Welcome to ACIS, the Australasian Centre for Italian Studies – a connection-point for the specialised communities of Italianist scholars in Australasia and beyond.
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.
The Australasian Centre for Italian Studies (ACIS) is offering UP TO THREE scholarships worth A$6,000 each to provide postgraduate students at an Australian or New Zealand university with the opportunity to work on a research project in Italy in 2018. For one of the awards, the Dino De Poli Scholarship which honours 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.
Details of eligibility and the application procedure are available here, accompanied by guidelines for describing projects.
The closing date for applications is Sunday 15 October 2017.
The Hellenic Museum and Co.As.It. Museo Italiano will launch The Greeks of Venice, 1498‒1600: Immigration, Settlement, and Integration by Ersie C. Burke with a presentation by Carolyn James (Monash University) on Thursday 10 August 2017 at 6.30pm, Co.As.It. Museo Italiano, 199 Faraday Street, Carlton (free event; RSVP here). Burke traces the history of Venice’s Greek population during the formative years between 1498 and 1600 when thousands left their homelands for Venice. She describes how Greeks established new communal and social networks, making the transition from outsiders to insiders (though not quite Venetians) in the context of multi-cultural, multi-ethnic, and multi-lingual Venice. This reconstruction of the history of the largest Christian ethnic minority in early modern Venice is interwoven with individual stories drawn from a great variety of sources – notarial documents, petitions, government and church records, registries of marriages and deaths, and census data – held in Venetian church and state archives and in the Hellenic Institute of Venice.
The University of Sydney Postgraduate History Conference is calling for paper proposals for the upcoming ‘The Past and the Curious: Re(viewing) History ‘ symposium, to be held on 30 November – 1 December 2017 in the Quadrangle at the University of Sydney. We welcome abstracts from honours students, postgraduates and early-career researchers involved in history, although they may take an interdisciplinary approach. Applicants from other states and universities are also encouraged to apply. Abstracts should be no more than 200 words accompanied by a 100 word bio, and are to be submitted via our website: a list of possible themes can be found there. The deadline for submissions is by close of business on 1 August 2017. Some funds are available for travel bursaries for honours and Masters students travelling from outside the Sydney area. We also warmly welcome those who simply wish to attend but ask that you go to the website and register for catering purposes. There is no registration fee. All inquiries here.
Gino Moliterno ANU
Peter Bondanella, Distinguished Professor Emeritus of Comparative Literature, Film Studies and Italian at Indiana University, died on 28 May. In an academic career spanning more than four decades Bondanella’s contribution to Italian Studies was extraordinary; the falling silent of his voice will be very sad news for all Italianists in the English-speaking world, especially those interested in cinema. His generosity of spirit, the depth and breadth of scholarship, love of Italian cinema, sardonic sense of humour, and determination always to contribute to the valorisation of Italian culture will be greatly missed. Federico Fellini perhaps summed up Peter’s style best when, in the foreword he contributed to The Cinema of Federico Fellini (1992), he wrote: ‘The most exciting aspect of Bondanella’s work is, in fact, his inextinguishable faith in the power of reason and systematization which reminds us in a nostalgic way of methods and choices inspired by respect and harmony’. Continue reading
ACIS is very pleased to announce that the Jo-Anne Duggan Prize 2017 has been awarded to Monique Webber (University of Melbourne) for her essay ‘”In Search of Universal Icons”: Interrogating the Superstar Phenomenon of Early Modern Art through the Photography of Jo-Anne Duggan’. It shows how Jo-Anne Duggan’s photographs – notably those in her exhibitions Before the Museum (2000-2002), Impossible Gaze (2002-2005), and Wondrous Possessions (2010) – explore the impact of the passage of time on the works of forgotten masters and the way we now reflect on them. The essay reveals how Jo-Anne’s approach to Renaissance artworks uncovers the complex marks of superstar culture, the dominant form of our contemporary engagement with art and often regarded as a distinctive symptom of the modern age. We are also very pleased to give the Highly Commended award to Laelie Greenwood (Monash University) for her essay ‘Private Memory, Public Spaces: An Examination of Memory and Monument within Italian Immigrant Experience in Carlton’. She analyses the architecture of Malbourne’s Carlton area, using Jo-Anne Duggan’s writings to explore the ways in which Italian-Australians developed a distinctive architectural style in their house facades and renovations to convey their enduring links to the country they had left.
The programme for the ACIS 9th Biennial Conference, Scontri e incontri: The dynamics of Italian transcultural exchanges, to be held at the Monash Centre in Prato, 4-7 July 2017, is now available here and via our Conferences menu. Further details – location, keynote speakers, accommodation in Prato – are available via the Conference home page on the Monash University site.