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I am a self-described nomad of sorts and have lived in many parts of the US and abroad. I attended high school in Bettendorf, Iowa and then earned my B.A. in History at Loyola University of Chicago. My life-long love for Europe resulted in me spending my junior year at Loyola’s Rome Center and then to working toward a Ph.D. in modern European history at Boston College. Boston was a perfect location for graduate school, especially because I was able to benefit from participation in the Boston Area Consortium in Women’s Studies. My dissertation on the women’s movement in Italy allowed me to combine my academic and personal interests and become fluent in Italian. I had never even visited the Capital District before coming to interview at Siena and now it is the place I have lived the longest. I continue to love to travel. I also study and perform classical ballet, ride motorcycles, and am learning to play the drums. Follow me on Instagram @wendysespressolife 

Degree Program University
Ph.D. History Boston College
B.A. History Loyola University of Chicago

My Siena Experience

My Teaching Philosophy

I am a scholar and educator who believes in guiding students through the learning process so that they can develop skills and knowledge that will be useful to them throughout their professional and personal lives. Students must take responsibility for their own learning but I act as a model for academic rigor, professionalism, and mutual respect. My classroom is a welcoming space where all ideas can be expressed and my office door is open so we can continue conversations that begin in class.

What I Love About Siena

Siena students and faculty inspire me each day. My students are full of energy and ideas. They challenge me to keep learning as I seek to impart my knowledge and skills to them. I enjoy our discussions inside and outside the classroom and know I am fortunate to have the chance to foster lasting intellectual connections with them. My Siena colleagues also enrich my life through our professional and personal relationships. I count several faculty members among my closest friends.

My Favorite Courses to Teach

I teach a number of different courses in the History Department and find rewards in each. From the required Shaping of the Contemporary World to my upper-level specialized travel course on modern Italy, I have the opportunity to emphasize important historical moments and develop interesting assignments. I enjoy working with advanced history majors in the pro-seminar and capstone courses, in which one-on-one mentoring allows me to deepen our intellectual exchanges. I recently joined the First-Year Seminar, which has been a wonderful way to get to know new students and help them adjust to the demands of college work while teaching in my specialty of gender and sexuality.

Articles & Book Reviews

  • To the Future in the Distance: Women and Gender in Political History
    Ricerche di Storia Politica
    October, 2017
  • For Mothers, Peace and Family: International (Non)-Cooperation among Italian Catholic and Communist Women's Organisations during the Early Cold War
    Gender & History
    2011
  • Muslim Women's Organizing in France and Italy: Political Culture, Activism, and Performativity in the Public Sphere
    Feminist Formations
    2010
  • Join Us in Rebuilding Italy: Women's Associations 1946-1963
    Journal of Womens History
    2008
  • Organizing Women Migrants: The Filipino and Cape Verdean Women's Associations in Rome
    Migration Letters
    2007
  • Emancipation or Liberation?: Women's Associations and the Italian Movement
    Historian [East Lansing]
    2005
  • Oral History, Identity, and the Italian Women's Movement in the Future of the Contemporary Past
    Journal of International Womens Studies
    2005

Books & Book Chapters

  • Espresso: The Art & Soul of Italy

    2018
  • Fictional and Critical Stories of Transmigration through Italy

    2018
  • Doing History: An Introduction to the Historian's Craft, with Workbook Activities
    Oxford University Press
    2015
  • Doing History: An Introduction to the Historian's Craft, with Workbook Activities
    Oxford Universtiy Press
    2015
  • Italian Women and International Cold War Politics, 1944-1968
    Fordham University Press
    2013
  • Intimacy and Italian Migration: Gender and Domestic Lives in a Mobile World
    Fordham University Press
    2011
  • Politique et administration du genre en migration. Mondes atlantiques, XIXe-XXe siècles
    Éditions Publibooks
    2011
  • Donne immigrate e femminismo in Italia
    Aracne Editrice
    2010
  • Resisting the Tide: Cultures of Opposition in the Berlusconi Years
    Continuum
    2009
  • Migration and Activism in Europe since 1945
    Palgrave Macmillan
    2008
  • Migration and Activism in Europe since 1945
    Palgrave Macmillan
    2008
  • Immigrant Women and Feminism in Italy
    Ashgate
    2006

Presentations

  • Espresso in Popular Culture
    April, 2017
    American Popular Culture Association Conference, San Diego, California
  • The Birth of Espresso and Italian Modernity
    2017
    New York State Association of European Historians Annual Conference, Brooklyn, United States of America
  • Espresso: Making Italy Modern
    2016
    New York State Association of European Historians Annual Conference, Albany, New York
  • Teaching Historiography to Undergraduates
    2014
    Phi Alpha Theta Convention, Albuquerque, New Mexico
  • Comparative Reflections on the History Major Capstone Experience: A Roundtable
    2013
    American Historical Association, New Orleans, Louisiana
  • From Information Literacy in the Core Curriculum to Information Fluency in the Major: What does a Successful Program Look Like?
    2011
    Council of Independent Colleges Meeting, San Antonio, United States of America
  • Peace, Women's Rights and Cold War Politics: The Unione Donne Italiane and the Women's International Democratic Federation, 1945-1963
    2011
    Women of the World: Women's International Activism in National Contexts from 1945 until Now, University of Paris, France
  • Cold War Housewives?: Italian and International Women's Organizations, 1947-1949
    2010
    Council for European Studies Conference, Montreal, Canada
  • Peace or Women's Rights? Italian and International Communist Women's Movements, 1945-1963
    2009
    National and International Women's Organizations during the Cold War at the American Historical Association Conference, New York, New York
  • The Limits of Multicultural Exchange: Crossing Feminist Boundaries in the Mediterranean
    2009
    Changing Face of the Mediterranean: Migrant Women's Creativity and Constraints, Rome, Italy
  • Catholic and Communist Italian Women's Associations and International Organizing during the Cold War, 1953-1963
    2008
    Southwestern Social Science Association conference, Las Vegas, Nevada
  • Muslim Women's Organizing in Italy and France: Secular Islam and Performativity in the Public Sphere
    2007
    Eighth Mediterranean Social and Political Research Meeting, Florence & Montecatini Terme, Montecatini Terme, Italy
  • We're right here!' The invisibility of migrant women in European women's movements
    2006
    Gender, History and Migration Conference, Center for 20th Century Social History Paris, University of Paris I (Sorbonne), Paris, France
  • Women's Associations in Italy, 1946-1963
    2006
    New York State Association of European Historians Annual Conference, Oneonta, New York