Sean Widlake HeadShotSean Widlake (This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.) is a PhD student in the Italian Department focusing on Medieval Literatures and Dante more specifically. Prior to joining Rutgers, Sean completed a BA in History from the University of Massachusetts, and an MA in Near Eastern Languages and Civilization from the University of Washington. His prior academic foci have been in the histories, languages, and literatures of the Middle East with an emphasis on Iran. His past scholarly work explored the reading and social practices of Iranian STEM graduate students in Boston who reproduced their culture abroad by reading Jalal al-Din Mohammad Rumi’s most spiritual text, the Masnavi-ye Ma’navi (Spiritual Couplets).

In addition to his academic background, Sean has been an instructor of English for Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL), partnering with a non-profit that seeks to aid and assist refugees relocated to the Boston area. Sean also has over seven years of administrative experience in higher education working at such institutions as the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Harvard University. At Harvard, Sean partnered with an outside art gallery to put on an exhibit featuring multimedia artistic productions highlighting the lives of women, minorities, and children in Iran and Afghanistan. The exhibit, which ran for four months and included paintings, photography, and short films, was titled, From Voices Unheard: Actors of Social Change in Iran and Afghanistan.

At Rutgers, Sean hopes to leverage his past academic experiences to investigate themes of mysticism, material culture, music, and lyricism in the Italian Middle Ages. He is also more broadly interested in poetry, translation, language pedagogy, and interdisciplinarity.