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Serenella Iovino

Serenella Iovino

Professor of Italian Studies & Environmental Humanities
Graduate Italian Language Advisor
Affiliated Professor, Department of English and Comparative Literature
Dey Hall 218

Accepting graduate students 


Ph.D., Philosophy and Humanities, Università degli Studi di Urbino, Carlo Bo, Italy

MA, Laurea in Filosofia, Cum Laude, Università degli Studi di Napoli, Federico II

About Professor Iovino

Serenella Iovino's research approach has a strong interdisciplinary and transnational orientation. A philosopher by training, her work is internationally recognized in the fields of environmental humanities and ecocriticism, research areas to which she has contributed essays and volumes on such topics as environmental ethics, ecocritical theory, cultural landscapes, critical animal studies, biosemiotics, posthumanism, feminist ecocriticism, Mediterranean studies, new materialisms, environmental justice, land art, bioregionalism and place ethics, and a number of studies bringing Italy and Italian literature and culture into the foreground. She also investigated the relationships among philosophy, literature, and the natural sciences in XVIII-XIX-century Germany in essays and two book-length publications on the Age of Goethe.

In Italian Studies, her main areas of specialization are 20th-21st century Italian literature, culture, and environmental issues (from cultural landscapes to issues of political ecology and justice). Serenella has dedicated essays and articles to Italo Calvino, Primo Levi, Pier Paolo Pasolini, Anna Maria Ortese, Laura Conti, Gianni Celati, and examined contemporary artistic and filmic subjects. Her most recent publications in the field include Italo Calvino's Animals: Anthropocene Stories, and, as co-editor, Italy and the Environmental Humanities. Her Ecocriticism and Italy: Ecology, Resistance, and Liberation. winner of the AAIS and MLA book awards, will soon appear in a completely revised and updated Italian version as Paesaggio Civile: Storie di ambiente, cultura e resistenza, from the trade publisher Il Saggiatore.

Publications, Articles, & Presentations

Iovino, S. (forthcoming 2022). Paesaggio Civile: Storie di ambiente, cultura e resistenza. Milan: Il Saggiatore.

Iovino, S. (2021). Italo Calvino’s Animals: Anthropocene Stories. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Iovino, S., Enrico Cesaretti and Elena M. Past, eds. (2018). Italy and the Environmental Humanities: Landscapes, Natures, Ecologies. Charlottesville: The University of Virginia Press.

Oppermann, S. and S. Iovino, eds. (2017). Environmental Humanities: Voices from the Anthropocene. London: Rowman and Littlefield International.

Iovino, S. (2016). Ecocriticism and Italy: Ecology, Resistance, and Liberation. London: Bloomsbury. (Winner of the MLA’s Aldo and Jeanne Scaglione Prize for Italian Studies and the Book Prize of the American Association for Italian Studies, Category: 20th-21st

Iovino, S. and Serpil Oppermann, eds. (2014). Material Ecocriticism. Bloomington: Indiana University Press. 375 pp.

Iovino, S. (2006). Ecologia letteraria. Una strategia di sopravvivenza. Preface by Cheryll Glotfelty; Afterword by Scott Slovic, Milan. Edizioni Ambiente. 157 pp. (E-book reprint: 2014; 2nd Edition: 2015).

Iovino, S. (2004). Filosofie dell’ambiente. Natura, Etica, Società. Rome: Carocci. 159 pp. (Reprinted 2006, 2007, 2008).

Iovino, S., ed. (2000). Il ‘Woldemar’ di F.H. Jacobi, introduzione, traduzione e commento storico-critico. CEDAR. 335 pp.

Iovino, S. (1999). Radice della Virtù. Saggio sul ‘Woldemar’ di F.H. Jacobi. Naples: La Città del Sole. 325 pp.


Iovino, S. (2020), “Women Who Swim with the Whales: COVID-19, Ecological Disaster, and Dialogues Across Species and Generations,” Bifrost Blog, “The New Normal? An Environmental Humanities Response” (July 2020)

Iovino, S. (2020), Cross-species Conversations and the Coronavirus. Seeing the Woods: A Blog by the Rachel Carson Center (May 22).

