Meetings and Events

The Dante Society of America regularly organizes panel sessions at various academic conferences, and holds its own annual meeting and conference.


Upcoming Events

Renaissance Society of America Annual Convention, 9-11 March 2023

The Dante Society of America will sponsor three panel sessions at the 2023 Annual Convention of the Renaissance Society of America, which will be held in San Juan, Puerto Rico, 9–11 March 2023. Descriptions of each panel follow below.

The deadline for the call for papers is 10 July 2022. Please send your proposals to Filippo Gianferrari, fgianfer@ucsc.edu. Submissions must include: paper title (15-word maximum); abstract (150-word maximum); curriculum vitae; Ph.D. or other terminal degree completion date (past or expected). Panels are open to scholars and researchers from various disciplines and at different career stages (as per RSA policy, graduate students who are currently working on completing their final degree program will be considered as well, if their materials are directly related to their advanced degree, i.e., not term papers).

Please note that per RSA and DSA policies, presenters must be current members of both RSA and DSA prior to be presenting, and must also be registered for the RSA Annual Convention. The DSA does not cover membership, registration, or travel/lodging fees.

Panel 1: Dante’s Echoing Woods in Renaissance Pastoral

During the last year of his life, while working on the final cantos of the Paradiso, Dante penned two Latin eclogues in reply to Giovanni del Virgilio, a professor of classics in Bologna. With his first eclogue, Dante set off a bucolic exchange that played a key role in resuscitating the genre and restoring it to its Virgilian archetype. Inspired by that exchange, del Virgilio would go on to address an eclogue to Albertino Mussato. In this poem, del Virgilio identifies Dante as the one who resuscitated the genre after centuries of silence. In many ways, this was no exaggeration, as neither the ancient imitators of Virgil—Calpurnius and Nemesianus—nor Virgil’s Carolingian imitators circulated in late medieval Italy before the time of Petrarch. More importantly, Dante refashioned this particular poetic medium into a manifesto for the dignity of vernacular poetry that was closely modeled on the classics. Dante’s unusual choice and original reinterpretation of the bucolic genre initiated a pastoral movement in which Petrarch and Boccaccio became involved, continuing to push the boundaries of the genre. This panel proposes to explore the complex legacy of Dante’s pastoral reawakening in the Renaissance.

We invite papers and ongoing research projects on related topics, as well as disciplinary and methodological perspectives, including but not limited to:

  • Dante’s role in mediating between Classical and Carolingian pastorals on the one hand and Renaissance pastorals on the other;
  • Petrarch’s, Boccaccio’s, and Dante’seclogues: originality, continuity, and lasting contributions to the development of the genre in the Renaissance;
  • Renaissance reinterpretation of–and reaction to–some of the core intellectual and political discourses advanced by Dante, Petrarch, and Boccaccio by means of the bucolic disguise;
  • Pastoral poetics as means of claiming political, intellectual, and cultural indepenence;
  • Critical responses and alternative models to Dante’s pastoral in the Renaissance; Reception and elaboration of Dante’s pastoral utopia and cultural discourse;
  • The impact of Dante’s bucolic contribution (both in the Egloghe and Purgatorio) to the late-medieval and Renaissance development of the topoi of the locus amoenus, the Earthly Paradise, and the mythical Golden Age–particularly the tense balance between the recovery and loss of the ancient wisdom–epitomized by Virgil’s Messianic eclogue;
  • Post-colonial and ecocritical readings of Renaissance conceptions and representations of the earthly paradise and the pastoral space in the wake of and in relation to Dante’s;
  • General overviews and discussions of the transregional, chronological, and ideological developments of the pastoral genre in Renaissance Europe.

Panel 2: “le donne antiche e’ cavalieri” (Purgatorio 14.109-110), Dante and the Renaissance Epic Romance

Dante anticipates the exceptional nature of his personal ‘epic’ at Inferno 2.4–5, where he describes himself following Virgil and preparing for “la guerra / sì del cammino e sì de la pietate” (to face the struggle [literally, the war]— / of the way and of the pity; emphasis added). The author’s words may also allude to a generic oxymoron, as they define the Commedia as a poem in which epic (guerra) and elegy (pietà) are bound together by the hero’s personal and spiritual formation (cammino). A few lines after that, he compares himself to Aeneas (32), thus pointing to a model of epic where instead elegy represents a narrative impasse in the fulfillment of the heroic destiny–as exemplified by Dido’s tragedy in Aeneid IV. An obvious precedent of Dante’s reconceptualization of epic and elegy was the medieval romance tradition, particularly the “matter of Britain,” which was extremely popular in medieval Italy and is perhaps evoked in the scene of the “dark wood” where the hero finds himself lost at the beginning of the Commedia. As it is well known, Dante’s unprecedented conflation of the medieval romance tradition with that of the ancient, Latin epic would prove a powerful influence on the development of the Renaissance epic romance. This panel provides space to explore new directions in the study of the Renaissance epic romance in light of Dante’s innovative codification of the genre.

We invite papers and ongoing research projects on related topics, as well as disciplinary and methodological perspectives, including but not limited to:

  • Dante’s influence on the development of the genre of the Renaissance epic romance;
  • The heroic poet and the poet as a hero in the wake of Dante;
  • The poet as a character in the drama of history: independence and political entanglements;
  • Perceptions and representations of epic texts as materially and politically determined;
  • Vernacular, lay readers in romance poems: scenes of instruction and call for cultural and civic responsibility;
  • Women readers and women warriors;
  • Educational epic; The cultural milieu of the court in Renaissance romance;
  • Authorial intervention between the Commedia and the Renaissance epic romance;
  • Romance epic as a suitable means for generic experimentalism and creative freedom;
  • “Compromising” the classical subtexts in epic poems after Dante;
  • Epic and poetic challenge: imitation, emulation, and intertextuality;
  • Marvelous, monstrous, and magic romance;
  • Comic and satirical epic; Translation, transmission, and appropriation of epic romances in Renaissance Europe;
  • Colonizing the Earthly Paradise: Dantean model and/or alternative to it;
  • Ends of the world, cultural and ethnic otherness in the epic romance after Dante.

