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Society for Italian Studies Postgraduate Colloquium Minorities Report. Italian Culture, Facing Otherness.


Durham University (UK), 29 November 2019.


Collective identities build upon the interplay of minorities of different kinds, be they ethnic, gender, religious,social and/or economic to name but a few macroscopic areas. This is particularly true in the case of Italy, a nation with an inherently ‘troublesome’ and multi-layered identity from its historical roots to its contemporary hybridities. It is thus extremely significant to understand what kind of voices minorities have had throughoutthe development of Italian literature and culture. Have they spoken in their own words or rather have theybeen ‘given’ a voice by dominant others? Have ethnic and confessional minorities, women, underprivilegedindividuals, and people with disabilities had different levels of access to literary or cultural voices in different historical periods or geographical contexts? Through which channels, and in which specific conditions have these voices been communicated, and what kind of technical or stylistic innovations have they produced?
Minorities Report. Italian Culture, Facing Otherness aims to address this set of questions in order tocomplicate and enrich the varied voice(s) of our field of studies. The Colloquium will provide an opportunity for postgraduate students to discuss the extent to which multi-vocality has had an impact on Italian Studies sofar, the direction in which our disciplinary field is moving and its role in an ever-changing national and global context. The day will be dedicated to 20 minutes presentations, divided into panels encouraging dialogue between papers sharing similar research interests. Prof Loredana Polezzi (Cardiff University), an expert in the fields of translation studies, comparative literature, and history of travel and migration, will deliver a keynote lecture in the morning. She will propose an intersectional approach to the concept of minority intermingled with the experience of feminine migration. In the afternoon, Dr Guido Furci (Durham University SorbonneNouvelle), with his strong knowledge of minorities’ voices and juridical statuses, will explore forms of ‘indirect witnessing’ and ‘intrusive memory’ in the context of Italian contemporary literature.
We encourage proposals covering a range of periods (from the early-medieval to the twenty-first century) and investigating different thematic and theoretical strands across all areas of Italian Studies (including literature, art, music, theatre, cinema and the digital media). Questions to be addressed may include, but are not limited to:
  • ethnic identities and similarities
  • cultural and literary encounters  
  • languages and modes of travel and migration
  • environmental awareness
  • class consciousness
  • gender (in)equality
  • LGBTQI+ movements
  • inter-religious dialogues
  • disability studies 


Abstracts of no more than 250 words, accompanied by a short biographical statement on the same page, should be sent to Claudia Dellacasa ( and Martina Pala ( by 31 July 2019. The event is free to attend. Lunch and refreshments will be provided.

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