Category Archives: Culture and Society

New research on Italian L2 learning

Marinella Caruso   University of Western Australia

What is one of the most challenging and neglected aspects of second language pedagogy and at the same time a key component of acquisition? Despite Krashen’s (1981) early discoveries that comprehension is at the centre of the language acquisition process, listening continues to be treated as the ‘Cinderella of the four macro-skills’ (Flowerdew and Miller 2005, p. xi). Recently a group from the University of Western Australia published its research into ways of using technology for the development and assessment of listening skills in Italian L2 in the Journal of University Teaching and Learning Practice (2017,14,1), available here. Having conceptualised listening as a process rather than a product, they designed a set of online quizzes to teach ab initio students how to listen.    Continue reading

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Il gattopardo will turn 60

 

As part of a week of events marking the 60th anniversary of the publication of Giuseppe Tomasi di Lampedusa’s Il gattopardo (1958, The Leopard 1960) a symposium, Sicily, Italy and the Supranational Cultural Imaginary, convened by Mark Nicholls, Gregoria Manzin and Annamaria Pagliaro, will be taking place at the University of Melbourne on November 12-14, 2018. The convenors are therefore calling for papers on any aspect of the novel, Luchino Visconti’s 1963 film or interdisciplinary discussion of the political, social and cultural contexts related to them. Particularly welcome are also papers that consider what Il gattopardo and the discourse surrounding it has to say about trans-historical issues of political and social unity and cohesion in the face of contemporary cultures of ideological fragmentation, digital age tribalism, devolution and identity politics. Possible topics include ….. Continue reading

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ACIS – Save Venice Fellowships for 2018

Further information on the Fellowships and how to apply for them can be found here.

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Dal guntiino al jilbab: come spiegare un cambio d’abito?

Kaha Mohamed Aden    ACIS

Dopo gli anni Novanta del secolo scorso il guntiino, il vestito molto colorito delle donne somale che lasciava il collo e le spalle scoperte, è scomparso, rimpiazzato dal jilbab (nome non somalo), il vestito solitamente scuro che copre intero il corpo dalla testa ai piedi. Questa rottura con una tradizione secolare del vestirsi ha caratterizzato non solo la Somalia ma anche le comunità somale in Italia e altrove.  Perché? In ‘Cambio d’abito‘, un breve saggio uscito recentemente sulla rivista Africa e Mediterraneo (2017) n.86 e disponibile qui, si cerca di dare una risposta, elencando i principali fattori politici, religiosi e sociali che insieme hanno portato a questo cambiamento drammatico nel vestirsi delle donne somale.   Continue reading

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Blade Runner 2049 meets Il Cortegiano

The improbable encounter between Blade Runner 2049 and Baldassarre Castiglione’s Il Cortegiano (Book 3) is the topic of Jill Burke’s latest entry in her blog. It’s Joi, the holographic super-girl who Agent K keeps in a device in his pocket, not K or any of the replicants in BR 2049, who is the focus – she can be compared to the perfect court lady imagined in the discussions among Castiglione’s courtiers. Burke connects their creation of an imaginary ideal woman with developments in the Renaissance painting of female nudes, setting real-life faces on classically beautiful bodies.

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Interregional encounters in Italy

Agnese Bresin   University of Melbourne

One of the many intriguing aspects of Italy is the diversity that characterises its regions: traditions, cuisines, political histories, economic dynamism and more. This variety includes language of course, not only the presence of Italian dialects – sister languages that developed parallel to Italian from Latin and often mutually unintelligible – but also the way Italian is spoken in different regions with the distinctive vocabularies, pronunciations and sentence structures that make up what linguists (e.g. D’Achille, 2002) call italiani regionali. So what happens when speakers move across regions, interacting with colleagues and customers who, for example, use different forms to express the same meanings or the same forms to express different meanings? How do personal experience, common knowledge and stereotypes help communication in those interregional encounters?      Continue reading

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Silvio Berlusconi 2017

Emma Barron    ACIS

In Italy political careers have a way of enduring well into old age. When politicians of other countries are collecting their pensions and writing their memoirs, many Italian politicians still serve into their 80s, or, as in the case of the previous President of Italy, Giorgio Napolitano, even their 90s. Silvio Berlusconi recently turned 81 and despite being expelled from the Senate for a tax fraud conviction he remains the leader of his party Forza Italia. He is likely to play a key role in Italy’s 2018 elections. Berlusconi’s political career has survived scandal and court cases: indeed his capacity for coalition building enabled him to become one of the longest-serving Prime Ministers of Italy. Here is a portrait with reflections.

