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Chiara Cillerai

Chiara Cillerai is a postdoctoral fellow at the Penn Humanities Forum. She received a B.A. and M.A. from the University of Florence and a Ph.D. from Rutgers University. Her most recent essay, “‘A continual and almost exclusive Correspondence’: Philip Mazzei’s Transatlantic Citizenship,” examines the role of correspondence in late eighteenth-century American culture and will appear in Correspondences: Essays on the History, Theory, and Practice of U.S. Letters, 1770-1860, (Ashgate, 2009). Her book project, Voices of Cosmopolitanism in Early American Literature, considers how a number of American writers of the late colonial period employed the universalizing language of cosmopolitanism to engage in discussions of nationhood. From this perspective, she investigates the problematic intersections between elite and non-elite discourses, between the voices of those who had access to power and publication and those who had none, between print and manuscript forms, and between literary genres that emerge within the works of a diverse group of writers that include Benjamin Franklin, Phillis Wheatley, and the Italian immigrant, Philip Mazzei. What she considers the most interesting features of her research are its archival nature and the generic variety of the literary artifacts she studies—features that she invites her students to explore in her courses.

Courses Taught

fall 2009

ENGL 016.303 American Cosmopolitans