deadline for submissions: 
February 19, 2021
full name / name of organization: 
Italian Section - The University of Chicago

Dear graduate colleagues,

The Italian Studies section of the University of Chicago is pleased to invite you to the Interdisciplinary Graduate Student Conference 2021, which will take place online via Zoom on April 9-10, 2021. The topic of the conference is Isolation, exploring the influences of experiences of isolation on Italian culture, literature, philosophy, cinema, and art. Although there are no restrictions in terms of study fields, proposals should show a clear connection to Italian Studies. Please find attached the CfP. Abstracts must be submitted by Friday, February 19th, 2021 to speakers will be notified by Sunday, March 14th, 2021. Any questions or concerns may be addressed to:
Enrico Carnevali, Ph.D. Student in Italian Studies,
Beatrice Fazio, Ph.D. Student in Italian Studies,



Ever since the Middle Ages, the surprisingly intertwined relationship between isolation and artistic creation has profoundly shaped Italian culture. As the 2020 coronavirus lockdown proved, isolation curtails freedom and hinders interpersonal exchanges, but it also encourages one’s artistic expression. Throughout history, the very experience of solitude, either imposed or chosen, has exceptionally spurred the creation of many outstanding artistic achievements. What is, then, the dialectic between isolation, society, and artistic creation? Should isolation be overcome at any cost, or, from an artistic standpoint, is it paradoxically to be valued? 

Yet, isolation is not just being confined out of society. With its racial and gender discrimination policies, as well as its annihilating force, society appears nowadays to be itself the greatest cause of isolation. In addition, as Simona Forti has shown by stressing the etymology of the word ‘pandemic’ (from the Greek pandemos), the recent coronavirus outbreak has intensified the impact of political power on all aspects of human life. Should we then escape society and see isolation as a solution? But what do exactly isolation and solitude mean in today’s digital society, where, even under confinement, we are compulsory browsing social media platforms? 


The 2021 Interdisciplinary Graduate Conference on Italian Studies at the University of Chicago will explore these and other questions raised by the concept of isolation in relation to Italian Studies. We welcome papers from a wide variety of fields of study, including: Literature, Philosophy, Art, Cinema and Media Studies, Colonial, Post-Colonial and Decolonial Studies, Music, Disability, Environmental Studies, Gender Studies, History, Religious Studies, Trauma Theory, History of Ideas.


Please submit a 250-word abstract with your name and academic affiliation to by Friday, February 19th, 2021. Presentations should be given in English and not exceed 15 min. Any questions or concerns may be addressed to:
Enrico Carnevali, Ph.D. Student in Italian Studies,
Beatrice Fazio, Ph.D. Student in Italian Studies,