Category Archives: Fashion and Design

A Racist Brooch? The Venetian origins of a royal jewel

Catherine Kovesi   University of Melbourne

In reportage of Christmas lunch at Buckingham Palace and the arrival of Meghan Markle and her fiancé Prince Harry, worldwide news focused on the item of jewellery worn by Princess Michael of Kent. Immediately branded as a ‘racist’ piece of jewellery in so-called ‘blackamoor’ style, many of these reports were also at pains to emphasise Princess Michael’s father’s association with the SS and to portray this fashion statement as a blatant affront to Harry’s choice of bride, a woman of part African-American heritage. Princess Michael hastily apologized for wearing the piece and said she would not wear it again. But this explosion of journalistic outrage obscures a much more interesting story  ……     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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CfP: An Eye on Italy: Continuities and transformations in Italian visual culture, 24-25 Nov 2016

Italian conference banner_v2Flinders University, Griffith University, Victoria University of Wellington and the Australasian Centre for Italian Studies are holding an international conference, An Eye on Italy: Continuities and transformations in Italian visual culture, on 24-25 November 2016 at Flinders in the City, 182 Victoria Square, Adelaide, South Australia. The conference will explore recent developments in Italian visual culture with the aim of bringing together expertise in the areas of photography, the fine arts, film and media studies, fashion and design in order to encourage novel exchanges and collaborations. Among the keynote speakers will be Giancarlo De Cataldo. We welcome papers from a variety of disciplinary, interdisciplinary and comparative perspectives, including the teaching of visual arts and the use of visual cultural products in teaching Italian language and culture. Abstracts, following the format below, should reach the organisers, Luciana d’Arcangeli (Flinders), Claire Kennedy (Griffith) and Sally Hill (VUW) by 30 May 2016 (extended from 15 May).

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‘La moda è una cosa seria’ (Gianna Manzini, 1935)

rmis_a_973151_f0001_ocAnd who could doubt it, especially after reading the latest issue of the Journal of Modern Italian Studies (2015, vol.20, no.1) devoted to ‘Italian Fashion: Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow’? Fashion brings together Futurism and Fascism, designers and industrial magnates, the Renaissance and La Rinascente, craft skills and Chinese creativity. These encounters, some on display in magazines such as Lei (1933-1938), are described in engaging detail by the contributors. [Should you need a unisex suggestion for a stylish patriotic outfit to wear during the festivities, check the picture here and settle for that black velvet jacket topped by a hat with a feather]. Selected articles from this issue are currently available for free access online.

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Establishment of Essay Prize in Memory of Jo-Anne Duggan

impossible-gaze-1.jpgACIS has established a biennial Essay Prize in memory of Jo-Anne Duggan (1962-2011), a very talented photo-media artist and scholar whose engagement in original ways with Italian culture and history won great admiration in a professional life cut cruelly short. Her work, viewable at The Colour Factory and illustrated by the backdrop to our website, shows remarkable breadth, dealing in particular with Italian Renaissance material culture seen through what she called her ‘postcolonial eye’. The Prize, to be awarded for the first time in 2015, is worth $1000 for the best essay and $250 each for up to two runners-up. It is open to early career researchers, postgraduates and undergraduates from Australia and New Zealand and will be awarded for essays or creative work on a topic which draws on Jo-Anne’s work and inspiration. The deadline for submissions is 1 MARCH 2015Full details on eligibility and submissions can be found HERE.

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Emotional geographies of Italian transnational spaces

Francesco Ricatti   University of the Sunshine Coast

CSR 19(2)The new issue of Cultural Studies Review (volume 19 issue 2) includes a section I have co-edited with Maurizio Marinelli on Emotional geographies of the uncanny: reinterpreting Italian transnational spaces. Our aim was to read transnational spaces constructed and inhabited by Italian migrants and settlers to Australasia as emotional spaces of uncanny perceptions, memories, narratives and identities. Drawing inspiration from the Freudian suggestions about the uncanny (das unheimliche), and later interpretations by Heiddeger, Derrida, Kristeva, Bhabha, Žižek, and Ahmed, we refer to the uncanny as the emotional reaction to something that is, at the same time, familiar and unfamiliar, homely and unhomely. The uncanny then becomes an aesthetic frame through which experiences of migration and colonialism can be read and interpreted. Continue reading

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Il Paroliere: Italian Word of the Week – 14

italian-language-courses-300x240La vita ti viene incontro, ciondolando un po’, ansimando per il peso dei balocchi che porta adosso per abbagliarti, facendoti intravvedere i piaceri di un’altra giornata tutta cincischiata, offrendoti una montagna incantata di invoglianti trastulli e gingilli. Hai bisogno di un appoggio linguistico per aiutarti a resistere a tutto questo charme e alla suadente ninnananna che fa cadere tutte le tue difese. Per fortuna arriva Patrizia in nostro soccorso


Vision: Florence 2035 Eco-Acupuncture 18 May – 21 June


 Vision: Florence 2035 Eco-Acupuncture: developing sites of urban intervention

An exhibition of selected design projects developed as a part of the Victorian Eco Innovation Lab’s Eco-Acupuncture studio in Florence 2012, envisioning a sustainable and resilient future for Florence, will be held at the Museo Italiano, 199 Faraday St, Carlton, from 18 May until 21 June.

Opening hours: Tuesday-Friday 10am-5pm; Saturday 12pm-5pm

Free entry

The exhibition will be launched on Friday 17 May, 5.30pm by Professor Tom Kvan, Dean, Faculty of Architecture, Building and Planning, University of Melbourne.

RSVP by Monday 13 May to

For more information:


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Luxury and its underside

Rosa Salzberg   University of Warwick

Luxury is one of the concepts most closely associated in the popular mind with Italy today and in the Renaissance period which I research and teach.

A diamond is forever

‘A diamond is forever’ (Don Draper, 1948, after Anita Loos, 1925)

But the precise value and consequences of luxury – of the skills it preserves and innovation it generates, but also of the social inequalities it reflects and arguably exacerbates – are still matters of heated debate. I am part of a recently-launched International Network entitled Luxury & the Manipulation of Desire which aims to explore these questions anew, linking the contemporary agenda to scholarship on the history of global luxury from the Renaissance to the present. It focuses on three key areas: the production of luxury, the regulation of luxury and the geography of luxury.

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