Professor Essary completed his PhD in Italian Studies at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill in 2012. His dissertation title was "The Economy and Parody of Matrimony in Boccaccio’s Decameron," and reflects several research interests: Boccaccio, the Decameron, and matrimony in medieval and early modern Italy. In addition, he studies, writes on, and loves teaching the lives and works of Dante and Petrarch.
Samuele F. S. Pardini holds a Laurea degree in Letters and Philosophy from the Universita' degli Studi di Pisa, Italy, and an M.A. and a Ph.D in Comparative Literature from the State University of New York at Buffalo. Dr. Pardini's teaching and research interests focus on 20th century Italian studies, Italian American studies, American studies, cinema and literary criticism. He edited and translated into Italian two collections of writings of the famed critic Leslie Fiedler title Vacanze Romane: Un critico americano a spasso nell'Italia letteraria (Donzelli 2004) and Arrivederci alle armi (Donzelli 2005). He also edited The Devil Gets His Due: The Uncollected Essays of Leslie Fiedler (Counterpoint 2008; paperback edition 2010).
Dr. Pardini's work appeared in Annali d'Italianistica, Italian Americana, Modern Fiction Studies, American Book Review, The Cambridge History of Christianity, The New Catholic Encyclopedia, Interdisciplinary Humanities, The Grapes of Wrath: A Reconsideration (Rodopi 2009; Michale Meyer editor) and other publications. He's currently writing a book called In the Name of the Mother, a study of the trope of the mother in 20th century Italian, Italian American and African American literature and popular culture. A second work in progress, called Modernity on Wheels: Speed and Automobile Culture from Futurism to Fascism and the New Deal, examines the theme of speed in automobile culture of the first half of the 20th century in Italy and the United States. Before coming to Elon, he taught at UCLA and Vanderbilt University.
Dr. Pardini is also the coordinator of the American Studies Program and Faculty-in-Residence of the Honors Pavilion.
Marina M. Melita is currently finishing her Ph.D. at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. She is the 2012 recipient of the UNC-Chapel Hill award for Excellence in Undergraduate Teaching by a Graduate Student. In addition, she also won a nationwide competition for a Teacher Study Grant from Babilionia Centro per StudiItaliani in Taormina, Sicily. Prof. Melita spent two weeks at the center in Sicily before returning to Elon for the 2012-13 academic year.
Professor Melita’s research interests include American and Italian theatre, cinema, Italian women playwrights at the turn of the century, Pier Paolo Pasolini, Antonio Gramsci, and Italian culinary history. She holds a bachelor's degree in theatre from SUNY College at Brockport and a M.A. degree in Italian from Middlebury College. She has taught Italian at Duke University, Chi-cle Language Institute and Scuola Lorenzo de Medici in Florence, Italy, before coming to Elon.
During the 2012-13 academic year, Ms. Melita is serving as the acting coordinator of the Italian Studies Department and Faculty Advisor to the Italian Learning Community, La Casa italiana.
Michele Sguerri is a Ph.D. candidate (ABD) and teaching assistant at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. He is currently teaching Italian at UNC and Elon University. He was born and raised in Florence, Italy, but moved to Southern California at the age of 16. Professor Sguerri holds a bachelor's degree in psychology from California State University Long Beach, where he graduated cum laude in 2007. He started teaching at Elon in spring 2012. His current research focuses on the representations of the "anni di piombo" and political terrorism in cinema and fiction.