Academic Programs and Support

The Devers Program, together with the Medieval Institute and the Department of Romance Languages and Literatures hosted the 4th International Dante Seminar at the University of Notre Dame, September 25-27, 2003. The seminar, entitled “Dante's Cultures / Le Culture di Dante” attracted approximately fifty scholars from all over the world who gathered to discuss:

  1. Dante and Provençal Lyric Culture
  2. Dante and Ireland
  3. Dante and Aristotle
  4. Dante and Politics

Highlights of the meeting included a poetry reading by Nobel Laureate Seamus Heaney and an exhibition of recent rare book acquisitions organized and funded by the Devers Program in Dante Studies in the Department of Special Collections, Hesburgh Library organized by Mr. Ben Panciera.

During the fall of the 2003-2004 academic year the Devers Program continued its Distinguished Visiting Professorship in Dante and Italian Studies series with the appointment of the renowned Dante critic and novelist Franco Ferrucci, Professor Emeritus of Rutgers University and Distinguished Professor at the University of Macerata, Italy. After a distinguished career at Rutgers, where he held the highest professorial rank (Professor II), Franco Ferrucci had recently accepted the invitation of the Italian government to become Professor of Italian Literature at Macerata, in a national program designed to bring sixty of the greatest Italian intellectuals working abroad back to Italy.

Ferrucci taught an undergraduate seminar on Dante and a graduate comparative literature seminar on the Italian Romantic poet and philosopher Giacomo Leopardi.  The Devers Program co-sponsored with the Creative Writing Program a public reading by Ferrucci of his fiction in the Department of Special Collections on September 15, 2003.

The Devers Program continued its collaborations with the College Core Course in support of the teaching of Dante. For the second year in a row, faculty associated with the Devers Dante Program (Professors Cachey and Moevs of Notre Dame, and Professor Steinberg of the University of Chicago) gave the slide lecture "What's Wrong with this Picture: Reading Dante Reading Hell" to approximately 200 students in the Core in De Bartolo Hall on Monday, Jan. 26, 2004. The lecture was well received by faculty and students according to the reports of the Core Course. One senior colleague from the Department of History who taught in the Core during the Spring term wrote that it was "the best such performance I've seen at Notre Dame. I learned a lot, and came away excited about teaching the Inferno. You struck a wonderful balance between erudition and accessibility." Faculty associated with the Devers Program and Mr. Ben Panciera of the Department of Special Collections, once again organized library tours of the rare book holdings in the John A. Zahm Dante collection for Core Course faculty and their students.

Twenty teachers from South Bend area schools participated in the seminar "Dante's Inferno: Instructions for Use" led by Ted Cachey, Director of the Devers Program, in the Department of Special Collections, Hesburgh Library on March 17 and 31, 2004. The Devers Program was instrumental in establishing the Teachers as Scholars Program at the University of Notre Dame, and continues to support it both financially and through the regular contribution of seminars.

The Devers Program engaged in supporting the development of graduate level teaching and research in the medieval and Renaissance Italian areas at Notre Dame during 2003-2004:

  • the Devers Program organized and funded during academic year 2003-2004 the internship of Mr. James Kriesel, a Ph.D. student in the Medieval Institute with a specialization in medieval Italian, at the Italian national dictionary project in Florence, Italy, the "Opera del Vocabolario Italiano" (OVI);

  • the Devers Program has begun to provide stipend support for one M.A. student in Italian Studies, in order to maintain a minimum cohort in the Italian studies M.A. This stipend was granted to Brian Barone for its first year.

The Devers Program annually supports travel to collections and research travel for faculty and students as well as some support for affiliated faculty and students to attend scholarly meetings. During 2003-2004, the Program sponsored:

  • the travel of Professor Christian Moevs to two meetings of the Dante Society of America of which he is an elected Councillor;

  • the travel and tuition of Charles Leavitt, a graduate student in the Ph.D. in Literature Program with a focus on Medieval and Renaissance Italian literature who studied Italian at the University for Foreigners in Perugia, Italy.

Internet Research and Publications

The Devers Program has continued its support of the ItalNet project and renewed its agreement with the founding members of the consortium including the Opera del Vocabolario Italiano (OVI), the Italian National Dictionary Project in Florence, Italy; the ARTFL project of the University of Chicago and the Italian Studies Program of the University of Reading (UK).

The "Opera del Vocabolario" database, with more than 1,000 registered was updated and 200 new texts were added for a total of 1780 texts of vernacular Italian from before 1375, the date of the death of Boccaccio. As a founding member of the consortium the Devers Program has arranged for full-text access to this invaluable resource to Notre Dame faculty and students, available under password through this website.

Rare Book Acquisitions

A list of works purchased during the 2003-2004 academic year is available here.