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Cabrini Professor Marilyn Johnson, PhD, in front of class

Paul Wright, PhD

Assistant Provost, International Affairs

The cornerstone of a solid liberal arts education is recognizing the past, according to Paul Wright, PhD. He encourages his students to detach themselves from the present moment and revisit the past, and the foundations that brought the world to where it is today.

Wright, who earned a BA in English from Northwestern University and a PhD in Comparative Literature from Princeton University, currently is researching several projects. He is completing a book-length study of Machiavelli, entitled The Alloy of Identity: Machiavelli's Florentine Histories Reclaimed.

In September 2007, he traveled to Florence, to participate in the European University Institute's seminar on "Comparative and Trans-National Approaches to the History of Europe." In December 2007, he presented a paper on "The 'Future Tense' of Humanist Revolution" at the Modern Language Association Annual Convention.

Wright is an avid reader and cinema fan, and also loves to explore new places in the U.S. and abroad. He lived in Japan for four years, and travels regularly to China and Italy. He is originally from Chicago, and resides in Philadelphia.

Areas of Expertise

Renaissance humanism; Machiavellianism; urban history; early modern political thought; Milton; epic and romance; the public sphere and the intellectual marketplace in early modern Europe; economic metaphors and representations of suffering; tropes of historicism; cinema and the recasting of history; media studies and narrative art; engaged pedagogies that fuse unapologetic play and serious scholarship

Publications

  • Machiavelli and the Florentine Republic, 1494-1512 (a “Reacting to the Past” module for instructors seeking engaged pedagogies to bring Renaissance studies to life for undergraduate and graduate students; see https://reacting.barnard.edu for more information on “Reacting”)

Medieval & Renaissance 

  • “The Raw and the Cooked: The Renaissance as Cultural Trope in Times of Crisis” in Renaissance Now! The Value of the Renaissance Past in the Culture of Today, edited by Brendan Dooley (Peter Lang, 2014)
  • “Inside Jokes and Trivialized Spaces: The Chancery of the Palazzo Vecchio and the Bathos of Machiavelli’s Florentine Histories,” in At Whom Are We Laughing? Humor in Romance Languages Literature, edited by Zenia Sacks Da Silva and Gregory Pell (Cambridge Scholars, 2013)
  • “Propaganda and the Pornography of Cataclysm: Augustine and Luigi Guicciardini’s Sack of Rome,” in Augustine and History, edited by Daly et al. (Rowman & Littlefield, 2008)
  • Review: J. Christopher Warner, The Augustinian Epic, Petrarch to Milton in Forum Italicum, Vol. 41, no. 2: Fall 2007
  • “The Perversity of the ‘War of Ideas’: Iraq and Francisco de Vitoria’s Second Scholastic” (Villanova University Occasional Papers, Fall 2005)
  • “Machiavelli’s City of God: Civic Humanism and Augustinian Terror,” in Augustine and Politics, edited by Doody et al. (Rowman & Littlefield, 2005)
  • “Comparative Literature and the Paradigm of Thwarted Translation,” in Literary Research/Recherche Littéraire No. 31: Spring-Summer 1999, 123-30

Media Studies

  • “’History doesn't repeat; at best, it sometimes rhymes’: The Series Finale of The Wire as Historiographical Trope,” forthcoming in Finale: Considering the Ends of Television Series (co-edited by David Bianculli and Douglas Howard; Syracuse University Press, forthcoming 2016)
  • “The Vast Narratives of David Simon,” forthcoming in Television Auteurs: 100 Small Screen Creators, edited by David Lavery (University of Mississippi Press, publication date TBD)
  • “Reconcilable Differences? Philosophical and Theological Syncretism in Lost,” in Lost Thought: Leading Thinkers Discuss Lost, edited by Pearson Moore (Inukshuk Press, 2012)
  • “Half a Wise Guy: Paulie Walnuts, Meet Tom Stoppard,” in The Essential Sopranos Reader, edited by David Lavery et al. (University Press of Kentucky, 2011)
  • “Subterranean Collegiate Blues: Reading Bob Dylan’s Chronicles as a Required Freshman Text” (with Emily Ondine Wittman) in Substance, Judgment, & Evaluation: Seeking the Worth of a Liberal Arts, Core Text Education, edited by Patrick T. Flynn et al. (University Press of America, 2010)
  •  “Dylan’s Back Pages as Curriculum” (with Emily Ondine Wittman) in Chronicle of Higher Education (October 12, 2007)
  • “Divining the ‘Celestials’: The Chinese Subculture of Deadwood” (with Hailin Zhou), in Reading Deadwood, edited by David Lavery (I.B. Tauris, 2006)

