Category Archives: Religion

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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La ballata delle balàte in Australia

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Vincenzo Pirrotta will shortly return to Australia to present his play La ballata delle balàte at the Street Theatre in Canberra on 5 April (7.30pm, registration here) and on 7-8 April at the Italian Forum in Leichhardt, Sydney  (7.30pm, registration here). On 6 April at the Istituto Italiano di Cultura in Sydney (6.00-9.00pm, registration here) Pirrotta will introduce and discuss the play.  La ballata delle balàte is a one-hour monologue in Sicilian dialect (English surtitles), written, interpreted and directed by Pirrotta accompanied by music by Giovanni Parrinello performed by Dario Sulis. The protagonist is a mafioso fugitive who in his hideout proclaims his faith in God while at the same time following the cruel logic of the mafia. The play offers a profound reflection on the relation between mafia and religious devotion with its staging marking the duality between sacred and profane (the blood of Christ and of mafia victims cohabit in the mafioso’s mind) and culminating in the adoration of a monstrance containing a characteristic form of mafia instruction (pizzzini).  The hideout becomes for the mafioso a kind of place of worship, made out of church candles, a table and two chairs, where he prays wearing a crown of thorns and a noose around his neck.  Continue reading

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Catholicism and politics after the DC

rmis20.v018.i02.coverThe latest issue of the Journal of Modern Italian Studies (vol.21, 3, 2016) has a set of articles on the nature of contemporary Catholicism and its relations to politics in Italy today. Did the election of Pope Francis mark a decisive shift in Catholic policy and practice, especially in the social field? How much and among whom does the call to preserve ‘Catholic values’, however understood, have force today?  To what extent has the Church developed a politically serviceable stance on the religious pluralism which comes with immigration and on the personal spirituality which follows institutional disaffection? Has the disappearance of Christian Democracy and the dispersal of its inheritance and inheritors across many parties destroyed any chance of the resurrection of political Catholicism?

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Dante’s Commedia: the map and the meaning

220px-Portrait_de_DanteHere are details of two recent contributions to Dante Studies. Andrea Gazzoni (Pennsylvania) has created an interactive map of the places mentioned in the Commedia, funded by the Price Lab for Digital Humanities at the University of Pennsylvania. A set of layers allows users to explore the map according to different parameters, with pop-up cards describing each mention of a place and quoting Dante’s text. This is a beta version: further materials and analyses will be added later. And John Kinder (UWA) reflects on the source of the continuing interest in the Commedia 750 years after its author’s birth, arguing that its religious sense touches something specific to the modern condition.

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L’orologio di Monaco: Sydney, 27 Jan 2016

201512290334Orologio di Monaco_SITOOn 1 November 2005 the United Nations designated 27 January, the date of the liberation of the Auschwitz-Birkenau extermination camp, as International Holocaust Remembrance Day. Five years earlier the Italian Republic had established on the same date a commemoration day for the victims of the Holocaust (Giorno della Memoria). The Istituto Italiano di Cultura in Sydney will commemorate the occasion by screening Mauro Caputo’s 2014 docu-film L’orologio di Monaco (Munich’s Clock), deriving from the short-story collection by Giorgio Pressburger. The event, 6-8pm on 27 January, is free but booking is essential.

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Forging Faith(s) in Global Borderlands

ucsb_logoThe Borderlands Research Focus Group at the University of California, Santa Barbara, is holding its 5th Biennial Borderlands International Graduate Student Conference, Forging Faith(s) in Global Borderlands, on March 11-16 2016. The organisers invite graduate scholars from all disciplines (including Italian Studies) to submit abstracts for papers addressing the conference title theme by December 20 2015 (submission details below). Continue reading

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Pope Francis, the Year of Mercy and Vatican II

Max Vodola   Catholic Theological College, Melbourne

logo-giubileo1Recently Pope Francis announced a Year of Mercy for the Catholic Church commencing on 8 December 2015, the feast of the Immaculate Conception, and concluding on the feast of Christ the King, 20 November 2016. This jubilee picks up a number of key themes emphasised by the Pope since the start of his pontificate: a Church called to go to the margins, a particular concern for the poor and the marginalised, the injunction for priests and bishops to have ‘the smell of the sheep’ on them by leaving the comfort of their offices and sacristies, and the Church called to be a ‘field hospital’ that heals the wounds and warms the hearts of the faithful. In demanding a more humble Church, Pope Francis is modelling what spiritual writers call ‘servant leadership’, giving immense power and prestige to his office precisely by forsaking the many trappings of a monarchical papacy that have evolved over centuries but in fact have little to do with the Gospel.

