Erica Moretti

Lecturer in Classics and Italian

Modern Italian intellectual and social history, gender studies, history of education, children’s literature, and teaching with technology

Erica Moretti is currently finishing a book project on Maria Montessori’s writing about parental authority for children affected by catastrophes. Moretti’s work analyzes three moments in Italian history when Montessori decided to intervene in the education of children impoverished by catastrophe: the cataclysmic events of the Messina-Reggio earthquake, World War One, and World War Two. Drawing upon unpublished archival materials, twentieth-century literary texts, children’s literature, and contemporaneous scholastic textbooks, her project sheds new light on Montessori’s work, unveiling her profound interest in this special category of children.

Moretti’s publications include “Montessori Goes West: La prima ricezione di Montessori negli Stati Uniti,” which details Montessori’s impact in the United States since 1913, and which is a chapter of Maria Montessori e l’infanzia svantaggiata, a book on Montessori and disability studies (Rome: Fefè Editore, 2012); she has also published essays in peer-reviewed journals, including one in Zapruder on Alice and Leopoldo Franchetti, whose experiments with pedagogy sought to stifle social mobility, and another in Cromohs: Journal of Modern Historiography, devoted to the five editions of Montessori’s Il Metodo.

Moretti is also in the first stages of a new project addressing the plight of 13,000 children of Italian settlers in Libya, who were retained in Italy as war refugees during the Second World War and camped in the sheds of cinecittà.

Moretti’s teaching and research are both characterized by an interdisciplinary approach that draws upon literary, historical, and sociological sources. At Mount Holyoke, she teaches language and culture courses, including Elementary Italian, Advanced Conversation and Composition, and Modern Italy Through Cinema. Her commitment to teaching is underscored by a solid pedagogical background in the theory of second-language acquisition and teaching with technology. She has taught at Boston College in Florence, the College of Staten Island (CUNY), and Brown University, where she was a candidate for Excellence in Teaching awards.