Ellen Nerenberg


Ellen Nerenberg is Hollis Professor of Romance Languages & Literatures (Italian Studies) and Feminist, Gender, and Sexuality Studies at Wesleyan University, where she has been a faculty member since 1994. Her Prison Terms: Representing Confinement During and After Italian Fascism (University of Toronto Press, 2001) won the Howard R. Marraro Prize from the Modern Language Association for the best book on an Italian subject in the 2000-01 biennial. She is the co-editor of Writing Beyond Fascism: Cultural Resistance in the Works of Alba de Cèspedes (Fairleigh-Dickinson University Press, 2000) and co-editor and co-translator of Marco Baliani's Body of State: The Moro Affair, A Nation Divided (Fairleigh-Dickinson University Press, 2011).

Her study of three prominent murder cases in contemporary Italy and the cultural representations of the issues these murders gave rise to, Murder Made in Italy: Homicide, Media, and Contemporary Italian Culture, was published by Indiana University Press in March 2012.

She holds degrees from Stanford University and The University of Chicago.

Italian Studies
"The emphasis of Nerenberg’s study is decidedly local, considering each murder as ‘embedded in particular cultural, historical, and juridical contexts’ (p. 250), and aims to provide a ‘thicker description’, a reference drawn from Clifford Geertz’s framework for cultural anthropology. The result is a kaleidoscopic and endlessly fascinating vision of the subject of murder in contemporary Italy, which draws upon a dazzling range of discourses to tease out the layers of significance that each case contains in relation to the contemporary Italian con-text, recreating through painstaking research the web of possible cultural reverberations that any murder sits at the heart of." --Danielle Hipkins

Journal of Modern Italian Studies
"Ellen Nerenberg opens her excellent volume Murder Made in Italy by telling us that what we have in front of us are two books in one: there is the book that will satisfy both scholars and cultured generalists interested in the intersection of cultural studies, media studies, and studies in popular culture; and then there is the book that speaks more openly to scholars and students of Italian Studies. To combine the two is no easy task [....] Nerenberg however does this effortlessly. Theoretical complexity, underpinned by her expertise in gender studies, is matched by great clarity and an impressive apparatus of notes and references. The result is a book of great ambition and originality which deepens our understanding of recent decades of Italian culture." --Giuliana Pieri.

Quaderni d'Italianistica
"Il libro di Nerenberg si presenta come uno strumento indispensabile per una visione globale del delitto 'Made in Italy', mostrando come in esso crimine e punizione siano fortemente caratterizzati da elementi spurii, polarizzati e ibridizzati da miti folklorico-antropologici." --Luca Barattoni

Journal of Italian Cinema and Media Studies
"The strength of this book is the author’s commitment to utilizing a variety of critical tools, as well as catering her analysis for a range of audiences. As Neremberg states in her introduction, the book is designed not only for scholars and students in crime studies, media studies and studies on popular culture but also for those who have a more casual interest in these notorious cases and the social realities they unveil."
--Lucia Rinaldi

Selected Works

Nonfiction: Cultural Studies
This book is about the cultural significance of three prominent murder cases in contemporary Italy.
Nonfiction: Performance Studies, Terrorism Studies
This is a critical translation of Marco Baliani's acclaimed monologue exploring the kidnapping and assassination of former Italian Prime Minister Aldo Moro by the Red Brigades in 1978.
Nonfiction: Literary Studies, Italian Studies
Prison Terms examines spaces of confinement in Italian prose narrative between 1930 and 1960.

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