Faculty Profile

James McMenamin

Assistant Professor of Italian (2009)

Contact Information


Bosler Hall Room 116


Prof. McMenamin specializes in medieval and renaissance Italian literature. He has published articles on Dante, Petrarch and Italian lyric poetry and is particularly interested in questions concerning medieval philosophy. In the fall, Prof. McMenamin will be teaching a medieval/renaissance survey of Italian literature (IT301: The Discourse of Love) and an intermediate Italian language course (IT116). In the spring, he will teach a topics course on the History of Italian Food (IT321) and an advanced Italian writing course (IT231). Prof. McMenamin has participated in the LGBTQQIA Pride@Dickinson Safe Zone Training.


  • B.A., Middlebury College, 1996
  • M.A., 1997
  • Laurea, Universit√† degli Studi di Firenze, 2001
  • Ph.D., Harvard University, 2008

2014-2015 Academic Year

Fall 2014

ITAL 116 Intermediate Italian
Intensive introduction to conversation and composition, with special attention to grammar review and refinement. Essays, fiction and theater, as well as Italian television and films, provide opportunities to improve familiarity with contemporary Italian language and civilization. Prerequisite: 104 or the equivalent.

ITAL 301 The Discourse of Love
What is Love? Through a diverse selection of works from authors such as St. Francis, Dante, Petrarch, Boccaccio, Lorenzo de' Medici, Pietro Aretino, Gaspara Stampa, and Veronica Franco, students will examine the nature of love from a variety of perspectives. From the spirituality of religion to the physicality of desire and attraction, this course will confront topics such as the medieval and Renaissance ideas of love (courtly love, the Dolce Stil Novo, and love sickness), theological notions of love (charity), different expressions of love (heterosexuality, same-sex attraction and polyamory), and transgressive types of love (lust, adultery, and prostitution). This course is taught in Italian. Prerequisites: 231 and 232, or permission of the instructor. This course fulfills the DIV I. b. distribution requirement. Offered every year.

Spring 2015

ITAL 101 Elementary Italian
Intensive study of the fundamentals of Italian grammar, with a view to developing reading, writing, speaking, and understanding skills. Laboratory and other audiovisual techniques are used. Cultural elements are stressed as a context for the assimilation of the language.

ITAL 322 Dante's Divine Comedy
Cross-listed with ENGL 399-01.Additional meeting time for FLIC students only – Monday 1:30-2:15pm in Bosler 313.

ENGL 399 Dante's Divine Comedy
Cross-listed with ITAL 322-01.Additional meeting time for FLIC students only – Monday 1:30-2:15pm in Bosler 313.

ITAL 400 Boccaccio's "Decameron"
This course will focus on Boccaccio's Decameron with a critical eye on the construction of the text and the stylistic complexity of the individual novelle. Students will be guided to study the use of rhetoric as a means of empowerment from a variety of perspectives. The course will culminate in a research project of interdisciplinary nature that reflects each student’s personal interests.