Getting to know Professor Belli :)

I’m an Associate Professor of English here at New York City College of Technology, CUNY (City University of New York) and for the past six years I also served as Co-Director of the OpenLab, the college’s open-source digital platform for teaching, learning, and collaborating (the same OpenLab that you’re reading this post on right now!). One of my favorite things to do here at the college is to teach courses on science fiction, utopias, and dystopias, so I’m really looking forward to working with you this semester in this course!

I earned my Ph.D. from The Graduate Center, CUNY, and my research interests are utopian studies, science fiction, happiness studies, positive psychology, writing studies, digital humanities, American studies, and education/pedagogy (feel free to ask me what any of these areas are!).

I’m also a founding member of the Writing Studies Tree, an online, open-access, interactive academic genealogy for the field of writing studies, and serve on the Steering Committee, the Teaching Committee, and as the web developer for the North American Society for Utopian Studies (utopias/dystopias overlap quite a bit with science fiction, an intersection we’ll be discussing throughout the semester!).

I stumbled upon this cafe in St. Petersburg, Russia, and was delighted to see its name almost mine (close enough!). In Russian, it means "once upon a time" ...
I stumbled upon this cafe in 2014, in St. Petersburg, Russia, and was delighted to see its name almost mine (close enough!). In Russian, it means “once upon a time” …

Fun facts about your professor? I played ice hockey in college (right wing), and have played the violin since I was two years old (and currently play with the Brooklyn Symphony Orchestra … this past winter we went on tour in Mexico City, which was an amazing experience!). I adore watching old sitcoms from the 70s and 80s (some of my favorites are Maude, Rhoda, Soap, and, most especially, The Golden Girls–I even wrote a chapter on this show in a fantastic book about sitcoms and American culture!). I’m not stuck in the past though, and  enjoy contemporary shows too. Some of my favorites in current rotation are Westworld, Jane the Virgin, and Grace & Frankie.

I also really enjoy traveling: some summers ago (when that photo above is from) I spent five weeks wandering abroad, in Russia, Finland, Czech Republic, and Switzerland. This past Fall and Winter, pre-pandemic, I was able to spend time in Berlin, Puerto Rico, and Mexico City. What amazing experiences! I know that travel isn’t possible right now, but I hope to make it to Nepal and Bhutan when exploring the world is an option again.

I look forward to your reading your Introductions and getting to know you, through these posts and our online class sessions, as the semester progresses, and to discussing all-things-science fiction together over the coming months! :)

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