Anna Minardi

Senior Lecturer

I have been working at Dartmouth since 2001. As a senior lecturer in the French and Italian department I taught all level of Italian and served also as language course coordinator from 2007 until 2012. In 2014 I was invited to teach a course in the MALS program on methodology as it pertains to the writing process. Since 2014 I serve also as Faculty advisor for The MALS Journal: Clamantis, the biannual pubblication that showcases the strongest critical and creative work submitted by current MALS students and alumni.

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I  hold a degree in veterinary medicine and I completed the MALS program iin 2010, with a thesis in creative writing.

Some of my interests include researching on problems inherent to language: such as foreign language acquisition as well as the cultural issues related to translating a literary text into another language, and the meaning of inter-cultural and trans-cultural translation. 

For my scientific formation, my attention is drawn to science, literature, critical thought, and cultural studies.  From my personal experience I have learned how influential a language can be in a human being's life.  It seems to me that a language is not only a tool but a defining factor in our existence that radically affects our understanding of the world and ourselves, that recreates new meaning, times, and places to be. 

In my creative writing work I focus on the exploration of this sense of displacement, dislocation and the simultaneous void and intimacy that language itself elicits.

I might also add that one of  my passions is cooking, and I always looked for ways to engage students through cooking nights where they speak Italian informally and discussed Italian culture by means of regional culinary differences. To me, food, like language, is the intersection point between cultures. It highlights the differences between “us” and “them” but also becomes the logical place to link us. It is a way, once again, to find the familiar (the mode of communication, cooking, and eating) in the unfamiliar (the foreign language itself), which is a consistent pedagogical feature of  my teaching.

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Curriculum Vitae
HB 6092
French and Italian
Master of Arts in Liberal Studies
MALS, Dartmouth College
Degree in Veterinary Medicine, Parma, Italy

Selected Publications

Book: Ponit. Italiano Terzo millenio. (with E. Tognozzi, G. Cavatorta)  Second Year Italian Language workbook, lab manual and website. Heinle-Cengage Learning: Boston, 2009. Second edition.

Book: Ponti. Italiano Terzo Millennio. (with E. Tognozzi, G. Cavatorta)  Second Year Italian Language workbook, lab manual and website. Houghton & Mifflin: Boston, 2003. First edition.

Selected Works and Activities

In Summer 2014 in collaboration with Sarah Smith and the Book Art Workshop I launched a creative writing and printing project of a Prose Poem which, I hope, will serve as a model in foreign language teaching. I plan to expand this project, tentatively entitled From experimental to experiential writing, from the anecdotal stage to a more formally developed one, and possibly to include it in a cross-discipliary  perspective research paper.

This project grew out of the creating writing workshops I conduct in my language classes. Adding the tactile printing experience enhanced my students’ competency, raised their language awareness, and began to move them from simple composition into a more literary production. This method worked even with students who did not have advanced control of the grammar or an extensive lexicon. My initiative emerged from my understanding that writing (not only) in a foreign language is a multi-sensorial experience that accommodates different ways of learning.

The physical manipulation of letter "blocks" gives my students the opportunity to incorporate in their learning process a new skill that eventually is transferred to more mainstream compositions.

My next experiential project happened rather serendipitously when my colleague, Bill Phillips, from the film department, asked me, this past March, to participate in the Italian and French subtitling of a festival documentary that profiles the life and career of the artist Sabra Field. We soon understood, however, that at least in Italy and France, dubbing is by far preferred by viewers, so we began planning that as well. This was a great opportunity to involve students, because the film presents, beside Sabra’s voice, about fifty additional speakers and their comments. This project, not a “dub” in the sense of a dramatic film, where you try to match the lip movements to the speaker, nonetheless forced the “actors” to fit the foreign language into the time allotted on the frame. The student participants thought the experience was very valuable not only for Italian language proficiency, in that they had to focus on pronouncing everything correctly and speaking as clearly as possible, but also for creative vocal expression and improvisation, whereby they used their creative license when the time frame wouldn’t allow them to translate word by word. They learned firsthand how proficiency in the language is interwoven with acting and speech skills, and I learned how rhetoric, speech, and acting are aspects of experiential learning that I would like to explore further.