English Department

Faculty: Grace Russo Bullaro

My academic interests, stated broadly, include cultural and intellectual movements such as Modernism, Postmodernism, Existentialist philosophy and gender studies. The content areas that I deal with most frequently include American culture, and Italian cinema (in the latter, especially the work of directors Roberto Benigni, Lina Wertmüller and “new” Italian cinema).

Like many people transplanted at an early age, I developed a compelling interest in the cultural component of identity formation. Much of my work has implicitly or explicitly addressed the question: How does our culture shape who we are, on an individual and collective level? Over the past decade my focus has been largely on socio-political and cultural issues in the context of identity politics and global cultural exchanges. The new millennium has been characterized by an unprecedented redefinition and erasure of boundaries. New geo-political realities have emerged, for example the Euro-zone has largely erased previous national boundaries and has made possible an unimpeded flow of people across entry and transit points. Figurative boundaries have also been redefined. Formerly rigorously defined institutions like marriage, the family and its structure, racial definitions, and cultural hegemony and subjugation have been the subject of intensive study. Indeed, the very nature of communication also needs to be rethought in the wake of Facebook and the revolutions, both social and political, that it has inspired. My belief is that in a world increasingly shaped by the global/local paradoxes, understanding one culture aids us in understanding global trends. My work aims to comprehend crucial issues such as racism, globalization, migratory flows and economic systems. I approach these critical issues not only through literature, but also through current mediums such as film, television and “new media”. For the past 3 years I have had the privilege of collaborating with “Italian Studies at Oxford University”, an international community of researchers who study migration and how it impacts on culture. As Head Researcher for the North American team investigating cinema, I’ve had the pleasure of organizing our New York conference and participating in others where scholars from as far away as Australia met to share the latest ideas and theories about the globalization process and how it shapes migratory flows.

Not surprisingly, the range of courses that I have taught over the years has been very broad. I’ve taught French and Italian at other institutions, and here at Lehman for the past twenty years I have enjoyed teaching narratives of the Western tradition such as The Odyssey and The Divine Comedy just as much as teaching about Surrealism, Existentialist Literature, Postmodernism, and a host of other subjects.


  • Appointed by Oxford University (Italian Studies at Oxford Program) as Head Investigator of North American Team of International Study Project on the representation of Migration in Italian Contemporary Cinema. Project to run between 2009 and 2012
  • Phi Beta Kappa
  • Chancellor's Award for Excellence in Teaching-SUNY Stony Brook
  • Adjunct Teacher of the Year, Lehman College


• From Terrone to Extracomunitario: New Manifestations of Racism in Contemporary Italian Cinema (Jan. 2010)

• Man in Disorder, The Cinema of Lina Wertmüller in the 1970s (2007)

• Beyond Life is Beautiful, Comedy and Tragedy in the Cinema of Roberto Benigni (2005)

Work in Progress:

• Shaping and Shifting a National Identity: Migration Literature in Italy Today.

Articles (Selected):

“Estrangement and De-Familiarization in John Lawlor’s Sunday.” Short Film Studies Vol 1, No. 2, 2011.

“Counterpoint and Commentary on War in The War is Over”. Short Film Studies Vol 1, No. 1, 2011: 29-32.

“From Terrone to Extracomunitario: A Snapshot of Italian Society in a Globalized World.” In From Terrone to Extracomunitario, New Manifestations of Racism in Contemporary Italian
Cinema: Shifting Demographics and Changing Images in a Globalized, Multi-cultural Society. Ed. by Grace Russo Bullaro. Leicester, UK: Troubador Publishing Ltd. (Italian Studies Series) 2010, xiv-xliv.

“Old and New Definitions of Race and Ethnicity Across Cultures: Boyz-n-the-hood and Ciao Professore.” In From Terrone to Extracomunitario, New Manifestations of Racism
in Contemporary Italian Cinema: Shifting Demographics and Changing Images in a Globalized, Multi-cultural Society . Ed. by Grace Russo Bullaro. Leicester, UK: Troubador Publishing Ltd. (Italian Studies Series) 2010: 147-177.

