Re-examining the past and envisioning the future of Italian cinema and media

Fourth Edition of theJournal of Italian Cinema & Media StudiesInternational Conference

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CONFERENCE PROGRAM (PDF)

CONFERENCE ABSTRACTS (PDF)

CONFERENCE BIOGRAPHICAL NOTES (PDF)

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The American University of Rome

13-15 June 2024

Keynote Speaker- Áine O’Healy, Loyola Marymount University in Los Angeles

‘Non-Fiction Filmmaking in Contemporary Italy: Continuity and Change’

The twenty-firstcentury has witnessed a burgeoning of non-fiction filmmaking in Italy, facilitated in part by technological developments and in part by the desire to respond to rapidly shifting social realities and changes in the natural environment. In light of recent theoretical work on the political, aesthetic, and ethical dimensions of the documentary, this talk will examine several non-fiction projects by both established and emerging filmmakers focusing on various modalities of human precarity in the global present.While critiquing the intimate intrusions the filmmakers enact on their precarious subjects, it also considers the complex affective operations inherent in this process.

Áine O’Healyis professor of modern languages and literatures at Loyola Marymount University in Los Angeles. Her research interests lie in transnational cinema, contemporary Italian film, and discourses of migration, race, gender and sexuality in contemporary cultural production. Her most recent book isMigrant Anxieties: Italian Cinema in a Transnational Frame(Indiana University Press, 2019). Among her other publications is the volumeTransnational Feminismin Film and Media(2011) edited with Katarzyna Marciniak and Anikó Imre, as well as a special issue ofFeminist Media StudiestitledTranscultural Mediations and Transnational Politics of Difference(2009).With Marciniak and Imre she has curated the Global Cinema book series for Palgrave since its inception in 2011.

Organizing Committee

Flavia Laviosa, Wellesley College, United States

Catherine Ramsey-Portolano, The American University of Rome, Italy

Conference Committee

Giorgio Bertellini,University of Michigan, USA

Flavia Brizio-Skov,University of Tennessee, USA

Milly Buonanno,Sapienza University of Rome, Italy

Frank Burke,Queen’s University, Canada

Jim Carter,Boston University, USA

Stephen Gundle,University of Warwick, UK

Russell Kilbourn,Wilfrid Laurier University, Canada

Gloria Lauri-Lucente,University of Malta, Malta

Bernadette Luciano,University of Auckland, New Zealand

Alex Marlow-Mann,University of Kent, UK

Gaoheng Zhang,University of British Columbia, Canada

Since its founding in 2012, theJournal of Italian Cinema& Media Studieshas been at the forefront of efforts to transnationalize the study of culture by conceiving cinema and media as always already embedded in global flows of people, ideas, technical practices, funding structures and artistic influences. From this perspective, Italian cinema and media are not the static expression of a coherent national experience; they are the dynamic outgrowth of multiple interactions, exchanges, conflicts and cooperations. They are the worldwide production, distribution and consumption of the many meanings of ‘Italy,’ which is one of the most overdetermined signs in circulation today.

Therefore, one of the main goals of JICMS has been tore-examine the history of Italian cinema, tracing the nature and extent of its influenceby studying how it has engaged and collaborated with international filmmakers across countries and time.The purpose of such an endeavour has been to remap the relationship between Italian and world cinema through critical analysis that trespasses ‘national cinema’ frameworks and theories,andthe journal has succeeded in uncovering a rich history of exchange and cross-pollination.

As evidence of this approach, we wish to call attention to numerous articles in general issues as well as special issues on the intersections between Italy and Asia (2:1 & 3, 2014), Latin America (10:2, 2022 and 12:2, 2024), Slavic countries (11:3 & 4, 2023) and the Mediterranean (12:1, 2024), along with a wide range of articles on Nollywood, Europe and North America. These special issues highlight how what we call Italian cinema has emerged from an international context of collaboration between domestic and world cinemas during the past 100 years. They also engage in new critical approaches in order to recover overlooked connections and re-compose them on historical and aesthetic maps as well as examine commercial and distribution relations marked by transnational dialogues and intergenerational conversations.

JICMS has also re-visited the history of Italian cinema with three special issues: one, celebrating the 60thanniversary of the David di Donatello Awards (1956-2016) (4:2, 2016); two, the 70thanniversary ofRome, Open City(1945-2015)(Bayman,Gundle, Schoonover eds.) (6:3, 2018); and three, the 85thanniversary of the Centro Sperimentale di Cinematografia in Rome (1935-2020) (9:2, 2021). In addition to these, the journal has published two special issues on Federico Fellini’s (Centorrino, Dalla Gassa, Minuz eds.) (9:1, 2021) and Tonino Guerra’s (Burke ed.) (11:1, 2023) centennials (1920-2020), and more recently history of ‘Film/Fashion/Costume’ (Paulicelli and Po DeLisle eds.) (Forthcoming).

JICMS has also celebrated the history of Italian media by payinghomage to the 60thanniversary of RAI(1954-2014) (3:1 & 2, 2015), followed by the publication of the special issues ‘Gender issues: Trajectories of change in the Italian mediascape’ (Buonanno and Faccioli eds.) (11:2, 2023), and more recently‘Giallo! Going through the History of Italian Television Crime Drama’ (Barra and Re eds.) (Forthcoming).

