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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Documentary Film and Migration in Twentieth-century Italy – CfP

20477368The Journal of Italian Cinema and Media Studies is calling for proposals of contributions to a special issue, Documentary Film and Migration in Twentieth-century Italy, guest-edited by Gaoheng Zhang (Department of Italian Studies, University of Toronto). Long before the 2015 refugee and migrant crisis captured international attention, Italy was at the forefront of the European management of post-Cold War mass immigration from around the globe. Only thirty years earlier the country was itself undergoing a large-scale internal migration from the South to the North, and from countryside to city. Still earlier, between the late 19th and mid-20th centuries,  Italians had emigrated to the Americas, Northern Europe, Australia, and elsewhere, constituting one of the most significant labor diasporas in modern history. These events have been decisive for Italy as a nation, a people and a cultural entity. How did the only new major art form developed in the twentieth century—the cinema—represent and influence these migrations? In particular, how did documentary cinema—arguably contemporary Italy’s most versatile and prolific film genre—respond to and reflect on the migratory flows?

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Old-Time Accomplices: Mentors & Mentees

220px-Age_Teaching_YouthIn his essay De auditu (On Listening to Lectures) Plutarch warned that ‘the correct analogy for the mind is not a vessel that needs filling, but wood that needs igniting – no more – and then it motivates one towards originality and instills the desire for truth’. Once sparked, this fire requires feeding and care, a task often fulfilled by mentors. Already appearing in the Odyssey, the idea of mentoring owes much to the figure of Socrates but has lost none of its force in the contemporary world where mentoring and coaching abound in all professional organisations. The University of Melbourne is therefore organising a conference, Old-Time Accomplices: Mentors & Mentees, on 25-27 August 2016 to explore the theme and the practice of mentoring in literature, history, art, performing arts, social sciences, and in the professional world. We are now calling for paper and panel proposals, to be submitted by Monday 16 November 2015. Continue reading

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New research trends in Italian screen studies

New research trendsThat’s the title of an iTunes U course of talks and video-conference sessions on Italian screen studies, organised by Dana Renga (Ohio State University), delivered by ten scholars from the US and UK, and viewable free through iTunes. Topics include: teen film, fascist colonial cinema, neorealism, mafia cinema, migration cinema, serial television, star studies, the terrorist film and the biopic, new queer cinema, popular cinema and the cinepanettone, and postfeminism. The course takes stock of the discipline, considers what changes we have seen over the last decade, asks where we are now, and reflects on where we might be headed.

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Rome, Open City – 70 years on

220px-Open_City_DVDThe Department of Film and Television Studies at the University of Warwick is holding an international conference on 12-13 November 2015 to examine the legacy of Roberto Rossellini’s Rome, Open City (1945). The film’s tale of popular resistance in Nazi-occupied Rome announced a new aesthetics of cinema – neorealism – that would attract attention and controversy for its assertion of the necessary relationship between art and politics. The film is a central reference point for cinematic realism and aesthetic radicalism, influencing movements from the French New Wave to Brazilian Cinema Novo, British social realism and Dogme 95. It remains a key influence for contemporary filmmakers and for scholars from areas as diverse as cultural geography, gender studies, performance, historiography, aesthetic philosophy, and the study of war, fascism and torture. Continue reading

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‘In the beginning was boredom’

220px-Alberto_MoraviaThat’s the title of a lengthy commentary on Alberto Moravia and his work by Ian Thomson in the TLS this week (25 Sept). It follows a review of Agostino, a short novel written in 1942, initially censured by the Fascist regime, published in a limited edition in 1943, republished in full by Bompiani in 1945 and described by the reviewer, Michael McDonald, as perhaps Moravia’s magnum opus. Bertolucci’s film of Moravia’s Il conformista is currently being shown in the Lavazza film festival.

