Associate Professor of Italian and Comparative Literary and Cultural Studies
Franklin University Switzerland
Hello! My interest in oral history comes from Queer Studies. A few years ago I was looking at LGBTQ+ family planning and I noticed a lot of assumptions were being made, specially with regard to surrogate mothers. I decided to interview surrogate mothers and let their voices speak for themselves to the extent that it was possible. As a gay father who sometimes speaks out about my reproductive and parenting choices, I found that storytelling was very gratifying and empowering compared to classical research. I have increasingly wanted to “play” with oral history, also as a way of bringing other subject matters “closer” to students; connecting them to stories that they could relate to even if they seemed othering, or alien, at first. For example, films of the Italian 1960s can be experienced as alienating to the current generation of students I teach at Franklin. Students may “see” the beauty of the film but don’t feel it as relevant to the historical moment they are living: the film remains distant, like a museum framed piece, untouchable. Lecturing to them about the historical importance of these films has limited impact, in my experience, compared to the experience of involving students in interview projects where they are asked to reach out to people for whom the films of the Italian 1960s can be explained at the level of affect. An older generation talking about why and how the experience of watching a film by Michelangelo Antonioni was significant for them is a precious document to create. My goal is to give value to these documents and to collect them in an archive to share widely.
Personal pronouns: He, him, his
Interests: Italian Film, Queer Theory, Performance, Creative Writing, Oral History, Pedagogy