Visiting Postdoctoral Fellow
Chiara Fontana is scholar in Arabic Philology and Literature. She was awarded a Ph.D. in Arabic Literature and Linguistics at the Sapienza University of Rome with a thesis on the rhetorical and metrical analysis of contemporary experimental poetry. Currently, she is assistant professor of Arabic Philology and Literature at the Alma Mater Studiorum University of Bologna, Italy. Between May and November 2022, Chiara will be based in Beirut as a visiting postdoctoral fellow at the OIB.
Her studies focus principally on Islamic eloquence (balāgha), interliterary processes across Arabic, Persian, Turkish, cultural heritage, and urban development observed in the light of socio-political transformations emerging in the past and contemporary Middle Eastern societies. Since 2014 she has held a number of teaching positions and continued her scholarly work at institutions in Tunisia, Egypt, Morocco, Jordan, Qatar, and Italy. Since 2018 Chiara is member of the research boards for some projects at the Universities of Birmingham, Exeter (UK), and Columbia University in New York. The fil rouge tying Chiara’s research experiences is the focus on the evolution of Arabic literary theory and criticism across time, with a specific emphasis on al-balāgha as a cognitive framework to understand reality creatively.
During her stay at the OIB, Chiara will extend the insights of her prior research exploring how much material culture and crafts in 9th century Baghdad did not only affect literary investigations thematically but also how they inspired innovative frameworks of critical thinking and the re-organization of the humanities.