Welcome to ACIS, the Australasian Centre for Italian Studies – a connection-point for the communities of Italianist scholars in Australasia and beyond.
ACIS and the University of Melbourne have established a two-year Postdoctoral Fellowship in Italian Studies, located in the School of Languages and Linguistics at the University of Melbourne, with a starting date of 1 February 2019. The Fellow will have the opportunity to build a research profile through the development of an original research project in any area of Italian Studies broadly defined, including, but not limited to, literature, linguistics, history, political studies, anthropology, and art history. The Fellow is also expected to have a teaching workload of up to 25% in Italian Studies, European Studies or Italian language and culture at an undergraduate and/or Honours level.
To apply, candidates must have been awarded a PhD from an Australian or New Zealand university after 1 January 2012 in any area of Italian Studies and be either citizens or permanent residents of Australia or New Zealand. Graduates who satisfy the PhD requirements and currently live in Australia under the Temporary Graduate Visa (485) expiring after the end of 2020 will also be considered. Full details of the position and the application process can be found here.
The closing date for applications is 28 November 2018.
The estate of the artist Katthy Cavaliere (1972-2012) has announced that it will join the Australian Centre for Contemporary Art (ACCA), Sydney’s Carriageworks, and the Museum of Old and New Art (MONA) to establish a fellowship, Suspended Moment: The Katthy Cavaliere Fellowship, in support of women artists. Next year three $100,000 grants will be awarded to female-identifying Australian artists working in performance and installation; together they will realize a project to be exhibited at the three institutions in 2020. Cavaliere was born in Sarteano, Italy, in 1972, moving to Australia with her family in 1976. She attended the University NSW School of Art and Design in Sydney and studied under Marina Abramović at the Accademia di Belle Arti at Brera in Milan. She was best known for creating art informed by her migrant experience and sense of displacement as a child, as well as by her grief for her mother who died of ovarian cancer in 2008. One such work, nest, 2010, shows Cavaliere sitting on top of a pile of her mother’s clothes at Clovelly Beach in Sydney, gazing out at the horizon. Katthy Cavaliere herself died of ovarian cancer in 2012.
Emma Barron’s just-published Popular High Culture in Italian Media, 1950-1970 (Palgrave, 2018) is an essential and engaging contribution to the study of Italian mass culture. The book’s subtitle, ‘Mona Lisa Covergirl’, points to the originality of its theme: how Italian high culture was deployed to create a distinctive form of mass culture in the post-1945 expansion of television and popular magazines. Pasolini and Quasimodo providing advice to readers of Tempo (Pasolini: ‘The letters are enjoyable: some of them even give me a profound joy, even if as brief as a flash’), Mike Bongiorno promoting knowledge of the classics through Lascia o raddoppia? (15 million viewers weekly), Il barbiere di Siviglia as the first opera to be transmitted on Italian tv (1954, conducted by Carlo Maria Giulini), Giacomo Puccini endorsing Odol mouthwash (‘Lodo l’ODOL, LO DOLce licor che LO DOLore del dente scaccia di sovente’), Shakespeare’s lines used to sell pasta (Barilla), liquor (Amaretto di Saronno) and chocolates (Baci Perugina), I promessi sposi drawing mass tv audiences (19 million) and readerships (magazines, fotoromanzi, comics) – this study of the intertwining of the classic and the contemporary provides a fresh and productive account of the development of Italian mass culture.
The 60th anniversary of the publication of Giuseppe Tomasi di Lampedusa’s The Leopard will be celebrated at the University of Melbourne on 12-14 November 2018. On 12 November the writer Simonetta Agnello-Hornby will give an open public lecture, The North and South in 20th Century Italy and the Effect of ‘The Leopard’ in Sicily and in Europe, examining the impact of di Lampedusa’s major work, in book and film (Visconti, 1963) form, in Sicily itself and on European views of Sicilians. The lecture, 5.30-6.30pm in the Forum Theatre (North Wing), Arts West Building (153), at the University of Melbourne, is the prelude to a 2-day symposium, Sicily, Italy and the Supranational Cultural Imaginary, convened by Mark Nicholls (Melbourne), Gregoria Manzin (La Trobe), Annamaria Pagliaro (Monash) and Agnese Bresin (Melbourne and La Trobe) on 13-14 November, 10.00am-5.00pm at the Interactive Cinema, Arts West 353, at the University of Melbourne. The symposium, open to all, will cover many aspects of di Lampedusa’s work, along with analyses of Visconti’s film and a variety of Sicilian texts, art works and historical events. Registration for the lecture is here. For further information on the lecture and the symposium, contact Mark Nicholls. Continue reading
In 1751 Pietro Longhi painted this portrait of the rhinoceros, Clara, brought to the Venice Carneval that year. He depicted the animal eating quietly, indifferent to its owner (carrying the horn which had rubbed off) and to the masked and other spectators in the casotto behind it. Nearly three centuries later the rhinoceros returns to Venice in the form of a symposium, Beauty and the Beast: Venice and the Rhino, on 24 November and an accompanying exhibition, Rhinoceros: Luxury’s Fragile Frontier, 24 November – 21 December, both at the Palazzo Contarini Polignac. The exhibition title reveals the central theme. Both Venice and the rhinoceros are now luxury objects and both are threatened by the desire they evoke. The symposium brings together artists, conservationists, poets, writers, and historians to explore the unexpected intersections between these two endangered objects of luxury consumption. The exhibition presents the works of two artists concerned about issues of fragility and identity in relation to their personal and wider worlds and that of the rhinoceros. Their sculptural creations will be framed against the background of a ‘demand reduction’ marketing campaign which targets the consumption of rhino horn.
Laura Mecca racconta qui la vita di Maria (poi Marie) Bentivoglio. Italiana, nata a Torino nel 1898, emigrata in Australia ancora in fasce, Maria si laureò a Sydney in chimica e geologia e nel 1921 fu la prima donna australiana a ricevere una borsa di studio all’Università di Oxford dove ottenne un DPhil. Dopo, la sua vita fu dedicata allo studio, all’insegnamento (universitario ma anche corsi di inglese per gli immigrati italiani in New South Wales) e alla ricerca. Teneva corsi di lezioni all’Università di Sydney e in diverse università statunitensi. Nel 1936 si stabilì a New York con il marito appena sposato (di origini nobili da San Remo) dove rimase, lavorando nell’industria chimica, per vent’anni. Tornò prima in Italia e poi, dopo la morte del marito nel 1961, in Australia. Nel 1994, a novantasei anni, in riconoscimento dell’importanza delle sue ricerche le fu conferito un dottorato onorario di ricerca dall’Università di Sydney. Un suo ritratto, opera di Antonio Dattilo-Rubbo, è esposto alla Manly Art Gallery.
Photos move us. They enable us to travel virtually to wherever the scene is captured. They also move us by provoking emotions unleashed by the picture. Travel photography illustrates this double power especially clearly as Giorgia Alù argues in her just-published Journeys Exposed: Women’s Writing, Photography and Mobility (Routledge, 2018). The writers and photographers analysed (Melania Mazzucco, Ornela Vorpsi, Monika Bulaj, Carla Cerati, Elena Gianini Belotti and Anna Maria Riccardi) are variously related to Italy: Italians, Italophones, migrants or expatriates to Italy, or through hyphenated adjectives of nationality, as Italian-American or Italian-Australian. The book begins with an anecdote recounted by Karen Blixen. During a stormy night a man has to go out to fix a leakage in his pond’s dam. He stumbles around, falls over, and takes wrong paths but next morning he sees that the tracks his boots have left in the mud trace the outline of a stork. The stork provides an unsuspected unity for his apparently random movements but one which only becomes visible a posteriori and from a distance. Such traces expose the form of movements, underlying or unintended, in lives, texts and photographs but, like photographs, the form requires the technical processes of exposure to be seen.
The latest volume of The Italianist ( 2018, vol.38, no.2) is devoted to film. The first part opens with discussions of the relations – real, imagined, intended, inadvertent – between films and their audiences: the Fascist promotion of Italian fiction films in the US in the 1930s, and the creation of the once much-scorned but now revalued ‘casalinga di Voghera‘. A series of diverse analyses follows: the impact of the planned, begun but never completed films on the anni di piombo on the difficulties of representing 1970s Italy; the Dantean resonances in Pasolini’s Salò; Sorrentino’s aesthetic strategy in portraying Giulio Andreotti in Il Divo; and the interplay of aesthetics and politics in authorial interventions in recent documentaries. The second part is a celebration in many voices of the lives and works of Peter Bondanella and Chris Wagstaff, two leading scholars who have left large and enduring contributions to the analysis of Italian cinema.
Le presentazioni speciali del 2018 Lavazza Italian Film Festival in Australia saranno: Lazzaro Felice di Alice Rohrwacher; Dogman di Matteo Garrone; Euforia dell’attrice e regista Valeria Golino; e le commedie come Ammore e Malavita dei Manetti Bros. Quest’anno il Festival celebra inoltre l’opera del regista e sceneggiatore Ferzan Özpetek con una retrospettiva che includerà alcuni dei suoi capolavori tra cui Le Fate Ignoranti e Mine vaganti. Il programma completo verrà annunciato in agosto. Continue reading
The International Pragmatics Asssociation conference, Hong Kong Polytechnic University, 9-14 June 2019, will include a panel on Address practices in Italian, convened by Agnese Bresin (University of Melbourne), now calling for paper proposals by 1 October 2018. Addressing each other is a complex operation, in which speakers position themselves and their interlocutors in some form of relationship. With their strong link to situational and cultural contexts and to basic demographic features of the interlocutors, address practices reveal perceived identities and human relations as well as wider social changes. The under-explored Italian case is of particular interest in this field of study for a number of reasons: the status and geographical distribution of “voi” in relation to “tu” and “lei”, the significant diatopic variation expected, and the complex relationship between regional varieties of Italian and the so-called ‘Italian dialects’.