Italian, Italian Literature and Cinema, Italian history, Italian Women Filmmakers, Contemporary Italian Women Writers, Italophone Literature, Theories of the Sacred, Pier Paolo Pasolini, Subversive Hagiographies, Cinema and the Sacred, Liliana Cavani, Wri


Stefania Benini is currently teaching at Temple University and Philadelphia University. She was the Lauro De Bosis Fellow in the Romance Languages and Literatures Department at Harvard University (2014-15). She was formerly Assistant Professor of Romance Languages and Undergraduate Chair of Italian at the University of Pennsylvania (2007-2014), where she was a Penn Humanities Forum Mellon Faculty Fellow in 2013-14. Her main research interests are theory of the sacred in cinema and the gaze and the voice of Italian and Italophone women writers and filmmakers. She has a Ph.D. in Italian Literature from Stanford University. Her volume on Pier Paolo Pasolini’s immanent vision of the sacred, titled Pasolini: The Sacred Flesh, came out in September 2015 for Toronto University Press. She is currently working on a second book project on Italian Women Directors in the New Millennium. She has also translated in Italian works by Bruce Sterling, William Gibson, Jack Kerouac and Lawrence Ferlinghetti.

Curriculum Vitae

Selected Publications


  • Pasolini. The Sacred Flesh, September 2015, Toronto University Press. A book in which Benini explores the incarnational matrix of the Sacred in Pier Paolo Pasolini’s works in cinema and literature and his immanent reading of Christian themes such as Saintliness and Caritas. She presents Pasolini, one of the most influential intellectuals and filmmakers of postwar Italy, as a forerunner of contemporary political debates on a materialist interpretation of the Christian legacy.

Articles and book chapters

  • Book Chapter in the volume “Sister in arms: Italian Women at War from the Unification to the Twentieth Century”, edited by Susan Amatangelo for Farleigh Dickinson University Press, 2016; pp. 149-163; the chapter is titled “A Sister without Arms: the Myth of Antigone in Liliana Cavani’s The Cannibals.”
  • Book chapter in the 2014 volume Il cinema di Marco Tullio Giordana, edited by Federica Colleoni, Elena Dalla Torre and Inge Lanslots for the Italian publisher Vecchiarelli, titled “I sommersi della Meglio Gioventù.” Refereed, pp. 157-186.
  • “Televised Bodies: Berlusconi and The Body of Italian Women,” published in Journal of Italian Cinema and Media Studies, 1:1, September 2012: pp. 87-102 (refereed)
  •  “A Face, a Name, a Story:” Women’s Identities as Life Stories in Alina Marazzi’s Cinema”, a special issue on Italian Women Directors of Studies in European Cinema, edited by Flavia Laviosa, 8:2, 2011: pp. 129-139 (refereed)
  • “Amelia Rosselli e la poesia della differenza,” published in the Italian Poetry Review for the number 5, 2011 issue (refereed): pp. 273-295
  • “Alla scoperta della realtà per reinventarla: il cinema di Roberta Torre,” an interview with the Italian director Roberta Torre, published in the volume Zoom “d’oltreoceano”: istantanee sui registi italiani e sull’Italia, Manziana (RM): Vecchiarelli, 2010, edited by Daniela De Pau and Simone Dubrovic: pp. 221-242
  • “Per una lettura girardiana di Teorema: dall’espulsione al sacrificio,” in Identità e desiderio. La teoria mimetica e la letteratura italiana, Massa: Transeuropa, 2009, edited by P.P. Antonello and G. Fornari: pp. 167-184.

Courses Taught

  • History of Italian Cinema
  • Italian History on Screen
  • The Holocaust in Italian Cinema and Literature
  • Pasolini and Calvino
  • Italian Women Filmmakers
  • Italian Women Writers
  • History of Italian Literature
  • Exploring World Literature – Traumatic Childhoods
  • From Fiction to Film
  • Italian Cinema and the Sacred
  • Masterpieces of Italian Cinema
  • Visible Cities
  • Italian Neorealism
  • Madness in Italian Cinema and Literature
  • Elementary Italian