Only recently has the ‘everyday’ emerged as a significant analytical concept in academia, thanks to groundbreaking studies on the everyday transformations wrought by the sociopolitical, artistic and technological productions of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries.
What is perhaps most fascinating about these studies is that the quotidian has proven to be both ordinary and not ordinary when put to the analytical lens. Rita Felski writes, "The everyday is the essential, taken-for-granted continuum of mundane activities that frames our forays into more esoteric or exotic worlds.” What voice is the everyday given, deliberately or accidentally, in literature, cinema, history, and the visual arts? More specifically, how can analyzing the "everyday” be re-imagined as a new kind of critical practice for Italianists and Italian writers of all periods?
In our conference, the Italian graduate students in the Department of Romance Languages and Literatures at the University of Chicago seek to problematize the concept of the everyday in the cultural and historical context of Italy. Rather than give one definition of the quotidiano within Italian literature, cinema, and art, let us explore the means by which the everyday is present in cultural productions; and how and why our daily use of these productions may be seen as both conventional and innovative.
We invite abstracts from all disciplines that study the everyday in any period of Italy's history from the Middle Ages to the present. Papers may be written in either English or Italian.
We offer the following topics as suggestions or general guidelines; other topics relating to the everyday are also welcome.
• Representations of the 'domestic' in art, film, literature (family, gender, etc.)
• Gendered and feminist (or women writers') attitudes toward the everyday
• The urban everyday: flanerie, consumerism, entertainment, cuisine, hygiene, etc.
• Painting, visual art, or cinema depicting scenes of daily life (e.g. the Macchiaioli of the Ottocento; Italian Neorealism and its emphases on space, ‘real time’, etc.)
• Transformations of the everyday in avant-garde projects • The lowering of the poetic voice among the crepuscolari, 'poeti borghesi', etc.
• Food, hunger, famine, feasting; disease, health and body; scatology
• Comportment or advice books from the Middle Ages onward
• Conceptions of "civility"; crime and punishment; the legal system; prison life
• Realism in Italian theater from Ruzzante onward
• Oral traditions and storytelling; growth of mass literacy, consumerism, etc.
• Representations of time: linear, cyclical, diurnal, nocturnal
Presentations should not exceed 20 minutes in length (7-8 typed pages, double-spaced). Abstracts of no more than 300 words are due to firstname.lastname@example.org