Claudia Consolati

Visiting Assistant Professor, The University of the Arts

My dissertation, Sacred Madness: Women, Religion, and Folly in Postwar Italian Cinema, is the first study to identify the character type of the female holy fool in postwar Italian cinema and delineate its phenomenological grammar until 1968 in works by Rossellini, Fellini, and Pasolini. I draw on feminist studies of female mysticism and on the affective spirituality of the late Middle Ages to argue that these heretical, scandalous, and anti-dogmatic cinematic female holy fools promote positive Franciscan and feminine values that counter the desacralization of postwar Europe’s modernization and industrialization.


Research interests: Italian cinema, film studies, gender studies, intersections between mysticism and film, 20th- and 21st -century Italian literature


Courses taught:

Wanderers and Vagabonds in Cinema (Summer 2014)

Postwar Italian Cinema

Beginning, Intermediate, and Advanced Italian


Fellowships and Awards:

--SAS Dissertation Completion Fellowship (School of Arts and Sciences, University of Pennsylvania, 2013-2014)

--Best Graduate Student Paper (SAMLA, November 2012) (nominated)

--Salvatori Award, Dissertation Research Grant (Center for Italian Studies, University of Pennsylvania, Summer 2012)

--Phyllis Rackin Fellowship for Feminist Scholarship in the Humanities, Dissertation Research Grant (Gender, Sexuality, and Women’s Studies, University of Pennsylvania, Spring 2012)

--Andrew W. Mellon Graduate Research Fellow (Penn Humanities Forum, University of Pennsylvania, 2011-2012)

--Excellence in Teaching Award (Department of Romance Languages, University of Pennsylvania, 2010-2011)



“Grotesque Bodies, Fragmented Selves: Lina Wertmüller’s Women in Love and Anarchy.” Italian Women Filmmakers and the Gendered Screen. Ed. Maristella Cantini. Palgrave McMillan (forthcoming December 2013). 

“Motherhood and Interrogation in Valeria Parrella’s Novel Lo spazio bianco (2008).” Italica (forthcoming 2014).

“Fellini’s Female Holy Fools: Giulietta Masina in La Strada and Nights of Cabiria.” Proceedings of the conference, Fellini: Disorderly and Passionate Genius of Italian Cinema. Franco Casati editore (forthcoming 2014).

“Speaking Papers, Written Sounds: Female Voice and Oral Tradition in Maria Famà’s Looking for Cover.” La Fusta 18 (2010): 69-82.