Category Archives: Politics

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.

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A Renaissance Royal Wedding 1518-2018

From 17 March to 13 May 2018 Oxford’s Bodleian Library’s new Weston Building will host an exhibition entitled A Renaissance Royal Wedding, marking the 500th anniversary of a landmark sixteenth-century match. On 18 April 1518 the Italian princess Bona Sforza married Sigismund I, King of Poland and Grand Duke of Lithuania, in Cracow cathedral. The lavish nuptials forged links of politics and kinship between the Jagiellonian dynasty of Central Europe and the top families of Renaissance Italy, opening up new channels of communication between the Polish capital and the cities of Italy’s far south – a dynamic exchange of people, books and ideas which continued for decades. Bona Sforza (1494-1557) was a Milanese-Neapolitan princess, from 1518 queen of Poland and from 1524 duchess of Bari, in Puglia, and thus Italian ruler in her own right. King Sigismund (1467-1548) was the scion of a large royal house which, at its peak c. 1525, ruled half of Europe, from Prague to Smolensk. Their wedding was attended by dignitaries and scholars from across Christendom, and their five children – who later ruled in Poland-Lithuania, Sweden and Hungary – presented themselves throughout their lives as Polish-Italian royalty. Bona herself remains a controversial, high-profile figure in Polish memory to this day.

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ACIS Cassamarca scholarships for postgraduate research in 2018

ACIS is very pleased to congratulate the winners of the ACIS Cassamarca scholarships for postgraduate research in Italy in 2018: Darius Sepehri (PhD, University of Sydney), “Reading the Renaissance anew: Giovanni Pico della Mirandola and his Islamic sources”; Lana Stephens (MA, Monash University), “Theologia ficinianum: intellectual exchange and spiritual renewal in Late Quattrocento Florence”; and, as winner of the 2018 Dino De Poli Scholarship, Madeleine Regan (PhD, Flinders University), “Archival research and transnational resources for establishing family market gardens and transplanting Veneto community in the western suburbs of Adelaide, 1920s–1970s”.

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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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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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Gender/sexuality/Italy, 4 (2017)

The latest issue of Gender/sexuality/Italy is online here. The themed section has the title ‘Girl Cultures in Italy from Early Modern to Late Capitalism‘ and has contributions on the representation and social construction of girlhood from the Renaissance to the present. Daniela Cavallaro, for example, draws on oral sources and archival material to examine the all-girl oratorio experience after 1945 and thus provide an account of this largely forgotten element in Italian women’s cultural history. Other contributions cover the contrasts between representations of girlhood in 16th and 17th biographies (Sienna Hopkins), two novels – La figlia prodiga (1967) and Bambine (1990) – by the Italo-Swiss writer Alice Ceresa (Viola Ardeni), Rita Pavone’s musicarelli (Stephanie Hotz), and the becoming-girl of late capitalism in Non è la Rai (Elisa Cuter).  And Danielle Hipkins, Romana Andò, Anna-Rita Ciccone and Laura Samani discuss aspects of girlhood conveyed in Italian film and other media.

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Il 9 maggio

Oggi è il giorno per ricordare due persone molto diverse uccise il 9 maggio del 1978: Aldo Moro, ucciso dalle BR; Peppino Impastato, dalla mafia. Sulla vita e sulla morte di Moro è stato scritto moltissimo; un utile riassunto del dibattito nazionale e internazionale sulla natura e sulle cause della violenza politica che l’ha ucciso è di Giovanni Mario Ceci, Il terrorismo italiano. Storia di un dibattito (Carocci, 2013).  Gli scritti sulla mafia, meglio sulle mafie, sono ovviamente molto più numerosi. Adesso, su La Repubblica, c’è un blog, Mafie, a cura di Attilio Bolzoni, che oggi apre con una lettera di Tina Montinaro al marito, caposcorta di Giovanni Falcone e ucciso con lui 25 anni fa nella strage di Capaci. In questi ultimi anni il dibattito sulle mafie si è ampliato in seguito all’inchiesta ‘Mafia Capitale’ a Roma, dove i problemi della definizione e dell’evoluzione del fenomeno sono diventati di nuovo centrali. Questi temi sono analizzati con dovizia di dettagli nei dieci contributi all’ultimo fascicolo della rivista Meridiana (87, 2016) intitolato ‘Mafia Capitale’.

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ASIO AND ITALIAN ‘PERSONS OF INTEREST’

ASIO and Italian ‘Persons of Interest’. A History of Sydney’s Federation of Italian Migrants and their Families (FILEF) (Connor Court, 2017) will be the topic of a discussion with its author, Gianfranco Cresciani, at the Co.As.It. Museo Italiano, 199 Faraday Street, Melbourne, on Wednesday 17 May 2017, 6.30pm (booking free here). When an organisation was an ‘ethnic’ one, drawing support, ideas and inspiration from its foreign mentor, claims of sedition, treason, subversion and of being un-Australian were levelled at it without hard evidence, justified only by the abysmal ignorance of the motivations, aspirations and actual policies pursued by the organisation. In the case of the Federation of Italian Migrants and their Families (FILEF) in Sydney, its members were spied upon by the Australian Security Intelligence Organisation (ASIO), ostracised by a large part of the Italian migrant community and its media, embarrassingly acknowledged by Italian diplomatic and consular representatives, fearful of losing their jobs because of their political beliefs, demonised by the Australian Establishment as the Trojan Horse of Italian communism. After forty years of militancy, time has come to record FILEF’s journey through Australian and migrant politics, welfare, arts, education and union activities.

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Dante, Petrarch, Machiavelli, Pirandello: Remo Bodei in Melbourne and Sydney

imagesThe philosopher Remo Bodei will be giving talks in Melbourne and Sydney in March. Time, eternity, history: Dante, Petrarch, Machiavelli is the title of his talk (in English) at the Italian Cultural Institute, 233 Domain Rd, South Yarra, on Thursday 9 March at 6.30pm (free, booking essential). On Friday March 10, at Co.As.It. – Museo Italiano, 199 Faraday Street, Carlton, he will be talking (in Italian) on Pirandello e la dissoluzione della personalità (free, booking essential), a lecture to mark the 150th anniversary of Pirandello’s birth. He will also be giving this talk in Sydney on 13 March, 4 – 5.30pm, in the Dept of Italian at the University of Sydney (registration here). On March 15, 6 – 7.30pm, he will talk on Memory and Forgetting: A Conflicting Complicity at the State Library of New South Wales (Metcalfe Auditorium, Macquarie Building: information for registration here) . For details of the contents of the talks Continue reading

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