American Studies <i>as</i> Italian Theory


Mena Mitrano
Loyola University Chicago

American Studies as Italian Theory

Considering Roberto Esposito's narrative of Italian Theory, according to which Italian Theory first started as a US-based phenomenon and only later irradiated in other parts of the world, this paper explores the consequences of that narrative and the questions that it might raise for American Studies: Might Italian Theory rightfully belong to the Americanist's domain of inquiry? If so, what impact might it have on the identity of the Americanist? What is an Americanist?  The paper argues that this new wave of theory illuminates the confluence of American Studies and critical thought, both involved in a simultaneous movement of deterritorialization that pushes them outside their established boundaries.

Keywords: American Studies, literary and cultural theory, Italian American Studies, Italian Theory


American Studies; literary and cultural theory; Italian American Studies; Italian Theory

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Published : 2017-06-30

MitranoM. (2017). American Studies <i>as</i&gt; Italian Theory. Review of International American Studies, 10(1). Retrieved from

Mena Mitrano
Loyola University Chicago, John Felice Rome Center  United States

Mena Mitrano is an Adjunct Professor of Literature at Loyola University Chicago, the John Felice Rome Center, where she convenes the Discourses of Modernity Seminar, which is part of a new international network on Italian Thought and European Philosophies (WORKITEPH). Her new book, In the Archive of Longing: Susan Sontag’s Critical Modernism (Edinburgh University Press, 2016), continues her investigation of the intimate link between modernism and theory. Mitrano is the author of Gertrude Stein: Woman Without Qualities (Ashgate 2005), Language and Public Culture (Edizioni Q 2009) and the co-editor of The Hand of the Interpreter: Essays on Meaning After Theory (Peter Lang 2009). Her essays appeared in Modern Language Studies, Women’s Studies, College Literature, Callaloo, Post Script: Essays in Film and the Humanities, and Modernism/Modernity; she has also contributed entries to the Routledge Online Encyclopaedia of Modernism (edited by Stephen Ross). She serves on the editorial board of the RSA Journal (Rivista di Studi Americani), the official journal of the Italian Association of North American Studies.

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