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As a Ph.D. candidate in Italian Studies, I am finishing my dissertation, Bodies in Crisis: Technologization and the Limits of the Human in Modern Italy, which contends that the modern male subject, fortified by technological innovation, gains this status only through his relation to a disabled feminine other. By analyzing the physical manifestations of trauma in female characters, such as muteness, excessive speech, and paralysis, I show that the construction of a debilitated femininized other is as vital to the fantasy of modern subjecthood as the myth of heroic feats empowered by technology. My research intervenes directly into the study of literary modernism and the history of modern Italy by analyzing how Italy’s leading authors of the early twentieth century attempt to make sense of their masculine subjectivity, which seems threatened by the rise of the machine.
- Romance Studies