2014 American Association for Italian Studies Annual Conference, May 23-25, Zurich
The IAS will host three sessions at the 2014 annual meeting of the American Association of Italian Studies. We encourage you to submit proposals for one of the following sessions:
Photography and Power
Organizers: Marco Andreani (Macula, Centro Internazionale di Cultura Fotografica), Marco Purpura (Balthazar, Polo di Studi sul Cinema)
For a half century after its inception, photography was believed to offer the most accurate reproduction of reality. During the twentieth century, critics largely contested the “transparency” of photography and claims of its objectivity. Far from being a neutral tool for recording reality, photography has been employed as an instrument of power through which a certain notion of reality is produced. This panel seeks contributions that focus on the relationship between photography and power in its various manifestations in Italian culture throughout the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. How has photography been used by the nation-state? What does the photographic frame tell us about the cultural and economic practices that produced it? What role did photography play in the establishment of a stardom industry? How was photography employed in the creation of the appearance of power over the Fascist ventennio and the Berlusconian ventennio? How has photography been employed as a critical medium? Is there a specifically Italian interpretation of the digital revolution of the medium? Proposals that examine the modalities of production, distribution, consumption, and collection of photography in their social, economic, and political components are particularly welcome. Possible topics might include, but are not limited to, nationalism, colonialism, the Southern Question, emigration and immigration, the paparazzi phenomenon, stardom studies, the industry of photojournalism, and gender representations. Please send a 300-word abstract and a short bio in Italian or English to Marco Andreani and Marco Purpura by 5 December 2013.
Photography and Writing: from Illustrated Novels to Weekly Magazines
Organizers: Pasquale Verdicchio (University of California San Diego), Nicoletta Pazzaglia (University of Oregon)
This session explores the relationship between photography and writing in Italy. In the course of the twentieth century, the growing diffusion and consumption of photographic images did not receive adequate attention within circles of Italian intellectuals, trained in the humanities, a tradition founded on the primacy of writing and which was imbued with idealism à la Benedetto Croce and relied on a clear-cut distinction between high culture and low culture. Such a lack of interest in photography persisted on the part of several Italian journalists, almost exclusively relying on written texts, as well as on the part of prestigious literati and writers. Nonetheless, the undisputed commercial success of illustrated magazines played a significant role in the development of major political phenomena and cultural trends throughout the century, including Fascism and Neorealism. Further, in the 1960s, illustrated weeklies such as Epoca, Tempo, and L’Europeo published popular supplements that included hundreds of photos and were often edited by major journalists, including Enzo Biagi and Indro Montanelli. Similarly, some writers embraced the relatively new medium: Giovanni Verga worked as a photographer, Elio Vittorini’s Conversazione in Sicilia came out in an illustrated edition, Cesare Zavattini and Paul Strand produced a photo-book, Un paese, and Lalla Romano made photographic “novels.” We welcome contributions that address the relationship between photography and writing in Italy from a variety of methodological and disciplinary viewpoints. Please send a 300-word abstract and a short bio in Italian or English toNicoletta Pazzaglia by 5 December 2013.
Maestri ticinesi, magistri grigioni: Swiss-Italian Architects and Craftsmen in Early Modern Europe
Organizer: Susan Klaiber, Winterthur, Switzerland
The Italian-speaking regions of early modern Switzerland exported significant expertise in the building trades throughout Europe. These émigré architects, builders, and craftsmen such as stuccatori worked for courts, monasteries, and other patrons in present-day Germany, Austria, Italy, Poland, Czech Republic and elsewhere. While often well-studied by scholars in both Switzerland and the respective regions of migration, international awareness of such careers generally remains low, with notable exceptions such as Francesco Borromini. Taken collectively, though, Swiss-Italian architects and craftsmen played important roles as agents of cultural transfer with their itinerant careers in early modern Europe. These figures include Domenico Fontana, Carlo Maderno, and Carlo Fontana in Rome; Enrico Zuccalli and Giovanni Antonio Viscardi in Bavaria; and Giovanni Battista Quadro in Poland. The scholarly literature on such men is as rich yet dispersed as the architectural culture they embody. Representative publications include, in Italian, the exhibition catalogue Il giovane Borromini (1999), and books by Tommaso Manfredi (2008) and Marcello Fagiolo (ed., 2008); works in German by Sabine Heym (1984), Max Pfister (1991), and Michael Kühlenthal (ed., 1997); or several publications in Polish and Italian by Mariusz Karpowicz. Many of these studies are only available regionally. This session aims to break down these geographic and linguistic barriers and move toward a comprehensive view of the work of the “maestri ticinesi” and “magistri grigioni” with a comparative transnational approach. The session welcomes papers on any aspect of Swiss-Italian involvement in the building trades anywhere in Europe, c. 1400-1800. Preference will be given to papers highlighting ties of workers (dynasties, networks), designs, techniques, or materials to Switzerland. Please send a 300-word abstract and a short bio to Susan Klaiber by 5 December 2013.