Project panels at the AAIS conference May 2014

I had a big response my call for speakers to participate in panels devoted to Italian Cinemas/Italian Histories at the American Association of Italian Studies (AAIS) conference in Zurich, 23-25 May 2014. I’ve organized five panels, listed below (full details (with abstracts) can be found here).

Here’s the call for papers I circulated:

This panel/these panels will consider new answers to the question: What are the modes, genres and registers in which Italian cinema has dealt with the history of Italy?
The goal is to rethink the relationship of Italian cinema to the history of Italy from a descriptive and analytical rather than prescriptive and paternalistic perspective. It is therefore likely that proposals will not focus on the modes or moments traditionally preferred in normative criticism; however, speakers may wish to challenge the entrenched idea that certain modes – realism, auteurism, the cinema d’impegno – have a privileged relationship to the Italian nation and to its history.
Papers are especially welcome that:
  • take seriously the tastes of the Italian audience for less culturally valued films or for imported cinema, including Hollywood;
  • consider historical film in relation to television and other media;
  • analyse the significance of stars, publicity and paratextual materials;
  • make use of quantitative, ‘distant reading’ or statistical methods of analysis.

Panels, abstracts and speaker details.

All panels take place on Sunday 25 May

09:45-11:00 Italian Cinemas/Italian Histories I

Chair: Fabio Vighi, University of Cardiff

  1. Marie-France Courriol, University of Cambridge/University Lille 3: ‘War on Screen: Historical Engagement and Popular Responses in WWII Italy’
  2. Brian DeGrazia, New York University: ‘To hell with narrative: Salò, Inferno, and irony’
  3. Achille Castaldo, Duke University: ‘Home as prison, prison as home: failed struggles and the cinematic space of the prison-house’

11:15-12:30 Italian Cinemas/Italian Histories II

Chair: Paolo Noto, Universita’ di Bologna

  1. Giacomo Tagliani, University of Siena: ‘Autobiography of the Nation. The Figure of Moro as transmedial object’
  2. Luca Peretti, Yale University: ‘Storia e storie di film che non ci sono. Il caso degli “anni di piombo”’
  3. Andrea Privitera, Western University: ‘C’eravamo Tanto Amati: A Prosthetic Narrative of Italy’s Divided Memory’
  4. Mauro Sassi, McGill University: ‘Film Styles and Modes of Production of the Italian Cinema. The Case of Luchino Visconti’s Rocco e i suoi fratelli

14:15-15:30 Italian Cinemas/Italian Histories III

Chair: Derek Duncan, University of St Andrews

  1. Paolo Noto, Universita’ di Bologna: ‘Opera film as a historical genre’
  2. Maria Alexandra Catrickes, Yale University: ‘Melodrama as Historical mode’
  3. Christian Uva, Università degli Studi Roma Tre: ‘Astorico, anacronistico, antistorico: note sul cinema italiano di fronte alla Storia’

 16:00-17:15 Italian Cinemas/Italian Histories IV

Chair: Alberto Zambenedetti, University of Toronto

  1. Karen Pinkus, Cornell University: ‘Italian Cinema and/as Techno-History’
  2. Fabio Vighi, University of Cardiff: ‘Fenomenologia della supercazzola: l’impasse dello storicismo nella commedia all’italiana degli anni ’70.’
  3. Barbara Corsi, Università di Roma Tor Vergata: ‘Lando Buzzanca o l’eredita’ del “merlo maschio”’

17:30-18:45 Italian Cinemas/Italian Histories V (Roundtable)

Chair: Alan O’Leary, University of Leeds


  1. Derek Duncan, University of St Andrews
  2. Charles L. Leavitt IV, University of Reading
  3. Karen Pinkus, Cornell University
  4. Fabio Vighi, University of Cardiff