Category Archives: Politics

ACIS Save Venice Fellowships 2019

ACIS is calling for applications for up to two ACIS Save Venice Fellowships for 2019. The Fellowships are based in Venice, open to postgraduate and early career researchers, cover the three months between mid-September and mid-December 2019, and are worth $8000 each. Fellows will be EITHER a current Masters or PhD candidate in any area of Italian Studies at an Australasian university OR a postdoctoral researcher in any area of Italian Studies within 3 years of successful completion of their Masters or PhD at an Australasian university. The Fellowship is designed for those researchers and scholars whose research and/or career can benefit in any way from a period in Venice and the use of the city’s substantial resources. ACIS expects that people working in the fields of History, Art History, Fine Art, Cultural and Media Studies, and Restoration and Museum Studies will be particularly interested, but applications will be welcome from any field across the humanities and social sciences. Further information about the Fellowships and the application process can be found here and on the page under Fellowships. The closing date for applications is 11 March, 2019.
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Addio Bernardo Bertolucci (1941-2018)

Gino Moliterno   ANU

Now, with the ranks of veteran Italian film directors already depleted to single figures, Bernardo Bertolucci, in the words of Roberto Benigni “il più grande di tutti, l’ultimo imperatore del cinema italiano”, has also left us. Undoubtedly a giant not only of Italian but of world cinema, Bertolucci succeeded, in a career that spanned six decades and produced close to 20 major films, to achieve the almost impossible feat of moving with ease between an auteurist arthouse, at times even jarringly experimental, cinema and commercially successful big-budget Hollywood-financed mass entertainment. And perhaps what especially endeared him to Italians was that he managed to achieve full citizenship of the international community of world cinema without renouncing his social and cultural roots in provincial Italy. Continue reading

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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.

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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).

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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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