Giuseppina Mecchia

  • Associate Professor of French and Italian
  • Director of Undergraduate Research in French


1328 B Catherdral of Learning

Area of Interest

19th/20th-century French Literature; Political Theory; Proust, Stendhal, Houellebecq, Deleuze.


Area of Interest

I am a modernist working on theory, literature and transmedia, with a focus on political theory, ethics, literary adaptation, the philosophy of language and the critique of capitalist culture in the 19th, 20th and 21st centuries.  I work on both French and Italian writers, philosophers and cultural critics.  From this perspective I have published on authors and filmmakers such as Marcel Proust, Stendhal, Michel Houellebecq, Elsa Morante, Raoul Ruiz, Michael Haneke and Paolo Sorrentino.  My articles on the French philosophers Gilles Deleuze and Jacques Rancière, the Italian philosopher Paolo Virno and my translations of Franco Berardi “Bifo” and Christian Marazzi are also widely cited.

As a scholar I have found most helpful to the development of my critical discourse the philosophy of Gilles Deleuze and Félix Guattari, the political and esthetic theories of Jacques Rancière, and several 20th century thinkers involved in cultural critique and the philosophy of language. I will only mention here Jean Baudrillard, the feminist phenomenologist Sara Ahmed, and Franco Berardi “Bifo”, but there are many other voices which find an echo in my writing and pedagogy. 

Currently I am writing on the materiality of the sublime, interpreting this esthetic mode as an implicit form of affective social critique. I am examining prose, poetry and cinema from the early 19th Century to the present day. 



PhD, French, Princeton University
MA, French, University of Massachusetts at Amherst
BA, Università degli Studi di Roma, French and German


Curriculum vitae (PDF)



Undergraduate courses

  • May 68 in France
  • Autobiography and Politics in 19th Century France
  • Literature and Politics in French Romanticism
  • Women and War in 20th Century French and Francophone literature
  • French Kiss: Sex Love, France
  • Love in the Age of Revolutions: The French Romantics
  • Women at War in the 20th Century France
  • Euro Chic: The Invention of Fashion (new course in 2020)
  • Green France: Situated Ecologies (new course in AY21)

Graduate courses

  • Crossings:  From Decadence to Modernism in Italy and France, 1880-1919
  • French Political Thought from Félix Guattari to Jacques Rancière and Alain Badiou
  • The French Postmodern Novel from Samuel Beckett to Michel Houellebecq
  • Splendeurs et Misères de la Poésie, 1850-1900
  • Marcel Proust and In Search of Things Past
  • The French and Italian Postmodern Novel
  • French and Italian Political Thought in the late 20th and early 21st Centuries
  • Subjectivity in French Romanticism
  • The Thought of Gilles Deleuze


Awards and Honors

January 2011, with Todd Reeser and Vivian Curran, “The Idea of France”, Global Academic Partnership Grant, $19,000.

August 2007, with Randall Halle and Sabine Von Dirke, “Interzone”, a total of $10,250 from The School of Arts and Sciences.

August 2007:  “Citizenship in the 21st Century”:  a total of $ 12,000 from the School of Arts and Sciences, UCIS, The Center for European Studies, The Office of the Provost and GSPIA. 

March 2004: with Donna Gabaccia and Paula Kane, Global Academic Partnership grant, within the University Center for International Studies at Pittsburgh.

Professional Service

2007-present: Administrative Officer, Cultural Studies Association – US

2002–present: Elected Member of the Senate Bylaws Committee



Edited Volumes:

With Tim Murphy, The Futures of Empire, symposium section of Theory and Event, Vol. 18, October 2015 on the legacy of Michael Hardt and Antonio Negri’s Empire volumes.

With Todd Reeser, The Idea of France, special issue of Sites: The Journal of French and Francophone Contemporary Studies.  (vol. 17, 2, March 2013).

With Max Henninger and Tim Murphy, Italian Post-Workerist Thought, edited, introduced and translated a special issue of Sub-stance, 112, v. 36, n.1, 2007.

Selected Essays:

“Who’s the Subject of Politics?  On Language in Jacques Rancière”, in Distributions of the Sensible:  Rancière, between Aesthetics and Politics, Chicago:  Northwestern University Press, 2019, pp. 155-172.

 “Time, Sense and the Image in Raoul Ruiz’ La Vocation Suspendue and L’Hypothèse du Tableau Volé”, In Theory, Esthetics, and Politics in the Francophone World, Rajeswari Valluri ed., Washington: Rowman and Littefield, 2019, pp. 51-64.

