Moe, Nelson 1961-

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MOE, Nelson 1961-


Born 1961. Education: Wesleyan University, B.A. (with honors); Johns Hopkins University, Ph.D.


Office—Italian Department, Barnard College, Columbia University, 316 Milbank Hall, 3009 Broadway, New York, NY 10027. E-mail—[email protected]


Columbia University, New York, NY, joined faculty in 1994, associate professor of Italian at Barnard College, 2001—. Previously worked as assistant professor at Johns Hopkins University and University of Michigan.


Modern Language Association.


Fulbright fellowship, 2000-01; grants from National Endowment for the Humanities and Lurcy Foundation; Aldo and Jeanne Scaglione Publication Award for Manuscript in Italian Literary Studies, Modern Language Association of America, 2001, for The View from Vesuvius.


The View from Vesuvius: Italian Culture and the Southern Question, University of California Press (Berkeley, CA), 2002.

Contributor of articles to anthologies, including Making and Remaking Italy: The Cultivation of National Identity around the Risorgimento and Oltre il meridionalism: Nuove prospettive sul mezzogiorno d'Italia.


Geography, Culture, Power: Gramsci's Southern Question; Representations of the South in Italian Cinema.


Nelson Moe's first book, The View from Vesuvius: Italian Culture and the Southern Question, is a collection of eight essays that examine how the residents of northern Italy and the rest of Europe came to form their unified, largely negative stereotype of the Italian South. Moe traces seventeenth-through nineteenth-century representations of the South in a "remarkably varied selection of texts," as John A. Davis wrote in the American Historical Review, including political treatises, travel diaries, novels, and illustrated weekly magazines. "Few of these texts will be unfamiliar to Italianists," Davis wrote, but "not least of the book's merits is that it makes this extraordinarily rich and varied body of writings accessible to anglophone readers."

Moe's work is revisionist in outlook, seeking to present a more nuanced view of southern Italy. He points out that northern Italy and northern Europe's perception of the South as a primitive region existed long before the unification of Italy in 1860 led to the "Southern Question" of the title. He also examines the various arguments that were used over the years purportedly to explain why southern Italy was less advanced than the North. These arguments ranged from the warmer climate of the South and its proximity to Africa to the tyranny of its Bourbon rulers. All were bound by common themes: the need for northerners to feel superior to the South, to differentiate themselves from it, and, in the years leading up to the unification of Italy, to rationalize their desire to conquer it. Overall, Christopher Duggan concluded in a review for Times Literary Supplement, "The View from Vesuvius is an important contribution to the impressive body of revisionist literature on southern Italy."



American Historical Review, February, 2004, John A. Davis, review of The View from Vesuvius: Italian Culture and the Southern Question.

Choice, February, 2003, review of The View from Vesuvius, p. 1050.

Times Literary Supplement, February 14, 2003, Christopher Duggan, review of The View from Vesuvius, pp. 3-4.


Barnard College Web site, (December 11, 2001), "Professor Nelson Moe's Forthcoming Book Honored by Modern Language Association."*