Giordana Poggioli-Kaftan
Dr. Giordana Poggioli-KaftanMarquette University

Lalumiere Hall, 462

MilwaukeeWI53201United States of America
(414) 288-6831

Teaching Associate Professor of Italian

Languages, Literatures and Cultures

Dr. Giordana Poggioli-Kaftan is an Adjunct Assistant Professor of Italian Language, Culture, and Literature in the LLAC Department at Marquette University. She brings her broad international experience and preparation to this position. She grew up in Rome, Italy, where she obtained her first university degree. She taught Italian in Germany for three years before completing her master's degree in Spanish Languages and Literature at the University of Wisconsin at Milwaukee. While teaching Italian and Spanish at Marquette, she completed her doctoral degree in Modern Studies in the department of English at the University of Wisconsin at Milwaukee.

At Marquette, she has developed Italian language classes through film to better incorporate language study with culture. She has also developed classes on Italian Food Culture; Literary and Filmic Representations of Mafia and Antimafia; Art, Fashion, and Nation. All of her courses foster an interdisciplinary approach to teaching. Her teaching style and interests reflect her commitment to her scholarship. She publishes articles that stress interdisciplinary and rigorous cultural resistance analysis to national normative discourses that create subalternate otherness.

Her ethical commitment to writing in defense of the oppressed translates into her pedagogical approach in the classroom, where she advocates for diversity and inclusion, especially for students of different cultural backgrounds and learning styles. She teaches beyond the classroom, and her kitchen often becomes a space for learning language, culture, and kinship. She enhances students' language and cultural experience by taking them to Italy for summers' study abroad.

Dr. Poggioli-Kaftan created the Interdisciplinary Italian Studies minor at Marquette and serves on various department committees. Above all, she has been consistently contributing to Marquette University's academic excellence by regularly publishing in outstanding academic journals. She has been mentoring her students in scholarly research thanks to numerous grants she has been awarded.

She takes Ignatian spirituality and cura personalis et apostolica seriously, as the following student's evaluation demonstrates:

“Love her. Giordana Kaftan is an amazing woman, and I feel so lucky to have known her in my undergraduate experience. She is highly intelligent, worldly, maternal (not in an old matronly way, but in a homey, nostalgic way that makes me think of my own mother), hilarious, considerate, thoughtful, caring, kind, and both relaxed and serious. There were a few days of the semester when I was having a very rough time emotionally, and she was the ONLY person- friends, roommates, and professors included- to notice and ask me if I was okay. Usually, she knew that I wasn't okay even before I was aware of it. She has that sixth sense that only mothers have, and I really wish that I had her as a freshman, when I was doing much, much worse. I am tearing up as I write this because it is just occurring to me how much I needed a person like her in this time of my life. Marquette administrators, take note: hire more women. Giordana is extra special, and no one will ever compare, but we do need more female and non-male representation among faculty. Representation really, really matters.”


M.A. in Languages, Literatures and Cultures, 1997; University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee

Ph.D. in Modern Studies, Department of English, 2018, University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee

Courses Taught

  • Adjunct Instructor of Italian language, culture and literature
  • Spanish language classes at University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee


1. Articles in print 


Italy's Unification and its Discontents: Giovanni Verga's 'Cos'è il re. Journal of Modern Italian Studies, Vol. 24, No. 1 (2019)

Sicily's Historical Traumas: Luigi Pirandello's "L'altro figlio" and its Cinematic Rendition by Paolo e Vittorio Taviani in Kaos (1984).  Italian Studies in Southern Africa, Vol. 32 No.2. 


Italian Unification's Blind Spot: Verga's "Libertà" and Vancini'" Cronaca di un massacro che i libri di storia non hanno mai raccontato. Forum Italicum. 

The 'Third Space' in Luigi Capuana' Gli americani di Rabbato.  Italian Studies in Southern Africa, Vol. 31 No. 2. 

2. Forthcoming Publications 


Modernity's Fears of Depopulation and Sterility in Mario Sironi's Urban Landscapes. Forum Italicum. December 2020.

The Unmaking of a Nation: Maria Messina's "Casa paterna." Italian Studies in Southern Africa. 



2019                          Mafia: Its genesis, structure and history

                                  Madison Workmen Club

2019                          Antimafia: Civil society involvement in fighting the Mafia

                                  Marquette University Conference on Humanities

2019                          An improbable comparison: Virginia Woolf's A Room of One's Own

                                  and Maria Messina's "Casa paterna"

                                  AAIS Conference- Wake Forest University     

Faculty & Staff Directory


Department of Languages, Literatures and Cultures
Lalumiere Hall, 474
1310 W. Clybourn St.
Milwaukee, WI 53233
(414) 288-7063

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