Peter Lesnik

Visiting Scholar, Italian Studies

(215) 898-8985

Williams Hall 536



Currently a visiting scholar and lecturer in Italian and Cinema & Media at the University of Pennsylvania, I received a Ph.D. in Italian Studies from Penn in the summer of 2019, with a dissertation that investigates Michelangelo Antonioni’s screen adaptations of preexisting literary works. Prior to my doctoral studies at Penn, I earned a B.A. and an M.A. from Ca’ Foscari University of Venice, with a master thesis on the narratological strategies of the American filmmaker David Lynch.


My research is positioned at the intersection of literature and visual cultures, and my preeminent research interests include contemporary Italian literature, Dante studies, cinema and media studies, adaptation theory, ecocriticism, postcolonial and transnational studies, and trauma studies. At Penn, I have taught Italian language courses at all levels (both in a classroom setting and online) and core courses in cinema and media studies (World Film History I and II). Favoring interdisciplinary approaches, global perspectives, and comparative methodologies, in my research and teaching I challenge notions of national and aesthetic purity, instead advocating for transnational cultural models based on hybridization and cross-cultural exchanges.




  • SAS Dissertation Completion Fellowship, UPenn 2018-2019 
  • Runner-up for the “Adaptation Essay Prize” (Adaptation, Oxford University Press), 2018 
  • Dick Wolf Graduate Student Service Award in Cinema and Media Studies, UPenn 2018 
  • Nominated for the Dean’s Award for Distinguished Teaching by Graduate Students, UPenn 2017 
  • Benjamin Franklin Fellowship, UPenn 2012-2017  
  • Salvatori Research Award, Center for Italian Studies, UPenn 2015
  • H. Clifford Fellowship, UPenn 2013-2014 





Peer Reviewed Articles


  •  “Michelangelo Antonioni’s Images of the Planet in the Anthropocene.” Synoptique 8.1 (2019): 15-31.
  • “Pavese, Antonioni, and the Specters of a Silenced Past: Adaptation and the Transmission of Historical Trauma.” Adaptation 12.1 (2019): 1-11.  


Articles in Preparation


  • “Failed Homecomings: Migration and Uprootedness in Cesare Pavese’s Late Novels.”
  • Officina tassoniana. A Copying Enterprise in Early 19th-century Modena.”  
  • “A Journey to the End of the World: Migration as Perpetual Condition in John Akomfrah’s The Nine Muses.” 


Peer Reviewed Book Chapters


  • “In una barchetta di carta. Derive della speranza nella narrativa di Guido Morselli.” Futuro italiano. Scritture del tempo a venire. Eds. Alessandro Benassi, Fabrizio Bondi, Serena Pezzini. Lucca: Pacini Fazzi, 2012. 215-229.


Book Chapters by Invitation


  • “Spettrali sovrapposizioni. Danza e ingegneria sociale in Amore e ginnastica di Edmondo de Amicis.” Parole su due piedi: su danza e letteratura italiana. Eds. Stefano Tomassini and Andrea Torre [Forthcoming; Rome: Editoria & Spettacolo; 7542 words]


Office Hours
Mondays 7-8pm and Wednesdays 7-8pm