Francesca Calamita headshot

Francesca Calamita

Associate Professor of Italian & Director of UVA in Siena and Florence

I am a feminist scholar with a passion for travelling, tasting new cultures and learning different languages; I have been inspired by a variety of empowering women from several countries during my academic career and life to become the professor and person I am today. I work in the area of women, gender and sexuality in European and global contexts, and I am internationally recognised for my publications on the fictional depiction of eating disorders and other complex relationships with body and food in Italian literature and culture. Women’s voices and visibility are at the centre of my research and teaching and I am a strong advocate of for women’s rights in and outside the university context. I was born in Italy, where I continue to spend much time during breaks, and have lived in a number of countries, including New Zealand - where I earned my PhD -, a place which has become part of my identity and where I am proud to have part of my academic whānau [Māori for family]. My stays in the Middle East and my extensive travelling around Asia, Australia and the Pacific Islands have taught me that seeing the world widens your horizons and transforms you into a better version of yourself; the best way you have to connect with another culture is to learn its language; words matter and the way they are used can tell you much about societies and their challenges. I became a university professor to empower students in their journey to knowledge and to attempt to create a fairer world with them. My teaching philosophy can be summarised in these words of this quote by Toni Morrison: “If you are free, you need to free somebody else. If you have some power, then your job is to empower somebody else”.  I look forward to teaching “Food for Global Feminist Thought” in the Engagements, sharing my knowledge and passions, and helping first-year students to critically reflects on feminist issues around the world and how we can free and empower others around us. Will you help me to break the glass ceiling?