Faculty Accomplishments

Melissa Sclafani
Melissa Sclafani
Assistant Professor Of Sculpture

Professor Melissa Sclafani (she/they) was chosen through a&nbsp;<br />competitive, international open call as one of 40 artists from 32 countries to participate in a month-long research-intensive in Brooklyn, NY. Uncool Artist, an international community of artists, critics, curators, and educators that began in Brazil in 2010 and moved to New York, NY, USA, in 2018. The conception of Uncool Artist was inspired by a letter written in 1965 by Sol Lewitt, in response to Eva Hesse during a period of doubt and difficulty for the artist, he writes, &ldquo;Don't worry about cool, make your own uncool&rdquo;. Sclafani will be developing a new body of research focusing on a participant-driven, collaborative archive with the other artists. This archive will include objects, sculptures, drawings, and videos exploring the impact of collective failure, disappointment, regret, and grief on individuals and communities.

Kevin Wagner, Ph.D.
Professor, Political Science

Kevin Wagner’s new book, Directed Digital Dissidence in Autocracies: How China Wins Online, was recently published by Oxford University Press. The volume was co-authored with Jason Gainous, Rongbin Han, and Andrew W. MacDonald. This comprehensive work sheds light on the evolving landscape of digital dissidence in autocratic regimes. Drawing from extensive research and empirical evidence, the book delves into the strategies employed by autocratic regimes to suppress digital dissent and the innovative methods used by activists to circumvent these restrictions. "Directed Digital Dissidence in Autocracies" provides a timely and in-depth examination of the intersection between technology, politics, and activism in the digital age. With the global rise of autocratic governments and the increasing role of the internet and social media in political movements, this book offers valuable insights into the dynamics of digital resistance.

Marina Banchetti, Ph.D.
Professor, Philosophy

Marina Banchetti's new book, From the Atom to Living Systems: A Chemical and Philosophical Journey Into Modern and Contemporary Science, was recently published by Oxford University Press. The book, co-written with Italian chemist Giovanni Villani, covers the history of atomic theory and its philosophical implications. It scientifically and philosophically traces the journey from atoms all the way through the many levels of complexity to macromolecules and living organisms and takes a historico-epistemological approach to follow the passage, in the microscopic analysis of reality, from the atomic to the molecular and then macromolecular levels.

Banchetti is the Florida Department of Education's Philosophy Discipline Coordinator.  In this role, she oversees the approval of all new philosophy courses for Florida's state colleges and universities and for participating private colleges and universities. She specializes in phenomenology, philosophy of language, philosophy of mind, and history and philosophy of science with a current focus on history and philosophy of chemistry.

Steve Engle, Ph.D.
Professor Of History

Steve Engle’s book In Pursuit of Justice: The Life of John Albion Andrew was recently published by the University of Massachusetts Press.Widely known as the “poor man’s lawyer” in antebellum Boston, John Albion Andrew (1818–1867) was involved in nearly every cause and case that advanced social and racial justice in Boston in the years preceding the Civil War. Inspired by the legacies of John Quincy Adams and Ralph Waldo Emerson, and mentored by Charles Sumner, Andrew devoted himself to the battle for equality. Deval Patrick, professor of the practice of public leadership and co-director of the Center for Public Leadership at Harvard University reviewed the book: “In this new biography, Stephen D. Engle has given us a thoroughly engaging portrait of the man, his times and his leadership. Engle’s research focuses on the study of the American Civil War and Reconstruction Era, and his books examine the ethnic dimensions of the period, civil-military relations during the war, and the politics of race and power. His articles and essays have appeared in Civil War History, Reviews in American History, Journal of the West, Journal of Negro History, Yearbook of German American Studies, Journal of Urban History, Massachusetts Historical Review, AHA Perspectives, Journal of Federal History, and The American Historian.

Emily Fenichel, Ph.D.
Associate Professor, Art History

Emily Fenichel’s new book Michelangelo's Art of Devotion in the Age of Reform was recently  published by Cambridge University Press. In this volume, Fenichel offers an in-depth investigation of the religious motivations behind Michelangelo's sculpture and graphic works in his late period. Fenichel received her M.A. and Ph.D. from the University of Virginia. Her research focuses on the interaction of art and religion in the Renaissance, particularly in the art of Michelangelo. Her essays have appeared in Renaissance Quarterly, Source: Notes on the History of Art, and Artibus et Historiae.

Associate Professor Of History And Former Executive Director Of The FAU Center For Peace, Justice And Human Rights

Kelly Shannon, Ph.D., associate professor of history and former executive director of the FAU Center for Peace, Justice and Human Rights, has been named a Hoover Institute National Fellow  for 2023-24. Shannon will be spending the year working on her book project, The Ties That Bind: U.S.-Iran Relations, 1905-1953, which is under contract with Columbia University Press in its Global America series. Shannon specializes in the twentieth-century history of U.S. foreign relations, with a particular focus on the Islamic world, Iran, and women’s human rights. She is the author of U.S. Foreign Policy and Muslim Women’s Human Rights (University of Pennsylvania Press, 2018). 

