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Ciro Incoronato

Dean’s Award for Excellence in Teaching
Ph.D. Candidate in Romance Studies


Ciro Incoronato is a Ph.D. candidate in romance studies under the supervision of Faculty Advisors Michael P. Hardt and Roberto Dainotto. Before coming to Duke, he received his Master’s and Ph.D. in philosophy from The University of Naples Federico II in Naples, Italy.

Incoronato’s research focuses on Italian theory, literature, and entertainment in the form of television and film. His work at Duke has been recognized with Summer Research Fellowships and Dissertation Research Travel Awards.

Within Duke's Department of Romance Studies, Incoronato has served as the instructor of record for eight semesters of French and Italian courses, including two self-designed seminars, French Crime Movies and Capitalism in Mafia Movies. He has served as a teaching assistant for courses within the Department of Romance Studies, the Literature Program, and the International Comparative Studies Program.

On Teaching

What accomplishment are you most proud of, when reflecting on your teaching?

When I reflect on my teaching, I am proud of the fact that I am able to show my students the historicity and complexity of certain cultural phenomena. I think it is important to emphasize that each cultural phenomenon has a long history that needs to be carefully studied. To this end, I encourage students to consider the history of Italian language, literature, and cinema, as a gateway to the complexity of global society. In this way, students are able to develop a critical approach to crucial socio-cultural issues.

How have you evolved as a teacher over time?

Over the past few years, I have grown a lot as a teacher. I have begun to integrate digital tools of various kinds into my teaching practice, especially Google Earth Virtual Reality. I have experimented with different pedagogical techniques, organizing outdoor activities. I have showed the multifaceted nature of the cultural issues explored in my courses, creating a bridge between different cultures. Being now at the end of my PhD, I can say that as a teacher I have been able to develop a pedagogical approach that considers the cultural and social complexity of the globalized society in which we live, by constantly experimenting with new techniques.

What resources or strategies have you found to be helpful in your development as a teacher? 

At Duke, I found many resources that helped me grow as a teacher. But perhaps what really allowed me to take a quantum leap was the opportunity to interact with other graduate students through the Certificate in College Teaching. The CCT is a valuable resource because it allows students from different fields to share different pedagogical perspectives. In this respect, the work done by Hugh Crumley has been crucial, for me as well as for other graduate students.


Excerpts from Incoronato's nomination

"Ciro is interested in students and students are interested in him because of his lively and relatable teaching style, the welcoming and inclusive environment he creates, and his keen attention to individual student needs. Among the innovative ideas he contributed to our language classrooms is the use of Italian Hip Hop and popular music to explore Italian politics, immigration, race, and youth culture."

"Ciro is an excellent colleague who demonstrates an impressive level of professionalism and collegiality in his pedagogical work. Ciro is a committed teacher who thinks deeply about the student experience, seeks out opportunities for teaching-related training, and is eager to develop his pedagogical praxis through collaborative work."

"Incoronato has a desire to teach the material. That coupled with his equal desire for students to meaningfully engage with the subjects make him deserve any teaching award out there, and I am incredibly grateful and fortunate to have taken his class."