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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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Life in Bonegilla, 1947-1971

image003The Bonegilla Migrant Reception and Training Centre was the first and largest of 23 such centres in Australia. Originally an army camp, it was converted to accommodate and educate migrants and help them to find work. Between 1947 and 1971 many of the 350,000 Italian migrants (42,000 of them under the Assisted Passage Scheme) and several thousand refugees from the areas annexed by Yugoslavia after 1945 passed through Bonegilla. This exhibition of photographs, Braving Bonegilla, 4-14 June 2015 at the Museo Italiano, Carlton, documents the daily life of Italians in the camp: families striving to make their huts home under Spartan conditions, men studying English, groups of friends playing music and enjoying outings, as well as photographs taken during the so-called Bonegilla riots in 1952, and pictures of a wedding and a funeral. The opening event on 3 June at 6.30pm (RSVP here or call (03) 9349 9021) will include men and women who lived through Bonegilla.

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Italy, Somalia: poetry and politics

Ahad_cpi_cb_Saaka.qxdThe literature in Italian by Somali writers has recently been explored in some detail (Lori 2013). But cultural creativity in Somalia itself, and the ways in which it was affected by and responded to Italian colonialism, has received less attention. Somali Oral Poetry and the Failed She-Camel Nation State by Ali Mumin Ahad (Peter Lang, 2015), based on his PhD thesis at La Trobe University,  is the first analysis of the connection between oral poetry and politics in Somalia and provides vital background for both the Italian colonial period and Somalia’s contemporary conflicts. Analysing the most expressive medium in Somali culture and politics, Ahad brings out the difficulty of trying to combine an image of society structured by loyalty to clans and support for the idea of nationhood and the rule of law. This analysis describes the circumstances that preceded the civil war and is therefore of particular value for helping us to understand the subsequent failure of the Somali state.

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Sicilia 1943

thumbs‘Sicilia 1943′ è il titolo dell’ultimo fascicolo di Meridiana (2015, n.82), a cura di Salvatore Lupo e Rosario Mangiameli. Come osservano i curatori, il 1943 è l’anno terribile nella storia dell’Italia contemporanea quando il paese vede due invasioni contrapposte: i tedeschi al Nord e gli anglo-americani al Sud, ciascuno con un proprio governo ma con un controllo limitato e incerto sul territorio. Il tema dell’amministrazione anglo-americana della Sicilia e delle sue conseguenze è stato affrontato di recente da Manoela Patti (La Sicilia e gli Alleati: Tra occupazione e liberazione, Donzelli, 2013) e Isobel Williams (Allies and Italians under Occupation. Sicily and Southern Italy, 1943-45, Macmillan 2013). Qui quel tema viene approfondito con saggi sulle trasmissioni pre-sbarco di Radio Londra, le conseguenze dei bombardimenti sul Meridione tra il 1940 e il 1944, la natura del governo militare instaurato dagli anglo-americani, i ricordi dei testimoni della sbarco e la storiografia di quell’anno cruciale.

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Jo-Anne Duggan Essay Prize 2015

Jo-Anne Duggan Essay Prize PosterWe are delighted to announce the outcome of the inaugural Jo-Anne Duggan Essay Prize sponsored by ACIS. The winner is Sally Grant, ECR (PhD, University of Sydney, 2013) for her essay on ‘The Eighteenth-Century Experience of the Veneto Country House: Andrea Urbani’s Decoration of Villa Vendramin Calergi’s Room of the Gardens’. Two entrants were highly commended: Crystal Filep (PhD candidate, University of Otago) for her creative work and exegesis ‘Intersection Unbounded’ and Kyra Giorgi, ECR (PhD, La Trobe University, 2013) for her essay ‘La speranza: Spaces of hoping, waiting and dreaming in Italian migration’.  The Panel for the Prize has provided the following summaries of the three entries …. Continue reading

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I Papi e lo sport 1903-2015

1429709958432E’ uscito il volume I Papi e lo sport. Oltre un secolo di incontri e interventi da Pio X a Papa Francesco (Libreria Editrice Vaticana, 2015) di Antonella Stelitano, Alejandro Mario Dieguez e Quirino Bortolato. I lettori, credenti e non, praticanti dello sport e non, possono trarre un’idea nuova sul rapporto tra dottrina cattolica e cultura, filosofia e pedagogia dello sport. I curatori hanno selezionato centoventi discorsi sugli oltre seicento interventi — numerosi quelli rivolti a squadre sportive, di calcio in particolare, ricevute in udienze private in Vaticano — pronunciati dal 1903 ad oggi. Oltre alla “pastorale sportiva” di ogni Pontefice, si trovano: il carteggio tra Pierre de Coubertin, fondatore dei moderni Giochi olimpici, e il cardinale Merry del Val, Segretario di Stato di Pio X; le scalate alpine di Achille Ratti, poi Papa Pio XI; l’incontro di Pio XII con i ciclisti del Giro d’Italia e quello di Giovanni XXIII con i partecipanti all’Olimpiade di Roma; e ancora le tre funzioni dello sport individuate da Paolo VI; l’immagine “polisportiva” di Giovanni Paolo II; l’attenzione al mondo dello sport di Benedetto XVI e il tifo di Papa Francesco per la squadra argentina del San Lorenzo de Almagro.