Iovino, S. (2020), Hyperobject COVID-19. Fifteen-Eightyfour. Academic Perspectives from Cambridge University Press, Blog, May 14, 2020. Online.

Iovino, S. (2020), Gli uomini, gli animali e il virus, La Repubblica, May 12, 2020. Online.

Iovino, S. (2020), Il Coronavirus, visto da Chapel Hill, Rivista Il Mulino, April 24, 2020. Online


Iovino, S. (2022), “I dispiaceri della carne.” La Repubblica, Robinson, April 23: 18. Print.

Iovino, S. (2022), “L’amore degli animali in tempo di guerra.” La Repubblica, March 12: 38-39. Print.

Iovino, S. (2022), “Lucciole, dove siete? Il paesaggio nelle opere di PasoliniLa Repubblica, Robinson: Special Issue on Pier Paolo Pasolini, February 26: 21. Print.

Iovino, S. (2022), “Italo Calvino e il sapere degli alberi.” La Repubblica, January 9: 25. Print.

Awards & Honors

2017: MLA’s Aldo and Jeanne Scaglione Prize for Italian Studies for Ecocriticism and Italy: Ecology, Resistance, and Liberation.

2017: Book Prize of the American Association for Italian Studies for Ecocriticism and Italy: Ecology, Resistance, and Liberation (Category: 20th-21st Century).

2017: Seal of Excellence of the Marie Skłodowska Curie Action (H2020) for “ELICIT-The Environmental Humanities and Italo Calvino: Interpretation, Transdisciplinarity, and Educational Strategies.”

2014: “J. K. Binder” Lectureship in Literature: “Death in Venice: Bodies and the Discourse of Pollution from Thomas Mann to Porto Marghera.” University of California, San Diego.


2021 (Spring): Fellowship from the Institute of Arts and Humanities, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

2017-18: Carson Fellowship from the Rachel Carson Center for Environment and Society, Ludwig-Maximilians Universität, München.

2015: Alexander-von-Humboldt-Stiftung Follow-up Fellowship. Hosting institution: Rachel Carson Center for Environment and Society, Ludwig-Maximilians Universität, München.

2015: Carl-von Siemens-Stiftung Grant for Experienced Researcher.

2010-2012: Alexander-von-Humboldt Fellowship for Experienced Researcher. Hosting institution: Institut für Anglistik und Amerikanistik, Universität Augsburg.

Academic Appointments at UNC

Spring 2022, Interim Chair of the EURO Major, Center for European Studies

2020-2023, Member of the UNC Appointment, Promotion, and Tenure Committee (elected)

2019-present, Member of the Advisory Committee, Center for European Studies


Serenella Iovino is a series editor of “Under the Sign of Nature: Explorations in Ecocriticism” (the University of Virginia Press), co-founder and series editor of “Elements in Environmental Humanities,” Cambridge University Press, and of “Studien zur Kultur und Umwelt/Studies in Culture and Environment” (Peter Lang).

She is Co-director of Lagoonscapes: The Venice Journal of Environmental Humanties


Francesco Bratos (Italian Studies, completed 2020)

Massimiliano Cirulli (Italian Studies, completed 2019)

Emiliano Guaraldo Rodriguez (Italian Studies, completed 2020)

Gina Mangravite (Italian Studies, completed 2022)

Typical Courses

ROML-89.001, Environmental Issues in Literature and Film (FYS)

ITAL 320, Italian Cities and Cultures: History, Power, and Ecology.

ITAL 371, Italian Ecofiction in Global Perspective

ITAL 385, Italian Landscapes: Italy in the UNESCO World Heritage List

ITAL 388, Environmental Issues in Italian Literature and Film

ITAL 525, Italo Calvino in English

ITAL 571, Primo Levi in English

ITAL 830, Graduate Seminar in Italian

ITAL 840, Special Reading, Independent Course