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

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Romantic adventures; the Free Cinema movement; and an 18th century duel

This week’s TLS (March 29) is a special issue devoted to European culture which includes three very informative pieces on Italian writers. David Robey reviews the first two volumes of the eventual four volumes on Emilio Salgari (1862-1911) by Ann Lawson Lucas. Salgari’s adventure romances, Robey suggests, all contain the defining features of the genre: ‘heroes of exceptional strength and prowess and heroines of remarkable beauty; idealised passionate love; plots made up of travel, chance events and physical conflict or struggle’ (features generated exclusively by Salgari’s imagination and his life in the library stacks since he never left Italy and had to spend all his time writing). Then Anna Coatman reviews the English translation of the lively London diaries of the film director Lorenza Mazzetti (she announced ‘I’m a genius’ when she first arrived at the Slade School of Fine Art from work on a potato farm and the Slade’s director invited her to come back the next day). She became one of the founders of the Free Cinema movement (‘Perfection is not an aim. An attitude means a style. A style means an attitude’) along with Karel Reisz, Lindsay Anderson and Tony Richardson. Finally, Joseph Farrell describes the duel (‘Pistols for two and coffee for one’) fought, or at least performed, in 1766 between Giacomo Casanova and Count Franciszek Branicki. Branicki was the more seriously wounded but the duellists continued to exchange good wishes daily for their respective recoveries.

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Il plotone perduto: il 26 marzo 1944

Il 26 marzo del 1944, settantacinque anni fa, quindici soldati italoamericani furono trucidati dai nazisti ad Ameglia in Liguria dopo il fallimento di una missione di sabotaggio. Un episodio quasi trascurato dagli storici: e i quindici soldati sono ricordati solo da una lapide in un borgo remoto. Il 26 marzo, al Centro Studi Americani di Roma (via Caetani 32), si è tenuto un convegno con dibattito e approfondimento della storia del “plotone perduto” con interventi dello storico Massimo Teodori, il Procuratore generale della Corte militare d’appello, Marco De Paolis, il vicedirettore di Repubblica, Gianluca Di Feo, il vicedirettore di Rai Cultura, Giuseppe Giannotti, e il presidente della Oss Society, Charles Pinck. La Repubblica (Rep) ha raccontato il massacro, con una versione anche in inglese.

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INDELIBLE / INDELEBILE – NEW DEADLINE OF THE CALL FOR PAPERS

The new deadline for the submission of paper proposals to the international Interdisciplinary conference, INDELIBLE / INDELEBILE  – Representation in the arts of (in)visible violence against women and their resistance, supported by ACIS on 23-25 October 2019 at Flinders University in Adelaide (South Australia), is 30 March 2019 (details for submissions below). Our interdisciplinary conference aims to contribute to the ‘glocal’ conversation on the topic of gendered violence and at the same time raise awareness of the global extent of the problem by analysing ways in which both such violence and resistance to it are represented in the arts. While a key strand of the conference will concern the arts in contemporary Italy, its scope will be broad, encouraging comparison with other societies across space and time. Keynote speakers will be Dacia Maraini (accompanied by a performance of her Passi affrettati) and Sarah Wendt. We welcome papers engaging with any of the following (and associated) topics, in relation to poetry, literature, theatre, opera, music, cinema or other visual arts: Continue reading

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CIVIL SOCIETY AND RECONCILIATION. VOICES FROM POST-WAR JAPAN, GER­MANY, AND ITALY

22 September 1984

Lasting reconciliation with former enemies after a war is a difficult and distressing process. Yet, beyond the war crimes trials, public discussion of Sec­ond World War crimes in West Germany, Italy and Japan in the post-war period was extremely sparse. Controversies over the responsibilities for key events remain today. CO.AS.IT, in collaboration with the University of Melbourne, will host, as a free event, a discussion of the project Civil Society and Reconciliation introduced by its directors Claudia Astarita and Akihiro Ogawa (Asia Institute, The University of Melbourne) on Thursday 28 March 2019, 6.30-8pm at 199 Faraday Street, Carlton, VIC, followed by the screening of the project’s documentary and remarks by Riccardo Brizzi (University of Bologna) and Laura Fontana (European Holocaust Research Infrastructure, Paris). Their descriptions of their own work can be found here.    Continue reading

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Celebrating 90 years of Italian Studies at the University of Western Australia

On 20 March, Professor John Kinder will launch a special lecture series to celebrate 90 years of Italian Studies at the University of Western Australia. It was a Venetian, Francesco Vanzetti, who offered the first courses of Italian at the University back in 1929. It should be noted that his was the first appointment of a lecturer in Italian at any university anywhere in Australia. Supported by the Institute of Advanced Studies and by Italian Studies at UWA, the full programme of lectures is available here. Professor Kinder’s lecture is entitled ‘Italians in Nineteenth-Century Western Australia, and how a Venetian Industrial Chemist Came from Kalgoorlie to Teach Italian at the University of Western Australia’. It will be held in the Fox Lecture Theatre, UWA Arts Building, 18:00-19:00 pm.

