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Chiara Giovanni



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Caribbean Literature
Critical Race Studies
Emotion Theory
Dance Studies
visual culture
cultural studies
Dominican Republic
US Latino/a Studies

Chiara Giovanni

TL;DR: I am interested in the different strategies of world-making mobilized by marginalized people whose existence is in some way ‘out of step’ with the rest of the world. My interdisciplinary doctoral project combines approaches from the humanities and the social sciences to investigate how marginalized people (specifically from the Dominican Republic) remake the world around them through literature and dance.

How do people who don’t belong create and remake worlds through their words and bodies in order to feel at home, in place, on time? Literature and dance, two seemingly distinct modes of expression, share a powerful ability to both accurately reflect and radically reimagine the way we see ourselves in the world. My research unites these two areas in investigating both imaginative and embodied world-making strategies specific to a set of communities who exist on global and local margins (Dominicans in the Dominican Republic and the United States). It examines how Dominican literary production and dance practices respectively seek to deal with this sense of being ‘out of step’ by remaking the world. This phenomenon inherently transcends disciplinary boundaries, and therefore requires a committed interdisciplinary approach. I rely on humanities-based approaches of literary analysis, using queer and critical race theory, along with qualitative methods from the social sciences (most prominently, a multi-year, multi-sited ethnographic fieldwork project) for the study of dance practices. In uniting these mutually beneficial strands of research that would otherwise remain distinct, I develop new methodologies that reshape the global and local role of the humanities in a time of academic crisis. My research is generously funded by the Stanford Interdisciplinary Graduate Fellowship (2019-2022).

I received my training in Medieval and Modern Languages at the University of Oxford, completing an undergraduate and a master's degree in Spanish and German. My graduate work at Oxford, generously funded by the Mica and Ahmet Ertegun House Graduate Programme in the Humanities, addressed questions of identity, whether individual or literary: I produced work on race and performativity, and on love and the self, in Early Modern Spanish writing. My thesis examined a little-known West German novel from 1967, Don Quichotte in Köln, that explicitly refashions Cervantes' magnum opus in the service of contemporary political concerns, and the manuscript of this piece is currently under peer review. 
One of my priorities as a scholar is to bring as much of my work as possible into the public sphere. I published an article with Buzzfeed Reader in August 2017 on a well-known internet poet, and hope to produce more cultural criticism over the rest of my time at Stanford. I was a 2017-8 Smithsonian Latino Museum Studies Fellow placed at the National Museum of American History, D.C., and part of my work there investigated the role of museums in public engagement, particularly with regards to marginalized communities in this country.


2017-present: Ph.D. in Comparative Literature (Minor in Anthropology), Stanford University, Stanford Interdisciplinary Graduate Fellow (2019-2022)
2016-2017: M.St. in Modern Languages (Spanish), Magdalen College, Oxford (Distinction), Ertegun Scholar in the Humanities
2012-2016: B.A. (Hons) in Modern Languages (German and Spanish), Magdalen College, Oxford (Congratulatory First Class)

Other Information

English (Native)
German (Superior)
Spanish (Superior)
Portuguese (Intermediate)