Dana Renga

Dana Renga

Dana Renga

Professor of Italian & Dean of Arts and Humanities



186 University Hall
230 North Oval Mall
Columbus, OH

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Areas of Expertise

  • Italian film and media studies
  • Mafia studies
  • Performance and casting
  • Feminist and gender studies


  • Ph.D., UCLA, 2001

Professor of Italian & Dean of Arts and Humanities

Dana researches and teaches on Italian film and media studies, with a focus on television. She is core faculty in The Film Studies Program, and affiliated faculty in The Department of Comparative Studies  and The Department of Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies. 

In addition to forty articles and book chapters on Italian cinema and television, Italian popular culture, and modern and contemporary Italian poetry and literature she has published the monograph Unfinished Business: Screening the Italian Mafia in the New Millennium (University of Toronto Press, 2013), the co-authored book Internal Exile in Fascist Italy: History and Representations of Confino (with Elizabeth Leake and Piero Garofalo, University of Manchester Press, 2019), and the edited volume Mafia Movies: A Reader, 2nd Edition (University of Toronto Press, 2019)

Her most recent monograph from 2019 is called Watching Sympathetic Perpetrators on Italian Television: Gomorrah and Beyond (Palgrave Macmillan, 2019) and offers the first comprehensive study of recent, popular Italian television. Building on work in American television studies, audience and reception theory, and masculinity studies, Sympathetic Perpetrators examines how and why viewers are positioned to engage emotionally with Italian television antiheroes. The study is principally interested in the processes at work both in and around these series that might prompt viewers across the globe to root for difficult and complex men who do horrible things.

Dana is currently working on a book called #Casting Stardom in Contemporary Italian Television which is a study of casting practices in contemporary, popular Italian tv that has found significant audiences outside of Italy. In the project she pays particular attention to the gendered labor of casting given that the vast majority of casting directors are women, and also focuses on the casting of children and adolescents (many of whom are nonprofessionals) given that the majority of contemporary Italian series place an emphasis on “youth” broadly considered.

She is also working on a co-edited volume called Contemporary Italian Youth Television (with Luca Barra, Danielle Hipkins, and Catherine O'Rawe) in addition to a second co-edited volume tentatively titled Transnational Italian Crime and the Making of Italy (with Stephanie Malia Hom).