Life in Quarantine: Professor Diana Thow

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Dr. Diana Thow specializes in Italian, English, and French literature as well as translation studies. This term, she taught Stay-at-Home: Isolation and Connection in Literature and Film at UC Berkeley. 

You can read the course description below: 

In the early months of 2020, Italy was one of the first countries to issue a stay-at-home order in response to the Coronavirus pandemic. Soon videos of Italians making music on their balconies went viral and children across the world taped rainbows in their windows as a symbol of solidarity and connection.  In this course we will consider the ways that literature and film in Italian and English have represented moments in history when people stayed home due to disease prior to coronavirus, beginning with Boccaccio’s representation of the plague in his Decameron to Katherine Anne Porter’s novella, “Pale Horse, Pale Rider” about the 1918 Influenza epidemic.  We will read accounts of other types of enforced isolation as well: by those sent to confino (internal exile) in fascist Italy, and those who choose isolation as a way to protest or reflect on their role in their family and community.  We will reflect on a variety of literary representations of domestic scenes and interiors, as well as the concept of “social distancing” and the ways that connections are forged during and despite moments of isolation.

Many thanks to Dr. Thow and Alana Mermin-Bunnell for making this interview possible!

Life in Quarantine: Witnessing Global Pandemic is an initiative sponsored by the Poetic Media Lab and the Center for Spatial and Textual Analysis at Stanford University.

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