Deanna Shemek

Picture of Deanna Shemek
Professor, European Languages and Studies
School of Humanities
Ph.D., The Johns Hopkins University, 1988, Italian Studies
M.A., The Johns Hopkins University, 1986, Italian Studies
B.A., University of Nebraska, Lincoln, 1981, English
University of California, Irvine

Irvine, CA 92697
Research Interests
Italian literature, Italian and European history, women and gender studies, Renaissance and early modern studies, digital humanities, history of communications media
Research Abstract
I teach materials from the Italian literary tradition, especially narrative, from medieval works like Boccaccio's Decameron, up to contemporary fiction. My research is concentrated in the early modern (or Renaissance) period, with special interests in narrative and popular forms like the novella and the adventure romance epic, in humanist dialogues and treatises, and in personal letters.

My most recent book is on Isabella d'Este, marchesa of the Italian city state of Mantua, as a Renaissance correspondent. I co-direct the online digital environment IDEA: Isabella d'Este Archive. Through IDEA, a team of collaborators from the US, Italy, Scotland, and Australia creates research and learning tools to stimulate and facilitate teaching, learning, and research about the history, music, literature, art, and politics of early modern Italy. Featured projects in IDEA, each with a distinct PI, include an archive of over 28,000 manuscript letters, visualized in high resolution for reading and annotation; databases with visual and sound files of Renaissance music (in particular the popular songs known as frottole); a database that images and traces the itineraries of maiolica (illustrated, tin-glazed ceramic dishes) owned by Isabella d'Este and others; an extensive bibliography; and a number of films that IDEA researchers and artists have made.
Awards and Honors
2018 Award for best translation of a work by an early modern woman, for Isabella d’Este
Selected Letters. Society for the Study of Early Modern Women & Gender.

2018 Honorary Research Associate, Australasian Centre for Italian Studies.

2017 Online Jury Award for Isabella d’Este / Virtual Studiolo Video, Future Film Festival:
International Festival of Cinema Animation and New Technologies. 2-7 May.
Books authored and co-edited:
2021: In Continuous Expectation: Isabella d'Este's Reign of Letters. Centre for Renaissance and Reformation Studies: Toronto.

2019 Itinera chartarum: 150 anni dell'Archivio di Stato di Mantova. [Paper Trails: 150 Years of the Archivio di Stato di Mantova]. Saggi in onore di Daniela Ferrari. Edited by Roberta Piccinelli, Deanna Shemek, and Luisa Onesta Tamassia. Cinisello del Balsamo (Milan): Silvana Editoriale.

2017 Isabella d’Este: Selected Letters. Translated and edited by Deanna Shemek. Toronto and Tempe: Centre for Reformation and Renaissance Studies / Iter Academic Press and Arizona Center for Medieval and Renaissance Studies.

2008 Writing Relations: American Scholars in Italian Archives. Edited by Deanna Shemek and Michael Wyatt, in honor of Armando Petrucci and Franca Nardelli. Florence: Olschki.

2005 Phaethon’s Children: The Este Court and Its Culture in Early Modern Italy. Edited by Dennis Looney and Deanna Shemek. Tempe: Medieval and Renaissance Texts and Studies (MRTS).

2002 Adriana Cavarero, Stately Bodies: Literature, Philosophy, and the Question of Gender. Translated by Robert De Lucca and Deanna Shemek. Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press. Originally published in Italian as Corpo in figure: Filosofia e politica della corporeità. Milan: Feltrinelli, 1995.

1998 Ladies Errant: Wayward Women and Social Order in Early Modern Italy. Durham and London: Duke University Press. Translated into Italian as Dame erranti: Donne e trasgressione sociale nell’Italia del Rinascimento by Olivia Guaraldo, with an introduction by Adriana Cavarero and an afterword by Christiane Klapisch-Zuber. Mantua: Edizioni Tre Lune, 2003.
2016 Producer, Isabella d’Este / Virtual Studiolo Video.

