Story

Valentina Fulginiti
​​
​​​​​​​​​​Alumna, PhD (2014), Italian Studies

I have always been fascinated by the complexity of multilingual literature. I am completing a doctoral thesis on self-translation between standard Italian and regional dialects in 19th-century theatre. My dissertation examines this topic from the perspective of a modern nation-building process.

I came to Toronto after completing a BA in Humanities and an MA in Italian Linguistics at the University of Bologna in Italy. Throughout my studies, I worked part-time as a teacher and an educator. Having always felt inclined to academia, the doctorate seemed a natural next choice. 

I chose to do my PhD in an English-speaking country in order to qualify to teach internationally. I was accepted to two top programs in the UK—both in translation studies, but U of T was my first choice, mostly because of the solid reputation of its Department of Italian Studies, perhaps the largest outside of Italy.

Another influencing factor was bilingualism in Canadian society: I was hoping to receive advanced training on the study of bilingualism, code-switching, diglossia, and other closely related phenomena—Canada appeared to be the natural choice.

Completing a PhD in the prescribed time requires an immense amount of work; at times the pace was frenetic. I could not have made it without the help of a strong community of colleagues, mentors, and peers. I found great support in my department, not only in the person of my supervisor, but in the graduate faculty as a whole, and in an exceptional group of colleagues who became family to me.

Conducting literary and linguistic research on a foreign literature can be challenging, but the collections of the Robarts Library never ceased to amaze me. I was able to access a body of literature and critical theory second to none.

As for primary sources, I was fortunate to benefit from several fellowships, including the Milton A. Buchanan Fellowships and the Camisso Ontario Graduate Scholarship (OGS) in Italian Studies, which allowed me to conduct archival research during two consecutive summers.

The highlight of my five years at U of T was spending my final year as a Chancellor Jackman Graduate Fellow​ at the Jackman Humanities Institute in 2013-2014. In addition to the time provided by the teaching relief fellowship, my research benefited from being part of an intergenerational community of scholars examining the topic of translation from different disciplinary approaches.

Finally, I appreciated the excellent teaching development opportunities offered by the Centre for Teaching Support and Innovation (CTSI) and by Woodsworth College (in particular, the course THE500—Teaching in Higher Education​). This additional training benefited me in a competitive academic job market. 

In a few months, I begin a position as lecturer in Italian at Cornell University. 

I am very happy to have chosen U of T. Not only did my doctoral education give me an edge in a tough market, but it also made me well-rounded in all aspects of academia: research, teaching, service, and professionalization.

Finally, and most importantly, it gave me the best years of my life.

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