Author Archives: patriziasambuco

RISM seminar (19 March): Alessandro Carrieri on Jewish musicians in Fascist Italy

la difesa della razzaAs the first contribution to the RISM/Italian Studies in the Community seminars for 2015 Alessandro Carrieri will talk on Memory and resistance of Jewish musicians in Fascist Italy on March 19 at 5.30 pm at Monash Caulfield Campus, Building H, Room HB36.

There are voices of resistance that are little heard but will remain alive forever. This is the case of Italian Jewish musicians and composers in Fascist Italy. The announcement of racial (racist) laws by Benito Mussolini in Trieste on 18 September 1938 covered Jewish composers, notably Mario Castelnuovo-Tedesco, Renzo Massarani, Vittorio Rieti, Aldo Finzi and Leone Sinigaglia. Their situation gradually worsened, they were excluded by theatres, orchestras and music conservatories, and their works were banned as examples of ‘degenerate music’.

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Prof Zyg Baranski (Notre Dame University, US and Cambridge University, UK) is Visiting Scholar at the Italian Studies program at Monash University


zyg_baranski_for_web-5Prof Zyg Baranski (Professor of Dante and Italian Studies Notre Dame University, US, and Emeritus Serena Professor of Italian, University of Cambridge, UK), a world’s leading expert on Dante, medieval literature and poetics, and expert on modern literature and film, is Visiting Scholar at the Monash Italian Studies program. During his visit he will give three lectures. Everybody invited!

“Transforming Propaganda: Roberto Rossellini’s Un pilota ritorna“, Thursday October 9, 6.30pm, Italian Institute of Culture (233 Domain Rd, South Yarra). This public lecture is part of the RISM seminar series organized by Monash Italian Studies in collaboration with the Italian Institute of Culture.

This seminar examines the ways in which Rossellini’s 1942 film undercuts its apparent propagandist aims by drawing on a wide range of cinematic genres and by introducing marked shifts and contrasts in its structure. Indeed, rather than serve fascist war aims, Un pilota ritorna calls into question various aspects of fascist policy, granting primacy to ethics over politics, and recognizing the importance of pluralism.

“Language as sin and salvation in Dante: Inferno XVIII”, Friday October 10, 11am, Clayton Campus room E561, in collaboration with the Monash Med-Renaissance Seminar Series.

On account of its sexual overtones and scatological references, Inferno XVIII has caused considerable embarrassment to Dante scholars, who have tended to offer partial and reductive readings of the canto. The present lecture aims to establish Inferno XVIII’s key role in the structure of the Commedia, not only as regards its function as ‘prologue’ to one of the most original sections of Dante’s afterlife, the richly stratified circle of fraud Malebolge, but also as the canto in which the poet addresses two of the major controversial questions relating to the form of his great poem, namely, its status as ‘comedy’ and its linguistic eclecticism.

“La formazione intellettuale di Dante”, Thursday October 16, 6.30pm, Italian Institute of Culture (233 Domain Rd, South Yarra). This seminar is conducted in Italian and open to students and academics of all the universities of Melbourne and to the general public.

Dante, dove ha imparato e letto le cose che sapeva? A prima vista la domanda può sembrare banale, persino ‘inutile’. Eppure, è la domanda che, negli ultimi anni, i dantisti si sono posti con sempre maggior insistenza. La lezione prende in considerazione questioni come l’educazione di Dante, la situazione culturale di Firenze alla fine del Duecento, i rapporti di Dante con Bologna, gli effetti dell’esilio e le simpatie ideologiche del poeta.

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RISM seminar 2 April 6.30 pm: Mirna Cicioni on Primo Levi

JE_PrimoLevi2-853x1024Research in Italian Studies in Melbourne (RISM) is hosting a talk by Dr Mirna Cicioni, entitled ‘Dirty Secrets? Primo Levi and the Resistance‘, at the Italian Institute of Culture (233, Domain Rd, South Yarra) on 2 April at 6.30pm.