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Site of Resistance: The Popular Piety of Santa Maria delle Carceri in Prato

 Shannon Gilmore   University of California, Santa Barbara

260px-Prato,_Santa_Maria_delle_CarceriThis summer I enjoyed a month-long sojourn in Florence to expand my dissertation project on Central Italian miraculous image cults established in the late fifteenth and early sixteenth centuries, specifically the cult of Santa Maria delle Carceri in Prato. My trip got off to a promising start: I had the good fortune to attend the special mass marking the anniversary of Santa Maria delle Carceri’s first miracle. I was immediately grateful that I had arrived early to snag a seat, as the interior of Giuliano da Sangallo’s church was bursting at the seams with the faithful whose eyes were fixed on the miraculous image of the Virgin and Child with Saints Leonard and Stephen (c. 1350) above the high altar. The cult’s continuing significance to the diocese of Prato was immediately evident as a television cameraman ducked in and out of the tightly packed crowd to capture a perfect shot of the bishop who proudly wore a vestment bearing a screen-printed copy of the Marian image.

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Italian Jewish Musicians and Composers during Fascism

9885024_origThere are voices of musicians that still remain unheard but will remain alive forever. This is the case of Jewish musicians and composers in Fascist and Nazi-Fascist Italy who were excluded from theatres, orchestras and music conservatories and whose compositions were banned as ‘degenerate music’. Their experiences and their fate (exclusion, persecution, emigration) will be the theme of an international conference, Italian Jewish Musicians and Composers during Fascism, organized by the Festival Viktor Ullmann and the University of Trieste with the collaboration of the Fondazione Teatro Lirico Giuseppe Verdi, to be held on 26 October 2015. Scholars from different disciplinary fields will examine the relation between the racist phases of Fascism and the lives and works of Jewish composers and musicians. The conference will also host a round table with relatives and students of the persecuted musicians and composers, who will offer their direct testimonies and memories. Continue reading

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Researching Italians in Australia: war and internment

123063Among the sources of funds which postgraduate researchers can apply for are scholarships offered by the National Archives of Australia/Australian Historical Association to cover the costs of copying records held in the Archives. A recent winner is Mia Spizzica, a PhD candidate at Monash University, whose research is concerned with the experience of Italians interned in Australia during the Second World War. The loss of the breadwinners –  some 5000 men were interned after Italy declared war on Britain and France in June 1940 – had a serious impact on their families so that the consequences of wartime security measures extended directly or indirectly to some 30,000 Italians. Continue reading

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Lavazza film festival: 15 Sept – 21 Oct

xliff15-banner-dark.jpg.pagespeed.ic.c2N02tg9C2The Lavazza Film Festival is showing Italian films around Australia (Sydney, Melbourne, Adelaide, Byron Bay, Canberra, Perth, Brisbane, Hobart) between 15 Sept and 21 October. With the exception of Bertolucci’s Il conformista (1970), the films, covering drama and comedy, are all recent and include Edoardo Falcone’s Se dio vuole, Cristina Comencini’s Latin lover, Nanni Moretti’s Mia madre and the Taviani brothers’ Meraviglioso Boccaccio. Luca Zingaretti, here in Edoardo De Angelis’ Perez and Marco Pontecorvo’s Tempo instabile con probabili schiarite rather than as Inspector Montalbano, will be a visitor to the festival in Sydney, Melbourne and Canberra. All films are subtitled in English. Full details of the dates, cinemas and programme of the festival in each city and the chance to book seats can be found HERE.

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ACIS Cassamarca scholarships for postgraduate research in Italy in 2016

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ACIS is offering UP TO THREE scholarships worth $5000 each to provide postgraduate students at an Australian or New Zealand university with the opportunity to work on a research project in Italy in 2016. For one of the awards, the Dino De Poli Scholarship honouring the President of the Cassamarca Foundation, preference may be given to applications for research on any aspect of the culture, history and society of North East Italy. The scholarships are available to students who are citizens or permanent residents of Australia or New Zealand, will be enrolled, full-time or part-time, in Master by research or PhD degrees in a university in Australia or New Zealand in 2016 and will be engaged in research projects in any of the following areas of Italian Studies: archaeology and classical antiquities, language, literature, culture, history, politics and society, including migration studies. Full details of the awards and guidance for writing a research proposal can be found on the pages under Scholarships on the main menu above. The closing date for applications is FRIDAY 30 OCTOBER 2015.


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