Dalia was raised in Cluj, Transylvania, the second largest city in Romania. Cluj is a "University Town" that has several multi-lingual (Romanian, Hungarian, English), multi-cultural institutions of higher learning and a rich history going back to Roman and ancient times.
After emigrating to the New York City, Dalia did her undergraduate studies at Brandeis University and then her Masters and PhD in French Studies at the Johns Hopkins University.
Upon earning her PhD, Dalia taught in the French Dept. at U. Penn. She then held a fellowship at Columbia University, positions at UC Berkeley, Duke University and became Chair of the Dept of French & Italian at Emory University in Atlanta, GA.
Her first major work identifies Cartesian subjectivity as a foundational moment of modernity whose problematic legacy is difficult to overcome. Along with Martin Heidegger and Jacques Derrida, she analyzes the philosophical import of Cartesian discourse through inquiries into its linguistic, literary and rhetorical presentation. She demonstrates how Cartesian subjectivity, reflecting a new understanding of truth as certitude, implies a new, disembodied way of being in and picturing the world.
The question of what the body is and how it is culturally constructed, conceived and cultivated is the focus of her 2001 book. The Culture of the Body outlines the body's redefinition from a live, experiential entity to a mechanical and virtual object heralding the advent of modernity. Maurice Merleau-Ponty and Michel Foucault inform this study of embodiment and materialization.
Her books on Marcel Duchamp and Dada and Surrealist aesthetics explore how the interplay of word and image (à la Walter Benjamin) shapes modernist avant-garde strategies by enlarging the horizons of subjective and sensorial experience. She "unpacks" Duchamp's works through an analysis of his use of mechanical and linguistic reproduction to redefine the work, the artist and artistic production. This approach leads to a new understanding of "an art made out of the paradoxes inherent in the making of art." A 2010 book considers how appropriation, influence and play redefine notions of artistic creativity as a collaborative act. This book discusses Francis Picabia, Man Ray, Salvador Dali and Enrico Baj, as well as post-modern legacies in works by Gordon Matta-Clark and Richard Wilson.
Her most recent book questions the nature of vision and visibility through an examination of the depiction of sight and spiritual insight in the paintings of Georges de La Tour, a 17th-century French baroque artist.
Please read more interviews with Dalia and articles about her teaching and career here:
Dalia is a frequent invited speaker at art, literature and culture events. See videos & read more here: