Welcome to ACIS, the Australasian Centre for Italian Studies – a connection-point for the specialised communities of Italianist scholars in Australasia and beyond.
Emma Barron ACIS
In Italy political careers have a way of enduring well into old age. When politicians of other countries are collecting their pensions and writing their memoirs, many Italian politicians still serve into their 80s, or, as in the case of the previous President of Italy, Giorgio Napolitano, even their 90s. Silvio Berlusconi recently turned 81 and despite being expelled from the Senate for a tax fraud conviction he remains the leader of his party Forza Italia. He is likely to play a key role in Italy’s 2018 elections. Berlusconi’s political career has survived scandal and court cases: indeed his capacity for coalition building enabled him to become one of the longest-serving Prime Ministers of Italy. Here is a portrait with reflections.
Kevin Foster Monash University
September 29 2017 marks the seventy-third anniversary of the largest single massacre of civilians on the Second World War’s western front. Over the long wet weekend from Friday 29 September 1944 until early the following week soldiers from Sturmbahnführer Walter Reder’s 16th Waffen-SS Reconnaissance Battalion, supported by other German troops, were given the task of clearing the partisans from the whole of the Monte Sole massif, the hills sandwiched between the Reno and Setta rivers, where the Gothic Line ran through the mountains south of Bologna. Fascist spies had confirmed that the partisan group, the Stella Rossa, which had been fighting a running battle with the Germans for weeks, was concentrated on the slopes around Monte Sole. The German commander, Kesselring, claimed that between 21 July and 25 September 1944, 624 Germans had been killed, 993 wounded and 872 missing in partisan operations. Accordingly, at dawn on the 29th, the Germans began a wide encirclement, cutting off any means of escape. From the German perspective this particular rastrellamento was necessitated by the allies’ arrival at the Gothic Line. By 21 September US and South African troops were on the flanks of Monte Sole. Kesselring recognised the danger his troops faced. With the allies staring them in their faces they could not afford to have partisans nipping at their backs. Something had to be done.
Edda Orlandi Università degli Studi di Milano
Dopo i lunghi anni passati nella mia spietatamente, tediosamente e perennemente assolata patria a insegnare le noiose lezioni propedeutiche di “Antropologia milanesiana” agli studenti del corso di laurea in “Culture delle società brumose” sono finalmente riuscita a vincere un grant per continuare le mie ricerche. Sto partendo per la dolcemente nebbiosa Milanesia, mia mai dimenticata terra d’elezione e culla della mia tesi di dottorato “Malmostosità e festosità tra i nativi milanesiani: uno studio etnografico”. Ancora non mi capacito di come il comitato si sia finalmente deciso ad allentare i cordoni della borsa e concedermi un finanziamento per intraprendere questa nuova esplorazione della cultura milanesiana! Finanziamento ancora più sorprendente se considero che nel comitato siedono tre importanti capi tribù i cui figli e nipoti sono tra i numerosi studenti che non sono ancora riusciti a superare, dopo una dozzina di tentativi, l’esame del mio corso propedeutico… Bontà loro. Continue reading
The keynote speakers at the ACIS Prato conference in July have very generously allowed us access to the videos of their presentations. Maurizio Isabella (QMUL), In the name of God: religion, popular mobilization and the culture wars of Italy and the Mediterranean, 1790-1860 ca, viewable here, underlines the essential role played by religion in both revolutionary and counter-revolutionary communities of mobilisation. Pierangela Diadori (Università per Stranieri di Siena), Multiculturality and inclusion through plurilingual public signs in contemporary Italy, linked here, offers a guide to the ways in which translation issues surface in public signs in multicultural Italy. Barbara Spackman (UC Berkeley) tracks the careers of two rackety but enterprising Italians, in Egypt by desertion or misadventure, in her Accidental Orientalists: Nineteenth-Century Italian Travelers in Egypt (here). And Nicholas Terpstra (University of Toronto) describes the forms of discipline and exclusion developed to ward off the dangers of impurity in Religious Refugees in the Early Modern Period: Faith, Identity, and Purification in the Italian Context (here). The abstracts for their talks can be found by reading on … Continue reading
Much has been written about Italian migration to Australia in the 1950s and 1960s but little is known about the new, young, skilled and educated Italian migrants of today. A new study, Australia’s New Wave of Italian Migration: Paradise or Illusion? (Australian Scholarly Publishing, 2017), edited by Bruno Mascitelli & Riccardo Armillei, will be launched by Joe Lo Bianco (University of Melbourne) at CO.AS.IT., 199 Faraday Street, Carlton on Thursday 5 Oct 2017 at 6.30pm (free event: RSVP here). The book tackles many aspects of Italian migration, short-term and long-term, to Australia over the past twenty years, enabling us – thanks to the wide range of expertise among the contributors – to deepen our understanding of the scope and meaning of its multiple facets. Continue reading
Scent, sight, sound, taste, touch: all Italian-style. They are covered in a programme of Thursday evening lectures, Melbourne Masterclass : Senses of Italy, at the University of Melbourne, 6.15 – 8.15pm, 5 October – 2 November 2017. The series starts with Catherine Kovesi on Renaissance perfumes (Venice as olfactory heaven) and Antonio Artese on scent and Aquaflor (5 Oct). Then Christopher Marshall looks at Artemisia Gentileschi’s correspondence (‘it’s all about the money’) and Mark Nicholls at Rossellini’s Voyage to Italy (12 Oct). John Weretka uses paintings and poetry to examine the instruments, repertoires and status of Renaissance musicians (upwardly mobile), followed by Malcolm Angelucci on poetics, music and madness in Italy before 1914 (19 Oct). John Hajek and Anthony White consider Futurism and food, the art and appetites of the antigrazioso (26 Oct). Finally Andrea Rizzi explores the ideas and images of Renaissance texts (‘tactile values’), and Carl Villis reveals some attributions and reattributions of Italian Renaissance art in the National Gallery of Victoria (2 Nov). Further details on the contributions, authors, venue and registration can be found here.
