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ITALIAN-STUDIES May 2013

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Subject:

Re: NOTA BENE: Reminder forthcoming deadline Send in the clowns for ABSTRACTS

From:

Alessandro Valenzisi <[log in to unmask]>

Reply-To:

Scholarly discussions in any field of Italian studies <[log in to unmask]>

Date:

Mon, 13 May 2013 10:53:00 +0100

Content-Type:

text/plain

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italian-studies: Scholarly discussions in any field of Italian studies

Dear Andrea,
is the area for this CFP limited to the recent years? I have in mind a proposal that looks at the use of humour in Pasolini's highly political film 'Uccellacci e uccellini' (1966) - and humour in Pasolini is in itself something of a rarity...
If you think you might be interested in such an eccentric contribution or you can find a way to fit it in your project I will prepare an abstract to send.

Kind regards,
Alessandro Valenzisi


-------------------------------------------------------------
Dr Alessandro Valenzisi
University of Strathclyde
School of Humanities
The Lord Hope Building
Postgraduate Area
141 St. James Road
G4 OLT  Glasgow
________________________________________
From: Scholarly discussions in any field of Italian studies [[log in to unmask]] On Behalf Of Andrea Hajek [[log in to unmask]]
Sent: 13 May 2013 09:06
To: [log in to unmask]
Subject: [I-S] NOTA BENE: Reminder forthcoming deadline Send in the clowns for ABSTRACTS

italian-studies: Scholarly discussions in any field of Italian studies
With regards to the CFP deadline publicized on this list earlier this morning, please note that the CFP is only for ABSTRACTS, not full submissions. The deadline for abstracts is next Monday 20 May. Authors will be invited to submit full articles if their abstracts are selected.



2013/5/13 Andrea Hajek <[log in to unmask]<mailto:[log in to unmask]>>
REMINDER FORTHCOMING DEADLINE


Journal CFP

'Send in the clowns'. Humour and power in Italian political, social and cultural life



Edited by Andrea Hajek, Daniele Salerno & Clare Watters



For many years, Silvio Berlusconi has made Italy the laughing-stock of European politics. His unprofessional behavior, sex and corruption scandals, pending lawsuits and degrading jokes are infamous across the world. When Mario Monti took over in 2011, it seemed that the country might regain some (political and economical) credibility, but after the great success of Beppe Grillo’s Five Star Movement and Berlusconi’s coalition gaining another surprising high percentage of votes in the 2013 elections, Italy’s international reputation plummeted to a new low, as the sarcastic heading of an article published in The Economist illustrates: ‘Send in the clowns’.



Although recent studies have argued that Italy’s economic problems cannot be reduced to Berlusconi’s ‘ruinous policies as a clownish prime minister’ – as the journalist of The Economist has it – alone (Mammone and Veltri 2010), the connection between humour and power should not be underestimated. Indeed, Italy is a country with an important and long tradition of humour and comedy, which – more than in any other European country – plays a crucial role in political, social and cultural life, in its various forms.



·         From a political angle, comedians strongly influence perspectives on political and cultural life (e.g. Maurizio Crozza on Ballarò or Luciana Littizzetto on Che tempo che fa), explicitly support political leaders (as in the iconic image of Roberto Benigni with Enrico Berlinguer) and their parties (e.g. Bagaglino for the PDL and Silvio Berlusconi, Lella Costa for Giuliano Pisapia), consequently playing a major role in electoral campaigns (e.g. Enzo Biagi’s interview with Roberto Benigni in 2001). If, during the First Republic, Giulio Andreotti’s sarcastic jokes represented the ‘subtle’ power of the political man, humour and politics - often of questionable taste - overlapped almost entirely in the Berlusconian era. The political success of actor and comedian Beppe Grillo, in what may be the beginning of a post-Berlusconian era, is only the most recent expression of this feature of Italian culture.



·         From a cultural point of view, Berlusconismo and its ‘subcultural hegemony’ (Panerari 2010) begins in the 1980s with TV shows like Drive in, while the end of the First Republic is marked by the success of Bagaglino and of the satirical magazine Cuore. Another important shift is reflected in the decline of the commedia all’italiana in the 1980s and the great success of the cinepanettoni in the 1990s, whereas the international success of Benigni - winning an Oscar for La vita è bella - and Nobel prize winner Dario Fo, on the other side of the political and cultural spectrum, represent the ‘hegemony’ of the comedian in 1990s Italian culture.