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‘Tied with indissoluble chains': Languages of Exile and Imprisonment

Lisa Di Crescenzo/Sally Fisher   Monash University

CMRS The inaugural Annual Symposium of Monash University’s Centre for Medieval and Renaissance Studies (CMRS),'”Tied with indissoluble chains”: Languages of Exile and Imprisonment in Medieval and Renaissance England and Italy’, was held at Monash University on 24 April 2015. The theme was born out of shared research interests, and the enthusiastic response from speakers and participants confirmed both scholarly and general interest in a sustained enquiry into languages of exile and imprisonment in Medieval and Renaissance England and Italy. Susan Broomhall (UWA) gave the plenary address, followed by Stephanie Downes (Melbourne), Helen Hickey (Melbourne), Amanda McVitty (Massey University, NZ) and Natalie Tomas (Monash). Papers by Lisa Di Crescenzo and Sally Fisher completed the programme. Analysing sources such as letters, legal documents, chronicles and poems, the speakers interrogated the writing of the experiences of exile and imprisonment in fifteenth- and sixteenth-century England and Italy, exploring how the physical and interior experiences of these states were negotiated, reshaped and performed, and the intersections and oppositions between them.

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Bartolomeo Cristofori, pianoforte man

Sally Grant   New York

Image: Google

Image: Google

For those who may have missed it, on Monday Google celebrated the 360th birthday of Bartolomeo Cristofori (1655-1731) of Padua, with a doodle dedicated to the relatively unknown, at least outside of musical circles, inventor of the pianoforte. By including a scale that changes the volume from piano to forte, the doodler, Leon Hong, has playfully captured the innovative nature of Cristofori’s invention. Watching the instrument maker become more animated as the volume rises is a particularly delightful touch. Perhaps it also signifies the glee that Cristofori feels for at last being celebrated in such a global and prominent way for his creation of a musical instrument that has impacted human culture so profoundly. The Metropolitan Museum of Art here in New York owns one of only three surviving pianos by Cristofori. The other two are at the Museo Strumenti Musicali in Rome and at Leipzig University’s Musikinstrumenten-Museum.

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Associate Lecturer in Italian Studies: La Trobe University

logoLa Trobe University (Melbourne, Australia) invites applications for the position of Associate Lecturer in Italian Studies. This is a full-time continuing teaching & research position within the Department of Language and Linguistics. La Trobe’s Italian program combines beginner to advanced language studies with the study of Italian culture, literature, cinema, history and translation. In addition to learning the language, students become familiar with cultural life in contemporary Italy as well as historical perspectives on the country. The position description, including key areas of accountability and key selection criteria, as well as information on how to apply, is available here. Enquiries should be directed to Dr Brigid Maher.

The closing date is Thursday 28 May 11.55pm (Australian Eastern Standard Time)

Egypt, Jerusalem, Libya: Departure and Desire in Italian Women’s Writing

7e691395-4ce5-4204-a0b8-a994f7053800Patrizia Sambuco (Monash) will give a talk in English on ‘Egypt, Jerusalem, Libya: Journey through Italian Women’s Writing, 1890-1930′ at the Italian Cultural Institute, 233 Domain Road, South Yarra on Thursday 14 May at 6.30pm (admission free but reservation essential). The talk will tell the story of two Italian women writers, Matilde Serao and Pina Ballario, and the record of their encounters with people and places in the Middle East. At the beginning of the 1890s Matilde Serao was a solo traveller to Egypt and Jerusalem and published a travel book of her journey, Nel Paese di Gesù, which enjoyed extraordinary popularity. Pina Ballario, during the fascist period, wrote a successful novel, Fortuna sotto vento, set in colonial Libya. Both books represent the spirit of their time (pilgrimage and the Orient for Serao, and fascist ideology for Ballario) but have now almost faded into obscurity. Continue reading

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Slow Food founder Carlo Petrini at Eataly NYC

Sally Grant   New York

Carlo Petrini signing copies of his new book at Eataly, NYC.

Carlo Petrini signing copies of his new book at Eataly, NYC.

Recently I attended a talk by Carlo Petrini, the founder of the Slow Food movement, at the NYC branch of the Italian gastronomic chain Eataly. Appropriately enough on Earth Day, he was there to discuss the release of his new book Loving the Earth: Dialogues on the Future of our Planet. Petrini gave an impassioned talk (in Italian, accompanied by an English translator) on his philosophy of food culture and the impact agriculture has on the health of the world. The book is a record of conversations between Petrini and people who he feels are important in this debate, such as Massimo Montanari and Dario Fo in Italy, and Wendell Berry in America, among others from around the globe.

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