Welcome to ACIS, the Australasian Centre for Italian Studies – a connection-point for the communities of Italianist scholars in Australasia and beyond.
Was Italy the desired destination in the minds of migrants and asylum seekers who are now settled there? What image, if any, of Europe did they have before they arrived? What picture do migrants from many different places have of the smugglers who help them move? Are Facebook and social media important channels of communication and decision-making for migrants? How should the false and incomplete information which migrants rely on be corrected? These and other issues are the topic of a recent report, based on interviews and fieldwork, prepared for the European Commission by Gabriella Sanchez and her co-authors, A study of the communication channels used by migrants and asylum seekers in Italy, with a particular focus on online and social media (2018).
I suoi romanzi in breve tempo hanno portato Donatella Di Pietrantonio al centro del panorama letterario italiano. Il primo, Mia madre è un fiume (2011), ha ricevuto diversi premi; il secondo, Bella mia, candidato al Premio Strega, ottiene il Premio Brancati 2014; e nel 2017 L’Arminuta ha vinto il Premio Campiello. Nonostante questa progressiva visibilità e l’evidente successo di pubblico, Di Pietrantonio ha spesso affermato di fare fatica a considerarsi una scrittrice. La sua abitudine alla scrittura si è sempre svolta parallelamente alla sua professione di dentista; infatti la scrittura è stata per lei un hobby coltivato sin da bambina piuttosto che l’attuazione di una professione ricercata. Nella primavera 2018 ho parlato con lei dei suoi tre romanzi e della sua scrittura….. Continue reading
The first 3-year plan for the ACIS History and Social Sciences Research Group is available here. As its title, Trade, Textiles and Meaning in Italy: 1400-2018, suggests, the focus is on the nature and consequences of the high-end textile trade in Italy from the Renaissance onwards. The project begins with a specific object – the portrait of Isabella D’Este (1474-1539) by Titian – and explores the production and meaning of all the items of clothing, seen and not seen, that Isabella is wearing. The exploration is conducted in tandem with the IDEA (Isabella D’Este Archive) website, in relation where possible to the references to clothing and textiles in Isabella’s correspondence. The second part of the project examines similar themes in the contemporary world of ‘Made in Italy’, where many major producers using that descriptor are not Italian. Information on the activities and people involved in the project can be found in the plan and from the Research Group’s convenor, Catherine Kovesi.
The conference pages for the ACIS 10th Biennial Conference at Victoria University of Wellington, NZ, 7-10 February 2019 are available here. They provide details for submission of the paper proposals, registration and accommodation in Wellington. The deadline for submission of paper and panel proposals has been extended until 30 July 2018. Anyone with an urgent query is very welcome to contact Sally Hill or Claudia Bernardi from the organising committee via the Conference email.
Gino Moliterno ANU
Less than three weeks after the death of Vittorio Taviani the Italian cinema has lost another of its great veteran filmmakers – Ermanno Olmi who died on May 7. With a strong attachment to his peasant origins and his rural Catholic background, both of which were amply reflected in his major works, for the last 60 years Olmi had come to occupy a unique position within mainstream Italian cinema through a series of films that were remarkable for their honesty and authenticity and for their profound commitment to validating the ordinary lives and daily experiences of common people. Continue reading
Although not specifically concerned with Italian, a recent article in the Journal of Perspectives in Applied Academic Practice (2018, 6, 1, 19-27), ‘Managing Expectations: A Case Study of Sessional Staff in Languages and Cultures Education in Australian Universities‘ by Josh Brown and Federica Verdina, provides valuable insights into the largely unresearched work patterns and culture of casual/sessional staff. The survey they conducted across language departments indicates that although most staff appear to be satisfied with the work itself, the further issues in short-term contracts – academic recognition, opportunities to engage in course innovation, possibilities for promotion – are largely ignored by universities despite the high academic qualifications and intellectual commitment of most sessionals.
ACIS is very pleased to announce that Dr Angelo Lo Conte has been awarded the inaugural ACIS – Save Venice Fellowship. He will spend 3 months in Venice in the second half of 2018 to work at the Biblioteca Marciana, the Fondazione Giorgio Cini and the Galleria dell’Accademia on the extensive literature about, and drawings of, three artists originally from Bologna: the brothers Camillo (b.1564), Carlo Antonio (b.1571) and Giulio Cesare (b.1574) Procaccini. Both the stylistic and commercial aspects of the family bottega established in Milan in the late 1580s played a significant role, artistic and practical, in the transition from Mannerism to the Baroque. The project will define and illustrate the ways in which the Procaccini were the most important family of painters working in northern Italy in the first part of the 17th century.
Gino Moliterno ANU
Sadly, the front ranks of the veteran Italian film directors continue to diminish. Only two years after the disappearance of Ettore Scola, 88 year-old Vittorio Taviani has also folded up his director’s chair and passed on. For six decades, always and indissolubly joined at the artistic hip with his slightly younger brother, Paolo, Vittorio had formed the vital half of a prolific filmmaking duo who produced some of the most memorable films of the Italian postwar cinema. By their own account – and they have always spoken with a single voice – the Taviani brothers first discovered their passion for filmmaking as teenagers, skipping school one day and chancing to catch a screening of Roberto Rossellini’s Paisà. Sons of a vehemently anti-fascist lawyer who had also taken up arms as a partisan, the boys had had direct experience of the recent war and now were struck by the power of film to represent reality. As they left the cinema they resolved that they would be filmmakers. Continue reading
A dark chapter in Australia’s wartime history has often been minimised or overlooked in mainstream accounts. Hidden Lives: War, Internment and Australia’s Italians (2018), edited by Mia Spizzica, contains scholarly essays and testimonials which offer new insights into the experiences of Italian Australians during World War 2. It is the first such compilation by authors from northern, central, and southern Italian provinces and from five Australian States. Although each story is unique, the authors share language, history, values and a profound sense of Italianness, as well as a connection to their Australian selves. These essays and narratives consider the often-unintended negative consequences of war and show our commonalities through personal struggles and a fundamental human resilience.