The latest issue of Gender/sexuality/Italy is online here. The themed section has the title ‘Girl Cultures in Italy from Early Modern to Late Capitalism‘ and has contributions on the representation and social construction of girlhood from the Renaissance to the present. Daniela Cavallaro, for example, draws on oral sources and archival material to examine the all-girl oratorio experience after 1945 and thus provide an account of this largely forgotten element in Italian women’s cultural history. Other contributions cover the contrasts between representations of girlhood in 16th and 17th biographies (Sienna Hopkins), two novels – La figlia prodiga (1967) and Bambine (1990) – by the Italo-Swiss writer Alice Ceresa (Viola Ardeni), Rita Pavone’s musicarelli (Stephanie Hotz), and the becoming-girl of late capitalism in Non è la Rai (Elisa Cuter). And Danielle Hipkins, Romana Andò, Anna-Rita Ciccone and Laura Samani discuss aspects of girlhood conveyed in Italian film and other media.
The most recent issue of The Italianist (2017, 37, 2), edited by Charles Leavitt, Catherine O’Rawe and Dana Renga), is devoted to screen studies. The section on acting and performance has essays by Lisa Sarti on early Italian cinema journals and their reflections on acting for film and stage, Sarah Culhane on Anna Magnani and Sophia Loren performing the popolana, Alison Cooper on Rome as a key locus for reflecting on the relationship between performance and place, and Danielle Hipkins on the performance of girlhood in Gabrielle Mainetti’s Lo chiamavano Jeeg Robot. All four essays underline the importance of theatricality for an understanding of Italian film theory and practice. In addition two pieces focus on Carl Koch’s film of Tosca (1941): Berhard Kuhn uses it to examine the relation between film melodrama and opera and Ivo Blom analyses the making of the film and the contributions of Jean Renoir and Luigi Visconti.
The 2017 Lavazza Italian Film Festival is imminent, showing films in Sydney (Sept 12 – Oct 8), Adelaide (Sept 13 – Oct 1), Melbourne (Sept 14 – Oct 8), Canberra (Sept 14 – Oct 8), Perth (Sept 21 – Oct 11), Brisbane (Sept 20 – Oct 8), and Hobart (Sept 21 – Oct 1). The details of the films, cinemas and session times for each city are now up on the Festival page. Lasciati andare (2017, directed by Francesco Amato, with Toni Servillo) opens the Festival in each city. Other films include Edoardo De Angelis’ Indivisivili, Sergio Castellitto’s Fortunata, Lisa Azuelos’ Dalida, and Edoardo Maria Falcone’s It’s All About Karma. The Festival closes with Roberto Benigni’s La vita è bella.
The international three-conference project, Diaspore italiane: Italy in Movement, begins with its inaugural event, Living Transcultural Space, in Melbourne on 5-7 April 2018: the call for papers is now open. The other two conferences will be Transnationalism and Questions of Identity in New York (1-3 November 2018) and Between Immigration and Historical Amnesia in Genoa (27-29 June 2019). Full details of the project can be found on its website. The Melbourne conference, taking place in a multicultural city with a large Italian community now entering the third generation, will explore the notion of transcultural living as a practice and an ideal. Transcultural contexts show cultural identities in motion as they develop in reciprocal contact, emerging as historical constructs carried forward by transcultural subjects. Two of the key themes addressed at the conference will therefore be how ideas of identities in motion compare with traditional ways of understanding cultural identities as fixed essences, typically anchored to notions of blood, land or divinity, and whether migration, diaspora and colonial studies are paradigmatic of emancipatory discourses and practices for the 21st century.