Peter Lešnik

Currently a visiting scholar and lecturer in Cinema & Media and Italian at the University of Pennsylvania, I received a Ph.D. from Penn in the summer of 2019, with a dissertation that investigated Michelangelo Antonioni’s screen adaptations of preexisting literary works. Prior to my doctoral studies at Penn, I earned a B.A. and an M.A. from Ca’ Foscari University of Venice, with a master thesis exploring David Lynch’s progressive deconstruction of the classical form of narrative cinema.

My research is positioned at the intersection of literature and visual cultures and, while my training moves from an Italian and European context, I have always approached the study of cinema and media from a distinctly transnational perspective, gradually incorporating in my research the study of other major regional and global film cultures. My preeminent research interests include global cinemas, film history and media archaeologies, film and media theory, Italian literature and culture, adaptation theory, postcolonial and transnational studies, ecocriticism, and trauma studies.

At Penn, I have taught core courses in Cinema and Media Studies (World Film History I and II) and courses on Italian language, literature, and culture (both in a classroom setting and online). In my teaching, I favor interdisciplinary approaches, transnational perspectives, and comparative methodologies, and I prioritize cultural models based on hybridization and cross-cultural dialogue.


SAS Dissertation Completion Fellowship, UPenn 2018-2019
Runner-up for the “Adaptation Essay Prize” (Adaptation, Oxford University Press), 2018
Dick Wolf Graduate Student Service Award in Cinema and Media Studies, UPenn 2018
Nominated for the Dean’s Award for Distinguished Teaching by Graduate Students, UPenn 2017
Benjamin Franklin Fellowship, UPenn 2012-2017
Salvatori Research Award, Center for Italian Studies, UPenn 2015
H. Clifford Fellowship, UPenn 2013-2014


Peer Reviewed Articles
“Michelangelo Antonioni’s Images of the Planet in the Anthropocene.” Synoptique 8.1 (2019): 15-31.
“Pavese, Antonioni, and the Specters of a Silenced Past: Adaptation and the Transmission of Historical Trauma.” Adaptation 12.1 (2019): 1-11.

Articles in Preparation
 “A Journey to the End of the World: Migration as Perpetual Condition in John Akomfrah’s The Nine Muses.”
“Deserting the Planet: The Intertwinement of Local and Global Histories in Deborah Stratman’s The Illinois Parables.”
“Failed Homecomings: Migration and Uprootedness in Cesare Pavese’s Late Novels.”

Peer Reviewed Book Chapters
“In una barchetta di carta. Derive della speranza nella narrativa di Guido Morselli.” Futuro italiano. Scritture del tempo a venire. Eds. Alessandro Benassi, Fabrizio Bondi, Serena Pezzini. Lucca: Pacini Fazzi, 2012. 215-229.

Book Chapters by Invitation
“Spettrali sovrapposizioni. Danza e ingegneria sociale in Amore e ginnastica di Edmondo de Amicis.” Parole su due piedi: su danza e letteratura italiana. Eds. Stefano Tomassini and Andrea Torre [Forthcoming; Rome: Editoria & Spettacolo; 7542 words]