2013– Co-Director, IDEA: Isabella d’Este Archive, open-access online resource for study of Italian Renaissance

2013- PI, IDEA: Isabella d’Este Archive Letter/e Platform
Selected essays:
2022 "Lives in Letters: Italian Renaissance Correspondence as Life Writing." In Historicizing Life-Writing and Egodocuments in Early Modern Europe. Edited by James Farr and Guido Ruggiero. London: Palgrave. 209-42.

2021 “Aretino’s Theatre” in A Companion to Pietro Aretino. Edited by Marco Faini and Paola Ugolini. Leiden: Brill. 237-70.

2021 “Diversity and Inclusion in Italian Studies Curricula.” In Studies in Italian Americana 14, Diversity in Italian Studies. Edited by Siân Gibby and Anthony J. Tamburri. 169-76.

2020 “Isabella d’Este’s Employee Relations.” In The Renaissance of Letters: Knowledge and Community, 1300-1650. Edited by Paula Findlen and Suzanne Sutherland. Oxfordshire: Taylor & Francis. 93-103. A shorter version of this essay appeared in Itinera Chartarum: 150 anni dell’Archivio di Stato di Mantova. Saggi in onore di Daniela Ferrari. Edited by Roberta Piccinelli, Deanna Shemek, and Luisa Onesta Tamassia. Cinisello del Balsamo (Milan): Silvana Editoriale. 195-200.

2019 “Digital Renaissance.” I Tatti Studies 22.2: 383-91. Translated and lightly revised as "Canocchiale digitale :nuovi orizzonti per lo studio del Rinascimento. In Rinascimento digitale: percorsi, progetti. esperimenti. Edi ted by Gianluca Genovese and Emilio Russo. Rome: Treccani, 2021. 157-70.

2018 “Renaissance Remix: Isabella d’Este Virtual Studiolo.” Co-authored with Antonella Guidazzoli, Maria Chiara Liguori, et al. Digital Humanities Quarterly.

2018 “Ariostan Armory: Feminist Responses to the Orlando Furioso.” MLN 133, no. 1: 148–59.

2018 “Conclusion.” In Trust and Proof: Translators in Renaissance Print Culture, edited by Andrea Rizzi, 251–56. Leiden and Boston: Brill.

2017 “Renaissance Princess, Digital New World: Isabella d’Este Archive.” Early Modern Women 11, no. 2: 115–25.

2014 “Laura Terracina.” In Liriche del Cinquecento, edited by Monica Farnetti and Laura Fortini, 170–98. Rome: Iacobelli Editore.

2014 “Verse.” In The Cambridge Companion to the Italian Renaissance, edited by Michael Wyatt, 179–201. Cambridge UK: Cambridge University Press.

2013 “Italian Sounds, Lost and Found.” Introduction to California Italian Studies 4, no. 1, co-authored with Arielle Saiber.

2013 “Doing and Undoing: Boccaccio’s Feminism (De mulieribus claris).” In Boccaccio: A Critical Guide to the Complete Works, edited by Victoria Kirkham, Michael Sherberg, and Janet Smarr, 195–204. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.

2008 “Mendacious Missives: Isabella d’Este’s Epistolary Theater.” In Writing Relations: American Scholars in Italian Archives, edited by Deanna Shemek and Michael Wyatt, in honor of Armando Petrucci and Franca Petrucci Nardelli, 71–86. Florence: Olschki.

2005 “The Collector’s Cabinet: Lodovico Domenichi’s Gallery of Women.” In Strong Voices, Weak Histories: Early Women Writers and Canons in England, France, and Italy, edited by Pamela Joseph Benson and Victoria Kirkham, 239–62. Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press.

2004 “‘Mi mostrano a dito tutti quanti’: Disease, Deixis, and Disfiguration in the Lamento di una cortigiana ferrarese.” In Medusa’s Gaze: Essays on Gender, Literature and Aesthetics in the Italian Renaissance, in Honor of Robert J. Rodini, edited by Paul A. Ferrara, Eugenio Giusti, and Jane Tylus, 49–64. Lafayette IN: Bordighera Press. Special issue, Italiana 11.

2003 “‘Ci Ci’ and ‘Pa Pa’: Script, Mimicry, and Mediation in Isabella d’Este’s Letters.” Rinascimento, seconda serie 43: 75–92.

