Roundtable: Teaching Igiaba Scego

Roundtable for AAIS (March 14th-16th, 2019) at Wake Forest.

Award-winning author, academic, activist, and journalist, Igiaba Scego has produced wide-ranging work that plays a vital role in current debates on Italy’s colonial past, its sexist and racist legacy, and the identity of Italians of African origins. It also raises the question of fiction’s place in these discussions. This roundtable invites participants to address how we teach Scego, from a variety of perspectives. Issues might include the significance of the contexts in which we teach Scego’s work: in courses on colonialism, migrant literature, the novel, short fiction, women authors, children’s literature, Jewish Studies, Italian literature, journalism, transnationalism, European literature, etc. What distinct elements of Scego’s work do these courses highlight? Which texts do you pair or contrast with Scego’s and why? What are students’ reactions to reading Scego? What are the difficulties involved in teaching Scego’s work to an American audience? How do you navigate American and Italian concepts of race? Do you include her work in courses taught in English or Italian? Presenters will give brief presentations (7-8 minutes) to allow ample time for discussion. All presenters will provide a paragraph from Scego’s work before the conference, so we can have some specific texts to ground our conversation.

Please send a 100-300 word abstract, brief bio, and request for A/V to the round table organizer by December 30th.

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Organizer: Saskia Ziolkowski

Duke University

sez6 AT

Lessing and World Literature (MLA 2017)

The Lessing Society MLA panel, taking place in Philadelphia, January 5th-8th, 2017. Submit abstracts to Saskia Ziolkowski (sez6 AT by March 15th, 2016.

Although Lessing’s explorations of literature in contrast to the other arts have been an object of considerable scholarly focus, Lessing is rarely mentioned in the many studies of world literature. Lessing’s absence contrasts with Goethe’s, who is well-known as being o410807253ne of the earliest (often credited as being the earliest) theorists of world literature. While he did not explore the term, Lessing examined the roles of various literary traditions in a broader European context, drew  inspiration from a wide range of literary sources, and had (and has) a significant influence on various traditions and disciplines. This panel seeks to examine how engaging Lessing’s broad thinking about literature adds to conversations on world literature, which have so often used Goethe as their point of departure, as well as how studies of world literature can shed new light on Lessing’s work.

We welcome talks that address ideas about Lessing and world literature, including but not limited to how Lessing’s ideas of literary traditions (French, Spanish, English, Italian, German) express themselves in both his essays and individual works of fiction, how his ideas of literature contrast with Goethe’s, and the presence of Lessing’s works in world
literature. Talks may focus on a wide range of topics: for instance, how Lessing’s dramatic theory have shaped international views on drama, how and why Lessing drew on Boccaccio or other individual authors, the presence of Nathan der Weise in world literature, the significance of individual productions of his plays, or a thorough consideration of Hannah Arendt’s Lessing essay.

G E Lessing

Original Artwork: Engraving by A H Payne after Storck. (Photo by Hulton Archive/Getty Images)

From the Page to the Italian Screen

We would welcome submissions for a panel, “From the Page to the Italian Screen” happening at SAMLA  November 13th-15th, 2015 in Durham, NC.

From Bicycle Thieves to Blow-Up to Gomorrah many of Italy’s most famous and important films are adaptations of literary works. Rather than explore the differences between adaptations of a single work or author, such as Shakespeare or Jane Austen, this panel will discuss the issues surrounding one national tradition’s cinematic and television adaptations, including films set in Italy, in Italian, or by Italian directors. This panel welcomes submissions that deal with any aspect of adaptation and Italian cinema, from the competition between the arts, to adapting short stories versus novels, to the differences between adapting a work from another language rather than from Italian, to the reasons for a particular director’s desire to adapt certain works (Visconti’s The Leopard and Death in Venice), to multiple adaptations of one author’s works (Alberto Moravia), to the challenges of working with a living author, like Elena Ferrante (Mario Martone), or the challenges of adapting the classics, like the Decameron (Pier Paolo Pasolini).

