Massimo Riva was educated in Italy (Laurea in Filosofia, University of Florence, 1979) and the United States (Ph.D. in Italian literature, Rutgers University, 1986). He is the author of four books, published in Italy: on literary maladies in the 18th century, national identity in the 19th century, post-humanism and the hyper-novel, and literature in the digital age. He is the editor of a fiction anthology Italian Tales published by Yale University Press, and the co-editor of the Cambridge University Press edition of Pico della Mirandola's Oration "On Human Dignity." He has held visiting positions at the University of Bologna, the University of Modena, the University of London, the Universidad Nacional Autonoma de Mexico, the École des Hautes Études in Paris, and the University of Sydney, Australia. His teaching ranges from Boccaccio's Decameron to modern and contemporary literature, film, digital media, and the digital humanities. In recognition of his research-based teaching, he was nominated Royce Family Professor of Teaching Excellence (2014-2017). His awards and honors also include the Order of Merit of the Italian Republic (with the rank of Ufficiale) for his contribution to the dissemination of Italian culture in North America.
Prof. Riva is the recipient of three major grants from the National Endowment for the Humanities and a Digital Innovation Fellowship from the American Council of Learned Society, in support of various digital projects, now part of the Virtual Humanities Lab. Among his recent collaborative initiatives, a series of interactive installations of the Garibaldi moving panorama was featured in libraries and museums in Brazil, Italy, and the U.K. His digital monograph, entitled Shadow Plays. Virtual Realities in an Analogue World (part of Brown University Digital Publications, supported by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation) was published by Stanford University Press in 2022 and is the winner of a Prose Award from the Association of American Publishers in the category of e-Products.
|"Ricordo di Gianni Celati." Griseldaonline, vol. 21, no. 1, 2022, pp. 157–161.|
|Riva, Massimo. Shadow Plays: Virtual Realities in an Analog World. Stanford University Press, 2022.|
|Riva, Massimo, Papio, Michael. "Il «Decameron Web», vent’anni dopo: bilanci e prospettive." Griseldaonline, 2021, pp. V. 20 N. 2 (2021): Italianistica digitale.|
|"La biopolitica della morte." Antinomie, 2020.|
|"La morte non avrà i nostri occhi." Antinomie, 2020.|
|"Rest in Power George Floyd." Antinomie, 2020.|
"Mini-Grand Tour, in 3D.", Florence, MOB Vision, 2018, pp. 12-19.
"Pico e il Post-Umanesimo: Attualità e Inattualità di un Pensiero Vivente.", Bologna, Italy, Alma Mater Studiorum, 2018, pp. 65-70.
|"The Past at our Fingertips: Some Remarks on Virtual Realism and the Historical Heritage." Explorations in Media Ecology, vol. 17, no. 3, 2018, pp. 279-285.|
Time Machine. Virtual Photographic Trips Around the World 100 Years Ago. edited by Alberto Zotti Minici, Massimiliano Pinucci, Massimo Riva, MOB Vision, 2018.
|Valeria Federici, Massimo Riva. "The Garibaldi Panorama & the Risorgimento Archive at Brown University." NeMLA Italian Studies, vol. 39, 2017.|
|Pico della Mirandola: Oration on the Dignity of Man. A New Translation and Commentary. edited by Borghesi, Francesco; Papio, Michael; Riva, Massimo, Cambridge University Press, 2016.|
|Massimo Riva, Alessandro Carpin. "Transmedia Storytelling and Other Challenges (and Opportunities) for the (Digital) Humanities." DigitCult, vol. 1, no. 1, 2016.|
|"Boccaccio Beyond the Text." The Cambridge Companion To Boccaccio, edited by Guyda Armstrong, Rhiannon Daniels, Stephen J. Milner, Cambridge, UK, Cambridge University Press, 2015, pp. 219-234.|
|Riva, Massimo, Davis, John A. "Mediating the Risorgimento." Journal of Modern Italian Studies, vol. 18, no. 2, 2013, pp. 141-144.|
|Riva, Massimo. "Liquid/Cloudy/Foggy: For a Critique of Fluid Textuality." Humanist Studies & the Digital Age, vol. 2, no. 1, 2012.|
|Riva, Massimo, Zafrin, Vika. "Extending the text." Proceedings of the sixteenth ACM conference on Hypertext and hypermedia - HYPERTEXT '05, 2005.|
Since the mid-1990s, Prof. Riva's research has mainly focused on the role of emerging technologies in the humanities. Among his award winning online projects: the Decameron Web, the Pico Project and the Garibaldi and the Risorgimento project, centered on the Garibaldi panorama, a unique survival of a form of public art that was prevalent throughout the nineteenth century. More recently his work has focused on a media archaeological study tracing a genealogy of Virtual Reality in eighteenth- and nineteenth-century optical spectacles (cosmorama, magic lantern, phantasmagoria, panorama, stereoscopic photography). Results are reflected in a recently completed digital monograph entitled Shadow Plays. Virtual Realities in an Analogue World, published by Stanford University Press in June 2022.
