Giuseppe Tosi

Professor Tosi gained his Laurea in Lettere e Filosofia cum Laude at the Università degli Studi di Salerno, where he graduated with a dissertation in Modern American Literature dealing with post-Second World War American writers.

He then moved to London, where he studied at King’s College, and eventually won a scholarship to study at Johns Hopkins University, where he received his Ph.D. in Modern Italian Literature. In 1998, he joined Georgetown University’s Italian Department. Professor Tosi’s scholarly investigation mainly focuses on the 19th and 20th centuries, and has always been drawn to research questions that spring from the intersection of literature, history and political theory. He is currently concentrating on two major subjects: the writings of Primo Levi and the philosophy of biopolitics, and the discourse of Nation in Italy from the unification to the Second World War. The first subject explores the legacy of the Shoah in postwar Jewish-Italian literature, with an emphasis on Primo Levi’s writings, and his recurrent themes: the human psyche in extreme situations (such as those of the extermination camps), work as means of healing trauma, and Jewish identity after the Shoah and the destruction of Eastern Europe's Jewish communities. The second subject, instead, focuses on the construction of the Italian national identity from the Risorgimento to the civil war during the last two years of the Second World War, and has been a long lasting interest of Professor Tosi. In fact, in 1999, Professor Tosi authored and published a book entitled L’eredità morale del Gattopardo: il discorso inattuale di Tomasi di Lampedusa, a substantially revised version of his doctoral dissertation. The work explores the political, social and philosophical background that inspired Lampedusa’s interpretation of the Risorgimento and his critical position towards the socio-political world after the unification of Italy. Professor Tosi has published a variety of articles in the most prestigious American and European Literary journals, and is an active participant in conferences and seminars. His publishing activity began when he was still a graduate student at Johns Hopkins University, when he authored and published a collection of essays, entitled Coscienze infelici. Cinque momenti della letteratura italiana, focusing on Guinizelli, Boccaccio, Castiglione, Svevo and Pavese. In the book, he suggests that literature’s most illuminating myth is not Sheherazade, with her attempt to defeat death, but the labors of Sisyphus, which speaks to the creator’s timeless toil in the wake of futility. He also cultivates an interest in the Opera Lirica, especially the works of Rossini (he has published an article Il Barbiere di Siviglia), Puccini, and Monteverdi, in whose Operas he plans to explore the relationship between the Renaissance court and its self-representation in musical melodrama. Professor Tosi enjoys sharing his interest in art history with his students and has held seminars on Lorenzo Lotto and Lavinia Fontana at the National Gallery of Art and at the National Museum of Women in the Arts in collaboration with the Italian Department and the Circolo Italiano of Georgetown University. During his years at Georgetown, Professor Tosi has taught both undergraduate and graduate students in a variety of language and upper level courses, and has helped to organize several workshops and seminars bringing together scholars from leading Italian and American academic institutions. He has an ongoing collaboration with his colleagues and other Georgetown University faculty members to develop the Italian department's language curriculum.