“Quanto contera’ l’eredita’ artistica di Benigni? Il Rianimatore di un’identita”. In America Oggi7 (Sunday Edition) May 24, 2009): 2, 6.

"Interrogando Benigni: A colloquio per due giorni con la professoressa Grace Russo Bullaro" in America Oggi7 (Sunday edition July 13, 2008): 1, 4-7.

“Blue Collar, White Hat: The Working Class Origins of Celebrity Super-Chef Jacques Pepin" In Columbia Journal of American Studies Spring 2008. (Also online at http://www.columbia.edu/cu/cjas/Jacques_Pepin.html )

“Grace Bullaro Interviews Lidia Bastianich on Terroir, Cuisine, Globalization and Cultural Identity.” Columbia Journal of American Studies vol. 8, 2007: 174-192.

“Daisy Martinez Discusses Passion, Latino Culture and Cuisine” In Columbia Journal of American Studies Monthly (Online Magazine) Feb. 2007. http://www.cjasmonthly.com/Daisy_Martinez.html

“’Civilization is Marching Up Our Hill’: Globalization and the Ligurian ‘Peasantry’ in Annie Hawes’ Extra Virgin.” Journal of Popular Culture. v.40 n.2 (Feb. 2007).

“The Fictitious Genius of Lina Wertmüller’s 1970s Films: A Look at the American and Italian Views” Forum Italicum vol. 40, no. 2 (Fall 2006): 487-499.

“The Trajectory to Life is Beautiful and Beyond It.” Introductory Chapter in Bullaro, Grace Russo. Beyond Life is Beautiful, Comedy and Tragedy in the Cinema of Roberto
Benigni. Leicester, England: Troubador Publishing Ltd., 2005: 19-37.

“Beer, Sweat and ‘Cojones’: the Masculinization of Cooking and the FoodTV Network.” Columbia Journal of American Studies Vol. 7, no. 1 2006: 66-77.

“Frances Mayes’ Bella Tuscany and the Reconfiguration of Self and Home.” Essays in the Arts and Sciences. Vol. XXXIV No. 1 (Summer 2005): 7-19.

“Salvatore Morelli, John Stuart Mill and the Victorian Angel of the Hearth: Women’s Rights and the Paradox of Feminine Role Paradigms.” In Forum Italicum. Vol. 39, n. 1 (Spring 2005).

“Emeril Lagasse: Poster Boy for Postmodernism” Columbia Journal of American Studies” Vol. 6, no. 1 (2004): 50-57.

“Roberto Benigni’s Life is Beautiful and the Protection of Innocence” Post Script Vol. 23, No.1 (Fall 2003): 13-27.

“Guy Ritchie’s Swept Away: Is there an Echo in this Room?” Forum Italicum (Fall 2002): 457-459.

“What’s An Anarchist? Exploring the Boundaries of the Personal & Political inWertmüller’s ‘Love and Anarchy’.” Forum Italicum 35:2 (Fall 2001):457-472.

“Racist Discourse in the Absence of Racial Difference in Wertmüller’s ‘Ciao Professore’.” Forum Italicum 33:2 (Fall 1999): 507-522.

“’Man in Disorder’ and Human Perfectibility in Wertmuller’s Seven Beauties.” Italian Culture XV (1997): 371-388.

“Jean Genet: Gay Deceiver or Repressed Homosexual?” In Flowers and Revolution, ed. Barbara Read. London: Middlesex University Press, 1997: 73-84.

“The Political Education of a Bumpkin: The Emergence of Individualism and the Rejection of Marxism in Wertmüller’s The Seduction of Mimi.” Italian Culture XIV (1996): 351-

“Rape-and-Conquest: Male Domination and the ‘Natural Order’ in Wertmüller’s Swept Away.” Italian Culture XIII (1995): 309-321.

“Blade Runner: The Subversion and Redefinition of Categories.” Riverside Quarterly (Aug. 1993) 9:2 : 102-109.

“Il Piacere di Gabriele D’Annunzio: Nota critica a proposito del diario di Maria Ferrès.” Gradiva (1990-1991) 4:4 : 140-143.

Last modified: Nov 15, 2013

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