Category Archives: History

Italians in Australia: past and present

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.

Tagged ,

Migrants and asylum seekers in Italy

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).

Tagged ,

ACIS Research Group: History and Social Sciences

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.

Tagged , , , ,

Hidden Lives: Australia’s Italians 1939-45

A dark chapter in Australia’s wartime history has often been minimised or overlooked in mainstream accounts. Hidden Lives: War, Internment and Australia’s Italians (2018), edited by Mia Spizzica, contains scholarly essays and testimonials which offer  new insights into the experiences of Italian Australians during World War 2. It is the first such compilation by authors from northern, central, and southern Italian provinces and from five Australian States. Although each story is unique, the authors share language, history, values and a profound sense of Italianness, as well as a connection to their Australian selves. These essays and narratives consider the often-unintended negative consequences of war and show our commonalities through personal struggles and a fundamental human resilience.

Tagged ,

Call for entries: Jo-Anne Duggan Prize 2019

We are now calling for entries for the Jo-Anne Duggan Prize 2019 which honours Jo-Anne’s memory and work. She left one of the richest and most compelling collections of photographs by any Australian artist to engage with Italian culture, history and art. Her work, exemplifying what she called her ‘postcolonial eye’, demonstrates remarkable breadth, covering public spaces/places of Italian diaspora in Australia, enquiries into the re-contextualisation and museification of Renaissance art, Australian archives of Italian migration, and complex case studies on the legacy of the Gonzagas. The guidelines for entries for the 2019 Prize can be found here, accompanied by guidelines for the exegesis for creative works, a list of links to Jo-Anne’s writings, and her CV which includes a list of her exhibitions. The deadline for entries for the Prize is 29 October 2018. All enquiries should be directed to Catherine Dewhirst (USQ).

Tagged ,

Terra matta returns to Australia

The autobiography of Vincenzo Rabito (1899-1981), 1027 closely-packed pages of vivid description in a mix of Italian, Sicilian dialect and rabitese, has appeared in versions for the page (Terra matta, Einaudi 2007), stage (directed and performed by Vincenzo Pirrotta) and screen (terramatta;, directed by Costanza Quatriglio with a script by her and Chiara Ottaviano), presented in Australia in 2013 and 2015. A second, very different, version for the stage, by the actor-director Stefano Panzeri, will be performed in Melbourne on Tuesday  13 March  2018  at 6:30pm at the Museo Italiano in Carlton (free entry; RSVP essential). It will also be presented, under the title Oltreoceano, in Sydney on Friday 16 March at 6.30pm at the Canada Bay Club, incorporating not only extracts from Rabito’s text but also the stories of emigration offered by Italian members of the audiences at Panzeri’s performances in Europe and Latin America.

Tagged , , ,

Iris Origo remembered

In the latest issue  (8 February 2018) of the London Review of Books there’s a long review of Iris Origo’s The Merchant of Prato. Daily Life in a Medieval Italian City, first published in English in 1957, translated into Italian with an introduction by Luigi Einaudi in 1958 and now republished in English as a Penguin Classic. Its republication accompanies the reappearance of several of Origo’s books in 2017 thanks to the Pushkin Press: her well-known War in Val d’Orcia (1947; translated into Italian in 1968 with a preface by Piero Calamandrei), the previously unpublished A Chill in the Air dealing with the years 1939-1940, and her autobiography Images and Shadows: Part of a Life (1970).  Those three books convey brilliantly not only her family ancestry in Ireland and the USA but also her life in Italy; she grew up in Fiesole and moved to La Foce in southern Tuscany when she married Antonio Origo in 1924. La Foce was an unpromising half-ruined estate in the Val d’Orcia, 3500 hectares cultivated by mezzadri in 57 poor farms, which she and her husband determined, successfully,  to revive. Her books on Bernardino da Siena, Byron and Leopardi may have slipped from sight; but the accounts she left of her wartime years in La Foce are a lasting testimony to survival and solidarity in conditions of capricious power, lawlessness and extreme danger.

Tagged , ,

Part-time position in Italian Studies, University of Melbourne

The Italian discipline in the School of Languages and Linguistics, University of Melbourne, is seeking to appoint a part-time Lecturer (level B, 0.5 FTE) in Italian Studies. The successful applicant will contribute to undergraduate teaching in Italian and European Studies subjects and will be active in supervising honours and graduate research.  The full position description and selection criteria can be found here. The closing date for applications is 30 January 2018.

Tagged

Reminder – 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. The deadline for submission of proposals is 30 June 2018; the organisers are happy to receive them earlier. Possible topics include ….. Continue reading

Tagged , ,

ACIS – Save Venice Fellowships for 2018

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

Tagged ,