Humanities Center


Ferrari Humanities Symposia

Bernard T. Ferrari and his wife, Linda.

In 2012, University of Rochester Trustee Bernard T. Ferrari ’70, ’74M (MD) and his wife, Linda Gaddis Ferrari, established the Ferrari Humanities Symposia to broaden the liberal education of the University’s undergraduates, enhance the experience of graduate students, and expand the connections of University faculty with other scholars from around the world.

The annual symposium features a public talk from a visiting scholar with expertise in humanistic thought from the 14th to 17th centuries. The visiting scholar also participates in other activities on campus designed to complement the lecture.

Both Dr. and Mrs. Ferrari have a long-standing appreciation of the arts, particularly paintings of the Italian Renaissance period. "The study of the humanities provides people with the ability to better appreciate beauty, and better appreciate life," said Dr. Ferrari, who explained that art helped to keep him grounded through his rigorous studies in science and medicine. Read more >

Previous Ferrari Humanities Symposia keynote presenters have been Anthony Grafton (2012), Diarmaid MacCulloch (2013), and Stephen Greenblatt (2014).

Stephen Greenblatt
Stephen Greenblatt at the Ferrari Symposium in 2014.

This year, the Ferrari Symposia keynote speaker will be Jane Tylus, Professor of Italian and Comparative Literature, and Faculty Director of The Humanities Initiative at NYU.

Jane Tylus received her Ph.D. from the Johns Hopkins Humanities Center and her B.A. at the College of William and Mary. Her scholarship focuses on late medieval and early modern European literature, particularly Italian. She has special interests in the history of religion, translation studies, and women’s writing. Her most recent books are a complete translation of the poetry of Gaspara Stampa (co-edited with Troy Tower; Chicago, 2011), The Poetics of Masculinity in Early modern Italy and Spain (co-edited with Gerry Mulligan; Toronto 2011), and Reclaiming Catherine of Siena: Literature, Literacy, and the Signs of Others (Chicago, 2010, winner of the MLA’s 2011 Howard Marraro Prize for Outstanding Work in Italian Studies). She is also the author of Writing and Vulnerability in the Late Renaissance (Stanford, 1996), co-editor of Epic Traditions in the Contemporary World (California, 1999, with Margaret Beissinger and Susanne Wofford), co-editor of the Longman Anthology of World Literature (early modern volume), and translator and editor of Sacred Narratives of Lucrezia Tornabuoni (Chicago, 2002; winner of the Society for the Study of Early Modern Women Translation Award). She has published over thirty-five articles and essays in journals such as Rinascimento, Renaissance Quarterly, Theatre Journal, English Literary History, Renaissance Drama, and Italia. She has recently taken on the general editorship of I Tatti Studies in the Italian Renaissance, with the first issue under her direction appearing in November, 2013.

Tylus has taught at NYU since 2003, where she was Vice Provost for Academic Affairs from 2005-11. Prior to her appointment at NYU, she taught in the Departments of Comparative Literature and French at the University of Wisconsin, where she also served as Associate Dean of Humanities. She taught at the Scuola Normale Superiore di Pisa in spring, 2012, and will be a visiting professor at Harvard’s Villa I Tatti in Florence in spring, 2015. She has held fellowships at the Newberry Library in Chicago and the Folger Shakespeare Library in Washington, D.C., and spent a semester as a fellow at the University of Wisconsin’s Institute for the Humanities.

Jane Tylus’s current work includes an informal guide to and history of Siena, entitled Siena: Center of a World, a study of the language of Renaissance pilgrimage, and a co-edited volume on early modern translation. She continues to write on Gaspara Stampa and Lucrezia Tornabuoni, and is contemplating for her next translation the work of the 20th-century writer Federigo Tozzi. She is also interested in the literature and history of Sicily, which she has taught on several occasions to NYU undergraduates.

Tylus has been a disciplinary representative for the Modern Language Association and the Renaissance Society of America. In the department of Italian Studies she has been active establishing an M.A. program at NYU’s Villa La Pietra in Florence.

Professor Tylus will be on campus Monday-Wednesday, April 4-6.  During that time she'll participate in a number of discussions and panels for undergraduate and graduate students, faculty, alums, and local community members, and offer a public lecture.  More details to follow.