2002 “Aretino’s Marescalco: Marriage Woes and the Duke of Mantua.” Renaissance Studies 16, no. 3: 366–80.

1998 “Books at Banquet: Commodities, Canon, and Culture in Giulio Cesare Croce’s Convito universale.” Annali d’Italianistica 16: 85–101.

1998 “Dall’insulto verbale all’oltraggio fisico: I racconti di Isabella de Luna del Bandello.” In La rappresentazione dell’altro nei testi del Rinascimento, edited by Sergio Zatti, 77–95. Lucca: Pacini Fazzi.

1995 “Circular Definitions: Configuring Gender in Italian Renaissance Festival.” Renaissance Quarterly 48, no. 1: 1–40.

1989 “That Elusive Object of Desire: Angelica in the Orlando Furioso.” Annali d’Italianistica 7: 116–41.

1989 “Of Women, Knights, Arms, and Love: The Orlando Furioso and Ariosto’s Querelle des Femmes.” MLN 104, no. 1: 68–97.
2020 UCI Humanities Center publication subsidy grant. 2020 PI, UCI Humanities Center Digital Projects Planning Grant / Office of Research Growth Investment Fund award for IDEA: Isabella d’Este Archive Letters Platform. 2019 PI, NEH Digital Advancement Grant, IDEA: Isabella d’Este Archive. Virtual Studiolo: 2017 PI, UC Humanities Research Institute, UC Irvine UCHRI Multi-Campus Faculty Working Group, for Isabella d’Este Virtual Studiolo. 2016 PI, Samuel H. Kress Foundation Digital Resources Grant, for proof-of-concept demonstration video of Isabella d’Este Virtual Studiolo. 2016 PI, Lila Acheson Wallace - Reader’s Digest Publications Subsidy at Villa I Tatti, for Isabella d’Este: Selected Letters. 2014–2017 Gary D. Licker Memorial Chair, Cowell College. 2013–2014 Co- Principal Investigator (Co-PI) with Elizabeth Alice Honig (UC Berkeley), UC Humanities Research Institute, UC Irvine, for study group “Early Modern Patterns.” 2013–2013 PI, UC Humanities Research Institute, UC Irvine, for convening of Residential Research Group “Digital Princess.” 2013–2013 PI, UCSC Board Opportunity Funds (Board of Trustees) for IDEA: Isabella d’Este Archive. 2012–2013 PI, Gladys Krieble Delmas Foundation Trustees, for seed funding of IDEA: Isabella d’Este Archive. 2012–2013 PI, UCSC Committee on Research Special Research Grant, for IDEA: Isabella d’Este Archive. 2012–2013 Co-PI with Daniela Ferrari (Director, Mantuan State Archives), Italian Ministry of Cultural Patrimony and Tourism (MiBACT), for digitizing correspondence of Isabella d’Este, Marchesa of Mantua. 2010–2011 Co-PI, Consortium of UC Humanities Center Directors, for California Italian Studies Multi-campus Research Group. 2009–2011 Co-PI, Teagle Foundation, Grant for Fresh Thinking Working Groups on Big Questions and the Disciplines, for “What is a Reader?”. 2002 PI, Lila Wallace - Reader’s Digest Endowment Fund Grant. 2002 PI, Barbara and Craig Smyth Publication Subsidy Grant. 2001–2002 Harvard Villa I Tatti Fellowship, Florence. 2001 Summer Stipend, National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH). 1995–1996 American Council of Learned Societies Fellowship. 1992 UC Regents Junior Faculty Fellowship. 1991 NEH Travel to Collections Grant, Naples. 1989 PI, American Philosophical Society Grant. 1988 NEH Fellowship, Newberry Library Center for Renaissance Studies, Summer Institute in the Italian Archival Sciences.
Professional Societies
Renaissance Society of America
Modern Language Association
Society for the Study of Early Modern Women
American Association of Italian Studies
California Interdisciplinary Consortium for Italian Studies
Research Centers
Director, UCI Center for Early Cultures (2021- )
Faculty Director, Digital Humanities Exchange (2019- )
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