Assistant Professor of Italian
Director of the Italian Studies Program
B.A., Lafayette College
M.A., University of Pennsylvania
Ph.D., Yale University
Daniel Leisawitz is Assistant Professor of Italian and Director of the Italian Studies Program. He teaches elementary and advanced Italian with an interactive, communicative approach that has students speaking Italian from the first day of class. Italian instruction at Muhlenberg is based on "Spunti", a free, online curriculum for Italiain language co-authored by Prof. Leisawitz and Prof. Daniela Viale. "Spunti" is an OER, an open educational resource available for free on the web to anyone who wishes to use it. In addition to language courses, Prof. Leisawitz teaches a growing roster of courses on Italian literature and culture, including: Italian Theatre: Spectacle, Tradition & Innovation; Translating & Performing Italian Drama; Jewish-Italian Literature & Culture; and Italian Cities in Italian Cinema.
His areas of expertise include Italian cinema, Italian Renaissance and 20th-century literature, the intersection of technology and the arts, and Jewish-Italian culture. His latest scholarly articles include: "The Orlando Furioso Atlas: A Ditigal-Cartographic Study of a Sixteenth-Century Epic," in Italian Culture 37.2 (2019); and "Crescenzo del Monte, Jodìo Romano: A Jewish-Roman Poet and Linguist in Fascist Italy," in Italica 97.2 (2020).
Prof. Leisawitz believes strongly in the importance of involving his students in original research. His ongoing digital humanities project, The Orlando Furioso Atlas, which he is building together with student researchers, consists of a cartographic representation and analysis of Ludovico Ariosto's sixteenth-century epic romance, The Orlando Furioso. The website allows scholars and students to explore this fundamental text in innovative ways.
In addition to his scholarly and popular articles Prof. Leisawitz does translation work, focusing on Italian film and media studies. His latest book-length translation, The Lumière Galaxy: Seven Key Words for the Cinema to Come, by Prof. Francesco Casetti, was published in March 2015.