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Domietta Torlasco

Professor of Italian and Comparative Literature; Director of Undergraduate Studies in Italian

PhD, University of California, Berkeley; MFA, School of the Art Institute of Chicago

Domietta Torlasco is a critical theorist and filmmaker. She is core faculty in the Comparative Literary Studies Program and holds a courtesy appointment in the Department of Radio/Television/Film. She graduated in Semiotics at the University of Bologna and, after receiving a doctorate from UC Berkeley, she completed an MFA in Film, Video, and New Media at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. From 2003 to 2007 she was a Harper-Schmidt Fellow and a Collegiate Assistant Professor in the Humanities at the University of Chicago.

Torlasco’s research and teaching interests include critical theory, psychoanalysis, phenomenology, feminist/queer theory, as well as Italian and French cinema, science fiction and noir in film and literature, and time-based media arts. She is the author of three books on memory and technology, life and labor, queer materialities, and cinema’s potential to reimagine histories and forms of life: The Time of the Crime: Phenomenology, Psychoanalysis, Italian Film (Stanford University Press, 2008), The Heretical Archive: Digital Memory at the End of Film (University of Minnesota Press, 2013), and The Rhythm of Images: Cinema Beyond Measure (University of Minnesota Press, 2021). Her articles have appeared in several journals, including Camera Obscura, Discourse, and World Picture, and edited collections, most recently the Oxford Handbook of Film Theory. She is currently completing a book that comprises critical essays and outlines for film scripts, titled More Life: An Essay on Memory, Matter, and Race. She is also at work on a book that reframes classic and modern theories of montage in the context of the contemporary image economy.

Torlasco’s video essays explore questions of domestic labor, borders, surveillance, and debt. In these experimental pieces, Torlasco often makes use of a split screen and layers archival footage, personal interviews, and silent portraits to document experiences of entrapment and endurance. Her essays have appeared in online journals and screened at national and international venues, including the Deutsches Historisches Museum in Berlin, the Walker Art Center in Minneapolis, the Pacific Film Archive in Berkeley, and the Museum of Contemporary Art in Los Angeles. She has recently curated the AV Essay section of the journal NECSUS, titled “The Impersonal Essay, or Montage as Memory of the World.”

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