Grace Delmolino

[alt text] headshot of Prof. Delmolino wearing a blue blazer with green foliage in the background

Position Title
Assistant Professor of Italian

507 Sproul


  • PhD, Italian and Comparative Literature and Society, Columbia University
  • MA, Italian, Columbia University
  • BA, Italian, German, and Creative Writing, University of Massachusetts Amherst
  • AA, Liberal Arts, Greenfield Community College

Research Areas:

  • Boccaccio, Dante, and Petrarch
  • Gratian and Medieval Canon Law
  • Medieval Italian History
  • History of Gender and Sexuality
  • Law and literature
  • Consent studies


I am a feminist medievalist specializing in the literature, law, and history of the Italian Middle Ages (12th-14th centuries).

My first book argues that Giovanni Boccaccio (1313-1375), famous for the Decameron and its down-to-earth short stories about religion and sexuality, was a cutting-edge legal theorist of consent. Boccaccio studied canon law at the university in Naples and his later fictional works dramatize legal cases and comment on theories of jurisprudence. Boccaccio found a particular affinity with Gratian’s Decretum (c. 1140), a foundational textbook in the teaching of medieval canon law. Gratian and Boccaccio alike advocate for women’s—and men's—status as consenting subjects, in sharp contrast to social practice of the time.

My work on consent in matters of marriage and sexuality, which began with medieval canon law, has now expanded to encompass the broader history of consent as an idea. Consent permeates every aspect of society, from law to sex to medicine to digital privacy. I will be teaching a course on this topic, Humanities 2A: Consent, in Winter 2021.

Within the Italian program at UC Davis, I offer courses on Boccaccio, Dante, lyric poetry, Renaissance literature, contemporary Italian culture, and the history of pandemics in the Mediterranean (ITA 145, Fall 2020).

I am also Associate Editor on the editorial board of Digital Dante, a venue for research on Dante and his world. Our collaborations in digital humanities bring innovative scholarship on Dante to a global readership.