Cultural and Linguistic Intersectionality in 20th- and 21st-century Italian Aesthetic Production

deadline for submissions: 
September 30, 2018
full name / name of organization: 
Northeast Modern Language Association (NeMLA)

The 20th century is characterized by the sheer and fast-paced growth of human exchanges that, related to and flexibly caused by the increase of mobility, travel, migration and wars, affected the cosmopolitanism and hybridity of many writers. The often-difficult systematization of nationhood and the process of decolonization further contributed to the reconfiguration of social, political, religious, and cultural geographies whose boundaries were troubled by dynamics of trespassing. Italy plays an overlooked but significant part in the process of cultural displacement and aesthetic redistribution that characterizes the 20th century.

Indeed, Italian history and geographical position are defined by what one may call cultural porosity: the history of Italian language and its struggle to find its own identity between the authoritative presence of Latin and the centrifugal existence of the dialects and trans-regional tendencies, the fascination for foreign cultures, the complicated and constant (re)definition of an Italian nationhood, the ambiguous participation in the world wars, the pivotal role of Italy during the Cold War, the central part played by Italy in early 20th century emigration as well as the current immigration wave are only some of the traits that make Italy a place of constant intersections and a fertile terrain for discussions related to cosmopolitan aesthetics.

This panel seeks contributions that explore the fruitful cross-cultural, cross-national and cross-lingual intersections and exchanges that informed the works of 20th and 21st-century Italian writers, as well as authors of immigrant origin that write in Italian. We welcome proposals from scholars working in a variety of disciplines including, but not limited to, literature, film, art, history, philosophy, anthropology, post-colonial studies, diaspora studies, migration studies, as well as studies on memory and nostalgia.