The Italian Studies Colloquium is a bi-weekly forum and seminar for an exchange of ideas and work of the community of Italian scholars at Brown and invited outside scholars. Graduate students enroll and present their work in progress, and engage the work of faculty and visitors.
Unless otherwise noted, meetings located at 190 Hope Street, Room 102 from noon - 1:30pm.
Spring 2020 Calendar:
February 7 - Andrea Sartori, PhD Candidate in Italian Studies, “Darwin’s Traces: The Struggle for Life in a Literary Perspective.”
Abstract: This paper analyzes the multiple meanings and the textual origin of the metaphor “struggle for life” in Charles Darwin’s On the Origin of Species (1859). The paper argues that, in Darwin’s work, nature and factuality are neither the ultimate grounds of evolutionary epistemology, nor the unquestionable basis of Darwin’s understanding of man and society. This circumstance allows the reader of On the Origin of Species to be involved in a narrative experience on the one hand, and to be aware of the ideological (mis)interpretations of Darwin’s image of nature on the other.
February 21 - Anne Dunlop, Herald Chair of Fine Arts, School of Culture and Communication, University of Melbourne, "The Mongols between Medieval Italy and Modern Seoul"
Abstract: This talk comes out of a current research project on artistic links between Mongol Eurasia and late-medieval Italy (c. 1240-1340), and a survey article on the topic written for a Korean audience. Marco Polo is only one case of a much larger and renewed Eurasian circulation of objects, peoples, and ideas in the Mongol period, but researching this history raises important issues of definition, source, and method, beginning with how we define and discuss artistic or cultural translation. Writing for an East Asian audience brought further challenges of language and disciplinary boundaries.
February 27 - Special Event: Ann Goldstein, Keynote address, “Translation Across Disciplines.” [Please note time and venue: 4:00 PM, Thursday, February 27, Lower Salomon]
March 6 - Sergio Luzzatto, Emiliana Pasca Noether Chair in Modern Italian History, University of Connecticut at Storrs, “The Red Brigades in 1970s Italy: a personal interpretation.”
Abstract: A close reading of the Red Brigades social implantation, political discourse, and militant activity points to a historical rationale, where the terrorist option figures as a pretty logical choice for a small group of social and political outcasts: young second-generation immigrants from the Italian South to the North who never fully adapted to the way of life in the Industrial Triangle. This presentation has also a personal dimension since it focuses on a single terrorist – Sicilian-born Riccardo Dura (1950-1980) – as the embodiment of a collective destiny, and the city of Genoa where the presenter came of age.
CANCELED - March 20 - Alessandro Moghrabi, PhD candidate in Comparative Literature, “The Gift That Keeps on Giving: gift, narration, and repetition among Derrida, Calvino, and Kierkegaard.”
Abstract: This paper builds upon Jacques Derrida’s theory of the pure gift in Given Time, and proposes a comparative analysis of Derrida’s gift, Calvino’s novel If on a winter’s night a traveler, and Kierkegaard’s Repetition in order to develop a theory of reading that allows for a pure Derridian gift to be possible in narration.
CANCELED - March 20 - Alessandro Moghrabi, April 3 - Prof. Serenella Iovino, Professor of Italian Studies & Environmental Humanities, University of North Carolina, “AlterLife: Italo Calvino and the Biosphere of the Anthropocene.”
Abstract: This presentation explores the Anthropocene biosphere with the help of a classic of Italian literature: Italo Calvino. Through Calvino’s stories of cats, ants, chickens, rabbits, and other nonhuman creatures, a challenging new figure emerges from the mirror: that of an anthropos without a capital “A,” with its fragile balances, its challenges and inequalities, a companion species on a difficult path of coevolution.
CANCELED - March 20 - Alessandro Moghrabi, April 17-8 - Special Event: CHIASMI; Brown - Harvard graduate student conference in Italian Studies, "Medicine and the Arts: Co-relazioni, Rhode Island Hall 108
Fall 2019 Calendar:
September 6 - Title IX training meeting with Rene Davis for PhD candidates
September 27 - Luca Cottini, Associate Professor of Italian Studies, Villanova University, - “Italian Innovators: The Adventure of Academic Podcasting” Abstract: Italian Innovators is an academic podcast, presenting figures of great modern Italians in the fields of music, design, fashion, education, and technology. The podcast, based on Dr. Cottini’s volume The Art of Objects (UTP 2018), aims at elaborating a new sort of academic discourse, open to a more general audience, and aimed at connecting the spheres of industry and culture. The talk will present some of the contents of the show and will examine the advantages and challenges of converting an academic book into a podcast format.
