Introducing Katie Sparrow, post-doctoral fellow in Rome

Author: Costanza Montanari

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Katie Sparrow is a "5 + 1" postdoctoral fellow at the University of Notre Dame Rome Global Gateway. While in Rome, she co-teaches two courses of the foundational class “All Roads lead to Rome” in the fall 2023, and will teach one on her own in the spring 2024 while continuing to develop her own research.

The "5+1" program is offered by the College of Arts and Letters in partnership with the Rome Global Gateway. It is a 10-month appointment that runs August-May and it allows students to spend their final graduate school years focused on the dissertation. Once it is complete, they can devote a postdoctoral year to professional development that will enhance their competitiveness for jobs both inside and outside the academy.

Sparrow earned her Ph.D. in Italian Studies and M.A. in Romance Languages and Literatures from the University of Notre Dame. She is from London and completed her bachelor’s degree in French and Italian at the University of Reading in 2015.

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“When I was studying in Reading, my Professor Paola Nasti, who had been a graduate student at Notre Dame with Professor Zygmunt G. Baranski, recommended his course to me,” explains Sparrow. “That was the moment when I decided to apply to the Master program at the University of Notre Dame and then continued through my PhD.”

Sparrow’s primary research explores Dante’s approach to characters and characterization and, in particular, Dante’s self-characterization in the Vita Nova and Commedia. Her research considers modern narratological theories on character and autobiography in its investigation of narrative, structural, and stylistic methods employed by Dante to construct his overarching, self-representative “Dante.”

Sparrow this semester is co-teaching the “All Roads lead to Rome” course with Professor Chiara Sbordoni. “It is a very intense course from the instructor point of view and I am enjoying it a lot,” comments Sparrow. “As soon as I read the description of the course I thought that it was great that students in Rome could learn about the culture and history of the city while being out and about. I find students to be very receptive to this approach. The majority of afternoon classes are composed by engineering and finance students, and they have really cool, interesting insights of the city. As someone who focuses on literature and history, it is very fascinating to see things through the eyes of an engineer's perspective.”

Learn more about pos-doctoral fellows in Rome.