Barbara Alfano

Barbara Alfano
Director of First-Year Forum

Barbara Alfano brings a background in journalism, translation, and short-story writing in Italian to her study of 20th- and 21st-century Italian fiction.


A native of Italy, Alfano specializes in 20th- and 21st-century Italian fiction, with a focus on representations of America, issues of identity, women’s writing, love studies, and ethics and literature. She is the writer of The Mirage of America in Contemporary Italian Literature and Film (University of Toronto Press, 2013) and the co-editor of Italian Quarterly’s special issue, “Projecting Americanism Abroad: Italy in the Cold War” (2019). Her essays have appeared in ItalicaForum ItalicumOblio, and Quaderni d’Italianistica, among other journals. She curates Stanford’s Arcade’s literary salon on Elena Ferrante. In 2009, she published her first collection of short stories in Italian, Mi chiedevo. Before moving to the United States in 1999, Alfano worked in Naples as a journalist and translator. She taught Italian language, literature, and culture at Pennsylvania State University and directed its Italian language program in 2005–06. Laurea summa cum laude, Istituto Universitario Orinetale, Naples (1993); PhD in Comparative Literature, Pennsylvania State University (2004); Certificate in Online Learning, Duke University Continuing Studies (2020). Alfano joined the Bennington faculty of the Isabelle Kaplan Center for Languages and Cultures in the fall of 2008. She served as the Director of Remote Pedagogy Development for the 2020-2021 and 2021-2022 academic years and became the Director of First-Year Forum in Fall 2021.