Who was WILLIAM VAN WATSON?
William Van Watson received his Ph.D. in theatre from the University of Texas in 1987, with a minor in Italian and film studies. He was a Visiting Associate Professor at the University of Arizona for 13 years. He died suddenly in Tucson in 2014 at the age of 55.
Van was a committed instructor and mentor who imparted to his students a deep love for “everything Italian.” His courses were the core of the Italian Studies track: advancing teaching and interdisciplinary scholarship committed to preserving the connections between Italian literature and film. Despite his grueling teaching commitments, Van is remembered for being a diligent and persistent scholar. He attended conferences on a regular basis, published articles and book chapters, and was finishing his second book on Pier Paolo Pasolini. Days before he died, he announced that he had completed his manuscript. He is best known for his use of ‘queer theory’ in Italian and cinema studies at large.
The impact of Van’s death was first announced on his Facebook page, causing widespread shock as tributes began to pour in. For his students he was an amazing role model, and an inspiration.
Van loved to travel and visit Europe, Italy in particular. He loved to cook, he amassed a huge media collection, visited friends and explored every corner of Tucson.