The focus of the ACIS Literature, Culture and Communication (LCC) Research Group will be Multilingual and Transcultural Landscapes. We aim to explore the ways in which Italian language and culture interact and intermingle with a multiplicity of other languages and cultures, not only within Italy but also beyond. Landscapes – whether natural, urban, rural, social, psychological or fantastical – are delineated, even created, by the perspective and framing of the beholder. Thus, we expect our theme to cover a variety of perspectives and subjectivities. We will explore Italian Studies within a framework of transculturality which views cultures as permeable, goes beyond traditional national or cultural boundaries, and questions classic binaries such as migrant/host, or native/non-native, instead focusing on exchange. Italy today is a heteroglossic landscape, inscribed with the presence of multiple languages and codes, as are the destination countries of the Italian diaspora, including Australia and New Zealand, where the Research Group’s activities will primarily be based. Topics that can be explored include: social cohesion and integration; the modern city; communicative practices such as code-switching or translanguaging; the co-existence of multiple registers or varieties of Italian in particular geographical areas or social spheres (including the language classroom); ways in which people appropriate, resignify or reclaim public spaces; antipodean perceptions and experiences of Italianness; the stories people tell in and about their landscapes or neighbourhoods.
Discussions and debates will be enriched by contributions from a wide range of disciplines and sub-disciplines, including literary studies, cultural studies, linguistics, language teaching, translation studies, anthropology, and migration studies. Scholars in other areas, such as politics, history, or film studies, may also wish to become involved in activities of the Research Group, especially if the theme resonates with their research interests. The Research Group’s theme captures an important aspect of what is happening in Italy and in the Italian diaspora today, while also allowing scope for the exploration of earlier multilingualism and transculturality.
The specific aims of the Research Group are to:
· create a strong interdisciplinary research network by building on existing research strengths and finding new connections,
· strengthen collaboration between Australia- and New Zealand-based scholars of Italian Studies and related disciplines,
· provide, through symposia, research meetings and workshops, a network for postgraduates and early-career researchers in Italian Studies and related disciplines to develop their academic profiles,
· aid in the publication, in the form of edited volumes or special issues, of peer-reviewed work presented at the above events,
· set up some small pilot projects in Australia or New Zealand, if possible with modest external funding from local councils or other relevant organizations.
We anticipate holding a workshop in Melbourne in the second half of 2018, organising a panel for the ACIS Conference at VUW in 2019 and preparing publications from those events in 2020.
The Research Group is convened by Brigid Maher (La Trobe). The other members of the Steering Committee are:
Gregoria Manzin (La Trobe)
Claudia Bernardi (VUW)
Rita Wilson (Monash}
The Research Group is anticipated to have a basic annual budget of up to $10,000 p.a. for three years to support its initiatives.
We would be delighted to hear from any Italianist interested in participating in the work of the LCC and to provide further information about the work of the Research Group. Please do not hesitate to contact me at the following address:
Dept of Languages and Linguistics
College of Arts, Social Science and Commerce
La Trobe University
tel: + 613 9479 2448