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Cecily Cai

Assistant Professor of Italian Studies

Cecily Cai received a Ph.D. in comparative literature with a secondary field in Germanic languages and Literatures from Harvard University in 2021. Her main area of research is 19th- and 20th-century European literature and music with a focus on German, Italian, and Polish. Cai is interested in the representation of exile in music and literature. Her comparative and interdisciplinary research also involves the studies of literary translation and literary criticism in both the modern and ancient world. Cai received her B.A. in German and Italian studies from the University of California, Berkeley. She has also studied in Bologna, Tübingen, and Heidelberg.

Recent Courses Taught

Comparative Literature Tutorial
Beginning German
The Art and Craft of Italy


  • The Krupp Foundation Dissertation Research Fellowship Konrad Adenauer Fellowship
  • UC Berkeley Departmental Citation
  • The Bruno and Erna Ehlert Prize
  • Berkeley Institute of International Studies Junior Scholar
  • University of California Duttenhaver Scholar 

Select Publications

The Work into the Open: Reading Mahler’s Novelistic Symphony.” Studia austriaca XXVIII (Vol 28) – April, 2020

Appointed to the Faculty: 2021

Educational Background

Ph.D., Harvard University
A.M., Harvard University
B.A., University of California, Berkeley

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