Panel 3: The Renaissance of Dante’s Vita nuova

Recent studies on the afterlife of the Vita nuova have helped assess the lasting, far-reaching, and multifarious influence that Dante’s booklet played on world literature and culture. In the milieu of late thirteenth-century Italy, when the vernacular culture still relied overwhelmingly on oral communication, Dante’s Vita nuova represented an unprecedented type of vernacular book that played a key influence on a steadily expanding lay readership. After Dante, one may argue, vernacular books took on a new life. The text itself alludes to its own groundbreaking nature and materiality. Shaping the body of the text, however, is not the only challenge thematized by the Vita nuova, as issues such as textual transmission, interpretation, and cultural authorization are central to this poetic experiment. Dante’s quest for an innovative literary object that may better represent the emerging vernacular culture overlaps with his struggle to account for Beatrice’s miraculous nature. The outcome is the ultimate “translatable” text: its multiform reception and multiplicity of readaptations continue to reveal new potential meanings inherent in the original. In this continuing life, however, the original works also changes. Hence, this panel proposes not only to explore the Renaissance afterlife of Dante’s Vita nuova but also its continuous renewal, as well as its influence on, and transformation into new forms of textuality and cultural innovation.

We invite papers and ongoing research projects on related topics, as well as disciplinary and methodological perspectives, including but not limited to:

  • Textual transmission and translations of the Vita nuova in the Renaissance;
  • Readers and receptions of Dante’s Vita nuova in Renaissance Italy and Europe;
  • Female responses to the Vita nuova in the Renaissance;
  • Women readers, critics, and active respondents–both imagined and real–in Renaissance texts;
  • Imagining and designing vernacular books in the Renaissance;
  • The Renaissance book of memory;
  • Textual and human bodies;
  • Texts that thematize their own hermeneutic challenges to the reader (particularly vernacular, lay readers);
  • Adding prose to poetry in the Renaissance;
  • Traces of Dante’s Vita nuova in Renaissance Art;
  • Renaissance love and love in the Vita nuova: theologizing eros vis-à-vis classical and lyric alternatives; Divine inspiration, divine ingenium, and poetic originality;
  • Renaissance developments of the theme of novelty and renewal–both spiritual and cultural–in light of Dante’s Vita nuova;
  • Urban poetics;
  • Poets and civic engagement in the wake of Dante’s Vita nuova.

Modern Languages Association Annual Meeting, 5-8 January 2023

The Dante Society of America is organizing three sessions for the annual meeting of the Modern Language Association. The next meeting of the MLA will be held in San Francisco, CA from January 5-8, 2023. The deadline for the call for papers was March 25, 2022. Once the sessions have been approved, details will be posted here.

Dante's Economies: Industry, Work and Money Inspired by the 2023 MLA Presidential Theme, “Working Conditions”, this session invites presentations that explore issues relating to Dante's treatment of industry, work, toil, labor, or other 'natural' forms of generation (defined in contrast with usury or what Dante considered perverted or unnatural forms of generation). 

Confession and Penance in Dante This session invites presentations that explore issues relating to confession and penance across Dante’s works and in the medieval Italian context. 

Ecocritical Approaches to Dante  This session invites presentations that approach Dante’s works from ecocritical perspectives. We welcome submissions that interrogate the boundaries between the natural, non-natural, unnatural, supernatural, or that investigate particular issues such as: nature as a theoretical concern, natural imagery, meteorology, etc.


Recorded Events

  • The 140th Annual Meeting of the Dante Society of America was held online on May 7, 2022. It was followed by a program commemorating Robert Hollander and John Freccero, two influential Dantists who died during the previous year. A videorecording of the meeting and program is available on the Society's YouTube channel.
  • The 139th Annual Meeting of the Dante Society of America was held online on May 16, 2021. A videorecording is available on the Society's YouTube channel.
  • Video recordings of sessions from the 2021 Annual Symposium of the Dante Society of America, "'Tra liti si lontani': Dante for the Americas," are available as a playlist on the Society's YouTube channel. The symposium was on hosted online by Harvard University in collaboration with the Society on 5-13 May 2021.
  • The 137th Annual Meeting of the Dante Society of America was held at the University of Toronto in Toronto, Canada, on Saturday, May 4, 2019. Presentations given during the associated symposium "Plurilingualism and Visibile Parlare" are available as a playlist on the Society's YouTube channel (note: due to technical difficulties, recordings of some presentations are not available).
  • The 136th Annual Meeting of the Dante Society of America was held at Boston College in Chestnut Hill, Massachusetts, on Saturday, May 5, 2018. Presentations given during the associated symposium "'Come il baccialier': Questioning and Professing Dante" are available as a playlist on the Society's YouTube channel.
  • The 135th Annual Meeting of the Dante Society of America was held at the University of Oregon on Saturday, May 6, 2017. Presentations given during the associated symposium "Translation in Dante / Dante in Translation" are available as a playlist on the Society's YouTube channel.

Past Meetings and Events

A listing of meetings and events sponsored by the Dante Society in previous years is available here.

Minutes and agenda for the Society's annual membership meetings since 2014 may be found under "About the Society."