I see the main challenge of my work as translating into critical discourse the new cognitive values emerging from my experimentation with digital technology, for the benefit of scholars, teachers and students engaged in these practices, as well as all those readers interested in the future (the present) of the humanities. Some of the questions I addressed in my research: do digital media promote a new type of "encyclopedic" learning, based on learning communities sharing common cognitive "values"? Or do they foster, instead, new forms of fragmentary knowledge, thinking and "values"? How can electronic media enhance our historical understanding and "rediscovery" of documents (texts, images and other cultural products) belonging to a distant cultural past? More specifically: how can classic literary and philosophical works of the Italian humanist tradition, as diverse as Giovanni Boccaccio's Decameron (a narrative encyclopedia of the late Middle Ages), G. Pico della Mirandola's Oration On Human Dignity (a "manifesto" of Renaissance humanism) or Italo Calvino's combinatorial "hypernovels" (the imaginative expression of our contemporary cybernetic society) inform new modes of thought for 21st-century (post)humanism?
ACLS/Mellon Digital innovation research grant, 2011-12 ($25,000)
Seed grant of the Brown Vice President for Research, for a project in collaboration with Gabriel Taubin (Dept. of Engineering), Andres van Dam (Department of Computer Science), and Harriette Hemmasi (University Librarian), 2010-11 ($90,000)
Virtual Humanities Lab, National Endowment for the Humanities, 2004-06 ($178,000 in outright funds)
Pico della Mirandola Project, Scholarly Technology Group, Faculty Grant, 2005-06 ($10,000)
Frances Wayland Collegium, Faculty Seminar Grant, "Computers and the Future of the Humanities," 2003 ($10,000)
Decameron Web, National Endowment for the Humanities, 1999-2000 and 2001-02 ($360,000 in outright funds)
Curriculum Development Grant, Brown University, 2000
Wriston-Merrit Grant, Brown University, 1995
Selected Print and Online publications, since 2000:
Shadow Plays. Virtual Realities in an Analogue World, (Stanford University Press, 2022).
Co-editor (with Alberto Zotti Minici and Massimiliano Pinucci) Time Machine. Virtual Photographic Trips Around the World 100 Years Ago, Florence: MBVision, December 2018. Catalog of the exhibition held in the Sale della Fotografia, Palazzo Angeli, Padua, co-sponsored by the Virtual Humanities Lab, December 2018-March 2019.
“Mini-Grand Tour, in 3D,” introduction to: Time Machine, 12-19.
“Il Panorama Garibaldi. Publishing and Dissemination.” Preface, Catalog of the exhibit: Icone Politiche. Celebrità e Nuovi Media al Tempo del Risorgimento co-sponsored by the Virtual Humanities Lab, Mantua, February-March, 2018, 7.
“The Past at our Fingertips: Some Remarks on Virtual Realism and the Historical Heritage,” in: Explorations in Media Ecology, Volume 17 Number 3 (2018), 279-285.
“Transmedia Storytelling and other Challenges and Opportunities for the Digital Humanities,” co-authored with Alessandro Carpin, in Transmedia e co-creazione, ed. by Domenico Morreale, Rome: Aracne, 2018, 39-52 (article also published online in DigitCult. Scientific Journal of Digital Cultures, and selected for this print publication).
“The Garibaldi Panorama & the Risorgimento Archive at Brown University,” co-authored with Valeria Federici, NeMLA Italian Studies, Special Issue: “The Italian Digital Classroom,” eds. T. Convertini and S. Wright, Volume xxxix, 2017, 84-99.
“Pico e il Post-Umanesimo: Attualità e Inattualità di un Pensiero Vivente,” in: Pico tra Cultura e Letteratura dell’Umanesimo, ed. Giacomo Ventura, Bologna: Alma Mater Studiorum, 2018, 65-70. "An Emerging Scholarly Form: the Digital Monograph." DigitCult. Scientific Journal on Digital Cultures. Vol. 2 No. 3 (2017) www.digitcult.it/index.php/dc/article/view/53
"Boccaccio, Beyond the Text." The Cambridge Companion to Boccaccio, G. Armstrong, R. Daniels and S. Milner eds., Cambridge: Cambridge Un. Press, 2015, 219-234
"Change of Paradigm: From Individual to Community-Based Scholarship," in Humanist Studies & the Digital Age, vol. 4, n. 1 (2015), special issue: "Lector in Rete: Figures of the Reader in Digital Humanities" (video essay and 1307 words: abstract)
"Giacomo Casanova." The Literary Encyclopedia, ed. Jo Ann Cavallo, (3514 words entry)
"Spettacolo, Informazione, Propaganda nel Panorama Garibaldi della Brown University," in Il lungo Ottocento e le sue Immagini. Politica, media, spettacolo, eds. Vinzia Fiorino, Gian Luca, Fruci and Alessio Petrizzo, Pisa: ETS, 2013, 53-66.
