Faculty Profile

James McMenamin

Associate 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 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 a beginner Italian language course (IT102). In the spring, he will teach a topics course on Dante's 'Divine Comedy' (IT322) and a Senior Seminar on Boccaccio's 'Decameron' (IT400). 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

2018-2019 Academic Year

Fall 2018

ITAL 102 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.Prerequisite: 101 or the equivalent

ITAL 103 Accelerated Italian
Accelerated study of the fundamentals of Italian language with the goal of developing reading, writing, speaking, and listening skills. Designed for native or proficient speakers of Spanish, French, or Portuguese, this course covers in one semester what is usually taught in two courses (IT101 and IT102). Due to the intensive nature of this course, students should plan to commit themselves to a fast-paced learning environment. Upon successful completion, students will be prepared to take IT201. There is no lab, but students are expected to attend the weekly Italian Table. We recommend that students already have at least two semesters of college study in a Romance Language (other than Italian) or 3 years of high school study in a Romance Language (other than Italian); or be a native or a heritage speaker of a Romance Language (other than Italian). Non-native speakers will be assessed through a placement test or a conversation with the instructor.

ITAL 201 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: 102 or the equivalent. This course fulfills the language graduation requirement.

ITAL 341 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. Offered every year.

Spring 2019

ITAL 231 Read/Writ Contemp Ital Culture
Designed to increase student's awareness of various rhetorical conventions and command of written Italian through analysis and imitation of model texts of a literary and non-literary nature. Two and a half hours classroom and one hour laboratory per week. Prerequisite: 201 or the equivalent.