ASECS Italian Caucus - Call for papers

deadline for submissions: 
September 17, 2021
full name / name of organization: 
American Society for Eighteenth Century Studies
contact email: 

Dear colleagues,

Please, consider participating in one of the sessions organized by the ASECS Italian Studies Caucus. Abstracts or proposals should be sent directly to session organizers preferably no later than September 17, 2021.




Presidential Session: Venice, Real and Imagined  

Irene Zanini-Cordi, Florida State University,

Venice, hovering above its lagoon waters, was dismissed by Chateaubriand as a “city against nature” after his first visit, but defended by the Venetian salonnière Renier Michiel as “a city above nature.” This difference in perceptions, speaks to the fascinating protean quality of the city. Its beauty, traditions, architecture, culture and diversity have mesmerized and puzzled grand tourists, and have attracted artists, writers, singers, and actors from all over the world. This session welcomes papers focusing on any aspect of eighteenth-century Venice, both real and imagined. 


Diversity in Italy in the 18th Century [Italian Studies Caucus]  

Adrienne Ward - University of Virginia,

More than most other geo-political entities in Europe and the Americas, the Italian peninsula embodied diversity in its very makeup: 11+ different states over the greater part of the eighteenth century. This panel explores all forms of (human) diversity in the Italian states, and the degrees to which difference was or wasn’t valued. Diversity may be construed in terms of sovereign allegiance, religious affiliation, social rank, gender belonging, profession/trade, and racial category. Political/national diversity abounded as Italian states were subject to different ruling factions or influence (French in Parma, Austro-Hungarians in Lombardy and Tuscany, Spanish in Naples) and as Grand Tourists (British, American and Italians themselves) and others
crisscrossed Italy in the travel rage. The worship of encyclopedic knowledge-structuring led to elaborate systems of human classification and categorization; readers of all stripes consulted
treatises that articulated intricate typologies of inner character. How did individuals and collectives differentiate the beings around them and how did they regard the idea of variety or mixture in their constituents and/or in society? Which institutions held fast to entrenched divisions and hierarchies, and which showed greater tolerance of or even desire for variance, intermingling and inclusion? Papers welcome that consider attitudes toward diversity in its many manifestations, e.g. in marriage, faith congregations, any and all marketplaces and kinds of commerce, slavery and servitude customs, and literary/artistic realms. 


Opera, Theater, Women, and Celebrity in Eighteenth-Century Italy[Italian Studies Caucus] 

 Margaret Butler -University of Wisconsin-Madison,

Recent work in celebrity studies has taught us much about the networks that undergirded eighteenth-century celebrity culture: the dialogue among social groups, modes and conventions of spectatorship, and mechanisms of publicity, to name a few key components. While we are gaining a clearer understanding of these systems as they pertain to Enlightenment-era England and France, in particular, we have but a hazy view of their Italian counterparts. With regard to opera, apart from studies on the castrato and his public, our view is dimmer still. How did women in Italian opera and spoken theater contribute to eighteenth-century celebrity culture, in terms of performance, creation, reception, patronage, or other modes of production or consumption? Do women’s roles and functions in Italian spoken theater intersect with those of opera in this period, and if so, how? This session seeks contributions that interrogate the roles of women in eighteenth-century Italian drama, whether sung or spoken, the meanings of those roles, and what implications those roles might have had for the understanding—and creation—of celebrity as a concept on the part of listeners, readers, and other communities.