Call for Papers for 2019 Annual Conference: Eye-centricity and the Visual Cultures of Italy and Its Diaspora

May 09, 2018 778

Eye-centricity and the Visual Cultures of Italy and Its Diaspora. April 25-27, 2019. JOHN D. CALANDRA ITALIAN AMERICAN INSTITUTE - Queens College, City University of New York - 25 West 43rd Street, 17th floor (between 5th and 6th Avenues), Manhattan

This interdisciplinary conference proposes to explore the visual cultures Italians have created, consumed, and been the subject of from early modernity to the contemporary "post-text" era. Italians--including inhabitants of the nation-state, members of the diaspora, and former colonial subjects--have been conceptualized, rendered, and understood to a large degree by the visual. Landscapes (e.g., Roman ruins, the "old neighborhood"), individuals (e.g., the picturesque contadina, the criminalized immigrant), objects (e.g., fascist architecture in Asmara, pizza), and cultural concepts (e.g., bella figura, the evil eye) have been the stuff of visual arts, media, advertisement, tourism, and vernacular renderings concerning Italy's histories and identities, within and beyond the country's geopolitical boundaries.

These and other visual frames are didactic modes by which tropes of Italy and Italians are promoted and consumed, contested and re-imagined.

This conference builds on the work of Visual Culture Studies scholars with their concern for scopic regimes, commodities, and the visual manifestations of race, gender, and sexuality. We are looking for papers that engage with a wide range of visual characterizations as found in literature, the visual arts, media (e.g., television, online gaming, the Web), graphic design, entertainment, and other areas and technologies. Italy, and by extension italianità, is a hyper-visualized locus that is well suited for critical interventions on visual culture.


* The touristic gaze
* Tropes of the picturesque and the folkloric
* Visualizing landscapes and chronotopes, e.g., the "Old Country"
* Postcards, comics, graphic novels
* Scopophilia and eye-centricity (e.g., the passeggiata)
* Digital humanities and visual culture
* Advertisements and consumerism
* Architecture and the visual
* Art periods, styles, and movements (e.g., the Baroque, Futurism)
* Visual culture and literature
* Religious iconography (e.g., bleeding statues, ex-votos)

The official language of the conference is English. All presentations are to last no longer than twenty minutes, including audio and visual illustrations. Thursday evening is dedicated to welcoming comments and reception; sessions and panels will take place all day Friday and Saturday.

NOTA BENE: There are no available funds for travel, accommodations, or meals. There is no conference registration fee. The conference does not make arrangements with local hotels, so participants are responsible for booking their own accommodations.


Abstracts for scholarly papers (up to 500 words, plus a note on technical requirements) and a brief, narrative biography should be emailed as attached documents by September 14, 2018, to, where other inquires may also be addressed. We encourage the submission of organized panels (of no more than three presenters). Submission for a panel must be made by a single individual on behalf of the group and must include all the paper titles, abstract narratives, and individual biographies and emails.


The John D. Calandra Italian American Institute, Queens College, is a university-wide research institute of The City University of New York, dedicated to the history and culture of Italians in the United States.

SOURCE: John D. Calandra Italian American Institute

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