Paolo Matteucci, assistant professor

A day in the life

Paolo Matteucci, assistant professor


The students are fantastic. In Halifax, there is a very active and lively community at all levels, but especially at the undergraduate level. There is no comparison–it’s outstanding.

Building a creative space to study language and culture

Since Assistant Professor Paolo Matteucci arrived from the University of Southern California, the Italian Studies program has seen a lot of growth. It was only a couple years before he started at Dalhousie that full degrees in Italian Studies began to be offered.

“There is a strong interest in Italian culture,” he says happily. His course on food and culture last year was overbooked and his film course is well-attended, too.

It’s not surprising. In and out of course. Dr. Matteucci’s good-humour and high-energy are contagious. He jokes, challenges, pushes and praises students into delivering good work.

From Piedmont in northern Italy, Dr. Matteucci has taught the Italian language for over ten years. He sees the program’s native Italian instructors as community members helping students join their community.

“We believe that language is something that is alive, that you keep alive and you participate into. It’s not something abstract that you learn in theory and then have to practice.”

Students learn to interact in the real world. They hold conversations, fill out documents, read websites and newspapers and watch television shows.

“We try to use the language as the actual community speaks. We don’t have an artificial structure. We use the language that Italians speak.” he says.

His academic research focuses on Modern visual, material and literary cultures (he loves teaching that medium Italians continue to excel at, cinema) and Early Modernity, or the Renaissance.

Plus, he is huge soccer fan. Students say he won’t reveal which Italian team he supports, but he is more than willing to demonstrate his skills on the soccer pitch.

“We organized a soccer team one time,” he says. Students played a few games and learned soccer-related Italian vocabulary. Everyone had fun. 

“We plan to do it again and challenge the Spanish 'super team'," he says, with a competitive gleam in his eye.