Elena Past joined the faculty at Wayne State University in 2006. She is currently an Associate Professor of Italian in the Department of Classical and Modern Languages, Literatures, and Cultures, and serves as the department's Associate Chair. Elena teaches a wide range of courses in Italian literature, film, and culture on topics including contemporary Italian literature and cinema, literary theory, crime fiction, ecocriticism and ecomedia studies, food culture and the Slow Food movement, and posthumanism and animal studies. She travels with Wayne State University’s Study Abroad program to Gagliano Aterno, Abruzzo each summer, where she teaches a film course. She is also committed to the intersections between the university and the community, and so she helps coordinate the annual Italian Film Festival and other cinematic and cultural events in the Metro Area.


Areas of Teaching and Research Interest

  • Italian literature and cinema
  • Ecocriticism, environmental humanities, ecomedia studies
  • Posthumanism, animal studies
  • Crime fiction and film, ecomafias

Courses Taught

  • Imaging Italy, Creating Italians
  • Essere, Arte, Ambiente: Ecocriticism and Italy
  • Trieste: Italy from the Margins
  • Mafia Movies
  • Italian Cinema and the Environment: Slow Thought, Slow Food, Slow Cinema
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