The year 2024 celebrates the 70thanniversary of the birth of RAI and we intend to take advantage of this stimulating fact by inviting scholars to organize special sessions that would offer fresh and innovative readings of neglected or misunderstood aspects of RAI’s history. Sessions could be divided into two panels: the first inclusive, in an effort to bring out the diversity and plurality of innovative proposals; the second single-issue, aimed at the unprecedented goal of recognizing and valorizing female figures who have contributed to the making of Italian television history.

We welcome proposals that examine how Italian cinema, television, and new media represent history and evoke historical memories. These forms of media have significantly influenced cultural awareness, nurtured national identity, and grappled with the intricacies of Italy's rich historical heritage. We encourage scholars to explore the diverse ways in which Italian visual media interact with history and its collective memory.

Despite the impact of immigration on contemporary societies, immigration cinema has been largely overlooked in scholarship. Therefore, investigating the reasons for this exclusion will shed light on problems related to discrimination, racism and the way mainstream media manipulate culture and the public. It is time to write essays that can bring to the attention of university students, scholars, andgeneral readership an analysis of films that exemplify the situation of the minority groups marginalized for political, religious, and ethnic reasons. Showing how diversity is portrayed in cinema, and how these films are received will reveal the many tensions that exist in the margins of western affluent societies and will force the readers to explore the many political implications of the word ‘diversity’. The European Council has recognized the importance of European diversity stating the necessity ‘to strengthen human rights, racial tolerance and multicultural acceptance’ (CoE 1991:9), and many of the migrant films from Italy are, in fact, an excellent example of the defense of these values. Nevertheless, as we examine the transcultural identities of migrant cinema, we need to keep in mind that monocultural constructs sometimes remain resistant enough to deconstruction effort to a point that they can destabilize the expected pro-immigrant cinematic output.

We also invite proposals on the topic of sponsored films and other forms of ‘useful media’. Governments and businesses were among the first organizations to recognize the utility of cinema, not least in Italy. Some ideas for papers or panels include corporate cinema departments (Olivetti, Fiat, Montecatini, Edison), canonical directors who worked on sponsored films (Antonioni, Bertolucci, Fellini, Olmi), unknown or understudied directors, anonymous films, methodological alternatives to auteur theory, ideology and hegemony, governmentality and desire, archives and sources, internal and external communications, labor-management relations, human resources, fundraising, consumerism, marketing and advertising or corporate image.

A new feature of this conference is to host presentations of recently published/forthcoming books, edited volumes, JICMS special issues, or academic works in progress, so we invite authors and editors to contribute in ‘Meet the Author’ roundtables.

As we reflect on the state of the Cinema and Media Studies, we open this CFP to a wide range of themes, with the intent of offering a unifying horizon that will allow scholars to explore diverse fields and topics in a broad international context and move forward with new studies, building the future of both the discipline and the journal.

With this CFP, the conference organizers invite proposals from scholars, independent researchers, cinema and media professionals, and graduate students for single papers, pre-constituted panels, and roundtables.

Possible topics include, but are not limited to:

  • Transnational cinema & media studies
  • Remediation of history and historic collective memory
  • 70thanniversary of RAI
  • Gender and media studies in Italy
  • Stardom: Single cases and more general reflections
  • Immigration cinema: Race, ethnicity and discrimination today
  • Sponsored films
  • Representations of violence against women in cinema and TV: Victims, witnesses andperpetrators
  • Reporting honor killings in Italian media
  • Ageism and gender exclusion in the Italian film industry both on and off screen
  • Representations of mental health during the Covid-19 pandemic in Italian films and media
  • The new generation of filmmakers:Experimenting with cinematic language and modes of storytelling
  • Transmedia storytelling and Digital narratives

The conference will include the screening of 1-2 films with filmmakers in attendance.

The languages of the conference are English, Italian and Spanish.Proposals for virtual papers will not be considered.

Please send an abstract of 250 words plus a short bio of 100 words for single papers,or 250 words for pre-constituted panels (including the aims of the panel and summaries of each contribution specifying the names of filmmakers, artists, films, media etc.) followed by individual titles, panelists’ bios, current academic affiliation, and emails for pre-constituted panels with 3 speakers or roundtables, in a word.doc format,no pdf. We invite proposals for 20-minute presentations(inclusive of film clips).

Abstracts for consideration should be submitted to Flavia Laviosa atflaviosa@wellesley.edu.

The deadline for the submission of abstracts is15 December 2023.Notification of acceptance of abstracts will be sent out to authors by15 January 2024.


The conference registration fee includes coffee, three lunches, and opening and closing receptions.

The deadline for inclusion in the conference program is 15 March 2024. Please make every effort to pay conference fees before this date.

  • € 200 regular rate (professors and post-doc)
  • € 150 student rate

The registration fee will be paid to AUR through their website, which will be available in January 2024.

In case of withdrawals, the registration fee will not be reimbursed.

In case of cancellation of the conference, the registration fee will be reimbursed.