Modern and Classical Languages

College of Humanities and Social Sciences

Kristina Olson

Kristina Olson

Kristina Olson

Assistant Professor

Language Coordinator, Italian

Italian: Medieval studies, Dante, world literature, historiography, gender studies, modern literature and film studies

Kristina Olson received her Ph.D. in Italian from Columbia University and her B.A. from Bard College.  She has served as the coordinator of the Italian Program at George Mason University since 2007, where she has developed a Minor in Italian Studies with courses in language, culture, cinema and literature in translation.
Her research investigates the intersection of history and literature in the works of medieval and early modern Italian writers.  Her book manuscript, Courtesy Lost: Dante, Boccaccio and the Literature of History (forthcoming with University of Toronto Press, 2014), brings together literary analysis and political and social history in reading the influence of Dante Alighieri upon Giovanni Boccaccio.  Her second book project, Mother Tongues and Literary Languages, delineates a gendered history of the Italian vernacular from medieval to early modern authors.
Olson is the co-editor (with William Weaver) of the anthology, Open City: Seven Writers in Postwar Rome, by Steerforth Press (1997). She has published and forthcoming articles on modern and medieval Italian literature in Dante Studies, Heliotropia, Modern Language Notes, Annali d'italianistica, Symposium and others.

Courses Taught

ITAL 110: Elementary Italian

ITAL 210: Intermediate Italian

ITAL 250: Gateway to Advanced Italian

ITAL 325: Major Italian Writers ("Dante's Divine Comedy"; "Literature and the Black Death: Boccaccio's Decameron")

ITAL 330: Advanced Italian: Language and Culture

FRLN 330: Topics in World Literature (Italian Neorealism)

HNRS 230: Cross-Cultural Perspectives ("The Language of Empire: Rome, Italy and Africa")