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Site of Resistance: The Popular Piety of Santa Maria delle Carceri in Prato

 Shannon Gilmore   University of California, Santa Barbara

260px-Prato,_Santa_Maria_delle_CarceriThis summer I enjoyed a month-long sojourn in Florence to expand my dissertation project on Central Italian miraculous image cults established in the late fifteenth and early sixteenth centuries, specifically the cult of Santa Maria delle Carceri in Prato. My trip got off to a promising start: I had the good fortune to attend the special mass marking the anniversary of Santa Maria delle Carceri’s first miracle. I was immediately grateful that I had arrived early to snag a seat, as the interior of Giuliano da Sangallo’s church was bursting at the seams with the faithful whose eyes were fixed on the miraculous image of the Virgin and Child with Saints Leonard and Stephen (c. 1350) above the high altar. The cult’s continuing significance to the diocese of Prato was immediately evident as a television cameraman ducked in and out of the tightly packed crowd to capture a perfect shot of the bishop who proudly wore a vestment bearing a screen-printed copy of the Marian image.

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I Papi e lo sport 1903-2015

1429709958432E’ uscito il volume I Papi e lo sport. Oltre un secolo di incontri e interventi da Pio X a Papa Francesco (Libreria Editrice Vaticana, 2015) di Antonella Stelitano, Alejandro Mario Dieguez e Quirino Bortolato. I lettori, credenti e non, praticanti dello sport e non, possono trarre un’idea nuova sul rapporto tra dottrina cattolica e cultura, filosofia e pedagogia dello sport. I curatori hanno selezionato centoventi discorsi sugli oltre seicento interventi — numerosi quelli rivolti a squadre sportive, di calcio in particolare, ricevute in udienze private in Vaticano — pronunciati dal 1903 ad oggi. Oltre alla “pastorale sportiva” di ogni Pontefice, si trovano: il carteggio tra Pierre de Coubertin, fondatore dei moderni Giochi olimpici, e il cardinale Merry del Val, Segretario di Stato di Pio X; le scalate alpine di Achille Ratti, poi Papa Pio XI; l’incontro di Pio XII con i ciclisti del Giro d’Italia e quello di Giovanni XXIII con i partecipanti all’Olimpiade di Roma; e ancora le tre funzioni dello sport individuate da Paolo VI; l’immagine “polisportiva” di Giovanni Paolo II; l’attenzione al mondo dello sport di Benedetto XVI e il tifo di Papa Francesco per la squadra argentina del San Lorenzo de Almagro.

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I papiri di Carmelo Campanella

Chiara Ottaviano   Cliomedia Officina (Torino)

Carmelo Campanella e il suo papiroCarmelo Campanella è nato a Ragusa nel 1931 e ha vissuto fino a pochi anni fa in campagna allevando bovini. In tarda età ha scoperto di essere custode di un “patrimonio” di valore: era il 2000, l’anno del giubileo, e si trovava su un pullman diretto a Roma insieme ad altri pellegrini. Per intrattenere la comitiva, qualcuno si era impossessato del microfono e aveva cominciato a recitare qualche strofa in dialetto di non so più quale storia di santo, ricevendone grande apprezzamento. A quel punto il sig. Campanella, superando la timidezza, ha pensato di offrire all’auditorio un piccolo saggio della sua straordinaria memoria e del suo vastissimo repertorio di storie e di “cunti”, di canzoni e di preghiere, di motti di spirito e indovinelli, quasi tutto in versi e in dialetto siciliano. E’ stata l’ammirazione suscitata in quel gruppo di sconosciuti, così racconta, a renderlo improvvisamente consapevole del “tesoro” posseduto. Da qui la determinazione nell’intraprendere la sua avventura culturale, ovvero la trascrizione di tutto ciò che aveva impresso nella memoria a cui attribuiva rilevanza e valore, ritenendo che quel tesoro dovesse essere salvato per le generazioni successive e quindi condiviso. La scrittura era il mezzo.

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