Welcome to ACIS, the Australasian Centre for Italian Studies – a connection-point for the specialised communities of Italianist scholars in Australasia and beyond.

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Teaching Italian – global and national perspectives

550x150v5Coinciding with the XIV edition of the Settimana della Lingua Italiana nel Mondo, the Stati Generali della Lingua Italiana nel Mondo is taking place in Florence this week (21-22 October) with the theme L’italiano nel mondo che cambia. As a basis for the discussions, statistics on the current global position of Italian language teaching have been produced and documents on strategies for the future have been presented. The Accademia della Crusca has simultaneously launched an e-volume, L’editoria italiana nell’era digitale, which examines the history of the book and publishing in Italy and contains interviews with Italy’s major lexicographers (including Tullio De Mauro and Raffaele Simone). In Australia the place of Italian in schools and universities has recently been discussed by John Hajek and Joe Lo Bianco who examine the reasons for the current decline in its popularity and suggest strategies to reverse it.

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Il Paroliere: Italian Word of the Week-63

513px-Jan_Steen_-_The_Dissolute_Household_(detail)_-_WGA21741‘Diventerai uno scapestrato’, mi gridarono. ‘Un futuro da scapigliato ti aspetta’. Sì, è vero, mi comportai malissimo quel terribile pomeriggio di domenica quando si ruppe il tv e non potei guardare la partita. Ma non per questo sentivo il mio destino già segnato. Al massimo, dissi tra me, sarò un ragazzo un poco .. poco … ueh, Concetta, qual è la parola che sto cercando?


Position in Italian Studies at the University of Melbourne

UniMelbLogo CleanerThe University of Melbourne is advertising a 4-year fixed term position at Lecturer B level in Italian Studies to replace Andrea Rizzi who has been awarded a Future Fellowship to work on his project The Power of the Translator: a New History of Cultural Change and Communication. The full details of the position can be found HERE. The deadline for applications is 20 November 2014.


Ippolito Nievo’s ‘Le confessioni d’un italiano’

TLS_cover_Oct_10_1100526mLast week’s TLS (Oct 10) carries a long review by Lucy Hughes-Hallett, author of a prize-winning biography of D’Annunzio, of the new English translation by Frederika Randall of Ippolito Nievo’s Le confessioni d’un italiano (1857-8, published posthumously in 1867). The protagonist of this fictional autobiography, Carlo Altoviti, drifts hither and thither like Tristram Shandy: ‘You will have noticed’, he says to the reader, ‘that among all the professions I’ve dedicated myself to, my own free will directed me to none of them.’ Since in the 1850s the idea that there might be an ‘Italian’ with confessions to share was considered dangerously revolutionary, the book was first given the title Le confessioni di un ottuagenario. Nievo died in 1861 aged 29.

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Italo Svevo and James Joyce

112_0201For those who were not able to catch Paolo Bartoloni’s recent talks in Melbourne and Sydney, here is a radio interview that he gave to SBS on one of his principal topics, the friendship between Italo Svevo and James Joyce.

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Alla Venetiana

imagesFor those readers who did not receive invitations to George’s wedding in Venice, here are a couple of consolation prizes. Richard Bosworth’s latest book, Italian Venice: A History (Yale UP, 2014), offers a characteristically engaging account of the city since the fall of the Republic in 1797, covering inter alia the most significant contemporary issues: the threat of flooding, the festivals, tourism. A very different view of the city is presented by the philosopher Philip Kitcher whose Deaths in Venice: The Cases of Gustav von Aschenbach (Columbia UP, 2013), takes Thomas Mann’s novella as an entry point to an exploration of the general relations between literature and philosophy.

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Mothers and daughters in four novels

Aureliana Di Rollo   WAAPA/Monash University

mother and daughterAt this time a year ago I was about to submit my Ph.D. thesis with the title ‘Literary representations of mothers and daughters in contemporary Italian women writers’. It was a relief. Not only had I completed my degree but I would finally be able to read and talk about something else. But it didn’t happen that way. Yes, I have been awarded my degree, but when I speak at seminars, I am still the extravagant lady who digs out and deals with matricidal daughters, eccentric and dysfunctional mothers and tries to write a reasonable paper variously combining these ingredients. In my thesis I engaged with the tradition of writing about the mother in the works of Italian women writers. Within that tradition, I decided to investigate the literary representation of the mother-daughter relationship, a recurring trope in women’s narratives during the 1980s as illustrated by the novels of Francesca Sanvitale, Fabrizia Ramondino and others.

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Writing and Translating Crime Fiction during Italian Fascism

Caterina Sinibaldi   University of Manchester

Donna LeonOver the last twenty years, Italian crime fiction has attracted growing scholarly attention, both in Italy and in the Anglophone world. If, on the one hand, this is due to a renewed interest in previously neglected areas of ‘letteratura popolare’, on the other it cannot be denied that Italy itself has become a central theme in crime fiction. Not only have contemporary Italian authors, such as Carlo Lucarelli and Andrea Camilleri, gained international success, but also British and North-American authors (Michael Dibdin and Donna Leon, just to mention two) have chosen to set their detective stories in Italy.

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Call for panel and paper proposals: ACIS 8th Biennial Conference, Sydney, 1-4 July 2015

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Italian culture and society have long been suffused by a powerful sense of place. Whether one thinks of the waves of diasporic Italians who have journeyed to encounter new cultural vistas around the globe, or of the even larger numbers of women and men who have remained in the places where their families have lived for centuries, Italians have always been acutely sensitive to their spatial and physical settings.

The organisers of the 8th Biennial ACIS ConferenceFertile Spaces, Dynamic Places: Mapping the Cultures of Italyto be held at the University of Sydney, 1-4 July 2015, invite participants to consider the myriad ways in which Italians have been influenced by – and left their mark upon – the spaces and places around them. We welcome papers on any period in the general areas of: Italian Art History, Cinema, Cultural Studies, Economics and Business, History, Italians in Australia, Language Teaching and Acquisition, Linguistics and Socio-Linguistics, Literature, Migration Studies, Politics and Sociology and Anthropology.

Please submit panel sessions or proposals for individual papers (250-300 words in Italian or English) by 31 January 2015 to:


Proposals for panels should contain: the panel title; name of the convenor; brief description of the theme; indication of the participants and the provisional titles/contents of their papers. Confirmation of acceptance of proposals will be sent out by 31 March 2015.

Details of registration, accommodation and the programme will be posted in due course on the conference page and here on this site.

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ACIS Cassamarca scholarships for student research in Italy in 2015

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ACIS and the Cassamarca Foundation are offering UP TO TWO scholarships worth $5000 each for research in Italy in 2015 by masters by research and doctoral students. You will find the criteria of eligibility and the guidelines for making an application on the page ‘Scholarships for 2015‘ under the menu Scholarships above.

The deadline for applications is FRIDAY 31 OCTOBER 2014.


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