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Italy in the White House Symposium Scholarly Contributors

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Barbara Faedda

Barbara Faedda is Associate Director of the Italian Academy for Advanced Studies at Columbia University, where she also serves as Adjunct Assistant Professor in the Department of Italian. Faedda received her Ph.D. in Legal Anthropology and Social Science from the “S. Orsola Benincasa” University of Naples after studying at “La Sapienza” University of Rome. She is co-author of Luoghi di frontiera. Antropologia delle mediazioni and author of I mille volti della moda, and has contributed to books and articles from the publisher Il Mulino and others. A forthcoming article, “Foreigners, immigrants, and travelers in America in Da Ponte’s time,” will appear in Power and Seduction. Da Ponte’s “Tre Drammi” printed in New York 1826: Figaro, Don Giovanni and Axur. Faedda is currently working on a volume about the history of Italian Studies at Columbia University from the early 19th century onward.

Among Faedda’s interests are the numerous Italian intellectuals, patriots, exiles, politicians, scientists, artists and scholars in the United States from the 18th to the 21st centuries, including Philip Mazzei and Costantino Brumidi. She will co-moderate a panel on U.S.-Italy connections, bringing an Italian perspective to the discussion and provide concluding remarks that emphasize the fruitful contribution of Italy and Italians to political, cultural, and intellectual life in America.

Campbell Grey

Campbell Grey is Associate Professor in the Department of Classical Studies at the University of Pennsylvania, where he is a residential Faculty Fellow of King’s Court English College House. Grey is the recipient of a Mellon New Directions Fellowship and several Loeb Classical Library Research Fellowships. He has also served as a Research Fellow at the Herbert D. Katz Center for Advanced Judaic Studies and in the Penn Humanities Forum on “Connections.” He holds a BA in Ancient History and Archaeology from the University of Auckland, a M.A. in Environmental Studies from the University of Pennsylvania, a MPhil in Ancient History from the University of Sydney, and a Ph.D. in Classics from St John's College in Cambridge, England.

Grey is a social historian of the Roman and post-Roman world. He is interested in the complex and multidimensional legacies of ancient Rome in contemporary American cultural, political, and intellectual discourses, and co-curated the “Rome and America” exhibition at the National Constitution Center, Philadelphia, in 2010. As co-director of the Roman Peasant Project, he has conducted ethnographic, archaeological, and geological fieldwork in Tuscany, Italy. Grey’s keynote presentation will provide an illustrated overview of more than 200 years of U.S.-Italy history with a focus on links to the White House and American presidents.

Meredith Levin

Meredith Levin is the Western European Humanities Librarian at Columbia University. She holds a B.A. in English and American Literature from New York University, a M.S. in Library and Information Science from Long Island University, and a M.A. in Italian Studies from New York University. Levin was previously a reference associate and the Librarian for Italian Studies at New York University. She has presented at the American Association of Italian Studies, the Italian American Studies Association, and the Modern Language Association.

Levin is steeped in Columbia University’s vast collection of unique materials on Italian intellectual history, literature, and cultural relations with the United States. The library, which originated in part from the holdings of Lorenzo da Ponte, the famed Mozart librettist and the university’s first professor of Italian, includes rare manuscripts and correspondence from Italian patriots and historical figures. Levin’s presentation will address myriad topics related to interactions among Americans and Italians, connections between the two countries, and the impact of these on the White House and U.S. presidents.

Curtis Sandberg

Curtis Sandberg serves as Director of the David M. Rubenstein National Center for White House History and as Senior Vice President of Educational Resources under the aegis of the White House Historical Association. Before joining the Association, he was Senior Vice President for Arts and Cultural Programs at Meridian International Center in Washington, D.C., where he directed the Meridian Center for Cultural Diplomacy and created projects with the U.S. government and other nations for audiences in this country and abroad. Sandberg holds a B.A. degree in classical archaeology from the University of California, Santa Barbara, and A.M. and Ph.D. degrees in anthropology from Harvard University.

Sandberg has had extensive museum experience in the United States, Europe, and Asia, working in a variety of fields. He has collaborated on archaeological projects in the Middle East, Europe, and the United States, and lived in Italy for many years, carrying out excavations and historical research in the Dolomites and the Venetian region. As a Rotary International Fellow, Sandberg studied ancient topography at the University of Padua. He is also a Fulbright-Hays Fellow, a Harvard Sinclair-Kennedy Fellow, and a Whiting Fellow. Together with Barbara Faedda from Columbia University, Sandberg will co-moderate the panel on U.S.-Italy connections.

Mortimer Sellers

Mortimer Sellers is Regents Professor of the University System of Maryland and Director of the University of Baltimore Center for International and Comparative Law. He writes and teaches about constitutionalism, liberty, and the history of the rule of law. Professor Sellers received his A.B. from Harvard College, a J.D. from Harvard Law School, and a BCL and DPhil from Oxford University, where he was a Rhodes Scholar and Frank Knox Fellow. He has served as a visiting scholar at Cambridge University, Georgetown University Law Center, Erasmus University Rotterdam, and the Academy of International Law in The Hague.

Among his publications, Republican Legal Theory (2003), The Sacred Fire of Liberty (1998), and American Republicanism: Roman Ideology in the United States Constitution (1994) discuss the influence of Roman and Italian legal ideas on the United States. Sellers is (with David Gerber) editor of the Cambridge University Press series “ASCL Studies in Comparative Law” and (with Mark Agrast) of the series “ASIL Studies in International Legal Theory.” His interdisciplinary work addresses the impact of ancient Roman legal and philosophical concepts on international law, legal history, and international human rights. His presentation will address the impact of ancient Rome and Italy on the White House, U.S. presidents, and the executive branch.

Richard Guy Wilson

Richard Guy Wilson holds the Commonwealth Professor's Chair in Architectural History at the University of Virginia. He received his B.A. at the University of Colorado and Ph.D. at the University of Michigan. A frequent lecturer and television commentator, he has also published widely with many articles, exhibitions, and books on different aspects of American and modern architecture including The American Renaissance (1979), McKim, Mead & White, Architects (1982), Machine Age in America (1986), Thomas Jefferson’s Academical Village (1993, 2009), and the Campus Guide: University of Virginia (1999, 2012). Since 1979 he has led the Victorian Society’s 19th Century Summer School, which is located in Newport, Rhode Island.

Among Wilson’s areas of interest is Thomas Jefferson’s architecture and the role it played in the early republic. He is working on a volume about Jefferson’s travels in Europe and their impact on his buildings, along with another book on Monticello. Wilson has participated in the current “Jefferson and Palladio” exhibition in the Palladio Museum in Vicenza, Italy. His discussion will explore the ancient Roman and Italian roots of White House architecture.