Professor Emerita of Italian
Education and Degree(s):
• Ph.D., Harvard University
• M.A., Harvard University
• Laurea, Summa cum Lode, University of Turin, Italy
• Literature and Philosophy
• Italian Women’s Writing
• Italian and Italian American Cinema
Upon completing her education in Italy and the United States and prior to joining the Department of French and Italian at UC Davis, Margherita Heyer-Cáput was an Assistant Professor at the University of Berne, Switzerland and taught at various institutions on the East Coast. Since 2011 she has been the founding director of the UC Davis Quarter Abroad Program in Florence, Italy, for which she received the 2019 Excellence in the Teaching of Study Abroad Award. Her book, Grazia Deledda’s Dance of Modernity, was awarded the prestigious Ennio Flaiano International Prize for Italian Studies for its innovative interpretation of the 1926 Nobel Prize laureate Grazia Deledda in the context of philosophical modernity, with particular attention to Deledda’s original reception of Nietzsche’s and Schopenhauer’s thought. Heyer-Cáput’s previous monographs, Ragione ed esistenza nell’opera di Franz Kafka (Existence and Reason in Franz Kafka’s Work) and Per una letteratura della riflessione: elementi filosofico-scientifici nell’opera di Luigi Malerba (For a Literature of Reflection: Philosophical and Scientific Aspects of Luigi Malerba’s Work) explore the interplay between philosophy, science, and literature in the narratives of two authors extremely different from each other, yet equally groundbreaking in their experimental approach to writing. She has published on a number of authors, form Giovanni Boccaccio to Dacia Maraini, and film makers, from Martin Scorsese to Ferzan Ozpetek, and is currently working on Sardinian women writers “beyond the margins.”
- Grazia Deledda’s Dance of Modernity (Toronto: Toronto University Press, 2008)
- Per una letteratura della riflessione: elementi filosofico-scientifici nell’opera di Luigi Malerba (Bern: Haupt Verlag, 1995)
- Ragione ed esistenza nell’opera di Franz Kafka (Torino: Edizioni di “Filosofia,” 1982)
Selected Articles and Book Chapters:
“Grazia Deledda and the Transgressive Power of Writing as Poiesis.” Modern Language Notes 135.1(January 2020): 175-202.
"Female Theology Meets Poietic Writing: Michela Murgia’s L’incontro (2012)” (forthcoming in Quaderni d’Italianistica)
“In the Name of the Simulacrum: Luigi Malerba’s Experimental Journey” (forthcoming in Deconstructing the Model: Italian 20th and 21st Centuries Experimental Writings, edited by Giuseppe Cavatorta and Federica Santini, Cambridge Scholars Publishing).
“Il filo di Grazia: Deledda, Murgia, Agus e la scrittura pensante ‘al confine.’ Italica 95.4 (2018): 564-84
“La ricerca sperimentale di Luigi Malerba: da Qualcosa di grave (1963) a I neologissimi (2013) e oltre.” Avanguardia. Rivista di letteratura contemporanea. Per Luigi Malerba, 23.67 (2018): 21-40.
“Tra brevitas e levitas: la profondità alla superficie dell’ultimo Malerba.” Avanguardia. Rivista di letteratura contemporanea, 20.59 (2015): 33-52.
“Ferzan Ozpetek’s Mine vaganti (2010) Wandering Between ‘The Comic’ and ‘Humor’.” Quaderni d’Italianistica 36.2 (2015): 173-99.
“Between Enlightened Pragmatism and Censorship Resistance: Memorie della vita e delle peregrinazioni del fiorentino Filippo Mazzei (1845-46). Forum Italicum, 49.1 (2015): 3-23.
“Itinerari angloamericani della scrittura di Sergio Atzeni: ‘A Work in Progress’.” Sergio Atzeni e l’arte d’inanellare parole. Eds. S. Cocco, V. Pala, P.P. Argiolas. Cagliari: Aipsa, 2015. 111-32.
“Dopo il divorzio (1902, 1905, 1920) di Grazia Deledda: ‘opus in fieri’ sul riso del moderno.” altrelettere (2013), DOI: 10.5903/al_uzh-13.
“For a Cinema of Inbetween-ness: Emanuele Crialese’s Nuovomondo.” Italica, 90.2(2013): 272-85.
“The Paradoxical Circularity of Luigi Malerba’s Narrative: Ti saluto filosofia and Fantasmi romani.” Italian Culture, 30.2(2012): 107-24.
“Cenere di Grazia Deledda ed Eleonora Duse.” Grazia Deledda. Una sfida alla modernità. Ed. S. Wood. Oliena (NU): Edizioni Iris, 2012. 195-222.
“Martin Scorsese’s The Departed, Or the Quest for a Departed Ethnic Identity.” Mafia Movies: A Reader. Ed. Dana Renga. Toronto: Toronto U P, 2011.
“Italian-American Urban Hyphens in Saturday Night Fever.” Italian Americana. Cultural and Historical Review, 29.1(2011): 34-49.
Selected Honors and Awards:
• Excellence in Teaching in Study Abroad, Global Affairs, UC Davis, 2019
• Honorary Member, A.A.T.I. (American Association of Teachers of Italian), 2018
• Premio A.I.D.D.A. (Associazione Imprenditrici e Donne Dirigenti d’Azienda), 2016
• Phi Beta Kappa Excellence in Teaching Award, 2015
• Ennio Flaiano International Prize for Italian Studies, 2009
• Career Development Award, Swiss National Science Foundation, 1995
Professor derives from the Latin verb profiteri, which means, “to declare, recognize openly and freely.” It does not surprise us that from this same verb derives also the verb to profess. As a professor, I always profess a twofold faith. While teaching Italian literature, cinema, and culture, first and foremost, I profess my faith in every student’s ability to thrive and do their best in their (academic) journey. What guides my teaching is my conviction that every student wants and will do their best if I succeed in empowering them and making them believe in themselves. The encounter with The Other that takes place daily in a course centered on artistic, literary, filmic or linguistic expressions of a different culture represents an intellectual challenge that requires hard work, humility, perseverance, openness, and inclusiveness. The cultural and linguistic self-confidence on which we rely in our familiar environment is suddenly questioned when we are confronted with a different language that articulates a different vision of the world in its artistic expressions. In my teaching, I aim at empowering my students, making them believe in themselves and in their abilities to overcome intellectual and existential difficulties through the development of their analytical, critical, and creative skills in an inclusive community of life-long learners and citizens of the world.
Selected Courses Taught:
• ITA 101: Advanced Conversation, Composition, and Grammar: “In altre parole…”
• ITA 105: Introduction to Italian Literature
• ITA 114: Boccaccio’s Decameron and the Italian Novella
• ITA 119: The Italian Literature of the Unification in Words, Images, and Music
• ITA 120A: The Italian Novel of the 20th Century in Literature and Cinema
• FMS 120: Italian American Cinema
• FMS/ITA 121: New Italian Cinema