Kathleen LaPenta specializes in nineteenth and twentieth century Italian culture. She holds a Masters Degree in Italian from Rutgers University, where she is also currently finishing her Ph.D. thesis, entitled Fare la Liberta', fare la Storia: Sicilian Narratives of the Risorgimento. She has taught a wide range of courses, including cinema and literature, at Rutgers, Columbia University and, most recently, Fordham. Her current research explores the points of contact between literature and history in the narratives of the 1860 uprising in Bronte, Sicily and her forthcoming article, "Bronte e la Liberta': Fonti letterarie del film storico," in Cinema e Risorgimento: Visioni e Revisioni (Ed. Fulvio Orsitto Vecchiarelli, 2012) focuses on the literary foundations of the filmic version of the historical events. Her pedagogical interests include the use of theater in the language classroom, approaches to literature and film, and developing critical thinking skills through study of foreign cultures.
Having received her undergraduate degree from University of Notre Dame, she came to New York to work as an editor for Rizzoli Corporation, and then moved on to work as a publicist for Donatella Versace before choosing to attend graduate school and pursue an academic career.