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Serenella Iovino

Serenella Iovino

James Gordon Hanes Distinguished Professor in Humanities
Graduate Advisor for Italian
Professor of Italian Studies & Environmental Humanities
Affiliated Professor, Department of English and Comparative Literature
Dey Hall 218

Accepting graduate students 


Ph.D. in Philosophy and Humanities, Università degli Studi di Urbino Carlo B0, in co-affiliation with the University of Padua; International tutorship: Ludwig-Maximilians Universität, Munich, Germany (1998).

Laurea in Filosofia (MA in Philosophy), University of Naples “Federico II.” Summa cum Laude (1994).

About Professor Iovino

Serenella Iovino's research approach has a strong interdisciplinary and transnational orientation. 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). While her main research interest are broader environmental constellations such as landscapes and human-animal relationships, Serenella has also 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.

She is author and editor of twelve volumes and over a hundred and fifty essays and articles. Her most recent publications are Gli animali di Calvino: Storie dall’Antropocene (Treccani, 2023, 1st ed. Italo Calvino's Animals: Anthropocene Stories, Cambridge University Press, 2021) and Paesaggio civile: Storie di ambiente, cultura e resistenza (Il Saggiatore, 2022, 1st ed. Ecocriticism and Italy: Ecology, Resistance, and Liberation, Bloomsbury, 2016, winner of the MLA Prize and American Association for Italian Studies Book Prize).

A philosopher by training and a public intellectual, she is a columnist of the Italian newspaper la Repubblica and a regular feature of the magazine Maremosso (Feltrinelli editore).

Bio photo credit to ©Dino Ignani

Publications, Articles, & Presentations


Iovino, S. (2023). “La libertà e i segni. Un’interpretazione biosemiotica di Primo Levi. (Con un pensiero sul virus).” Quaderni d’Italianistica, 42.3: 7-32.

Iovino, S. (2022). “Politics and Ecology Among Calvino’s Trees: An Exercise in Narrative Scholarship and the Environmental Humanities.”

Harvard Review of Philosophy: 57-69.

Iovino, S. (2022). “Das Haus. Die Wurzeln. Der Kosmos. Calvinos Umwelt und die Ökologie des Barons auf den Bäumen,” Zeitschrift für Ideengeschichte, Heft XVI/2 Sommer 2022: Der ligurische Komplex: 21-30.

Iovino, S. (2022). Primo Levi’s Chewing Gum: A Semantics of Resistance for the Anthropocene. In Italian Ecocriticism. Ed. D. Benvegnù and M. Gilebbi. Wilmington: Vernon Press. 21-38.

Armiero, M. and S. Iovino (2020). Le Environmental Humanities. In Enciclopedia Italiana di Scienze, Lettere ed Arti. Decima Appendice. Vol. I. Rome: Istituto dell’Enciclopedia Italiana Treccani. 39-44.


1. Iovino, S. (2023), "Se il topo è uno di noi." La Repubbica, Robinson, May 6: 14-15.

2. Iovino, S. (2023), “Radici verdi. Il Pantheon dell’ecolettore.” La Repubblica, Robinson, April 1: 5. Print.

3. Iovino, S. (2023), “Qualcuno tornerà a volare sul nido del dodo,” La Repubblica, February 2: Front page (1, 29). Print.

4. Iovino, S. (2022), “Ischia, la memoria del futuro.” La Repubblica, November 27: Front page Op. Ed. (1, 31). Print.

5. Iovino, S. (2022), “Sinistra, fai qualcosa di darwiniano.” La Repubblica, October 31: 12. Print.

6. Iovino, S. (2022), “L’amico d’infanzia dell’umanità” (Series Anime animali, #5). La Repubblica, October 25: 30-31. Print.

7. Iovino, S. (2022), “Sua maestà, il nostro sacro amico gatto” (Series Anime animali, #4). La Repubblica, October 6: 28-29. Print.

8. Iovino, S. (2022), “Scarafaggi alla riscossa” (Series Anime animali, #3). La Repubblica, August 31: 29. Print.

9. Iovino, S. (2022), “Il nostro pianeta delle scimmie” (Series Anime animali, #2). La Repubblica, August 22: 30-31. Print.

10. Iovino, S. (2022), “Il canto del dodo e degli estinti” (Serie Anime animali, #1). La Repubblica, August 19: 29. Print.

11. Iovino, S. (2022), “Gli intellettuali. Quando la parola non era talk show.” La Repubblica, Robinson, July 16: 6-7. Print.

12. Iovino, S. (2022), “Quei morti per il clima.” La Repubblica, July 5, Front-page Op. ed. Print.

13. Iovino, S. (2022), “Il codice Antropocene.” La Repubblica, July 1: 33. Print.

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

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

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

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

Awards & Honors

Awards & Honors

2021: Granted Permanent US Residency as Outstanding Professor.

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

Academic Appointments outside UNC

Summer 2023: Visiting Professor, of Italian Studies, Cambridge University.

Spring 2022: Visiting Professor of Environmental Humanities, Ca’ Foscari University, Venice.


Serenella Iovino is a co-founder and series editor of the “Cambridge Elements in Environmental Humanities,” Cambridge University Press, of “Studien zur Kultur und Umwelt/Studies in Culture and Environment” (Peter Lang), and "Barene" (Wetlands).

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

She is a member of the advisory board of a number of scholarly journals including PMLA, ISLE, Ecozon@, and Green Letters.


Recently Directed Dissertations

1. Francesco Bratos (advisor, Italian Studies, completed 2021)

2. Massimiliano Cirulli (advisor, Italian Studies, completed 2019)

3. Ugo Goetzl (advisor, Italian Studies, completed 2022)

4. Emiliano Guaraldo Rodriguez (advisor, Italian Studies, completed 2019)

5. Gina Mangravite (advisor, Italian Studies, completed 2022)

Current Graduate Advisees

1. Giorgia Bordoni (advisor, Italian Studies)

2. Giuseppina Gemboni (advisor, Italian Studies)

3. Valentina Graziuso (advisor, Italian Studies)

4. Emanuele Stefanori (advisor, Italian Studies)

5. Claudia Lombardo (advisor, Italian Studies)

6. Matteo Meloni (advisor, Italian Studies)

7. Daniele Meregalli (advisor, Italian Studies)

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

ROML 698, Seminar in Romance Languages: Capstone Course