October 4 - Daniela Calanca, Assistant Professor, Department for Life Quality Studies, University of Bologna, - Abstract: The analysis of the documents in the Archive of Giovanni Battista Giorgini (Forte dei Marmi, 1898 - Florence, 1971) offers unprecedented research opportunities related to the development of artistic craftsmanship and the importance of trade in international relations during the twentieth century. The scion of an ancient and aristocratic family from Lucca, Giorgini was the first to perceive the economic value of Italian craftsmanship on the international market, especially in the US. Between 1944 and 1946, he managed a Gift Shop for the Allied troops in the centre of Florence. In 1947 the Museum of Modern Art in Chicago hosted an exhibition he curated. Entitled Italy at work, it showcased the best of Italian craftsmanship (glass, ceramics, textiles, leather). On February 12th, 1951, Giorgini organized in Florence the First Italian High Fashion Show for American buyers. The second edition of the show, in July 1951, marked the decisive consecration of Italian fashion in the US.
October 11 - Massimo Ciavolella, Franklin D. Murphy Chair in Italian Renaissance Studies and Director of Medieval and Renaissance Studies, UCLA - “Dante and Cinema”. Abstract: Dante’s fortune in cinematic adaptations goes back to the early years of the “sixth art” (later to become the seventh) as Ricciotto Canudo baptized the cinema, in 1911, the same year in which the blockbuster adaptation of Inferno was released. Ciavolella will provide an excursus on this long history, focusing in particular on the 1908 and 1909-10 Francesca da Rimini, Inferno (1911), The Drums of Love by D.W. Griffith (1928), and a recent darkly satirical animated retelling of the Inferno for hand-drawn paper puppets and miniature sets by Birk-Mulroney (2007). Please, note change of venue for this colloquium: Pembroke 202.
November 1 - Giulia Pellizzato, Visiting scholar in Italian Studies, Brown University -"From Words to Covers: Metamorphoses of Italian Fiction in America (1945-1965)". Abstract: The years following World War Two saw an unprecedented growth in translations from Italian into English, half of which were published in America. Some books met resounding success, and even came to epitomize Italy, as the case of The little world of Don Camillo shows. While venturing into their new cultural context, literary works went through different sorts of alteration, involving the text, its exterior appearance, and its meaning. This presentation will focus on the interaction between these three levels, in relation to the coeval horizon of expectations of the general public in the United States.
November 22 - Pablo a Marca, Doctoral Student in Italian Studies, Brown university - "Have Fairy Tales Always Been Posthuman? Italian Fairy Tales, From Metamorphosis to Cybernetics". Abstract: In fairy tales, metamorphosis is a common trope that can entail the transformation of humans into animals and vice-versa, thus questioning the ontological categorization of the two. In recent times, posthumanism has started to reflect on this differentiation, showing how the boundaries between humans and animals are blurred, therefore advancing a type of thinking that can be described as post-anthropocentric. This paper compares metamorphosis with cybernetics in Italo Calvino’s “Body-without-Soul,” and argues that magic in this fairy tale can be seen as a way of already imagining a post-anthropocentric world.
Spring 2019 Calendar:
February 15. Suzanne Stewart-Steinberg, Director, Pembroke Center for Teaching and Research on Women and Professor of Italian Studies and Comparative Literature: "Grounds for Reclamation"
March 1. Emanuela Patti, Senior Research Fellow, Royal Holloway University, London, UK: “Opera aperta. The Italian Arts and the Digital” (“New Interdisciplinary Directions in Italian Studies” – Charles Colver Lectureship)
March 15. Emilio Sala, Associate Professor of Musicology and the History of Music, University of Milan: “Fellini, Rota, La Dolce Vita, and the Deja-Entendu Effect” (“New Interdisciplinary Directions in Italian Studies” – Charles Colver Lectureship)
April 5. Morris Karp, Doctoral student in Italian Studies, Brown University: “Leopardi and the Renaissance.”
April 26. Daniel Rietze, Doctoral student in Italian Studies, Brown University: “Typing Her Way Up To God: Amelia Della Pergola's Literary-Religious Conversion.”