Early Modern Studies

Early Modern Studies in French, Spanish, Italian, and Portuguese lay the ground for understanding the later periods up to the present day, since so many of the frontiers, borders, attitudes, and mindsets we see even today were established in the pre-colonial and then colonial period. For example, it is in the 17th century that France established its colonies in the Caribbean, West Africa, today’s Canada, and Louisiana. Each of these European countries – Spain, Portugal, Italy, with France, has a similar story; they set down roots all over the world as well as spheres of cultural influence during this period. The history of Latin America makes no sense without familiarity with Portuguese and Spanish Studies, and our cultural heritage owes much to the cultural production of early Modern Italy. Many of the struggles and questions today are direct consequences of these earliest days of European expansion and expression. Early Modern Studies in the four concentrations furnishes a window into those times and opens our eyes to our heritage, to who we were, who we are, and who we may become.

Helen Solterer

Helen Solterer, Professor of Romance Studies

Office: 217B Language Center, Durham, NC 27708

Phone: (919) 660-3118

My research and teaching focus on pre-modern literature and culture in French and their interplay with contemporary thought; twentieth-century French cultural history; writing through gender.

Published works include:  Un Moyen Âge républicain: les paradoxes du th...

Full Profile »

Martin Eisner

Martin Eisner, Professor of Romance Studies

Office: 05 Language Center, Box 90257, Durham, NC 27708

Phone: (919) 660-3129

Martin Eisner is Chair of Romance Studies and Professor of Italian at Duke University. He specializes in medieval Italian literature, particularly the works of Dante, Petrarch, and Boccaccio, as well as the history of the book and media.

He is the author of...

Full Profile »

Valeria Finucci

Valeria Finucci, Professor Emerita of Romance Studies

Office: 219E Language Center, Durham, NC 27708

Phone: (919) 660-3119

Renaissance theater, epic, romance, and treatise; women writers, medical and literary understandings of the body, Venetian culture, Renaissance fashion, medicine in early modern Italy, New World's pharmacy, and psychoanalysis. Full Profile »

Michele Longino

Michele Longino, Professor of Romance Studies

Office: 111 Language Center, Durham, NC 27708-0257

Phone: (919) 660-3121

Professor of French & Italian Studies, received her Ph.D. from the University of Michigan, and taught at Rice University before coming to Duke in 1989.  She is an early modern specialist on the French Classical age, 1650-1700. Her interests in the epistolary genre and in women's writing...

Full Profile »

Walter Mignolo

Walter Mignolo, Professor of Romance Studies

Office: 125B Friedl Building, Box 90670, Durham, NC 27708

Phone: (919) 668-1949


Mignolo’s research and teaching have been devoted, in the past 30 years, to understanding and unraveling the historical foundation of the modern/colonial world system and imaginary since 1500. In his research, modern/...

Full Profile »

José María Rodríguez García

José María Rodríguez García, Associate Professor of Romance Studies

Office: 214 Language Center, Durham, NC 27708

Phone: (919) 660-3113

Global Iberia/ Oceanic Americas; cosmopolitanism and autochthony; history of lyric forms and of literary translation; Galicia's political-intellectual history; Colombia's political-intellectual history; late/ belated Hispanic and transnational modernisms, esp. Zambrano, Tàpies & Paz Full Profile »