Lecture Series

Spring 2022 Lecture Program


Tuesday, February 22

David Broder: The Current Italian Political Situation – A conversation with SUF Faculty

David Broder is an English translator and historian. He studied International History at the London School of Economics, in 2017 completing his PhD with a dissertation on the World War II-era communist movement in Rome. He is Europe editor at Jacobin magazine and a regular contributor to the New Statesman and Internazionale, mostly writing about Italy’s contemporary politics and twentieth-century history. He is author of First They Took Rome: How the Populist Right Conquered Italy.


Tuesday, March 1

Jonathan K. Nelson: “Black Africans in European Adorations of the Magi: the Power of the Image” (In collaboration with Black History Month Florence.)

When Africans appear in most Medieval and Early Modern images, they play the roles of slave or servant, but numerous Adoration of the Magi paintings show one of the three kings as Black. As long noted by specialists, this reflects biblical passages which indicate that one king came from Sheba, traditionally thought to be in Africa. Our exploration of fascinating but little-known works takes us from France (1300s) to Italy (1400s, 1600s), and Portugal before ending in England (1800s). This journey allows us to see how the Black magi embodied widely divergent messages in different places and eras, and how these images helped transform how Africans were seen in Europe.

Jonathan K. Nelson has taught art history at Syracuse University Florence since 1994. He is also a Research Associate at Harvard University, and co-editor of the “Elements of the Renaissance” series at Cambridge University Press. Professor Nelson has published extensively on Italian Renaissance art, with books and exhibition catalogues on Leonardo, Michelangelo, Botticelli, Filippino Lippi, Plautilla Nelli, and art patronage. In 2021 he co-authored and co-edited volumes on Negative Reactions to Italian Renaissance Art and Representing Infirmity, and an article on Christian Ethiopians in Filippino’s paintings.


Monday, March 14

Vivilla Zampini: An Interview

Vivilla Zampini is a fashion entrepreneur, CEO of Es’givien, a company that produces women’s clothes while being engaged in a project of circular and sustainable economy, collaborating on various projects with some NGOs. Some of the projects are concerned with raising awareness about violence against women – genital mutilation, included.


Monday, March 21

Vera Gheno: “Words Don’t Come Easy: Communication Stress in the Era of Social Networking”

In today’s society, in the midst of the so-called Anthropocene, where many seem convinced of the greater importance of images, words remain our most advanced communication technology. Why is it so easy to misuse them, and what can be done to use them better, avoiding accidents that can negatively affect one of the most precious things we own, our reputation?

Vera Gheno is a linguist who works as an external faculty member of the University of Florence, the University for Foreigners of Siena and the Florentine branch of Middlebury College. Since 2000, she has been collaborating with the “Accademia della Crusca” – the most important research institution of the Italian language – managing the Accademia della Crusca’s Twitter account.
Her first monograph is from 2016: Guida pratica all’italiano scritto (senza diventare grammarnazi); and in 2017, Social-linguistica. Italiano e italiani dei social network (both for Franco Cesati Editore). In 2018, she was co-author of Tienilo acceso. Posta, commenta, condividi senza spegnere il cervello (Longanesi). In 2019 she published: Potere alle parole. Perché usarle meglio (Einaudi), La tesi di laurea. Ricerca, scrittura e revisione per chiudere in bellezza (Zanichelli), Prima l’italiano. Come scrivere bene, parlare meglio e non fare brutte figure (Newton Compton). Femminili singolari. Il femminismo è nelle parole (EffeQu); and in 2020 the ebook for Longanesi Parole contro la paura. Istantanee dall’isolamento. Since the end of 2020 she has co-led the program Linguacce which airs on Radio1Rai.


All lectures take place at 6:30pm at the Villa Rossa in Room 13.
Due to strict Covid protocols, events are limited to Syracuse Florence students, faculty and staff.