UC Berkeley’s Division of Arts and Humanities welcomes Akash Kumar, as of July 1, 2022. Kumar is an assistant professor in the Department of Italian Studies and specializes in medieval Italian literature. He is currently teaching an undergraduate course on Dante’s Inferno and a special topics graduate course, Reading Beneath the Veil: A History of Theory Through Dante.
He is particularly interested in the history of science and philosophy, Mediterranean studies and digital humanities. His first book, Dante’s Elements: Translation and Natural Philosophy from Giacomo da Lentini to the Comedy, examines the convergence of scientific thought and early lyric tradition in Dante’s Commedia. He is currently working on his second book, which explores the 13th through 16th centuries through the lens of chess.
Kumar received his M.A. and M.Phil. in Italian Literature and Italian and Comparative Literature from Columbia University in 2008 and 2009, respectively, where he also earned his Ph.D. in Italian and Comparative Literature in 2013. Since then, he has served as a member of the editorial board of Digital Dante from 2014 to 2016; been a founding member of the Cosmopolitan Italies Collective since 2020; and acted as a member of the executive committee of the Critical Race, Diasporas, and Migrations Caucus of the American Association of Italian Studies.