Presentations

Professional Papers Delivered

  • “The Rhetorical Critique of Inequality and Unfettered Capitalism in American Film and Television” (Keynote speaker, Shanghai Academy of Social Sciences 2014 Forum, July 2014)
  • “The ‘Marshall Plan’ of the Spirit: Post-War Venice and the Importation of Trauma in Hemingway’s Across the River and Into the Trees” (XVI Biennial Ernest Hemingway Society Conference, Venice, Italy June 2014)
  • “A Renaissance in Augustinian Dualism–Machiavelli, Shakespeare, and the Epistemological Rape of Lucretia” (Minding the Body: Dualism and Its Discontents, Graduate Center of CUNY, New York, March 2013)
  • “Cultural Copyright? Global Pathways of Sampling and Homage in the Culture Industries of World Cinema” (5thWorld Forum on China Studies, Shanghai Academy of Social Sciences, March 2013)
  • “The Raw and the Cooked: The Renaissance as Cultural Trope in Times of Crisis” (Renaissance Society of America Annual Meeting, Washington, D.C., April 2012)
  • “History doesn't repeat; at best, it sometimes rhymes’: The Series Finale of The Wire as Historiographical Trope” (Popular Culture Association & American Culture AssociationAnnual Meeting, Boston, April 2012)
  • “Reconcilable Differences? Philosophical and Theological Syncretism in Lost” (Popular Culture and American Culture Association of the South, New Orleans, October 2011)
  • “The Geography of Moral Space: People and Places in Dante’s Purgatorio” (Villanova University Center for Liberal Education, November 2010)
  • “Class in America: The Final Frontier of Polite Conversation” (Diversity Initiatives Lecture Series, Cabrini University, October 2010)
  • “The Blackface of the Greatest Generation: Mad Men’s Roger Sterling” (American & Popular Culture Studies Annual Meeting, St. Louis, April 2010)
  • “Dead-Ends: The Palazzo Vecchio as Medici Space in Machiavelli’s Istorie Fiorentine” (Renaissance Society of America Annual Meeting, Los Angeles, March 2009)
  • “Nothing Changes but Names and Places: The Sack of Rome, Intra-family Fidelity, and the Revisionist Chronicles of the Guicciardini and the Medici” (Renaissance Society of America Annual Meeting, Chicago, April 2008)
  • “Inside Jokes and Trivialized Space: The Chancery of the Palazzo Vecchio and the Bathos of Machiavelli’s Florentine Histories” (At Whom Are We Laughing? Humor in Romance Language Literatures, Hofstra University, April 2008)
  • “Half a Wise Guy: Paulie Walnuts, Meet Tom Stoppard” (The Sopranos: A Wake, Fordham University, May 2008)
  • “The ‘Future Tense’ of Humanist Revolution” (Modern Language Association Annual Convention, Chicago, December 2007)
  • “‘God Will Not Do Everything’: Machiavelli’s Prince and the Price of Redemption” (Villanova University Center for Liberal Education, November 2007)
  • “Undocumented Immigrants: Machiavels, Italianate Englishmen, and the Importation of Italian Culture into Early Modern England” (Sixteenth Century Society & Conference, Minneapolis, October 2007)
  • “Tracking The Wire: A People’s History of the War on Drugs” (Panel on “Baltimore as Backdrop,” Northeast Modern Language Association Annual Convention, Baltimore, March 2007)
  • “Conspiracy Theory: Petrarca, Machiavelli, and the Repudiation of Humanist Revolution” (Patristic, Medieval, & Renaissance Studies Annual Conference, Villanova University, October 2005)
  • “‘The Skirts and Suburbs of Religion’: Uncommon Sense from Eikon Basilike to Milton’s Paradise Regained” (International Milton Congress, Duquesne University, March 2004)
  • “Making Habermas User-Friendly? Communicative Action and the Material of Critical Public Space” (invited lecture, Drexel University, Department of Architecture, November 2003)
  • “Identity Politician: Machiavelli in the Wake of Dante and Guicciardini” (Renaissance Society of America Annual Meeting, Toronto, March 2003)
  • “Milton’s ‘Easy Literature of Custom’: The Clash of Icons, Territorial Reason, & Intellectual Property in Eikon Basilike & Eikonoklastes (Patristic, Medieval, & Renaissance Studies Annual Conference, Villanova University, September 2002)
  • “The Command-Economy of Pleasure: The Limit Case of Autonomy” (“Freedom & Its Limits” Symposium, Villanova University, April 2002)
  • “Addressing Education, Re-dressing Modernity: Periodization in Newman’s Idea of a University” (Faculty Colloquium Series on “Newman’s Legacy in the Liberal Arts and Higher Education,” Villanova University, November 2001)
  • “Critics of the Fait Accompli: Machiavelli, Vico, and Biopolitics” (Panel on “Vico in the New Millennium,” American Association of Italian Studies, University of Pennsylvania, April 2001)
  • “Petrarca as Urban Planner: Paternalism, Decorum, and Feminine Grieving in Medieval Padua”  (Panel on “Medieval Lamentation and Feminine Grief,” Modern Language Association Annual Meeting, San Francisco, December 1998)
  • “Jacob Burckhardt’s Reflections on History: Periodization and the Historical Economy of Suffering”  (XVth Congress of the International Comparative Literature Association: Literature as Cultural Memory, Leiden University, The Netherlands, August 1997)
  • “Historicism in a Therapeutic Mode: The Discourses of Self-Reflection in Machiavelli and Bacon”  (American Comparative Literature Association Annual Meeting, University of Georgia at Athens, March 1995)
  • “Pico della Mirandola’s ‘Literary Gymnasium’: The Search for Historical Understanding Free of the Marketplace”  (Mingling Kings & Clowns: The Culture of Class in the Renaissance, University of California at Santa Barbara, April 1992)

