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Gaetana Marrone-Puglia was the recipient in October 2009 of the First Prize by the Fondazione Internazionale Rubbettino, Italy, for editing the Encyclopedia of Italian Literary Studies (Routledge 2007), “an international project which represents a mission of great interest and scholarly commitment.” In March, she was awarded the title of “Cavaliere dell’Ordine al Merito della Repubblica Italiana” (“Knight of the Order of Merit of the Italian Republic”) by Giorgio Napoletano, president of Italy. The Order is the highest-ranking honor in the republic. She has lectured internationally on the role of the female performer in modern Italian theater, Primo Levi, Francesco Rosi, and Sicily in the Mediterranean; and has published articles on Holocaust memory, the role of the actor in Betti’s plays, Eleonora Duse, and a critical bibliography of filmmaker Liliana Cavani.This year she serves in the Modern Language Association Delegate Assembly and as Associate Chair in the Department of French and Italian.
Rena Lederman gave talks around the US and Europe based on her comparative studies of disciplinarily. One set of talks concerned the ways in which anthropologists and historians talk about their own and one another’s primary research (fieldwork, archival research). The other set of talks considered how anthropologists, sociologists, and psychologists construe the researcher/researched relationship. She organized a symposium on the politics of method at the American Anthropological Association meeting, where also gave a talk called “Swimming lessons” (anthropologists being fond of complaining that their training is a “sink-or-swim” affair). Her current teaching relates to these themes: ethnographic field method courses for anthropology undergraduates and graduate students and a course called “The uses of deception in magic and science." Finally, Prof. Lederman completed a chapter on “Ethics” (also from a comparative perspective) for a forthcoming Handbook of Social and Cultural Anthropology to be published by Berg next year, and will be teaching a graduate seminar on that theme in the spring.
Anne Cheng's book, Second Skin: Josephine Baker and the Modern Surface, is out. Through the figure of Josephine Baker, Second Skin tells the story of an unexpected yet enduring intimacy between the invention of a modernist style and the theatricalization of black skin at the turn of the twentieth century. Stepping outside of the platitudes surrounding this iconic figure, Anne Anlin Cheng argues that Baker's famous nakedness must be understood within larger philosophic and aesthetic debates about, and desire for, 'pure surface' that crystallized at the convergence of modern art, architecture, machinery, and philosophy. Through Cheng's analysis, Baker emerges as a central artist whose work engages with and impacts various modes of modernist display such as film, photography, art, and even the modern house.
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