Sara Dallavalle

Assistant Instructional Professor in Italian
Gates-Blake 233
Office Hours: Tuesday 11-1 p.m. (via Zoom) and by appointment
Academic Profile:
Ph.D., Indiana University-Bloomington, 2020
Teaching at UChicago since 2020

Sara Dallavalle is an Assistant Instructional Professor in Italian at the University of Chicago, where she teaches various language and culture courses, coordinates the first-year sequence, manages the Program’s website and social media accounts, co-organizes cultural events, mentors graduate student instructors and administers language diagnostic exams. 

 Sara holds a master’s degree in Specialized Translation in English and Spanish (IULM University, Milan) and a doctoral degree in Italian studies with a focus on Italian comics (Indiana University, 2020). Her research interests include comics studies, translation studies, and foreign language pedagogy. Her most recent article, “Teaching Italian (with) comics,” appeared in the edited book Italian as a foreign language: Teaching and acquisition in higher education (ed. Regagliolo, Vernon Press). 

 Sara strives to motivate students to engage with Italian as a living process, providing them with formal tools and culturally significant content to express themselves and exchange ideas in Italian. Her courses also aim to help students interpret the multicultural context of Italy and foster a comparative understanding of products, behaviors, and perspectives between Italy and their native countries. As culture is dynamic and ever-changing, Sara consistently reviews her teaching materials and researches fresh and updated digital and audio-visual primary sources (e.g., movie clips, music videos, cartoons, commercials, social media posts, images, etc.) to provide a nuanced understanding of today’s Italy. 

 She is particularly fascinated by the unique pedagogical applications of comics and has developed an innovative course on translating comics in Spring 2023. This course allows students to delve into the mechanics of language, explore Italian cultural and societal aspects through the lens of comics, and apply their skills in career-oriented coursework. She has also developed an advanced language course on Italian comics and their relationship with 20th and 21st century Italian history.

Selected Publications

2023: “Teaching Italian (with) comics.” Italian as a Foreign Language: Teaching and acquisition in higher education, edited by Alberto Regagliolo, Vernon Press, 2022, pp. 59-86.

2023: “Di isole e di treni: l’impresa fumettistica di Luigi Bernardi.” Un lampo obliquo. Luigi Bernadi, i suoi libri e il suo immaginario, edited by Filippo Milani and Alberto Sebastiani, Biblioteca Umanistica “Ezio Raimondi”, Petali, vol.15, 2022, pp. 63-78. 

2021:  “Building Student Communities in Spite of the Pandemic” [co-authored with Viola Ardeni and Karolina Serafin].  Journal of Teaching and Learning with Technology, vol. 10, no. 1, 2021. 

2020: “Alcuni dati sull’andamento dell’editoria fumettistica in Italia tra graphic novel e fumetto seriale.” Simultanea, vol. 1, no. 2, Fall 2020.

2019: “Popular format and auteur format in Italian comics. The case of Magnus.” International Journal of Comic Art, vol. 21, no. 1, Spring/Summer 2019, pp. 300-328.

Invited Talks

2021: “Comics literacy in Italian language courses: combining textual and visual elements to enhance students’ analytical skills.” The Center for The Study of Languages and Cultures Ed Talk. The University of Notre Dame – virtual (19 March).

2021: “Building Student Communities in Spite of the Pandemic.” Reimagining Engagement in Teaching and Learning Faculty Academy on Excellence in Teaching event. Indiana University – virtual (26 February). Co-speaker.            

2020:  “Luigi Bernardi: L’Isola Trovata e Orient Express.” Luigi Bernardi e l’immaginario pop roundtable. University of Bologna – Bologna (17 January). 

Recent courses in RLL

  • ITAL 10100 Beginning Elementary Italian I (Autumn 2020, Autumn 2021, Autumn 2022, Autumn 2023)
  • ITAL 10200 Beginning Elementary Italian II (Winter 2021, Winter 2022, Winter 2023, Winter 2024)
  • ITAL 10300 Beginning Elementary Italian III (Spring 2021, Spring 2023, Spring 2024)
  • ITAL 20200 Language, History, and Culture II (Winter 2022, Winter 2023)
  • ITAL 20300 Language, History, and Culture III (Spring 2021)
  • ITAL 20400 Corso di perfezionamento (Autumn 2020, Autumn 2021, Autumn 2022, Autumn 2023)
  • ITAL 20650 Translating Italian Comics: Discovering 20th-and 21st-Century Language and Culture
Subject Area: Italian Studies