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Professor of Italian Studies & Environmental Humanities

Graduate Italian Language Advisor

Joint Appointment

Comparative Literature Affiliated Professor, Department of English and Comparative Literature | Dey 218

At UNC since 2019


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

Laurea in Filosofia (M.A. equivalent) cum laude, Università degli Studi di Napoli “Federico II”


Serenella Iovino’s research approach has a strong interdisciplinary and transnational orientation. Her work is internationally recognized in the fields of ecocriticism and environmental humanities, research areas to which she has contributed essays and volumes on such topics as ecocritical theory, cultural landscapes, bioregionalism and place ethics, posthumanism, feminist ecocriticism, Mediterranean studies, new materialisms, environmental justice, land art, 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 the award-winning Ecocriticism and Italy and, as co-editor, Italy and the Environmental Humanities.

A plenary speaker at conferences, seminars, and events at academic institutions in Europe, the US, China, Australia, Taiwan, in 2014 she was the holder of the “J.K. Binder Lectureship in Literature” at the University of California, San Diego.

Serenella is a member of the MLA Forum Executive Committee for 20th-21st century Italian (2019-2024) and of the Executive Council of ASLE. She works with academic organizations such as EASLCE (Past President, currently Advisory Board member) and AAIS, and sits in international juries for literary prizes and initiatives related to environmental culture and education. At UNC she serves on the Advisory Board of the Center for European Studies.

As a publicly engaged intellectual, she cooperates with the UNESCO Italian Commission, art foundations such as the Parco Arte Vivente, Torino Cinemambiente, and a number of festivals. Serenella has been hosted several times by the Italian National Television and Radio (RAI).

Since 1996, Serenella has published 4 monographs, 5 edited volumes, over 50 refereed essays (print & online), over 50 book chapters, and 35 journal articles (print & online; reviews not included). She has guest-edited 5 special issues of international journals.

Selected interviews:

To see Dr. Iovino’s full CV, click here.

Selected Publications


  • 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.
  • Iovino, S. and Serpil Oppermann, eds. (2014). Material Ecocriticism. Bloomington: Indiana University Press.
  • Iovino, S. (2006). Ecologia letteraria. Una strategia di sopravvivenza. Milan. Edizioni Ambiente. (2nd Edition: 2015)
  • Iovino, S. (2004). Filosofie dell’ambiente. Natura, Etica, Società. Rome: Carocci. (Reprinted 2006, 2007, 2008)
  • Iovino, S., ed. (2000). Il ‘Woldemar’ di F.H. Jacobi, introduzione, traduzione e commento storico-critico.  Padua. CEDAM. 335 pp.


  1. 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)
  2. Iovino, S. (2020), Cross-species Conversations and the Coronavirus. Seeing the Woods: A Blog by the Rachel Carson Center (May 22).
  3. Iovino, S. (2020), Hyperobject COVID-19. Fifteen-Eightyfour. Academic Perspectives from Cambridge University Press, Blog, May 14, 2020. Online.
  4. Iovino, S. (2020), Gli uomini, gli animali e il virus, La Repubblica, May 12, 2020. Online.
  5. Iovino, S. (2020), Il Coronavirus, visto da Chapel Hill, Rivista Il Mulino, April 24, 2020. Online

Courses Regularly Taught

  • ROML 89-001
  • ITAL 320
  • ITAL 385
  • ITAL 388
  • ITAL 830

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

  • 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).

Recently Directed Dissertations

  • Massimiliano Cirulli
  • Emiliano Guaraldo Rodriguez

Graduate Students Advised by Professor

Professor Iovino is currently accepting new advisees.