Urban & Space Studies

From the discovery of the New World to the processes of colonization and decolonizations, or to the more recent “occupy” movements, space appears as a particular, unavoidable part of the real, which we constantly see and think we know. Space is generally understood as being produced and shaped by political forces, but also as being the site where these forces can be seen in their historical complexities.

The modern era has been characterized by the creation of urban centers, as spaces of intensive exchanges, which quickly became centers of cultural creation as well as crucial subjects of cultural reflection. Moreover, the complexity of connections among urban centers on a global scale has increased dramatically within the past two centuries. Aesthetic creations of all sorts, but particularly literary and new media realizations, are closely tied to perceptions and representations of space and to networked experience. What does it mean to live in a globally connected environment, in which communication can crisscross vast spaces in milliseconds? How can we think the persistance of non-global ways to produce space (from regionalism to localism) in a largely globalized world? How do we create the concepts to think space in the contemporary city? How can the past history of urban spaces guide us in our present encounters with post-modern spaces? How to represent space? How to give aesthetical shape to the classic, the modern, or the post-modern city?

Romance Studies faculty members explore these questions from a variety of perspective and through a plurality of cultural and aesthetical discourses, from the mapping of colonized territories to the capitalist production of the postmodern city, includind the formation of regional identities, questions of speed and of representation, in architecture, literature, film, maps and new media.

David F. Bell

David F. Bell, Professor Emeritus of Romance Studies

Office: 209 Language Center, Durham, NC 27708

Phone: (919) 660-3100

Nineteenth-century French literature and culture; critical theory; literature and science; literature and technology. Full Profile »

Roberto Maria Dainotto

Roberto Maria Dainotto, Professor of Romance Studies

Office: 217A Language Center, Box 90257, Durham, NC 27708

Modern and contemporary Italian culture. Publications include Place in Literature: Regions, Cultures, Communities (Cornell UP, 2000); Europe (in Theory) (Duke UP, 2007); The Mafia: A Cultural History (Reaction Books, 2015);  and the edited volume ... Full Profile »

Fredric Jameson

Fredric Jameson, Professor in the Department of Romance Studies

Office: 101 Friedl Bldg, 1316 Campus Drive Box 90670, Durham, NC 27708

Phone: (919) 684-4155

Knut Schmidt-Nielsen Professor of Comparative Literature, Professor of Romance Studies (French), and Director of the Center for Critical Theory. Professor Jameson received his Ph.D. from Yale in 1959 and taught at Harvard, Yale, and the University of California before coming to Duke in 1985. He...

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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...

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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/...

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