Professor John Kinder at the University of Western Australia
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Venice Biennale – Exciting new opportunity for University of Melbourne postgraduate students

There is an exciting new opportunity for a Faculty of Arts postgraduate student at the University of Melbourne to take part in the Venice Biennale Champion’s Program to be held in Venice, Italy. Taking place between 29 September – 3 October 2019, the Champions’ Program offers access to events and opportunities to engage with contemporary art works at the 58th Venice Biennale and allows for a deeper engagement with Venice’s hidden treasures. The program would be relevant to University of Melbourne students undertaking research in the fields of contemporary visual art, art history, international art biennales, fundraising, donor relations and history. Applications close 12 April. For further information and how to apply, please visit the Venice Biennale Champions Program page.

There is an exciting new opportunity for a Faculty of Arts postgraduate student at the University of Melbourne to take part in the Venice Biennale Champion’s Program to be held in Venice, Italy. Taking place between 29 September – 3 October 2019, the Champions’ Program offers access to events and opportunities to engage with contemporary art works at the 58th Venice Biennale and allows for a deeper engagement with Venice’s hidden treasures. The program would be relevant to University of Melbourne students undertaking research in the fields of contemporary visual art, art history, international art biennales, fundraising, donor relations and history. Applications close 12 April. For further information and how to apply, please visit the Venice Biennale Champions’ Program webpage.

Inaugural ACIS Postdoctoral Fellow at the University of Melbourne

We are delighted to announce the appointment of Dr Laura Lori as the inaugural ACIS Postdoctoral Fellow at the University of Melbourne. By creating and co-funding this position, ACIS is affirming its commitment to new PhD graduates in Italian Studies, recognising the difficulties they face in the current national and international academic climate. Laura completed her PhD in Italian Studies at La Trobe University, and has recently concluded a period as a non-stipendiary Honorary Research Associate of ACIS. In that role she worked productively under the mentorship of Luciana d’Arcangeli at Flinders University, as evidenced by her research achievements outlined here. Laura describes her new two-year fellowship research proposal on Afro-Italian storytelling as follows: “My research aims to analyse how artists and migrants from the African Diaspora use theatre and literature to create a new transcultural identity in Italy. Specifically, I intend to work on how the collective or individual re-writing and mise en scène of theatrical plays by theatre companies and young migrants reshapes the idea of Italianness and challenges the nationalist and sovereignty discourse. I intend to work on three case studies in Italy creating a pilot project potentially applicable to similar realities in Australia.” We wish Laura all the very best with her Fellowship, and look forward to reporting on her research outcomes over the coming two years.
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Call for papers – Languages and Cultures Network for Australian Universities Conference. University of Western Australia, 27-29 November, 2019

 

The Languages and Cultures Network for Australian Universities (LCNAU) are holding their fifth biennial conference on the theme ‘Exchanges: People, Knowledge and Cultures‘ at the University of Western Australia on 27-29 November, 2019. The conference convenors, John Kinder and Nicola Fraschini, are now calling for submissions for papers. Click here for further information.

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ACIS Wellington 2019

ACIS Conference Wellington 2019 delegates at the Te Herenga Waka Marae, Victoria University Kelburn campus (this and all photos of the Pōwhiri are by Colin McDiarmid, Victoria University of Wellington)

Despite Wellington being touted as the windiest city in the world, the elements were gentle on the 80 participants who flew in from across the world to take part in the 10th biennial ACIS Conference, Navigazioni possibili: Italies Lost and Found at Victoria University, Wellington, New Zealand. Many congratulations to Sally Hill and Claudia Bernardi for hosting a delightful, stimulating, and welcoming ACIS conference. It was a conference which witnessed several firsts: our first ACIS group photograph; our first traditional Maori pōwhiri at the Te Herenga Waka Marae on the university’s Kelburn campus; and the first ACIS keynote lecture delivered barefoot within a marae. Being greeted individually with the hongi set the tone for what was to follow – stimulating conversations, keynotes, and individual papers delivered in an atmosphere of great collegiality which demonstrated quite clearly that Italian Studies in Australasia are flourishing. It was also announced that ACIS 2021, the celebration of twenty years of ACIS’s foundation, will be held in the location of its inaugural conference at the Australian National University, Canberra and will be hosted by Susanna Scarparo and Josh Brown – watch this space.

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‘VOGLIAMO ANCHE LE ROSE’

In partnership with the Italian Cultural Institute and Artist Film Workshop, Co.As.It. will present a screening of Vogliamo anche le rose on Friday 15 February 2019, 6:30pm, 199 Faraday Street, Melbourne (free event, RSVP here). The film’s director, Alina Marazzi, known for her explorations of the intricacies of female subjectivity, motherhood and memory, will be present to talk about her work. Her first feature-length film, Un’ora sola ti vorrei  (2002), is a documentary she made about her mother who took her own life when Alina was four years old, told through her mother’s diaries and home movie footage in the Italy of the 1960s and 1970s. Vogliamo anche le rose (2007) is organised around accounts by three very different women, Anita, Teresa and Valentina, who feel themselves similarly socially and culturally displaced in the 1970s. The film is a penetrating critique of the Italian family life of the time and of the expectations on women to be efficient mothers, obedient wives and virtuous daughters.

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