Building Robust & Inclusive Democracy


  • PhD, University of Pisa, Pisa, Italy, 2008
  • MA, University of Pisa, Pisa, Italy, 2004
  • BA in Art History & Conservation, University of Pisa, Pisa, Italy, 2000


A native of Tuscany, Italy, Silvia Bottinelli started teaching at SMFA at Tufts in 2010. She is a Modern and Contemporary Art historian in the Visual and Critical Studies Department. Silvia's classes focus on the History of Sculpture, which she looks at from inter-disciplinary perspectives. Her teaching interests include Food and Art; Feminism; Materiality in Art; Public Art; Social Practice; Arte Povera and Italian post WWII art; Modern and Contemporary Sculpture; Domestic Cultures in Sculpture and Design; EcoArt; and more. In addition to being a teacher, Silvia is an active curator and scholar. She received her PhD from the University of Pisa, Italy. Her research on 20th and 21st century art has been widely published in art magazines and scholarly journals, such as Art Journal, Modernism/modernity, Public Art Dialogue, California Italian Studies, Art Papers, Sculpture, Predella, Ricerche di Storia dell'Arte, Artribune, and Exhibit, among others. Silvia co-edited the volume The Taste of Art. Cooking, Food, and Counterculture in Contemporary Art Practices (University of Arkansas Press, 2017) with Margherita d'Ayala Valva. Furthermore, Silvia authored two monographs about postwar Italian Art in 2007 and 2010, and recently received grants from the American Philosophical Society and the Center for Italian Modern Art to work on a new book (McGill-Queen's University Press, forthcoming), which analyzes the representation of the domestic in Italian art and visual culture from the 1940s to the 1970s. Together with Sharon Hecker, Silvia is working on an edited volume that analyzes the use of lead in modern and contemporary art for Bloomsbury Academic. The Food Studies Research Network awarded Silvia with an International Award for Excellence in Scholarship in 2016.

Silvia enjoys curating student work; among other events, she organized "nARTure. Reshaping Eco-Art" at the Slater Concourse at the Tufts Art Gallery in 2018 and the SMFA Graduating Students Show in 2015.

Silvia chairs the Sustainability Committee at SMFA; she is also an Eco-Ambassador and a member of the Green Fund Steering Committee at Tufts. Finally, Silvia is affiliated faculty at the Tufts Institute for the Environment (TIE) and the International Literary and Visual Studies Program (ILVS). She serves as a member of TIE's Internal Advisory Committee and ILVS's Executive Committee. Silvia is an advisor for Environmental Studies and ILVS, and some of her courses are cross-listed with ENVS and Italian Studies.

In addition to art and its complex histories, Silvia's passions include cooking, gardening, traveling, yoga, and animals. Silvia loves spending time with her family, including her spoiled rabbit, Buddy.