Grace Delmolino

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

Position Title
Assistant Professor of Italian

504 Sproul Hall
Office Hours
SQ 24: Tuesdays 2-3pm, Thursdays 10-11am, and by appointment
504 Sproul; Zoom available (email me)

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, originating in medieval canon law, has now expanded to encompass the broader history of consent—from sex to law to political obligation to bioethics to digital privacy—which I cover in my course Humanities 2A: Consent. Within the Italian program at UC Davis, I offer courses on Boccaccio, Dante, lyric poetry, Renaissance literature, and contemporary Italian culture.

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.

Education and Degree(s)
  • 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 Interests & Expertise
  • Consent studies
  • Boccaccio, Dante, and Petrarch
  • Gratian and Medieval Canon Law
  • History of Gender and Sexuality
  • Medieval Italian History
  • Law and literature