JCU’s Italy Reads Program featured in Margaret Fuller Society Newsletter "Conversations"

Italy Reads is a community-based English language reading and cultural exchange program that collaborates with 200 Italian high school teachers from over 60 high schools across Italy. Each year, one classic work of American literature is selected to be read.  The many themes presented by a work of literature, the author, and the social and historical context, allow high school teachers to develop lessons across subject areas.

The focus of the 2022-2023 edition of Italy Reads is Margaret Fuller’s Summer on the Lakes in 1843. Sarah Margaret Fuller Ossoli (1810-1850), better known as Margaret Fuller, was a writer, editor, translator, early feminist thinker, critic, and social reformer who was associated with the Transcendentalist movement in New England.

Margaret Fuller

Margaret Fuller

The Margaret Fuller Society played an important role in this year’s edition of Italy Reads, and it is an honor to be featured in the society’s newsletter Conversations. The Keynote Address “Thinking Through Fuller: Environment, Aesthetics, and Social Justice” was presented by Margaret Fuller Society member Katie Simon, Ph.D., Associate Professor in the English Department at Georgia College, Milledgeville, Georgia. Simon was introduced by Sonia Di Loreto, Ph.D., President of the Margaret Fuller Society and Associate Professor of Foreign Language and Literature and Modern Culture at the University of Turin. Professor Di Loreto presented “Margaret Fuller’s Rome.” These talks provided the public, as well as participating teachers and students, with the social and historical context of Fuller’s work, her role in the American Transcendentalist Movement, and her life. Of particular interest to the audience was the time Fuller spent in Italy as war correspondent for The New York Tribune.

Each year, the kick-off events include a Master Class by the Keynote Speaker for high school teachers in Italy who are participating in the program with their students. Professor Simon met with some of the over 65 participating teachers to discuss didactic aspects of teaching Summer on the Lakes in 1843 to Italian high school students. Simon commented that she was very pleased to see so many high school teachers and students reading and discussing this challenging work.

Professor Di Loreto also had the opportunity to attend one of the performances at John Cabot University of Still Waters: A Fuller Perspective produced by The English Theatre of Rome. Since its inception, Gaby Ford’s English Theatre of Rome has produced a theatrical adaptation of the work selected as the focus of the Italy Reads Program.

As an American university located in Rome, with an international student body, John Cabot University supports educators throughout our host country by fostering increased multicultural awareness. The Italy Reads Program, together with its spin-off programs, form the Programs for High Schools. These five programs offer opportunities for students to improve important job-related skills, engage in group activities with their peers and develop concrete outcomes, and expand their knowledge of other cultures. All activities are in English and free of charge.