Our Faculty

Violetta Ravagnoli

Assistant Professor of History

Contact Information


Office Hours

Office: Administration Building, Room 356

Office hours: Tuesdays and Thursdays, 3:00 p.m.- 5:00 p.m.


Ph.D., State University of New York at Buffalo; M.S., Georgia Institute of Technology; B.A., University of Rome


I was born and raised in Rome, Italy, where I graduated with a B.A. in Oriental Languages and Civilizations from the University of Rome "La Sapienza." I also hold an M.S. in International Affairs from the Georgia Institute of Technology and a Ph.D. degree in History from the State University of New York at Buffalo.

My research focuses on Asian History as well as Migrations and Diaspora. My own personal diaspora started when I moved to Nanjing, China after graduating from College. In China I studied Mandarin and worked for two years before moving to Atlanta, GA. In the US, I have moved two more times as I am looking for "home." Boston might be it!

Courses I Teach

  • HIST 1107 Asian History
  • HIST 1108 World History to 1500
  • HIST 1109 Modern World History
  • HIST 2126 A History of Japan Since 1600
  • HIST 2401 History of Modern China

Publications + Presentations


  • Ravagnoli, Violetta, "Toward a Glocal Oral History," to be presented at the New York Conference of Asian Studies, Vassar College, October 2015.
  • Ravagnoli, Violetta, "Qingtian in Italy - Italy in Qingtian," poster displayed at the IRPET (Istituto Regionale Programmazione Economica Toscana - Regional Institute Economic Program Tuscany) Conference titled "Il ruolo economico della comunita' cinese nel ditretto pratese - The Economic Role of the Chinese Community in the Prato District," Prato, Italy, January 2014.
  • Ravagnoli, Violetta, "Qingtian in Italy - Italy in Qingtian," poster presented at the 6th Chinese in Prato and 4th Wenzhouese Diaspora Symposia, October 2013, Prato, Italy, October 2013.
  • Ravagnoli, Violetta, "Networks Without Borders: Qingtian in Europe and Europe in Qingtian," presented at the 5th Northeastern University Graduate History Conference, Boston, MA, March 2013.
  • Ravagnoli, Violetta, Review: Return Migration and Identity: A Global Phenomenon, A Hong Kong Case, By Nan M. Sussman. Journal of Asian Studies, November, 2012.
  • Ravagnoli, Violetta, Rome's "Unofficial" Chinatown," presented at the Asian Studies Association Annual Conference, Toronto, ON, March 2012.
  • Ravagnoli, Violetta, "Media Representations of Chinese Immigrants to Italy," presented at the Social Science History Association Annual Meeting, Boston, MA, November 2011.
  • Ravagnoli, Violetta, "Development of Identity. Chinese and the 'other' in Italy," presented at The New York Conference of Asian Studies, SUNY Buffalo, NY, September 2011.
  • Ravagnoli, Violetta, "Chinese Immigrants in Italy and the Uprising in Milan," presented at the Plesur Conference, Buffalo, NY, April 2011.
  • Ravagnoli, Violetta, Review: The Birth of a Republic: Francis Stafford's photographs of China's 1911 Revolution and Beyond, by Hanchao Lu The Chinese Historical Review, Vol. 12, No. 2, Fall 2010.
  • Ravagnoli, Violetta, "Images of Overseas Chinese in Italy from the 1920s to the Present," presented at the New York Conference of Asian Studies, SUNY Brockport, NY, September 2010.
  • Ravagnoli, Violetta, "The Chinese View of World Order: The concept of Tianxia (All-Under-Heaven)," Fudan Journal of China Studies, Vol. 3, No. 2, June 2010.
  • Ravagnoli, Violetta, "The Chinese View of World Order: The concept of Tianxia (All-Under-Heaven) and the Western Worldview", also in Mandarin: "中国的世界秩序观:"天下"概念与西方的世界观, in Proc. of The Intl. Conf. on the Confucian Civilization and Traditional China's Foreign Relations at the Historical and Cultural College, Shandong University, (PRC) September 2007.


  • Presented a paper titled, "Toward a Glocal History of Chinese Migrations. Language, memory and ethnicity," at the Annual Conference of Asian Studies (AAS) in Seattle, Wash.
  • Chaired a session on the panel of "Transnational Migration and Settlement in Global Asia" at the New York Conference of Asian Studies, "Global Asia: Social, Cultural, and Political Spheres" at Vassar College. She also presented her paper "Toward a Global Oral History" at the conference.

Grants + Recognition

  • 2013 MDRF Dissertation Grant
  • 2012 UB Graduate Excellence in Teaching Award
  • 2012 NYS GSEU Professional Development Award
  • 2011 SSHA Travel Award for Graduate students

Research Focus

I am interested in the history of global migrations and in questions of identity and belonging. My dissertation titled "Networks Without Borders: the Building of Chinese Ethnicity in Rome" concerns the origins and development of the twentieth and twenty-first century migration of Chinese to Europe, Italy, Rome, and one neighborhood within Rome. My work problematizes and complicates ethnicity and identity, which I find to be variable and unstable; nation and state, which I find not to be necessarily central, but situationally relevant, to the migrants' building of identity and to group formation; and Chinese-ness itself, which I also find to be situationally constructed to the extent region, family, and dialect may be more central ordinarily to the building of identity and to group formation.

My research is informed and engages with theories of transnationalism but goes beyond transnational migration studies as it looks at bottom up ethnographies of localities in both sending and receiving communities and discusses individual stories within a global perspective. My research is based on primary sources, oral history accounts, and ethnographic fieldwork I have conducted both in China and Italy.