Ilaria Serra
Ph.D., Professor Of Italian Studies And Comparative Studies

Ilaria Serra has been knighted by the President of Italy. She is now Cavaliere della Repubblica dell'Ordine della Stella d'Italia. It is an honor for those who support the image and culture of Italy abroad. Serra was born in Venice, Italy. She is a Professor of Italian and Comparative Studies and the coordinator of the FAU Italian Program. Her research weaves Italian American Studies into Italian Studies more broadly; main areas of focus include Italian cinema, Italian literature, Italian history through popular song, and the history of Italian immigration to the United States. She founded and co-leads the FAU Study Abroad Program in Venice, Italy where she teaches the course Venice and Its Reflections.


Adrian Finucane
Adrian Finucane
Ph.D., Associate Professor Of History

Adrian Finucane, Ph.D., Associate Professor of History, has been awarded three grants by the National Endowment for the Humanities. Two of the awards are in support of her book project, “Captive Exchanges: Prisoners of War and the Trade in Secrets, 1700-1760.” The first was an NEH Summer Stipend for Summer 2021, and the other was an NEH Award for Faculty at Hispanic-Serving Institutions, which will allow her to take the whole of 2023 to do research for and write the book.

This book explores themes of incarceration, empire, and cultural contact in the eighteenth-century Atlantic world, arguing that prisoners of war conveyed crucial information that shaped the conflict between the Spanish and British in the American southeast and the Caribbean. In the early eighteenth century, ideas about the proper treatment of prisoners of war were still not completely formed. In this region they developed at the nexus of several different cultures, including those of Europeans, a variety of Indigenous groups, and enslaved and free people of African descent. Studying this region during this period illuminates the varied and sometimes conflicting approaches to empire taken by officials and individuals who captured or were captured as prisoners of war.

The third grant from NEH is  for a Summer Institute titled “The Revolution in Books.” This Institute, which she will co-direct with Victoria Thur of FAU Libraries, will welcome 25 college and university teachers from across the United States for a three-week program on the history of printing and the book during the period of the American Revolution. This Institute draws on the strengths of FAU, including the Marvin and Sybil Weiner Spirit of America Collection and the Jaffe Center for Book Arts. These resources allow for a combination of practical, hands-on learning about the creation and construction of Revolutionary-era books, which will complement discussions with nine visiting expert scholars about the culture of print and reading in this period. The Institute will particularly focus on books as objects produced through both intellectual and physical labor. Participants will develop strategies for teaching about the history of the book in the American Revolution.

Finucane’s research interests include contact among peoples in the early modern Atlantic world, the history of race and gender in early European colonies, and the history of beliefs about witchcraft in early America. She has held fellowships through the John Carter Brown Library, the Charles Warren Center for Studies in Early American History, and the USC-Huntington Early Modern Studies Institute. Finucane received her Ph.D. in history from Harvard University. The “Revolution in Books” has been made possible in part by a major grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities: Democracy demands wisdom. For more information about NEH grants, visit www.neh.gov


Jeff Galin
Jeff Galin

Jeff Galin won two awards at the Writing Across the Curriculum Conference on Aug. 4, 2021 at Colorado State University. First, he was selected as a member of the first group of &ldquo;Distinguished Fellows of the Association for WAC. This award recognizes distinguished scholars (i.e., scholars in field for at least 10 years) who have made significant contributions to the field of WAC through scholarship, service, and/or achievement. Moreover, Galin was selected as the winner of the "Best WAC Monograph" with his cowriters Michelle Cox, Cornell University and Dan Melzer, University of California, Davis.This award recognizes an authored book (including books by multiple authors) that makes an exceptional contribution to WAC scholarship, including (but not limited to) WAC programming, administration, pedagogy, and impact. Sustainable WAC: A Whole Systems Approach to Launching and Developing Writing Across the Curriculum Programs addresses the gap in a coherent theory and methodology in WAC scholarship. More details about each of the awards and all of the winners are available at https:/wac.colostate.edu/community/awards/recipients-2021

Emanuele Pettener
Emanuele Pettener
Languages, Linguistics And Comparative Literature

Florida Atlantic University Professor Emanuele Pettener was recently interviewed on Italian national television (Tg2) about his book “Floridiana.” Pettener is an assistant professor of Italian and writer in residence in FAU’s Dorothy F. Schmidt College of Arts and Letters. He is currently on a book tour in north, central and southern Italy, where the book is attracting attention from national news outlets. His interview with Tg2 can be viewed here  https://fb.watch/6WxYK-hWQ9/

“Floridiana,” which was released in May 2021, is a comedy set in Florida and Venice.  The novel tells the story of a 71-year- old Floridian ex-dentist (Tom) who breaks up with his wife (a 69-year-old professor of history in a university in Boca Raton). He loves her but he suspects she is cheating on him with Juan, her Cuban American gynecologist. Tom decides to join a study abroad program in Venice with some contemporary friends and group in their 20s.

This is Pettener’s fourth novel in Italian. He has also written short stories and essays in English. Pettener was born in Venice, Italy, and has lived in the United States since 2000.