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Massacre? What Massacre? Anglo-American Responses to Monte Sole, Sept 29 – Oct 5 1944

Kevin Foster   Monash University

September 29 2017 marks the seventy-third anniversary of the largest single massacre of civilians on the Second World War’s western front. Over the long wet weekend from Friday 29 September 1944 until early the following week soldiers from Sturmbahnführer Walter Reder’s 16th Waffen-SS Reconnaissance Battalion, supported by other German troops, were given the task of clearing the partisans from the whole of the Monte Sole massif, the hills sandwiched between the Reno and Setta rivers, where the Gothic Line ran through the mountains south of Bologna. Fascist spies had confirmed that the partisan group, the Stella Rossa, which had been fighting a running battle with the Germans for weeks, was concentrated on the slopes around Monte Sole. The German commander, Kesselring, claimed that between 21 July and 25 September 1944, 624 Germans had been killed, 993 wounded and 872 missing in partisan operations.[1] Accordingly, at dawn on the 29th, the Germans began a wide encirclement, cutting off any means of escape. From the German perspective this particular rastrellamento was necessitated by the allies’ arrival at the Gothic Line. By 21 September US and South African troops were on the flanks of Monte Sole. Kesselring recognised the danger his troops faced. With the allies staring them in their faces they could not afford to have partisans nipping at their backs. Something had to be done.

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Nella nebbia di Milano: uno studio ciclo-etnografico – Note del 19/09/2017.

Edda Orlandi   Università degli Studi di Milano

Dopo i lunghi anni passati nella mia spietatamente, tediosamente e perennemente assolata patria a insegnare le noiose lezioni propedeutiche di “Antropologia milanesiana” agli studenti del corso di laurea in “Culture delle società brumose” sono finalmente riuscita a vincere un grant per IMG_20170919_151726continuare le mie ricerche. Sto partendo per la dolcemente nebbiosa Milanesia, mia mai dimenticata terra d’elezione e culla della mia tesi di dottorato “Malmostosità e festosità tra i nativi milanesiani: uno studio etnografico”. Ancora non mi capacito di come il comitato si sia finalmente deciso ad allentare i cordoni della borsa e concedermi un finanziamento per intraprendere questa nuova esplorazione della cultura milanesiana! Finanziamento ancora più sorprendente se considero che nel comitato siedono tre importanti capi tribù i cui figli e nipoti sono tra i numerosi studenti che non sono ancora riusciti a superare, dopo una dozzina di tentativi, l’esame del mio corso propedeutico… Bontà loro. Continue reading

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Religion, translation, Orientalists, purity and danger: ACIS in Prato

The keynote speakers at the ACIS Prato conference in July have very generously allowed us access to the videos of their presentations. Maurizio Isabella (QMUL), In the name of God: religion, popular mobilization and the culture wars of Italy and the Mediterranean, 1790-1860 ca, viewable here, underlines the essential role played by religion in both revolutionary and counter-revolutionary communities of mobilisation. Pierangela Diadori (Università per Stranieri di Siena), Multiculturality and inclusion through plurilingual public signs in contemporary Italy, linked here, offers a guide to the ways in which translation issues surface in public signs in multicultural Italy. Barbara Spackman (UC Berkeley) tracks the careers of two rackety but enterprising Italians, in Egypt by desertion or misadventure, in her Accidental Orientalists: Nineteenth-Century Italian Travelers in Egypt (here). And Nicholas Terpstra (University of Toronto) describes the forms of discipline and exclusion developed to ward off the dangers of impurity in Religious Refugees in the Early Modern Period:  Faith, Identity, and Purification in the Italian Context (here).  The abstracts for their talks can be found by reading on … Continue reading

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