Elena Past is Professor of Italian in the Department of Classical and Modern Languages, Literatures, and Cultures, at Wayne State University in Detroit, Michigan. She has published articles on the toxic waste crisis in Naples, Mediterranean cinema and ecocinema, and Italian crime fiction and film. She is the author of Methods of Murder: Beccarian Introspection and Lombrosian Vivisection in Italian Crime Fiction (2012) and with Deborah Amberson, she co-edited Thinking Italian Animals: Human and Posthuman in Modern Italian Literature and Film (2014) and a special section of the journal Ecozon@ on Animal Humanities. She co-edited Italy and the Environmental Humanities: Landscapes, Natures, Ecologies with Serenella Iovino and Enrico Cesaretti. Her most recent monograph is Italian Ecocinema Beyond the Human (2019).


Ph.D. in Italian, University of Pennsylvania, December 2005
Advisor: Professor Millicent Marcus

M.A. in Italian, University of Pennsylvania, December 2000

B.A. in Plan II Honors Program with concentrations in Italian and Spanish, University of Texas at Austin, May 1998


Journal Articles

“Animal Humanities, or, On Reading and Writing the Nonhuman.” Introduction to special section of Ecozon@. Co-authored with Deborah Amberson. Ecozon@ 7.1 (2016): 1-9.

“Gadda’s Pasticciaccio and the Knotted Posthuman Household.” Co-authored with Deborah Amberson. Relations: Beyond Anthropocentrism 4.1 (2016): 65-79.

“Il cinema e il suono del silenzio: Le quattro volte.” Animal Studies: Rivista italiana di antispecismo 11 (2015). 56-71.

“Island Hopping, Liquid Materiality, and the Mediterranean Cinema of Emanuele Crialese.” Ecozon@ 4.2 (2013): 49-66.

“‘Trash is Gold’: Documenting the Ecomafia and Campania’s Waste Crisis.” ISLE: Interdisciplinary Studies in Literature and the Environment 20.3 (2013): 597-621.

“Violence and the Law in Gianrico Carofiglio’s Literary Courtroom.” Quaderni d’italianistica XXXI.2 (2010): 127-148.

“Lives Aquatic: Cinema in the Mediterranean and an Ethics of Underwater Existence.” Cinema Journal 48.3 (2009): 52-65.

“The Dying Diva: Violent Ends for Clara Calamai in Ossessione and Profondo rosso,” Forum italicum 42.4 (2008): 296-312.

“Lucarelli’s Guernica: The Predicament of Postmodern Impegno.” Italica 84.2-3 (2007): 290-308.

Elena Margarita Past

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