Modern and Classical Languages and Literatures

112 Swan Hall, 60 Upper College Road, Kingston, RI 02881

languagesdepartment@etal.uri.edu401.874.5911 (p); 401.874.4694 (f)

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Catherine Sama

  • Professor of Italian, Section Head
  • Swan Hall 106 Office Hours: By Appointment
  • Phone: 401.874.4721
  • Email:
  • Mailing Address: Swan Hall 106


Catherine Sama is an Italian American of Calabrian extraction. Venice is her home away from home. She teaches a wide range of courses from low- and high-intermediate Italian language and culture courses to advanced courses in Italian literature and film. She specializes in Italian dramatic cinema from Neorealism to the present; genocide in Italian literature & film; Giovanni Boccaccio’s Decameron; and Venetian women writers, including Veronica Franco (1546-91), Moderata Fonte (1555-92), Luisa Bergalli Gozzi (1703-79) and Elisabetta Caminer Turra (1751-96).

Her research explores the ways in which Italian women of the eighteenth-century created spaces for themselves in literary and artistic professions by drawing on male patronage, networking with other women, and carefully negotiating of the gendered boundaries of their society.  Her work focuses on three Venetian women: the journalist-publisher, Elisabetta Caminer Turra (1751-96), the poet-playwright Luisa Bergalli Gozzi (1709-1779), and the artist Rosalba Carriera (1763-1757). Her current book project (with co-translator Julia Kisacky) is a scholarly edition of Rosalba Carriera’s correspondence in English translation for the “Other Voice in Early Modern Europe” series edited by Margaret King and Al Rabil (Toronto Series)


Early Modern and 18th-Century Italian Women Writers, Correspondence Networks, The Italian Enlightenment, Italian Women Artists, Gender Studies


Ph.D. Italian Studies, Brown University, 1995

B.A., French major, Italian minor, University of Virginia, 1985



Italy’s Eighteenth Century: Gender and Culture in the Age of the Grand Tour, edited by Paula Findlen, Wendy Roworth, and Catherine M. Sama  (Stanford: Stanford University Press, 2009).

Elisabetta Caminer Turra, Selected Writings of an Eighteenth-Century Venetian Woman of Letters. Edited, translated and with an introduction by Catherine M. Sama (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2003)


“‘On Canvas and on the Page’:” Women Shaping Culture in Eighteenth-Century Venice,” in Italy’s Eighteenth Century: Gender and Culture in the Age of the Grand Tour, edited by Paula Findlen, Wendy Roworth, and Catherine M. Sama  (Stanford: Stanford University Press, 2009), 125-150; 383-393.

“Luisa Bergalli e le sorelle Carriera: un rapporto d’amicizia e di collaborazione professionale,” in Luisa Bergalli poetessa drammaturga traduttrice critica letteraria, edited by Adriana Chemello (Mirano-Venice: Eidos, 2008), 59-75.

“Access to the ‘Other Voice’: Reading Italian Women Writers in North America,” in La storia di genere in Italia in età moderna (Roma: Viella Editrice, 2014), 197-211.


“Liberty, Equality, Frivolity!  An Italian Critique of Fashion Periodicals.” Eighteenth-Century Studies vol. 37, no. 3 (2004): 389-414.

“Becoming Visible:  a Biography of Elisabetta Caminer Turra (1751-96) During Her Formative Years.” Studi veneziani N.S. LXIII  (2002): 349-388.


• URI Foundation Teaching Excellence Award winner, 2017

• National Endowment for the Humanities Research Fellowship, 2014

• American Association of University Women American Postdoctoral Research Leave Fellowship, 2001-2002

• Gladys Krieble Delmas Foundation Grant, 1993, 1991

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