Hilary Emerson


Professor Emerson teaches Italian language, literature, and film at the University of Rhode Island. Dr. Emerson is the coordinator of the Beginning and Intermediate Italian Language Program as well as the faculty advisor for the Italian Club. Teaching specializations include: Italian language and society, modern and contemporary literature, film and media studies, and feminist and gender studies.


Research interests include: Lina Mangiacapre’s avant-garde films, transnational feminist cinema, girlhood in European cinema, Italian film, film theory, ecofeminist theory, and mad studies. Pedagogical interests include: diversity and inclusion, intercultural learning, and film literacies — a pedagogical approach based on the multiliteracies framework.

Dr. Emerson’s current book project, which started in the archives in Naples and Rome, analyzes Lina Mangiacapre’s and Annabella Miscuglio’s feminist films. By addressing the work of two understudied directors, this project throws light on the notable yet neglected contributions of Naples-based Mangiacapre and Rome-based Miscuglio to Italian film history. Through an analysis of Mangiacapre’s avant-garde art films and Miscuglio’s docufilms, the book explores the emancipatory potential of breaking the bounds of narrative, documentary, film, and society.


• Ph.D., Italian with a specialization in Gender & Film Studies, University of Wisconsin-Madison

• B.A., Italian Studies & International Relations, Wheaton College (MA), summa cum laude

Selected Publications

Emerson, Hilary. “The Performative is Political in Naples: Lina Mangiacapre’s Avant-Garde Feminist Films.” Journal of Italian Cinema and Media Studies 12, 2 (Forthcoming 2024).

Emerson, Hilary. “Reframing Madness with Avant-Garde Film: Lina Mangiacapre’s Feminist Collaboration at the Asylum.” The Italianist 41, 2 (2021): 323-337.

Brugnolo, Furio. “Continuation and Conclusion of an Interpretation of Dante’s Vita nuova XXII,” trans. by Hilary Emerson, in Interpretation and Visual Poetics in Medieval and Early Modern Texts, ed. by Beatrice Arduini, Isabella Magni, and Jelena Todorović, 204-216. Leiden, Boston: Brill, 2021.