We are pleased to welcome Akash Kumar to the Italian faculty as Visiting Assistant Professor starting in August 2018. Kumar comes to Indiana University after teaching for two years at the University of California at Santa Cruz and for three years at Columbia University. He received his Ph.D. from Columbia in 2013 through successful completion of a dissertation entitled Sì come dice lo Filosofo: Translating Philosophy in the Early Italian Lyric. With a specialization in medieval Italian literature, particularly lyric poetry and Dante’s Divine Comedy, Kumar launched right into teaching the popular course on the Divine Comedy (M236) this fall. In the spring he will offer a graduate seminar on Boccaccio which will be joint-listed with the Medieval Studies Institute.
Kumar’s research focuses on the intersections of poetry, philosophy, and science in early Italian poetry, including Dante, and on how Western and non-Western cultures interact through activities engaged in by the masses, such as game-playing and storytelling. Like Professor Emeritus H. Wayne Storey before him, Kumar is also engaged in digital humanities projects, such as the website Digital Dante and a new project on teaching and researching the Global Middle Ages, The Medieval Table. “I’m thrilled to be at such a storied program of Italian Studies,” says Kumar of his arrival at Indiana University, “and have appreciated the warm welcome from colleagues and students alike.” We wish him a successful year!