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Giorgio Bertellini is an assistant professor of screen arts and cultures and of Romance languages and literatures at the University of Michigan. He is a film historian who specializes in race in silent European and American film. His forthcoming book “Characters of the Picturesque: Atlantic Racial Geography, Southern Italians, and Early Cinema” looks at how early Italian and American cinema reworked representations of landscapes and faces in the visual arts to convey entertaining notions of racial difference.
While at Radcliffe, Bertellini will work on a new project, “Divo/Duce,” which examines how Italian icons like Mussolini and Valentino moved from being exotic attractions to viable models of masculinity in 1920s American social and political life. This study of popular stardom will show whether and how their notoriety indexed a new complicity between Europe and America that affected public representations of racial and gender identities, ideals of romance, and the aestheticization of political leadership.
Educated in philosophy and film studies at the Catholic University of Milan, Bertellini received a PhD in cinema studies from the Tisch School of the Arts at New York University. He is the author of Emir Kusturica (Il Castoro, 1996) and of numerous essays on silent film aesthetics and reception; editor of The Cinema of Italy (Wallflower Press, 2004) and Silent Italian Cinema: A Reader (Indiana University Press, forthcoming 2008); and coeditor of The Nation/National in Early Cinema (Indiana University Press, forthcoming 2008). His work has been supported by the Michigan Society of Fellows, the Consiglio Nazionale delle Ricerche, and the Fondazione Bellonci.