Laura Di Bianco is an Assistant Professor of Italian Studies, whose research and teaching lie at the intersection of twenty-first century Italian cinema, literature, and culture; Women’s and Gender Studies; and Environmental Humanities.
She is Director of Undergraduate Studies in Italian, affiliated faculty member at the Center for Advanced Media Studies (CAMS), and collaborator with the Programs for the Study of Women’s Gender and Sexuality (WGS), and Environmental Science and Studies. Her research on Italian cinema and ecology has been supported by the Lauro De Bosis Fellowship at Harvard University, the Johns Hopkins Catalyst Award, and the Bogliasco Fellowship in the Humanities (2020).
Her book—Wandering Women. Urban Ecologies of Italian Feminist Filmmaking (Indiana University Press, 2023) explores the work of contemporary Italian women directors from feminist and ecological perspectives.
Professor Di Bianco is currently developing a second book project: Crumbling Beauty. Adopting material ecocritical and post-human perspectives, and bringing film criticism into dialogue with environmental and cultural history, Crumbing Beauty traces a genealogy of Italian eco-cinema from the silent era to the present. Engaging with the classics, the forgotten, and the emergent, this study sheds light upon a contemporary cinema that addresses Italy's environmental conflicts, while also retrieving prophetic films from the archive that, in their time, when the Anthropocene had not yet been named, exposed social inequalities and abusive environmental practices, but also imagined the world and told stories from non-anthropocentric perspectives. Crumbling Beauty explores how film can help us grapple with global ecological crises and foster a culture of care and change.
At Hopkins, she teaches surveys of Italian cinema, freshmen seminars like Great Books, upper-level undergraduate classes such as Climate Change Narratives, and graduate seminars on modern and contemporary Italian literature.
She co-curates Global Ecologies a series of lectures, workshops, book talks, and film screenings that brings JHU faculty members and students in dialogue with scholars engaged in the field of environmental humanities and artists whose work explores the interplay of the human and non-human world.
Professor Di Bianco is co-editor for Modern Language Notes: Italian Issue and has collaborated with the online journal Gender| Sexuality| Italy.
Upper-level Undergraduate Courses
Italian Cinema: The Classics, the Forgotten, and the Emergent (Fall 2023)
Climate Change Narratives: Human and Non-human Storytelling (Spring 2022)
Elena Ferrante and Her Brilliant Friends: Contemporary Italian Women Writers (Spring 2022)
Black Italy: Colonial and Post-colonial Narratives (Fall 2021)
Great Books at Hopkins (Fall 2021)
Ecocinema: Framing Italy’s Environmental Crises (Fall 2019)
Italian Journeys: Green Literature (Fall 2018)
Food for Thought: Identity, Politics, and Gastronomy (Summer 2018, Hopkins Bologna)
Italian Journeys: Landscapes of Memories and Desires (Fall 2016)
Vagabonds and Ramblers: Space & Place in Women’s Cinema (Spring 2018)
Italo Calvino: From the Woods to the Moon (Fall 2023)
Nomadic Narratives: Urban Wandering in Women’s Cinema and Literature (Fall 2019)
First-Person Cinema: Ethics and Aesthetics of Italian Documentary Filmmaking (Fall 2017)
Dissolving Margins: Space and Female Subjectivity in the Work of Elena Ferrante (Spring 2017)
Flânerie and Female Authorship in Contemporary Italian Cinema (Fall 2016)
Crumbling Beauty: Environmental Crisis in Italian Literature and Cinema (Spring 2018)
Selection of Classes Taught at Other Institutions
Screening Contemporary Italian Literature (Fall 2015)
Food and the Construction of Italian Identity (Fall 2015)
Feast Your Eyes. Food and Film (Fall 2013, Fall 2014, Fall 2015)
Modern Italian Novel (Spring 2015)
Italian Literature from the Middle Ages to the 16th Century (Fall 2014)
Practical Film Analysis: Fellini’s Nights of Cabiria (Spring 2012)
Female Gazes over the City: A Comparative Study of Women Filmmakers (Fall 2012)
Post-War Italian Women Writers (Spring 2010)
Wandering Women: Urban Ecologies of Italian Feminist Filmmaking. (Indiana University Press, 2023).
Articles and Book Chapters
“Toward an Italian Non-Anthropocentric Cinema. Pietro Marcello’s Lost and Beautiful.” Film and Philosophy. The Journal of the Society for the Philosophic Study of the Contemporary Visual Arts. Volume 27, 2023, 69-87.
“Quattro passi con Sarchiapone.” In Forme della Regia, edited by Christian Uva and Stefania Parigi, Rome: Bulzoni Editore, 2022, 73-76.
“Women’s Archiveology. Lost Mother Found Footage.” In Radical Equalities. Global Feminist Filmmaking, edited by Bernadette Wegenstein and Lauren Mushro, Wilmington, Delaware: Vernon Press, 2022, 285-306.
“Ecocinema Ars et Praxis: Alice Rohrwacher’s Lazzaro Felice.” In Italian Ecomedia Studies. Italianist Film, Volume 40, Issue 2, July 2020, 151-164.
“Gomorrah: Imma’s Dream of Domination.” The Italianist Film, 36:2, August 2016, 312-317.
“Francesca Comencini: Women Outside the Polis.” In Italian Political Cinema. Public Life, Imagery, and Identity in Contemporary Italian Cinema, edited by Giancarlo Lombardi and Christian Uva, Peter Lang, June 2016, 173-184.
“Naples’ City Views, Flat Space and Suspension of Time: Francesca Comencini’s Adaptation of Valeria Parella’s Lo spazio bianco.” Online Journal Luci e Ombre, January 2014, 195-208.
“Women in the Deserted City: Urban Space in Marina Spada's Cinema.” Italian Women Filmmakers and the Gendered Screen, edited by Maristella Cantini, Palgrave, 2013, 121-147.
Interviews with directors Marina Spada, Paola Randi, and Alice Rohrwacher in Italian Women Filmmakers and the Gendered Screen, edited by Maristella Cantini, Palgrave, 2013, 237-261.
“La funzione salvifica dell'immigrato. Into paradiso di Paola Randi e Mozzarella stories di Edoardo De Angelis.” Italy A\R Migrazioni nel\del Cinema Italiano, edited by Vito Zagarrio. Quaderni del CSCI n. 8, 2012, 119-121.
SELECTED BOOK AND FILM REVIEWS
“In questo mondo: Anna Kauber’s Ecocinema” (Film Review and Interview with the Filmmaker) Gynocine Project: Women Filmmakers, Feminism, and Film Studies.” https://www.gynocine.com/interview-kauber. 2020.
Italian Ecocinema Beyond the Human. Bloomington by Elena Past. Indiana University Press, 2019. Journal Modern Italian Studies. July 2020, 224-226.
Ninna nanna prigioniera (Imprisoned Lullaby) by Rossella Schillaci, 2016. Journal of Italian Cinema and Media Studies, July 2018, 249-251.
Lost Diva, Found Woman: Female Representations in New Italian Cinema and National Television from 1995 to 2005 by Rada Bieberstein. Annali di Italianistica, June 2014, 680-683.
Michelangelo Antonioni. Interviews, edited by Bert Cardullo. Journal of Modern Italian Studies, September 2009, 380-381.
Man in Disorder: The Cinema of Lina Wertmuller in the 1970s by Grace Russo Bullaro. Modern Italy, vol. 15, No. 3, August 2010, 387-389.