Scholarly Seminars & Research Assignments

  • Visiting Researcher, The Vittore Branca International Center for the Study of Italian Culture (Venice, Italy, Summer 2012 & Summer 2014)
  • Wye Faculty Seminar on “Citizenship in the American and Global Polity,” The Aspen Institute (Queenstown, MD, Summer 2013)
  • Participant, Council of Independent Colleges, Seminar on “Ancient Greece in the Modern College Classroom: Herodotus,” Harvard University Center for Hellenic Studies (Washington, D.C., Summer 2010)
  • Participant, European University Institute, Summer School on "Comparative and Trans-National Approaches to the History of Europe: Theories, Methodology and Historical Case Studies" (EUI, Florence, September 2007)
  • Moderator, NEH Seminar Series on “Socratic Questions”—“Socrates and Pico’s Oration on the Dignity of Man,” Professor Anthony Grafton (Villanova University, January 2006)
  • Participant, The Folger Institute, The Foundations of Modern International Thought, 1494-1713, directed by David Armitage, Columbia University (held at The Folger Shakespeare Institute, Washington, D.C., May-June 2002)
  • Graduate Student Participant & Research Assistant, NEH Seminar on “Literary History” under the direction of Professor Earl Miner (Princeton University, Summer 1994)
  • Graduate Student Participant, NEH Institute on “Crisis in the Italian Renaissance: 1494-1527” under the joint direction of Professors Albert Ascoli and John Najemy (Northwestern University, Summer 1993)

Awards and Recognitions

  • Fondazione Giorgio Cini Co-Financing Award, Vittore Branca Center, Venice, Italy (2012)
  • 1976 Hamilton Faculty Fellowship, Cabrini University (2011; one of the inaugural fellows)
  • Cabrini University nominee, Hiett Prize, The Dallas Institute of Humanities & Culture (2008)
  • Buzzalino Family Faculty Scholars Award, Cabrini University (2007; inaugural winner)
  • Faculty Development Grant for Summer Research, Cabrini University (2007, 2009, 2011, 2013, 2014)
  • Barbieri Post-doctoral Fellowship, Villanova University (2003-present)
  • Villanova Institute for Teaching and Learning Grant (2003)
  • Arthur J. Ennis Postdoctoral Fellowship, Villanova University (2000-3)
  • Summer Curriculum Fellowship, Catholic Social Thought and the Common Good, Villanova University (2001)
  • Henry W. Dodds Dissertation Fellowship, Princeton University (1994-5)
  • Nomination, Distinguished Teaching Award, Princeton University (1994)
  • Italian Studies Travel Award, Princeton University (1992)
  • Mary Cross Summer Fellowship for Students of Comparative Literature, Princeton University (1991)
  • Daniel Bonbright Award, Northwestern University (1990)
  • Dante Society of America Undergraduate Essay Award (1989)

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