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News and Announcements: Awards and Prizes

RSA Member Diego Pirillo to Receive MLA's Scaglione Prize in Italian Studies

Wednesday, December 4, 2019  
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The Modern Language Association of America today announced it is awarding its tenth Aldo and Jeanne Scaglione Prize for Italian Studies to Martina Piperno, of KU Leuven, Belgium, for Rebuilding Post-revolutionary Italy: Leopardi and Vico’s New Science, published by the Voltaire Foundation, and to Diego Pirillo, of the University of California, Berkeley, for The Refugee-Diplomat: Venice, England, and the Reformation, published by Cornell University Press.

The Aldo and Jeanne Scaglione Prize for Italian Studies is awarded biennially, and alternately with the Howard R. Marraro Prize, for an outstanding book by a member of the association in the field of Italian literature or comparative literature involving Italian. From 1996 until 2000, the two prizes were awarded jointly.

The prize is one of eighteen awards that will be presented on 11 January 2020, during the association’s annual convention, to be held in Seattle. The members of the selection committee were Paola Bonifazio (Univ. of Texas, Austin); Sabrina Ferri (Univ. of Notre Dame); and Armando Maggi (Univ. of Chicago), chair.

The committee’s citation for Pirillo’s work reads:

Diego Pirillo’s innovative volume offers a significantly new approach to early modern European studies. Through an extraordinary process of archival research, Pirillo sheds light on a poorly known facet of sixteenth-century Italian history, as well as on European history in general. Pirillo meticulously investigates the fundamental role played by Italian religious refugees in early modern diplomacy, thus questioning the traditional view of diplomatic interactions during the early modern European religious conflicts. Pirillo shows a remarkable knowledge of key aspects of Italian heretical thought and the new cultural environments in which the Italian “heretics” came to play a central, albeit almost unknown, role. The Refugee-Diplomat: Venice, England, and the Reformation is a deeply engaging, often unique piece of academic writing.

Diego Pirillo is associate professor of Italian studies at the University of California, Berkeley. He received his PhD from Scuola Normale Superiore. Pirillo specializes in the cultural and intellectual history of early modern Europe and the Atlantic world, with an emphasis on Italy, England, and early America. His research interests include religious studies, the history of books and readers, the history of diplomacy and international relations, and the history of scholarship and historiography. He has been a fellow at Villa I Tatti, the Harvard University Center for Italian Renaissance Studies. Along with several articles and book chapters, he is the author of Filosofia ed eresia nell’Inghilterra del tardo Cinquecento: Bruno, Sidney e i dissidenti religiosi italiani and coauthor of Favole, metafore, storie. Seminario su Giordano Bruno.

View the full award press release (PDF) or learn more about the Aldo and Jeanne Scaglione Prize for Italian Studies on the MLA website.


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