"Liquid/Cloudy/Foggy: For a Critique of Fluid Textuality,"Humanist Studies & the Digital Age, Vol. 2, n. 1, 2012, http://journals.oregondigital.org/hsda/article/view/3016
Pinocchio Digitale: Postumanesimo e Iper-romanzo, Milan: Franco Angeli, 2012, 170 p.
Ed. Renato Poggioli: an intellectual biography, Florence: Olschki, 2012, 277 p. (co-edited with Roberto Ludovico and Lino Pertile)
Ed. Pico della Mirandola, Oration on the Dignity of Man. A New Translation and Commentary , Cambridge-New York: Cambridge University Press, 2012, 308 p. (co-edited with Francesco Borghesi and Michael Papio)
"Beyond the Mechanical Body: Digital Pinocchio," chapter 10 of Pinocchio, Puppets and Modernity: The Mechanical Body, edited by Katia Pizzi, London: Blackwell, 2011, pp. 201-214
Il futuro della letteratura. L'opera d'arte letteraria nell'epoca della sua riproducibilità digitale, Naples: ScriptaWeb, 2011. E-book and print, 304 p.
"La storia a colpo d'occhio: Panorami di guerra nell'epoca risorgimentale," in: Teatri di guerra: rappresentazioni e discorsi tra età moderna ed età contemporanea , ed. by Angela De Benedictis, Bologna, Italy: Bononia University Press, 2010, 295-316
"Crisis and Clouds. New Frontiers for the Creative Industries," in: REM. Research on Education and Media , Vol. 2, n. 2, December 2010
"Toward Experimental Scholarly Modes in the Humanities," in: Using New Technologies to Explore Cultural Heritage , National Endowment for the Humanities/ Italian National Council for Research, 2009, 117-128.
"The Decameron Web: Ten Years Later," in: Teaching Foreign Languages and Literatures Online , The Modern Language Association, New York: 2009, 343-357
"Dignità ed enigmi del postumano," Annali di Italianistica , volume 26, 2008, Humanisms, Posthumanisms & Neohumanisms, 333-352.
"Garbuglio," in: Pocket Gadda Encyclopedia , 2008, http://www.gadda.ed.ac.uk/Pages/resources/walks/pge/garbuglioriva.php
"Dal racconto al gioco (e viceversa): modelli per una letteratura digitale tra Collodi e Calvino," in: Italo Calvino y la Cultura de Italia , Proceedings of the Jornadas Internacionales de Estudios Italianos 19-23 septiembre, 2005, Facultad de Filosofia y Letras, Universidad Nacional de Mexico, in Mexico City, 2007, 145-155
"Nuova prosa e nuove tecnologie, ovvero: Cronaca di un lungo decennio (1993-2006)." In: Nuova Prosa. Quadrimestrale di Narrativa , 44, 2006, 81-110.
"Digital Pinocchio: the Literary Text as Artificial Life Form," in: New Approaches to Teaching Pinocchio and Its Adaptations , Michael Sherberg (ed.), New York: The Modern Language Association of America, 2006, 144-152
"Per una comunità della formazione letteraria: il WWW e la nuova italianistica," in: Letterature, Biblioteche, Ipertesti , ed. by F. Pellizzi, Roma: Carocci, 2005, 41-64
Ed. Italian Tales. An Anthology of Contemporary Italian Fiction . New Haven, Ct.: Yale University Press, 2004, 260 p. [Selected reviews: Times Literary Supplement, Virginia Quarterly Review, New York Sun, Books on Fire, Il riformista, Il Messaggero, La Gazzetta del Sud, ANSA New York , Radio Città del Capo (interviews), Annali d'Italianistica.]
"The Arrows of the Mind: Calvino, Arakawa and the hyper-novel," in: E-Literature in E-Publishing , ed. P. Carbone, Milan: Mimesis, 2004 99-122.
