Saturday, April 19, 2008

Piazza Vittorio: An example of Cultural Transformation in Italy

Hi all,
this is the title of a paper I'm giving at a conference in London, on Friday 25 April.

In 2002 the Italian musician Mario Tronco and the film director Agostino Ferrente decided to create an orchestra in the multicultural area of Rome, known as the Esquilino quarter. This project came out of their desire to put together the multi-ethnical variety of musicians that were dwelling in that part of Rome. The result was truly amazing: an enormous group, directed by Mario Tronco, constituted by almost twenty musicians coming from many different countries, formed the so-called “Orchestra di Piazza Vittorio” (“The Orchestra of Vittorio Square”). The Orchestra is now internationally known and is currently on tour all over the world. In 2006 Agostino Ferrente made a documentary about the Orchestra telling the story of its constitution. This film received many awards and has been screened all over the world (also in London on the occasion of the latest Italian Film Festival). The same year, 2006, saw the publication of a novel by the Italophone Algerian writer Amara Lakhous called “Scontro di civiltà a P.zza Vittorio (“Clash of civilizations for an elevator in Piazza Vittorio”), which is again a story about the multicultural reality of Rome, an example in fact of the transformation of the Italian society and of the importance that Italian migrant literature is gradually gaining.
Starting from these musical, cinematic and narrative examples, this paper aims at analysing how migration in Italy is beginning to produce cultural performances that enter the larger context of popular culture. In other words, this paper will try to analyse the importance of what Mieke Bal has defined as “migratory aesthetics” - in this case of Italy.
I feel a lttle bit nervous about this, considering it is the first time I present on these issues. I know I still need to do a lot of work on it, but I hope this will be a good starting point to pursue my research. By the way, for those who haven't seen yet the film-documentary, L'orchestra di Piazza Vittorio, by Agostino Ferrente, I highly recommend you to do so. It's a brilliant document that looks at migration as a valuable source of cultural practices.

Friday, April 18, 2008


Dear UCL Fellows,
did you know about this? The UCL Department of Geography (in association with UCL Grand Challenges) is holding a 'town meeting' on 30 April 2008 to bring together those across UCL interested in migration, diaspora, ethnicity and intercultural studies.
Well I think that is exactly the kind of thing we want to be part of if we like the idea of a muldisciplinary approach to migration. Well done UCL Geography Department!
I'm definitely going (actually I had a ticket to Sicily the 29th of April but I've moved it!).
I don't know if the event is only open to UCL Staff, but for all kind of information the person to contact is Sue Parkes, Office of the UCL Vice-Provost (Research).

Date: Wednesday 30 April 2008, 3-6pm (followed by drinks)
Location: G06, Sir Ambrose Fleming Lecture Theatre, Roberts Building

Migratory Aesthetics

Dear all,
I would like to recommend a book recently published by Rodopy on "migratory aesthetics", a concept coined by Mieke Bal. You can read in detail about the book and order it online.
The book is edited by Sam Durrant and Catherine Lord.

Saturday, April 12, 2008

Graziella Parati and Loredana Polezzi: Identities on the Plural_UCL 24 APRIL 2008

Identities in the Plural:
Voicing Difference in Contemporary Italy

Thursday 24 April 2008, 3-6pm

It is my pleasure to present another event organized by th UCL Mellon Programme in collaboration with the UCL Department of Italian and UCL Centre for Intercultural Studies.
This event presents a lecture by Graziella Parati (Dartmouth College) "Literary and Cultural Alliances in Migration" and a lecture by Loredana Polezzi (University of Warwick) "Multiplying Italian Voices".
Dr Federica Mazzara (UCL) will chair the session.
For abstracts, poster and further details: UCL Mellon Seminars 2007-2008
For further information, please contact me, Federica Mazzara (
You are all welcome. Looking forward to seeing you there.
Some information about the speakers:
Graziella Parati is Professor at Dartmouth College. She teaches 19th and 20th Italian culture in the department of French and Italian. Her books include "Public History, Private Stories: Italian Women's Autobiography" (1996) devoted to gender studies in Italian culture, and the interdisciplinary book entitled "Migration Italy: The Art of Talking Back in a Destination Culture" (University of Toronto Press, 2005), which is devoted to migration studies and contemporary Italian multiculturalism. She has also edited the following volumes:
"Mediterranean Crossroads: Migration Literature in Italy, Italian Cultural Studies" (co-edited with Ben Lawton), and "Italian Feminist Theory and Practice: Equality and Sexual Difference" (co-edited with Rebecca West).
Loredana Polezzi is Associate Professor at the University of Warwick. She is the author of "Translating Travel: Contemporary Italian Travel Writing in English Translation" (Aldershot & Brookfield: Ashgate, 2001) and is currently working on a monograph devoted to representations of Africa produced by Italian travellers during the colonial and post-colonial period. She is co- editor, with Jennifer Burns, of "Borderlines: Migrazioni e identità nel Novecento" (Isernia: Cosmo Iannone Editore, 2003) and, with Charlotte Ross, of "In Corpore: Bodies in Post-Unification Italy" (Madison: Fairleigh Dickinson, 2007).

UCL Research Day: Moving Borders 31 March 2008

The UCL Mellon Research Day that was held the 31th of March at UCL was really successful.
Izzy, Meena, Monia, Daniele, Sanaz and Alpesh, whom I'd like to thank again, did a very good job, and the same I should say about the other participants who made especially the round table a very interesting moment of discussion and confrontation.
Many issues have been discussed and raised, and all have been approached in a very interdisciplinary way. This made the day a very special moment for everybody to realize how possible and great it is to cross and "move" disciplinary boundaries and to build up a common platform of analysis and research.
I hope there'll be many other occasions for us to meet again and talk about how migration and related issues can be analysed in terms of cultural practices, as we did the 31st of March.
Thanks everybody and hope to see you soon!!!