“Rendering the 19th Century:  Narrative Time and Hegemonic Struggles in Raúl Ruiz’ The Mysteries of Lisbon’”. diacritics, v.46, n.1, 2018, pp. 80-97.

“Mute Speech: The Silence of Literature in Rancière’s Aesthetic Paradigm”.  In Understanding Rancière, Understanding Modernism, Patrick Bray Ed., London: Bloomsbury, 2017, pp. 97-109.

 “Michel Houellebecq Between Authorship and Branding”, special issue on auteurs, Ecrans, 2016 - 2, n. 6, pp. 145-157.

« Birds in a Roman Sky:  Shooting for the Sublime in La Grande Bellezza”.  Forum Italicum, spring 2016, pp. 183-193

“An Underwhelming Apocalypse: The Islamization of France in Michel Houellebecq’s ‘Submission’”, Telos online, in Teloscope, winter 2015.

 « Oublier Napoléon: l’économie du travail immatériel et le refus du travail dans les romans de  Stendhal», Nottingham French Studies, 55, 1, 2015, pp. 62-78. Special issue, The Politics of Laziness.

“From the Language of Labor to the Labor of Language:  On Paolo Virno’s Philosophy of Language”, Annali d’Italianistica 32, 2014, pp. 491-504.

 “Elsa Morante at the Biopolitical Turn:  Becoming-Woman, Becoming-Animal, Becoming-Imperceptible”, in Animality In Italian Literature. London: Palgrave McMillan, 2014, pp. 129-144.

 “Moro’s Body Between Enlightenment and PostModernism:  Terror, Murder and Meaning in the Writings of Leonardo Sciascia and Jean Baudrillard”, in Remembering Moro: The Cultural Legacy of the 1978 Kidnapping, Giancarlo Lombardi and Ruth Glynn, eds. Oxford: Legenda, MHRA and  Maney Publishing, 2012. (pp. 63-78). 

“Anthro-politics:  Reconsidering Capitalism and Schizophrenia”, Actual/Virtual: The Online Journal of Deleuze Studies, n. 13 (autumn 2011). Online video resource, 69 min.

“Foreign Theories:  On the Completion of the Empire Trilogy”, The Minnesota Review,special section on Franco-Italian Political Thought, n. 75,  Fall 2010, pp. 133-142.

“Philosophy and Its Poor: Rancière and The Philosophical Tradition”, chapter in Rancière, Key Concepts, Jean-Philippe Deranty, Acumen, 2010, pp.38-54.

“The Children are Watching Us, Hidden in the Folds of Time”, Studies in French Cinema, 7:1, February 2007, pp. 131-141

“Proustiens, encore un effort: la déconstruction de l’inceste maternel dans A La recherche du temps perdu”,  French Forum 31, 3 (Fall 2006), pp. 77-96.

“Un coup de pistolet au milieu d’un concert: la Grande Guerre et l’irruption du présent dans le Temps de la Recherche », Marcel Proust aujourd’hui, 3, Nov. 2005, pp. 161-177.

Selected Book-length Translations:

When the Word Becomes Flesh:  Language and Human Nature, New York, Semiotext(e), 2015. (Translation, edition and critical introduction of Paolo Virno, Quando il verbo si fa carne.  Linguaggio e natura umana, Torino, Bollati Boringhieri 2003).

The Communism of Capital: Finance, Biopolitics of Labor and Global Crisis.  New York, Semiotext(e), forthcoming 2016.  (Translation, edition and critical introduction of Christian Marazzi, Il Comunismo del Capitale, Verona, Ombrecorte, 2010).

Capital and Affects: The Politics of the Language Economy. New York, Semiotext(e), 2011.  (Translation, edition and critical introduction of Christian Marazzi, Il Posto dei Calzini. La svolta linguistica dell’economia e I suoi effetti nella politica, Bellinzona, Casagrande Editore, 2001).

The Soul at Work: From Alienation to Autonomy. Berardi, Franco (Bifo). Translated by Francesca Cadel and Giuseppina Mecchia. Semiotext(e), Los Angeles, CA 2009.

Thought, Friendship and Visionary Cartography.  Berardi Franco (Bifo) Felix Guattari.  Translated and Edited by Giuseppina Mecchia and Charles J. Stivale, with an interview to "Bifo" by Giuseppina Mecchia, London, Palgrave McMillan 2008.