Colleen  Ryan

Colleen Ryan

Professor, French and Italian

Associate Vice Provost

Affiliate Faculty, Gender Studies


  • Ph.D., Italian, Indiana University, 1997
  • M.A., Italian Language and Literature, Middlebury College, 1993
  • B.A., French and Government, University of Notre Dame, 1990

Research areas

  • Italian cinema
  • Italian American and Italian Diaspora Studies
  • Gender and Sexuality studies
  • Foreign Language curriculum development
  • Teaching foreign languages through theater/theater production
  • Teacher training, mentoring and professional development

About Colleen Ryan

Colleen Ryan teaches an array from courses from an introduction to Italian masterpieces to Italian American culture, film and literaray studies with focuses on gender and sexuality, theater workshops and graduate courses on foreign language teaching methods and professional development. From 2007 until 2014, Colleen served as Director of Language Instruction for Italian and since 2015, she has served as Director of Undergraduate Studies for Italian.

Colleen is the author of Sex, the Self, and the Sacred: Women in the Cinema of Pier Paolo Pasolini (University of Toronto, 2007) and co-editor of two volumes dedicated to the teaching of foreign languages through theater arts: Set the Stage! Italian Language, Literature, and Culture through Theater. Theoretical and Practical Perspectives. (Yale, 2009) and Dramatic Interactions: Teaching Languages, Literatures, and Cultures through Theater. Theoretical Approaches and Classroom Practices (co-editor, Cambridge Scholars Press, 2011). In 2014 she published an intermediate-level textbook (with Daniela Bartalesi Graf). Caleidoscopio (Pearson) is a second-year program, with strong literary, cinematic and theatrical components. In 2015, she published a co-edited volume with Lisa Parkes titled Integrating the Arts: Creative Thinking about Foreign Language Curricula and Program Development.

Colleen’s shorter publications include articles and chapters on Italian women writers, gender representations in Italian cinema, Italian curriculum development, teaching foreign languages through theater, teaching for intercultural competence, and performative approaches learning outcomes and program assessment. She has most recently written on the films of Sofia Coppola and Italian American women playwrights. Ryan’s current projects include a critical anthology of Italian American theater and a monograph on female directors of Italian descent working in and out of Hollywood.

Colleen serves on the editorial board of Studi Pasoliniani and Diasporic Italy, The Journal of the Italian American Studies Association. She is co-book and film review editor for gender/sexuality/italy and she is currently coediting a special number of Annali d’Italianistica dedicated to Pier Paolo Pasolini (2022).

A former member of the College Board’s original Task Force for AP Italian Language and Culture, Colleen has worked on high school-college curriculum articulation in numerous capacities over the last 10 years and has completed two terms as member of the AP Italian Test Development Committee.

Colleen Ryan is former President of the American Association of University [Foreign Language Program] Supervisors and Coordinators from 2013-2015 and the Vice President for Colleges and Universities of the American Association of Teachers of Italian (2014-2017). From 2009-2012 she served as the AATI’s Midwest Representative and prior still, she served as Chair of the College Essay Competition. Currently, she is Secretary of the Italian American Studies Association and chair of their graduate student fellowship and travel grant program.

Selected publications


  • Integrating the Arts: Creative Thinking about FL Curricula and Language Program Direction. A co-edited volume (with Lisa Parkes, Harvard U.) exploring various theoretical and practical approaches to integrating the formal study of various artistic genres with the study of foreign languages. American Association of University Supervisors and Coordinators, Vol. 20, Cengage, 2015.
  • Caleidoscopio: Cultura, Narrativa, Teatro e Cinema nelle Regioni Italiane. An Intermediate-Level Italian Language and Culture Program. Co-Authored with Daniela Bartalesi-Graf. Pearson, 2014.
  • Dramatic Interactions: Teaching Languages, Literatures, and Cultures through Theater. Theoretical Approaches and Classroom Practices. Co-edited with Nicoletta Marini-Maio. A volume of essays spanning nine commonly and less commonly taught languages. Cambridge Scholars Publishers, 2011.
  • Sex, the Self, and the Sacred: Women in the Cinema of Pier Paolo Pasolini . Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 2007.
  • Set the Stage! Teaching Italian Language, Literature, and Culture through Theater. Theoretical and Practical Perspectives. Co-edited with Nicoletta Marini-Maio, including original contributions by Dacia Maraini and Dario Fo. New Haven : Yale University Press, 2008.


