CFP: [Postcolonial] NYU Italian Studies Graduate Student Conference 2009

full name / name of organization: 
Valeria G. Castelli
contact email: 

DENUNCIA: Speaking up in Modern Italy

March 27-28, 2009

A Graduate Conference Sponsored by the Department of Italian Studies, Department of History,
Casa Italiana Zerilli-Marimò and the Graduate School of Arts & Science of New York University.
KEYNOTE SPEAKER: Paul Ginsborg, University of Florence
Io so. Io so i nomi dei responsabili di quello che viene chiamato golpe (e che in realtà è una serie
di golpes istituitasi a sistema di protezione del potere). Io so i nomi dei responsabili della strage
di Milano del 12 dicembre 1969. Io so i nomi dei responsabili delle stragi di Brescia e di Bologna
dei primi mesi del 1974. [...] Io so. Ma non ho le prove. Non ho nemmeno indizi. Io so perché
sono un intellettuale, uno scrittore, che cerca di seguire tutto ciò che succede, di conoscere tutto
ciò che se ne scrive, di immaginare tutto ciò che non si sa o che si tace.
Pier Paolo Pasolini, “Che cos’è questo golpe?,” Corriere della Sera, 14 Novembre 1974
Mi avvicinai a questo quadrato con al centro due lastre di marmo bianco, piccole, e vidi la tomba.
“Pier Paolo Pasolini (1922-1975).” […] Mi sembrò d’essere meno solo, e lì iniziai a biascicare la
mia rabbia, con i pugni stretti sino a far entrare le unghie nella carne del palmo. Iniziai a
articolare il mio io so, l’io so del mio tempo. Io so e ho le prove. Io so come hanno origine le
economie e dove prendono l’odore. L’odore dell’affermazione e della vittoria. Io so cosa trasuda
il profitto. Io so. E la verità della parola non fa prigionieri perché tutto divora e di tutto fa prova.
Roberto Saviano, Gomorra, 2006

To denounce the injustices of his own time, Saviano revives Pasolini’s words of dissent: “Io so.”
This is a claim to knowledge positioning its speaker in an antagonistic relation with the
established order. What kind of knowledge does this “io” know? Does denuncia implicitly invoke
a collective “we”? Why does it seem that the only way to comment on Italian civil society is
through singular voices breaking the silence of the status quo? When do these voices emerge and
what is so politically and culturally urgent about their utterance? Does the denuncia in some way
strand its speaker, leaving it without recourse to civil or legal redress? How do these
denunciations affect and impact the public sphere? How does the institutional order respond, in
some cases co-opting or censoring these interventions?
As an interrogation into the dynamics of power, denuncia adopts various registers of protest:
opposition, disapproval, critique, condemnation, activism. From an interdisciplinary perspective,
this conference will attempt to understand the place of denuncia in Italian leftist political culture
and how it is articulated through a variety of media: press, radio, television, internet, books,
films, documentaries, photography, cartoons, music, and so forth. While we will focus on modern
Italy from the unification to the present, we welcome papers that are transnational and trans-
historical in scope.

 Possible topics may include but are not limited to:
Fields of denuncia:
• corruption, bourgeois conformism, policies of migration/immigration, racism, patriarchy,
organized crime, neo-conservativism and neo-fascism, globalization, terrorism, environmental
concerns, workers’ conditions, church-state relations, real estate speculation, censorship…
Voices and Forms of denuncia:
• satire, journalism, literature, film and other forms of visual culture (including graphic art,
photography, and performance), music, theater, urban studies, philosophy…
• intellectuals, student movements, anti-war organizations, queer and feminist politics, centri
sociali, associations, inchieste, unions, magistrates, demonstrations, strikes, occupations…
Historically articulated denuncia:
• Unification of Italy, First World War, Fascism, Second World War and the Resistance, Post-War
Italy, Marshall Plan and the Cold War, 1960’s Economic Boom, ‘68, Anni di Piombo, the 1980’s
and media privatization, Tangentopoli, Berlusconi’s contemporary Italy...
 A 250-word abstract and cover letter with name, academic affiliation and contact information
should be sent by Monday, January 5, 2009 via email to the Conference Committee at:
Or via post to:

Italian Graduate Student Association

Casa Italiana-Zerilli Marimò

24 West 12th Street New York, NY 10011

Attn: Conference Committee

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Received on Tue Nov 11 2008 - 21:27:11 EST