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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An International Network of Italian Theatre for scholars and practitioners

INIT-REVISITED-e1417113541406A group of Italian theatre scholars has just launched the International Network of Italian Theatre (INIT), aimed at promoting Italian theatre worldwide and creating a platform for cooperation among theatre scholars and practitioners. Members will have the opportunity to use a dedicated webpage where they will be able to publicise initiatives, news and publications related to Italian theatre. INIT aims to reach both academic and non-academic audiences through workshops, conferences and panels, shows, debates and recitals. The organisers, based at the universities of Warwick and Glasgow, invite all those who would like to join the INIT platform (free), signal their interest or receive further information to send an email here with their name, affiliation and email address.

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How mid-19th century Italy saw America

250px-August_Pollak_Un_ballo_in_mascheraOne of the items now added to Routledge’s European Studies Open Access site is Axel Körner‘s ‘Masked faces: Verdi, Uncle Tom and the unification of Italy’, Journal of Modern Italian Studies 2013, 18 (2): 176-189). He explores Italian images of, and attitudes towards, the United States in the mid-19th century, focusing on two very popular and influential theatrical representations of life in the New World which left an important mark on Italian views of the United States during the later Risorgimento: Giuseppe Verdi’s opera Un ballo in maschera (1859), and Giuseppe Rota’s ballet Bianchi e neri (1852), based on Harriet Beecher Stowe’s novel Uncle Tom’s Cabin. As Körner points out, Italians did not always look at life in America as a political, social or constitutional model; and if in the eyes of many Italians the United States became an epitome of modernity later in the nineteenth century, they did not necessarily identify with the particular model of modernity America stood for.

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Austerity’s contribution to political convergence: Italy and Greece

fses20.v018.i04.coverIn their ‘Living Parallel Lives: Italy and Greece in an Age of Austerity’, South European Society and Politics (2013, vol.18, 3: 397-426) available free online, Susannah Verney and Anna Bosco track the ways in which the politics of Italy and Greece have come to resemble each other in recent years. Given the imminent Greek elections and the potentially far-reaching ramifications for the European Union of a victory by the Greek leftwing party Syriza, the analysis is particularly useful in identifying the apparently fundamental changes in the personnel and parties which dominate both political scenes. The authors are sure that these changes are part of a transition but are unclear as to what new kind of normal service might resume at its end-point.

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Il Paroliere: Italian Word of the Week-75

Mithridates_VI_of_Pontus‘Ci si abitua a tutto ormai, mio caro’. ‘Già, nonno, anche a questa tua osservazione che mi ripeti per la millesima volta’. ‘E va bene, piccolo saputello. Ma ti ho mai parlato della sofisticata tecnica di assuefazione che praticavo da giovane? Quella che mi aveva insegnato il bravo medico della mutua, dottor Tersilli Crautea?’ ‘Almeno una volta alla settimana, nonno. Pensavo invece che l’avessi imparato da un re.  Ma risentiamola di nuovo con l’aiuto di Luciana che la storia la conosce meglio di te ……’

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Insulting with Style: A Short History of Violent Language

Andrea Rizzi   ARC Future Fellow, University of Melbourne

Poggio Bracciolini (1380-1459)Almost 600 years ago Poggio Bracciolini (1380-1459) stung his fellow-scholar and bitter enemy Francesco Filelfo (1398-1481) with the following venom:

You stinking billy-goat, you horned monster, you malevolent vituperator, father of lies and author of chaos… May Divine vengeance destroy you as an enemy of virtue, a parricide who tries to ruin wives and decency by mendacity, slanders, and most foul, false imputations. If you must be so scornfully arrogant, write your satires against those who debauch your wife. Vomit the putrescence of your stomach

This is one of the many vitriolic invectives hurled by Italian humanists at their competitors well before Martin Luther, Desiderius Erasmus and Thomas More penned their theological and protestant vituperations.[1] Intellectuals and leaders used violent words, enacted on minds and with the intent of damaging the reputation of their opponents. Their extremely crude attacks and ‘robust’ language have confounded scholars who have generally shied away from these texts…..

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Dario Fo’s ‘Johan Padan': Melbourne, February 4-15, 2015

Johan Padan poster - 45 DownstairsWhere in the world is stowaway, scoundrel, shaman, and saint Johan Padan? Propelled into the New World by the flames of the Inquisition, Johan becomes an adventurer in spite of himself. Performing fantastical feats of surgery, prophecy and love, Johan’s tale is history told from the bottom up – in a world where riding your luck might be the death of you but riding a pig will save your life. An irreverent alternative to official commemorations of Columbus’ voyages, Johan Padan is an epic monologue with a cast of thousands. Written by Dario Fo, it will be performed in English translation at the fortyfive downstairs theatre in Melbourne (45 Flinders Lane, Melbourne 3000: bookings on 03 9662 9966) from February 4-15, 2015.


CVs, careers, crunchiness …….

220px-LebenslaufCollignonFrancoisNothing specific to Italian Studies here but Steve Joy’s advice on how to present a cv will be useful to Italianists too. He also has a very helpful blog, the Early Career Blog, based on his experience as a postdoc careers adviser in the arts, humanities and social sciences. His topics cover job applications and the structure of cover letters, management of tricky interview questions, building networks and collaboration, describing a research project and so on. Summarising his general message in a single term: crunchiness (vs sogginess) in any description of self, research project, book proposal, and career-to-date is the route to success.

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8th ACIS Biennial Conference: panel and paper proposals

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Just a reminder that proposals for panels and papers for the 8th ACIS Biennial Conference at the University of Sydney, 1-4 July 2015, are due by 31 January 2015. The address to send them to is here. The details of the call for papers, accommodation and registration are available on the conference web pages.


‘La moda è una cosa seria’ (Gianna Manzini, 1935)

rmis_a_973151_f0001_ocAnd who could doubt it, especially after reading the latest issue of the Journal of Modern Italian Studies (2015, vol.20, no.1) devoted to ‘Italian Fashion: Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow’? Fashion brings together Futurism and Fascism, designers and industrial magnates, the Renaissance and La Rinascente, craft skills and Chinese creativity. These encounters, some on display in magazines such as Lei (1933-1938), are described in engaging detail by the contributors. [Should you need a unisex suggestion for a stylish patriotic outfit to wear during the festivities, check the picture here and settle for that black velvet jacket topped by a hat with a feather]

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Jo-Anne Duggan Prize: Jo-Anne’s writings

Jo-Anne Duggan Essay Prize PosterIn relation to the Jo-Anne Duggan Prize, we have added to the general information and guidelines a page with the list of, and links to, Jo-Anne’s writings. It is located under ‘Prize’ on the main menu above where the details for eligibility and entries to the Prize can also be found. The deadline for submission of entries is 1 MARCH 2015.

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