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Francesco Casetti received a MA at the Catholic University of Milan, where in 1974 he also received an “advanced degree” in Film and Communication Studies. Assistant Professor at the University of Genova (1974-1980), Associate Professor at Catholic University of Milan (1984-1994), Full Professor at the University of Trieste (1994-1998) and then at Catholic University of Milan, where he served also as the Chair of the Department in Communication and Performing Arts.
He taught as “Professeur associé” at Université de Paris III - la Sorbonne Nouvelle (1977) and as visiting professor at the University of Iowa (1988, 1991 and 1998), at the University of California – Berkeley (2000) and then at Yale.
He has largely written on semiotics of film and television, about genres, intertextuality, and enunciation. After an expansive study on the implied spectator in film (Inside the Gaze, Indiana, 1999, or. 1986) and in television (Tra me e te, 1988), he combined in an original way close analyses of media texts and ethnographic researches of actual audiences (L’ospite fisso, 1995), defining the notion of “communicative negotiations” ( Communicative Negotiation in Cinema and Television, 2002). He has also written extensively on film theories (Theories of Cinema. 1945-1995 , Texas, 1999, or. 1993). More recently he explored the role of cinema in the context of modernity (Eye of the Century. Film, Experience, Modernity, Columbia, 2008, or. 2005). He is currently studying the reconfiguration of cinema in a post-medium epoch, comparing this shift with the rise of cinema at the beginning of XX Century.
Member of the Editorial Board of Cinemas (Montreal), Comunicazioni Sociali (Milano), Cinema and Cie (Udine - Paris III), and Annali di Italianistica (USA-Canada).
He is a member of the Scientific Board of "Istituto Gemelli-Musatti" (Milano), and “Centro Sperimentale di cinematografia” (Rome).
He is General Editor of the series "Spettacolo e comunicazione" for the publishing house Bompiani, Milano.
He was appointed in 2009 as one of the curators of Triennale (Milano) for media and film.