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Thomas J. Ferraro

Thomas J. Ferraro (Tom), for the moment fancily titled Frances Hill Fox Professor of English at Duke University, believes that the visual arts always entail the iconography and discourses of religion more generally, especially when either the work or the specter of Catholics are involved. His attempts at figuring out how and to what effects include chapters in Feeling Italian: The Art of Ethnicity in America (2005) analyzing the futurist painter Joseph Stella, sense-oriented writers Pietro di Donato and Mario Puzo, the Madonna of The Immaculate Video Collection, and the gustatory treat Big Night; essays on sacramentality and its presumed antitheses in films such as Lorenzo's Oil (2004) and Angels with Dirty Faces (Catholics in the Movies, 2008); and a book-in-progress on the Pagan-Catholic temptations of the modern American novel (see "Cultural Studies Between Heaven and Earth," in Fisher and McGuinness, The Catholic Studies Reader, 2010 and "Of 'Lascivious Mysticism' and Other Hibernian Matters," 2005). He especially loves bringing the stand-alone dance routines of musical comedy into the classroom--from Morocco and The Wizard of Oz to Gentlemen Prefer Blondes and Flower Drum Song--to demonstrate sacramental difference, over against the rote routines of latter-day gaze-theory and the post-structuralist disavowal of "made presence," scandalous in so many ways.      

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