novel deals with are enduringly relevant. Above all, De Amicis focuses on the humanity of his characters. I have tried be faithful to the author's gentle humor and clever turns of phrase that balanced any sentimentality. And, I have tried to allow the humanity of his characters to shine through to speak of the novel's larger issues."