·         From a sociological perspective, political humour and satire are the ‘discursive fields’ where gender and geographical differences, among other things, find their expression. Women are often passive objects of representation, as in the Bagaglino shows, although they have played a central role in the genre ever since the creation of the commedia dell’arte, which for the first time allowed female performers on stage. Since the late 1980s, women have regained an active role in satire, from La tv delle ragazze to the presence of female comic writers and performers on stage and screen (Franca Rame, Lella Costa, Serena Dandini, Sabina Guzzanti, Luciana Littizzetto and, more recently, Geppi Cucciari). Geographical differences once expressed in the ‘masked types’ of the commedia dell’arte (Arlecchino, Colombina, Pulcinella, etc.), which defined regional styles of irony and humour, continue to mark the identities of Italian comedians, from Totò’s napoletanità to the milanesità of Enzo Jannacci or the toscanità of Benigni and Pieraccioni.



·         A final discursive field for political humour is the ‘vox populi’, which has found a particularly powerful expression in Beppe Grillo’s performances. If, in Papal Rome, established power was criticized by ‘talking statues’ (most notably Pasquino), in the late 1960s and 1970s, vox populi took the shape of political graffiti, ironic slogans and creative word plays. In our current age of mass media and internet, finally, Grillo’s ‘online democracy’ as well as websites like Spinoza and TV shows like Striscia la notizia or Le Iene offer similar attempts at ‘giving a voice’ to ‘the people’.



***

We invite proposals for a special issue exploring the role of political humour and satire in Italian culture, society and politics. The aim of the issue is to analyze politics and society through a ‘humorous framework’, and to understand how this affects political discourse. What types of humour (irony, parody, satire, caricature, etc.) are used and with what effect on audiences? How is satire, for example, used to engage audiences in political debate? Is humour a political action or symptom of general discontent and catharsis? How should we  investigate the relation between humour and its function of ‘telling the truth’ or ‘distracting from the truth’? And how ‘serious’ should we take political humour, even when it is not supposed to entertain?


Possible topics include but are by no means limited to:



·         the impact of television and stand-up comedians on political and cultural debates (e.g. Crozza nel paese delle meraviglie, Corrado Guzzanti’s Aniene, Sabina Guzzanti’s Vilipendio)

·         political humour in current affairs and other TV programmes (e.g. Crozza at Ballarò, Littizzetto at Che tempo che fa, Serena Dandini’s The show must go off and Parla con me, Vauro on Servizio Pubblico and Annozero)

·         humorous strategies of social criticism and symbolical justice (e.g. Striscia la notizia, Le Iene)

·         humour and ‘passional’ configurations (catharsis, indignation)

·         gendering/gendered humour and sexual discrimination in humour

·         humour as form of political persuasion and identification

·         humour in social media (e.g. Facebook sharing of satirical cartoons, parodies on Youtube)

·         film comedy and comedians in film (Moretti’s Il caimano, the satiric documentaries of Sabina Guzzanti)

·         political cartoons (vignette, Vauro, Altan, Giannini), satirical magazines (e.g. Cuore, il Vernacoliere, Il Misfatto satirical supplement to Il Fatto quotidiano, etc.) and satirical headlines

·         satire in music (e.g. Elio e le storie tese)



Please submit an abstract (250-300 words) and a short biography as word/PDF documents to Andrea Hajek ([log in to unmask]<mailto:[log in to unmask]>), Daniele Salerno ([log in to unmask]<mailto:[log in to unmask]>) and Clare Watters ([log in to unmask]<mailto:[log in to unmask]>).

The deadline for abstracts is 20 May 2013. All submissions must be original and previously unpublished.


About the Editors:

Andrea Hajek obtained her doctorate degree at the University of Warwick (UK). Her dissertation - on the negotiation of memories of student protests in Italy – is being published by Palgrave Macmillan. She is the Senior Editorial Assistant for the Memory Studies journal as well as a founding member of the Oral History Network. Currently she is an Associate Fellow at the Warwick Institute of Advanced Study. She has edited a special issue on oral history and 1968, and is co-editing another special issue on revisionism in Italian fiction. She has published in Behavioral Sciences of Terrorism and Political Aggression, Modern Italy, Carte Italiane and Italian Studies. She also writes on a number of academic blogs. [http://warwick.ac.uk/andreahajek]

Daniele Salerno received his doctorate in Semiotics from the University of Bologna (Italy) in 2009, with a dissertation on the cultural and discursive construction of the terrorist threat in the War on Terror, which has been published recently (Terrorismo, Sicurezza, Post-conflitto. Studi semiotici sulla guerra al terrore). Currently, he is a post-doctoral research fellow at the University of Bologna, a scientific secretary of the Centre for the Interdisciplinary Study of Cultural Memory and Trauma (TRAME) and an editorial board member for Versus and Studi Culturali. [http://unibo.academia.edu/danielesalerno]

Clare Watters (University of Birmingham, UK) is completing a PhD entitled ‘Making Space for Satire: Political Comedians 2001-2011’. Her work on contemporary satire has been published in Italian Studies, Comedy Studies and the New York Times online. She is currently co-editing a book with Dr Alex Standen: Gendering Commitment: Re-thinking Social and Ethical Engagement in Modern Italian Culture.


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