"Christmas Carol," a short story, in: Il fior fiore di Zibaldoni e altre meraviglie , Galatina: Santoro, 2004, 129-148
"Vico e il mostro civile," in: Bollettino del Centro di Studi Vichiani , anno XXX, 2003, 119-132
"Therapy in the Garden: G. Boccaccio's Purgatorial Eden," in: R. Psaki, ed., The Earthly Paradise. The Garden of Eden from Antiquity to Modernity , International Studies in Formative Christianity and Judaism, Global Publications, Binghamton University, 2002, 115-148
"Le frecce della mente: Italo Calvino e l'iper-romanzo," in: Italo Calvino e la reinvenzione della letteratura , ed. Anna Botta and Domenico Scarpa, Rome: Avagliano, 2002, 117-145
Malinconie del Moderno. Disagio della nazionalità e critica dell'incivilimento nella letteratura italiana del XIX secolo , Ravenna: Longo, 2001, 178 p.
"Per Speculum Melancholiae: the Awakening of Reason Engenders Monsters," in: Monsters in the Italian Literary Imagination , ed. Keala Jewell, Wayne State University Press, 2001, 279-296
"Boccaccio Online: Teaching the Decameron as Hypertext at Brown University," in: New Approaches to G. Boccaccio's Decameron , ed. J. Mc Gregor, Modern Language Association series on New Approaches to Classical Texts, 2000, 172-182
"Beginning/Ending/Openness/Consistency. Models for the Hyper-Novel," in Annali di Italianistica , 18, 2000, 109-132
"Heros/Heleos: l'ambivalente terapia del mal d'amore nel libro chiamato Decameron, cognominato prencipe Galeotto," in: Italian Quarterly , XXXVI, 2000, 69-106
Royce Family Professor of Teaching Excellence, 2014-2016
Visiting Fellow, Institute of Modern Languages Research, School of Advanced Study, University of London (February, 2017)
Order of Merit of the Italian Republic with the Rank of "Ufficiale" for merits acquired in the fields of literature and the arts (2014)
ACLS, Digital Innovation Fellowship, 2011-12
Directeur de Recherche, Ecole Pratiques des Hautes Études, Paris (Spring 2010)
Fellowship, Istituto Italiano per gli Studi Filosofici, Naples, Italy, 1988
Fellow, Frederick May Foundation, University of Sydney, Australia, 1984-85
|Cayley, John||Professor of Literary Arts|
|Kertzer, David||Paul R. Dupee, Jr. University Professor of Social Science, Professor of Anthropology, Professor of Italian Studies|
|Lincoln, Evelyn||Professor of History of Art and Architecture, Professor of Italian Studies|
|Lubar, Steven||Interim Director of the John Nicholas Brown Center, Professor of American Studies, Professor of History|
|Neumann, Dietrich||Professor of History of Art and Architecture, Professor of Italian Studies|
|van Dam, Andries||Thomas J. Watson Jr. University Professor of Technology and Education, Professor of Computer Science|
(Past and present)
Advisory and Editorial Boards:
Advisory Board of Bollettino '900, Electronic Journal of Contemporary Italian Literature
Advisory Board of the Yale University Press series on Italian Literature and Thought
Advisory Board of the Harriet W. Sheridan Center for Teaching and Learning, Brown University
Member of Inaugural Board for the Brown Humanities Research Center
Advisory Board, Reinvention Center, SUNY, Stony Brook
Advisory Board (U.S. representative), Fondazione Nazionale Carlo Collodi Italy
Advisory Board of DigitCult, Scientific Journal on Digital Culture
Advisory Board of Interdisciplinary Italy, An AHRC-funded research project exploring interartistic and intermedial practice in modern and contemporary Italy
Editorial Board of the Journal of Modern Italian Studies
Editorial Board of the Edinburgh Journal of Gadda Studies
Advisory Board, Digital Humanities Quarterly, funded by the Alliance of Digital Humanities Organizations (ADHO) and by the Association for Computers and the Humanities (ACH)
Registered member, Community of Experts, European Science Foundation
Renaissance Society of America
American Association for Italian Studies
American Association of Boccaccio Studies
|CLPS 0540 - Simulating Reality: The (Curious) History and Science of Immersive Experiences|
|ITAL 0701 - Simulating Reality: The (Curious) History and Science of Immersive Experiences.|
|ITAL 1020 - Boccaccio's Decameron|
|ITAL 1029 - World Cinema in a Global Context|
|ITAL 1030B - Modernity, Italian Style|
|ITAL 1030B - Modernity, Italian Style. Class, Gender, Race, Ideology in the Cinema of the Economic Miracle|
|ITAL 1340 - The Panorama and 19th-Century Visual Culture|
|ITAL 1350A - Transmedia Storytelling and the New Italian Epic.|
|ITAL 1400T - From the Hypernovel to Paranoid Fiction|
|ITAL 2100 - Introduction to Italian Studies|
|ITAL 2190G - Letteratura Italiana del Novecento|
|ITAL 2820 - Italian Studies Colloquium|