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Ph.D. Candidate in Italian

Advised by Professor Ennio Rao

tbulling@live.unc.edu | Dey 217

At UNC Since 2013


Education

M.A., Italian Studies, Florida State University, 2010
B.A., Italian & Sociology, Florida State University, 2007

Bio

Tessa is a PhD candidate in Italian Studies and recipient of the prestigious Roysters Dissertation Completion Fellowship. Her profound interest in interdisciplinary and cultural studies is manifested in her dissertation, “Beyond the Bizarre: The High-Stakes Interplay of Gender, Genealogy, Patronage & Illness in the Sixteenth-Century Italian Epic Poem”. Grounded in Literary Criticism and Cultural Studies, Tessa’s project centers on the court of Federico II Gonzaga, and the authors and artists whose works he commissioned. This work has led her to explore avenues into the History of Medicine, Art History and Anthropology among others, while issues relating to the representation and commodification of sex and gender remain forefront in her assessment of literary texts and visual art. An accomplished scholar, Tessa’s dedication has been recognized through numerous research and travel grants, which have supported her work domestically and abroad. Experienced in working with Rare Books and Manuscripts, as well as Archival documents, in Fall 2018 she is the recipient of the distinguished Reynolds-Finley Research Fellowship in the History of Medicine, and will travel to the UAB to perform specialized research into sixteenth-century pox, and associated literature. From female warriors to monstrous maladies, Tessa’s interests encompass material studies, the social upheaval of the early modern period, and the significance of understanding disease as a reciprocally influential product of socio-cultural forces.

With over 100 library books currently checked out, she worries that she may be blacklisted, if she does not complete the dissertation by March 2020 as anticipated.

Along with her scholarship, Tessa has been an active member of the UNC teaching community, involved in numerous initiatives across campus, and recipient of the Dana Drake Award for Excellence in Undergraduate Instruction. She spent 2015-2016 teaching Study-Abroad students in Florence, Italy as part of ROMS’ Scholar Exchange program. It is her passion for teaching which led her to pursue the degree that has enabled Tessa to develop into a serious scholar and researcher, and it is this spark, that guides her everyday interactions with students.

When not acquiring excessive numbers of texts, or in front of the classroom, Tessa enjoys spending time outdoors with her partner and their pups – working in the yard, hiking and traveling among many other activities that bring her delight and help her to clear her mind.

Recent Fellowships and Awards:

  • Roysters Society of Fellows Dissertation Completion Fellowship. UNC – CH. 2018 – 2019
  • Reynolds-Finley Historical Library Fellowship. U of Alabama at Birmingham. 2018
  • Off-Campus Dissertation Research Fellowship. UNC – CH. 2018
  • Sarah Malone Small Research Grant. MEMS UNC – CH. 2018
  • Dana Drake Award for Excellence in Teaching. UNC – CH. 2017
    Kenan Fellowship. UNC – CH. 2017
  • Penny and Howard Aldrich Research Fellowship. UNC – CH. 2015
  • Future Faculty Fellowship Program. Center for Faculty Excellence. UNC – CH. 2015
  • MEMS Small Research Grant. UNC – CH. 2015
  • Travel Award. Department of Romance Studies. UNC – CH. 2015
  • Scholar Exchange Program 2015 – 2016. UNC – CH. 2015 – 2016
  • Teaching Fellowship. Department of Romance Studies. UNC – CH. 8/2013 – Present

Recent Conferences:

  • Guest Lecture. Title: “Moderata Fonte’s Urania & Female Subjectivity in Sixteenth-Century Art and Literature.” 11/2017
  • UNC Graduate School 3 Minute Thesis. Title: “Beyond the Bizarre: The High Stakes Interplay of Gender, Genealogy, Patronage and Illness in the Sixteenth-Century Italian Epic Poem.” 10/2017
  • UNC/Duke MEMS Conference. Title: “Naming an Adversary: Fracastoro’s Syphilis and a Disordered Continent.” 2/2017
  • American Association of Italian Studies. Title: “Reworking Marfisa: Character Appropriation in Giovanbattista Dragoncino’s Marfisa bizarra.” 3/2015
  • NCCMEMS Conference. Title: “Approaching Unity through Loss of Identity: Abjection and the Maternal Body in Angela of Foligno’s Memoriale.” 2/2015
  • Carolina Conference on Romance Literatures. Title: “Warped Idealism: The Influence of Ideology as Depicted in Bellocchio’s Buongiorno Notte.” 4/2014

Publications

  • Annali d’Italianistica. Book review of: The Renaissance from an Italian Perspective: An Anthology of Essays 1860 -1968. Ed. Rocco Rubini. Forthcoming in the 2015 edition.