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Ben Lawton <email@example.com>
My work in progress, in addition to various essays and book chapters on Italian and ItalianAmerican cinema, includes the translation of Giuseppe Giacosa?s Impressioni d?America, monographs on Pasolini's last films, the perception of America by Italian American filmmakers, and the cultural construction of Italians and Italian Americans in the media.
|Address:||Dept. of Foreign Languages and Literatures
S. Coulter Hall 139
West Lafayette, Indiana 47907
|List Affiliations:||List Editor for H-ItAm
|Interests:||African American History / Studies
American History / Studies
Ethnic History / Studies
European History / Studies
Political History / Studies
Urban History / Studies
Women, Gender, and Sexuality
Ben Lawton was born in the United States and raised in and near the valli valdesi of Northwestern Piedmont, home of his ancestors--according to family legend--and where his sister, an Italian citizen, still lives. He attended Italian schools from the scuola elementare through the liceo classico. At 18, he came to the United States with $50 pinned in his pants pocket. He earned his living washing dishes and doing stoop labor until he joined the U.S. military. He learned conversational American in Basic Training. Upon his completion of his military service, he attended college thanks to the G.I. Bill. He received his B.A. in Italian from the University of California at Santa Barbara (Phi Beta Kappa, Outstanding Graduating Senior), and his M.A. and his Ph.D. in Italian from UCLA (Outstanding Teaching Assistant--university-wide). While at UCLA he started the first Italian cinema course taught in the U.S. He also began to write about Italian and Italian/American cinema in publications ranging from the ItaloAmericano di Los Angeles to Italian Americana.
He is Chair of the Interdisciplinary Italian Studies Program and Chair of the Interdisciplinary Film Studies Program. He is author/editor of Literary and Sociopolitical Trends in Italian Cinema (CIS, UCLA, 1975), the first textbook published in the United States specifically for Italian cinema courses. His translation of Pier Paolo Pasolini?s Heretical Empiricism (Indiana University Press, 1988) was selected by Choice as "Outstanding Academic Book" for that year. Among his various teaching awards, he won Purdue?s 1977-78 AMOCO Foundation [university-wide] Outstanding Teacher Award and was honored by being selected as a Founding Fellow of the Purdue University Teaching Academy in 1997. He was visiting professor at Indiana University in 1987 and at Dartmouth College from January to June 2000. He usually spends his summers teaching for the Purdue University Studies Abroad Program in Florence, Italy, which he co-founded.
His over 30 essays and book chapters have appeared in, inter alia, Italian Quarterly, Italianistica, Quarterly Review of Film Studies, Italian Americana, Film Criticism, Italian Journal, Differentia, Voices in Italian Americana, Abroad in America: Visitors to the New Nation, 1776-1914 (Smithsonian Institution, 1976), Dictionary of Italian Literature,. (Greenwood Press, 1979), Patterns of Italian Cinema , (SUNY, 1980), From the Margin, (Purdue UP, 1990), Forma e Parola (Bulzoni, 1992), Politics and Ideology in Italian Cinema (Indiana University: WEST, 1994), Giuseppe De Santis and Postwar Italian Cinema (Toronto UP, 1996), Cinema Voices: Francesco Rosi, (Flick Books, Greenwood Press, and Praeger, 1996). His widely cited essays (most recently in the MLA guide to the Decameron, have been anthologized in, among others, The Decameron, (Norton, 1977), Federico Fellini: Essays in Criticism, (Oxford University Press, 1978), Twice-Told Tales: Modern European Filmmakers and the Art of Adaptation, (Ungar, 1981), Italian-American Heritage (SUNY: State Education Department, 1990), Critical Essays on Federico Fellini, (G.G. Hall/Macmillan, 1992), etc.
A popular lecturer, he has spoken at more than 90 conferences, universities and art institutes in the United States and abroad, Professor Lawton was also one of the co-founders of the Purdue University Film Conferences and co-founder and co-editor of the Film Studies Annual (1976-1982), and co-founder of Purdue University Conference on Romance Languages, Literatures, and Film and co-editor of the Romance Languages Annual (1989-present). He also co-founded the Italian Cultural Studies conference (1999) and is co-editor of Italian Cultural Studies. He serves as consultant on Italian film for various publishing houses in the United States and abroad.
Professor Lawton, a Vietnam era veteran, veteran of the Gulf War, and graduate of the Army Command and General Staff College at Fort Leavenworth, KS, is a Lieutenant Colonel in the United States Army Reserve. Among his awards and decorations are the Bronze Star Medal, the Meritorious Service Medal with one Oak Leaf Cluster, the Army Commendation Medal, the National Defense Service Medal with One Oak Leaf Cluster, the Southwest Asia Service Medal with Three Bronze Service Stars, the Air Force Good Conduct Medal, the Meritorious Unit Citation, the Kuwait Liberation Medal (Saudi Arabia), the Kuwait Liberation Medal (Kuwait), the Special Forces Tab, The Rigger Badge, and the Parachutist Badge.
When not otherwise professionally occupied, Professor Lawton spends his time reading, watching movies, exploring the delights of parabolic skis, windsurfing, and studying the theory and praxis of comparative martial arts.