‘It is well known that Primo Levi was deported to Auschwitz as a Jew, but was arrested (on 9 December 1943) as a member of one of the first Resistance units in the Val d’Aosta. I look at some debates which took place in Italy in early 2013, after the publication of two books whose main focus is a ‘dirty secret’ of Levi’s partisan unit: the trial and execution of two young members. My discussion is mainly in the context of Levi’s work, but it also touches on other literary accounts of “partisan summary justice” and on what the British historian John Foot calls Italy’s “divided memory”, namely the tendency for conflicting narratives (personal, public, cultural) to emerge from crucial moments of Italian history.’ Continue reading

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Prof Martin McLaughlin at Monash University: three key events in September and October


Italian Studies and RISM at Monash University are pleased to announce the visit of Prof Martin McLaughlin (University of Oxford) who will join us for two weeks at the end of September as Distinguished Visiting Scholar. During his visit Prof McLaughlin will give the following public lecture to which everyone is warmly invited and which will take place at the Monash Caulfield Campus, room S/S230 on TUESDAY OCTOBER 1, at 5.30pm.

Calvino, Eco and the transforming power of world literature

Italo Calvino and Umberto Eco wrote many essays on world literature, so much so that they would both have been major literary critics even if they had not written any novels.

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RISM: Peter Howard (September 2)


and the Italian Cultural Institute  in Melbourne

have great pleasure in inviting you to a talk on

Charting Cultural Transformation through Renaissance Preaching


A/Prof Peter Howard (Monash University)

Monday 2 September at 6pm

Italian Cultural Institute,  233 Domain Road, South Yarra

How did the artists of the Sistine Chapel wall frescoes develop and execute a complex programme in an amazingly short period of time? How do we explain the configuration of public space in early Renaissance Italy? Who authorized the magnificent display that characterizes Renaissance Florence? These are just some of the questions on which light is shed if an expansive role is assigned to preaching in late medieval and early renaissance Italy. This argument is a reversal of the image of the mendicant “penitential preachers” that Burckhardt constructed a century and a half ago but that still prevails, even among some scholars. Most commonly, the historiography identifies the humanists as the innovators of the day and as the disseminators of a renewed classical culture. This can be overemphasized. I argue that evidence suggests that a traditional medium such as the sermon was just as, if not more, responsible for a new historical and social vocabulary which equipped Florentines in particular to meet the demands of a rapidly changing society.

For catering purposes please book at Tel. 03 – 9866 5931

For more information on RISM please contact Dr Patrizia Sambuco (Monash University).

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RISM: Sciascia and Robb – June 17


RISM and the Italian Cultural Institute invite you to a talk by Sabina Sestigiani:

 ‘Leonardo Sciascia and Peter Robb: a discordant view on the anti-mafia pool in Palermo in the 1980s

Date and time: Monday 17 June at 5.30 p.m.

Venue: Italian Cultural Institute, 233 Domain Rd, South Yarra, Melbourne

Entry free

In this seminar, in English, Sabina Sestigiani (Swinburne University) will analyse Leonardo Sciascia’s sceptical opinions in regard to the anti-mafia pool in Palermo in the 1980s and Peter Robb’s portrayal of the mafia and anti-mafia phenomenon in his book Midnight in Sicily. She will also discuss the sensation caused in Italy by  Sciascia’s famous article “I professionisti dell’antimafia“, published in the Italian daily Il Corriere della Sera in 1987.

For catering purposes book at:  Tel. 03 – 9866 5931

Please note: Cinema passes for the next Lavazza Italian Film Festival will be drawn for ICI Members who attend this event.

For more information on RISM contact Dr Patrizia Sambuco (Monash University)

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RISM: Seminar by Brigid Maher on 30 April

RISM (Research in Italian Studies in Melbourne) portando-tutto-a-casa11organized by Italian Studies at Monash University and the Italian Culture Institute invites everyone interested in things Italian to the seminar:

“From one moment to the next we are no longer ourselves”: The 1980s as a decade of transformation in Nicola Lagioia’s Riportando tutto a casa


Brigid Maher (La Trobe University)

30 April at 5.30 pm

Italian Institute of Culture
233 Domain Rd, South Yarra

The 1980s brought considerable change to Italy: greater affluence in some sectors of society, the advent of commercial television, increased globalization and Americanization, and some significant technological developments. In this talk I will explore how these different kinds of transformation are portrayed and critiqued in Nicola Lagioia’s 2011 novel Riportando tutto a casa. Starting out with the arrival in Italian homes of the television comedy show Drive In (“the laughter that was to bury us all”), the novel depicts the period as one of both personal transformation – these are the narrator’s formative years – and societal transformation, as new sources of wealth and status coalesce with historically rooted phenomena such as a culture of favours and the problem of organized crime. I will also touch upon some of the challenges that come up in translating this cultural and historical milieu into English.

Everyone welcome!

For information about RISM please contact Dr Patrizia Sambuco.
Booking for catering purposes, email:

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