John David Rhodes
John David Rhodes had already satisfied his foreign language requirements in his first year at Sewanee, but by his junior year was looking to acquire another language while working towards his BA in English. He took to Leslie Richardson’s classes with great enthusiasm and delight. After two semesters of studying the language, he spent the summer of 1991 (between his junior and senior years) in Rome. The decision was fatal: Rome and Italy have played important roles in his personal and professional life ever since. After completing a Masters degree at Columbia University in English and Comparative Literature, John David began a Ph.D. in Cinema Studies at New York University. His knowledge of Italian and interest in Italy gently encouraged him to focus his energy on Italian cinema. His dissertation studied the filmmaker Pier Paolo Pasolini’s passionate and critical interest in Rome’s sprawling post-World War II suburban expansion. This work became his first book, Stupendous, Miserable City: Pasolini’s Rome (University of Minnesota Press, 2007). John David taught in Italian and English departments at universities in Ireland and the UK before moving to the University of Sussex where he is Reader in Literature and Visual Culture in the School of English. He continues to publish on Italian cinema and culture and has recently co-edited a volume of essays on Michelangelo Antonioni: Antonioni: Centenary Essays (British Film Institute/Palgrave, 2011). He returns frequently to Rome (and other places in Italy) to deliver invited talks, conduct research, and satisfy cravings for puntarelle and carciofi alla romana.