Rhiannon Noel Welch

Associate Professor of Italian Studies; Giovanni and Ruth Elizabeth Cecchetti Chair of Italian Literature; Graduate Advisor


  • 6317 Dwinelle

Rhiannon Noel Welch works on modern Italian literature, film, and critical theory. Her first book, Vital Subjects: Race and Biopolitics in Italy, reads a range of canonical and lesser-known texts through the lens of biopolitics in order to demonstrate how race and colonialism have long been central to Italian modernity and national culture, rather than a fascist aberration or a contemporary phenomenon resulting from immigration.

Her current book project, Crisis and the Aesthetics of Deceleration, examines recurring figures of deceleration, dilation, and/or slowness, in Italian literature and film in light of the numerous biopolitical crises plaguing Italy and the world today (the coronavirus pandemic, climate change, mass migration, the failures of late capitalism, etc.).

For a complete bibliography of publications, click here.

Welch’s research has been supported by the American Council of Learned Societies, the Mellon Foundation, the Cornell University Society for the Humanities, the Cornell University Institute of European Studies, and the Rutgers University School of Arts and Sciences. Before joining the faculty at Berkeley, Welch held positions at Cornell University, Franklin & Marshall College, the University of California at Santa Cruz, and Rutgers University.

Recent courses taught include:

Aesthetics | Biopolitics | Crisis
Global Neorealism
Film Theory and World Cinema
(Post)colonial Italian Cinema
Landscape and Architecture in Antonioni, Rosi, and Pasolini
Race, Biopolitics, and the ‘Making’ of Italians
Working Slowly. Labor in Modern Italian Literature
Boomerang Effect. Migration in Italian Literature and Film
Visual Culture and Crisis
Poetics and Politics of Travel in Pier Paolo Pasolini