Lorenzo Coretti, a born and bred Roman local, is an AUR Assistant Professor and the director of our renowned Communication and Digital Media program.
He joined AUR in 2014 after having completed his Ph.D. at the University of Westminster (London, UK), where he investigated the role played by social media in Italian political protests between 2009 and 2012. Previously, Professor Coretti worked as a press officer and journalist in both magazines and TV.
Professor Coretti is interested in the potential held by digital media for social and political social change. In this respect, he considers himself neither a techno-enthusiast nor a techno-pessimist, but rather a “techno-possibilist.” In particular, his research focuses on the relationship between technological design and social movement activities, such as mobilization strategies, organizational patterns, and collective identity-building processes.
Professor Coretti teaches several courses at AUR, among which are “Media History,” “Digital Media & Society,” and “Media Ethics.” He has also just completed the design of an exciting new course which benefits directly from his extensive research activities in the field, “Digital Media, Social Movements, and Social Change.” This course will be offered for the first time in Spring 2022.
With his extensive knowledge of the social media landscape, Professor Coretti reveals little of himself via online channels. We, however, caught him at an unguarded moment...
Q. When were you happiest?
The moment my Blanca said “yes.” It was a warm night of August, and we were in Cullera, a lovely seaside town on the coast of Valencia, in Spain. After an exquisite paella, we went for a night walk on the beach. I was desperately trying to pinpoint the right moment to make my move and propose. Quite peculiarly, once I made up my mind and resolved to kneel, in that exact instant, Blanca decided to take the weight off her feet and quickly sat on the sand. In my clumsy attempt to get as low as I could, I ended up crawling rather than kneeling. Eventually, I was covered in sand, yet I was the happiest person across the whole Mediterranean. We’re laughing together as I type this…
Q. What is your computer and/or phone wallpaper?
The artwork of Joy Division’s record “Unknown Pleasures,” the greatest album of the 20th Century.
Q. What did you want to be when you were growing up?
As a child, I wanted to be Pope. Alas, I found that path quite laborious and gave up when I was 12. I then turned my fantasies to music, to finally realize that when you can’t become a musician, it’s easier to marry one.
Q. Which word of phrase do you most overuse?
I’m afraid I can’t be 100% transparent here. Coward as I am, I’ll shift responsibility to my hero Stephen Fry, who once said: “the sort of twee person who thinks swearing is in any way a sign of a lack of education or a lack of verbal interest is just a f…ing lunatic.” I think you got the gist.
Q. If you could travel back in time just once, where and when would you go?
I would explore ancient Rome, with Prof. Mary Beard as my ‘Virgil.’ I’d try to stop Mark Antony’s henchmen from killing Cicero and together we would save the republic.
Q. What is the worst job you’ve ever done?
I’ve been very lucky and there’s no job I’ve done that I could define as the worst. That said, at a professional level, the worst moment is when you realize you don’t believe in what you’re doing any longer. That’s when a person needs to move on, and too often it’s easier said than done. That’s why I ultimately resolved my focus on teaching, my favorite passion in the whole world.
Q. If you weren’t a professor, what would you be?
I’d be a frustrated bloke who wanted to be a professor and failed.
Q. What trait do you most dislike in yourself?
The incapacity to forgive myself. If I had a time-machine, I’d go back and forth incessantly in a futile attempt to perfect my actions and myself.
Q. What trait do you most dislike in others?
The lack of kindness, a rare thing nowadays. After all, as Jean-Jacques Rousseau said, “what wisdom can you find that is greater than kindness?”
Q. How do you relax?
On my terrace with the company of my books. I’m affected by a mix of bibliomania and ‘tsundoku,’ spending equal time reading books and looking at books piling up on the shelf. I’m perennially behind schedule.
Q. If you could bring something extinct or a deceased historic figure back to life, what or who would it be?
I’d give an arm to spend even just one evening having drinks with John Stuart Mill, Bertrand Russell, and Karl Marx. Karl and I would take a drunken donkey ride in the darkness of the night, and most probably Bertie would have to foot the bill, but I’d be the one coming out a richer man.
Q. What is the most important lesson that life has taught you?
That there’s no lesson to learn.
Q. What’s your guilty pleasure?
Besides grappa? Well, the second grappa, or the third… I can’t remember!
Q. Tell us a secret…
I’m 41 and still don’t know how to tie a tie.
Still curious about Professor Coretti (even after all that)? Read his official academic biography here.