Romance Languages and Literatures

Arnold I. Davidson

Robert O. Anderson Distinguished Service Professor in the Department of Philosophy, the Divinity School, the Department of Comparative Literature, the Committee on the Conceptual and Historical Studies of Science, and Romance Languages and Literatures


Stuart Hall 228

Phone Number: 



Program(s): Italian Studies

Arnold I. Davidson works on a wide range of topics concerning Italian philosophy, religion, literature and music.  He is especially interested in contemporary Italian philosophy and in the ways in which French, German and Anglo-American philosophical concepts and ideas have been appropriated and transformed in Italian culture.  In the area of the history and philosophy of religion, he has worked on Francis of Assisi and the emergence of a Franciscan way of life, and on the use of Franciscan practices and ideas in recent political theology, both in Europe and Latin America.  He also has a special interest in Italian Judaism and the Italian experience of the Shoah.  His work on Italian literature and music is centered on the contemporary period and includes a focus on Primo Levi, Italo Calvino, Natalia Ginzburg and other twentieth-century authors as well as on music from Luigi Russolo to Luigi Nono and recent improvised and experimental music.  More generally, he has written about and taught courses on many different topics in contemporary European thought.  He is committed to the study of Italian culture in the context of comparative studies of European thought and culture and is involved in many activities of Italian-French cultural exchange.

He has been a visiting professor at many French institutions (including the Collège de France, the École Normale Supérieure, the University of Paris I and the University of Paris VII) and has also been Professor of the History of Political Philosophy at the University of Pisa. Beginning in 2013, each spring he will be Visiting Professor of the Philosophy of Cultures in the Department of Philosophy and Cultural Heritage at the University Ca’Foscari of Venice.  His main publications are in French and Italian as well as in English, and many of them have also been translated into Spanish.  Detailed information about his publications and courses can be found on his Department of Philosophy faculty web page: