Welcome to ACIS, the Australasian Centre for Italian Studies – a connection-point for the communities of Italianist scholars in Australasia and beyond.
Few recent historians or social scientists have written extended studies of Italians in Australia. Several collections – different authors analysing particular aspects of Italian lifeworlds – have appeared but Gianfranco Cresciani’s The Italians in Australia (CUP, 2003, updating his 1985 original) is the only example of an overall treatment. Now Francesco Ricatti’s Italians in Australia. History, Memory, Identity (Palgrave, 2018) aims to incorporate the demographic, social and cultural evidence gathered over the past twenty years (notably Loretta Baldassar on international caring, Antonia Rubino on language use, Catherine Dewhirst on the press, Simone Battiston and Bruno Mascitelli on politics) and integrate it into an overall portrayal of the Italian communities past and present. Work, family, language, religion, and politics are the organising topics, treated to emphasize – unlike many of the older discussions of such communities – the ways in which immigrants actively shape their own lives within well-known institutional, social and cultural constraints. The outcome is valuable on two levels: as an introduction to the current literature for students and as a survey of issues for future scholarly research.
Gino Moliterno ANU
Son of veteran director, Steno (Stefano Vanzina) and younger brother of Enrico, who produced and regularly co-wrote most of his more than 60 films, Carlo Vanzina (1951-2018) could probably, more than any other Italian director, lay claim to have lived his whole life in films. At the age of only one he had appeared in a cameo as the cute infant in Totò e le donne, one of the many films that Steno had directed for that inimitable “prince of comedy”, Antonio de Curtis. After graduating from the Lycée Chateaubriand in Rome, the young Carlo nurtured hopes of becoming a film critic but was inevitably drawn into a more active role in the cinema, first as an assistant on a handful of his father’s films and then serving a more challenging apprenticeship as assistant director to that other great practitioner of the commedia all’italiana, Mario Monicelli. In a recent interview Vanzina had remembered how Monicelli regularly gave him a hard time on the set, a practice that he had at first resented but had later understood to be the older director’s way of better teaching him all the finer points of the craft of filmmaking. Continue reading
The programme and abstracts for the research workshop Exploring and Translating Stratified Multilingual Landscapes to be held at the La Trobe University City Campus, 360 Collins Street, Melbourne, on 10-11 August 2018 can be found here. The keynote address, Bilingual Subtitling Experiments: Screening Roma, città aperta in Ireland, 1947-1950, will be be given by Carol O’Sullivan (University of Bristol). There will also be a panel of expert editors who will offer Tips on Getting Published (from People who Get People Published).
A selection of papers from a conference in Adelaide in late 2016, An Eye on Italy: Continuities and transformations in Italian visual culture, has just been published in the online journal FULGOR (vol.5, no.3, June 2018). As the editors (Luciana d’Arcangeli, Sally Hill and Claire Kennedy) note, the theme of violence recurs in most of the papers: Claudia Bernardi’s analysis of Fernando Di Leo’s adaptation of Scerbanenco’s I ragazzi del massacro (1968); Luciana d’Arcangeli’s examination of the place of women in Matteo Garrone’s noir films; Brigid Maher’s exploration of the representation in the film and comic-book versions of Massimo Carlotto’s Arrivederci amore, ciao; and Barbara Pezzotti’s comparison of the film and tv versions of Giancarlo De Cataldo’s Romanzo criminale (2002), focusing on the representation of the Bologna station massacre of 1980. The issue, all of which is directly accessible, is completed by Sally Hill’s consideration of the relation between maternity and disability in recent Italian films and by a short interview with De Cataldo.
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. Confirmed keynote speakers with the titles of their papers are as follows:
Adalgisa Giorgio (University of Bath), ‘Antipodean navigations. Transitions and transformations among the Italian community in Wellington’.
Elizabeth Horodowich (New Mexico State University), ‘Amerasia: Marco Polo and Italian Consciousness in the First Global Age’
Mark Seymour (University of Otago), ‘Navigating Emotions from Modern Australasia to 19th-Century Italy’
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