  • “Managing Small Language Programs in Changing Times,” Co-Authored with Marc Greenberg et al. ADFL Bulletin, 44.2, 2018.
  • “Teaching and Assessing Italian Culture in North America,” Italica, 2010.
  • “Foreign Language Program Direction: Reflections on Workload, Service, and Feminization of the Profession.” in Katie Hogan and Michelle Masse, (eds.) Over Ten Million Served: Gendered Service in Language and Literature Workplaces. SUNY Press (August 2010).
  • “The Politics of Diversity: The Rights of the Ugly Woman and the Decadent Hero in Scola’s Passione d’amore,” in Delectando Discitur. Essays in Honor of Edoardo A. Lèbano, Italiana, XIII, Paolo A. Giordano and Michael Lettieri, eds. New York: Bordighera Press, 2009, 319-345.
  • “Page, Stage, Screen: The Languages of Silence in Maraini and Faenza’s La lunga vita di Marianna Ucrìa ,” Modern Language Notes , 123.1, (January 2008): 56-76.
  • “The Sacred Self: Autogenesis and Creation in Pasolini’s Cinema” Studi Pasoliniani , 1.1, (Winter 2008): 89-104.
  • “Campanile’s Comedic Theater: A Humorous Link in the Italian Studies Curriculum.” Italica, 81.4 (Winter 2004): 483-503.
  • “Full-Scale Theater Production and Second Language Learning.” Foreign Language Annals, 37.3 (Fall 2004): 374-89.
  • “The Unending Process of Subjectivity: Gendering Otherness as Openness in Pasolini’s Decameron .” Annali d’Italianistica , 21 (December 2000): 359-74.
  • “The Anonymity and Ignominy: Absence as an Asset in Sibilla Aleramo’s Una donna .” Rivista di studi italiani , 14 (Spring 2000): 185-202.
  • “The Status of TA-Training and Professional Development Programs for Teachers of Italian in North American Colleges and Universities: A Quantitative Overview.” Italica , 76.4 (Winter 1999): 454-68.

Courses taught

  • Italian Teaching Methods & Italian Teaching Practicum
  • Female Voices in 20th-Century Italy
  • Female Voices in Italian and Italian American Culture
  • Eat, Live, Die: Food and Family in Italian American Culture
  • Myth, Memory and Madness: Shaping the Self in Italian Culture
  • Cinema e Scrittori: Pier Paolo Pasolini
  • Italian Women Writers
  • Italian Theater Workshop and Production
  • Cinema e letteratura: The Art of Adaptation
  • Introduction to Modern Italian Literature, 1700-2000
  • Textual Analysis and Advanced Grammar
  • Italian Popular Culture
  • Beginning and Intermediate Italian
  • Intensive Beginning and Intermediate Italian

Honors, fellowships, & awards

  • Calandra Institute Summer Institute for Italian Diaspora Studies - Calandra Institute (CUNY) & University of Calabria, 2017
  • College of Arts and Humanities Institute - Italian Diaspora Studies Institute and Book Project - Summer 2017
  • Summer Instructional Development Grant [to revise New Teacher Orientation Program] Indiana University, April 2009
  • Board of Trustees Teaching Award, Department of French and Italian, Indiana University, April 2009
  • Nanovic Institute for European Studies Faculty Collaborative Research Grant, April 2004
  • Department of Romance Languages Teaching Award, University of Notre Dame, May 2003
  • Distinguished Notre Dame Woman Award, April 2003
  • American Association of University Women, Postdoctoral Faculty Fellow for “Women in Popular Italian Film Genres,” Aug 2001-July 2002