Please submit a brief abstract, brief bio, and A/V requirements by June 10th 2015 to Rebecca Bauman, Fashion Institute of Technology, SUNY (rebecca_bauman AT  and Saskia Ziolkowski, Duke University (sez6 AT

For more information on the conference and its theme (In Concert: Literature and the Other Arts) see:

CFP AAIS Session: Diaries, Notebooks, and Journals

Diaries, Notebooks, and Journals in the Italian Literary Landscape

While studies often concentrate on the development of the novel or on the importance of literary journals in Italy, the role of diaries, notebooks, and personal journals is less discussed. From the recently fully translated Zibaldone to Il mestiere di vivere diaries, notebooks, and journals play a prominent and significant role in the Italian literary landscape. This session welcomes investigations of individual notebooks or diaries from any time period, examinations of the notebook as form or genre, analyses of fictional diaries or notebooks, treatments of the reception of Italian journals, and discussions of fragmentation, aphorisms, or stories, as they relate to the notebook.

Please send an abstract of 150-300 words (in English or Italian) and a brief bio to Saskia Ziolkowski ( by December 31st.

2015 Conference of the American Association of Italian Studies, March 26-29, 2015, Boulder, Colorado

diaries, notebooks, and journals

CFP: AAIS Session, Italian Modernism

A Decade After Italian Modernism

Italian ModernismIn 2004 Luca Somigli and Mario Moroni’s edited volume Italian Modernism: Italian Culture between Decadentism and Avant-Garde was published, drawing attention to the fact that the category “modernism” had been underexplored in the Italian context. How has the critical understanding of Italian modernism changed in the last ten years? What do we mean when we say “Italian modernism”? What elements of Italian modernism remain overlooked? What does using the term reveal about twentieth-century Italian literature, architecture, film, and art? This session invites paper proposals on any aspect of Italian modernism.

Please send an abstract of 150-300 words (in English or Italian) and a brief bio to Saskia Ziolkowski ( by December 31st.

2015 Conference of the American Association of Italian Studies, March 26-29, 2015, Boulder, Colorado

Italian Cultures, Contexts, Images, and Texts at SAMLA 2013

samla 2013_final coverThis session welcomes submissions on Italian literature and culture (1600 to the present) related to SAMLA‘s focus, “Cultures, Contexts, Images, and Texts: Making Meaning in Print, Digital, and Networked Worlds.” Topics include but are not limited to the relationships between print and digital publications of Italian literature, the use of Italian art or film in pedagogy, analysis of Italian books in film, and using images in the interpretation of texts. Brief abstracts (200-500) words from all disciplines dealing with Italian works and culture are welcome. Please submit them by June 20th to Saskia Ziolkowski, sez6 AT

The conference is taking place November 8-10, 2013 in Atlanta, Georgia.

Description of SAMLA’s special focus: We hope that this year’s special focus will also enhance the increasing level of interdisciplinarity in higher education. SAMLA 85, “Cultures, Contexts, Images, and Texts: Making Meaning in Print, Digital, and Networked Worlds,” will encourage dialogues surrounding the intersections between literatures, languages, rhetorics, and media—problematizing boundaries between print and digital, between reading and writing, between scholarship and pedagogy, between text and image, between institutional and vernacular, and between critique and making. The ways in which we make meaning are varied and vibrant, and this conference enables us to come together to share, make, and gain new knowledge about our work.

Austro-Italian at AAIS

Call for Papers for a session at AAIS, April 11th-14th at the University of Oregon in Eugene


The cultural and literary productions that resulted from Austrian-Italian encounters are less noted than many others, despite the geographic, historical, political, and cultural ties between Austria and Italy. Using the concept of “Austro-Italian,” this panels aims to revisit and consider aspects of Italian literature and culture that have often been overlooked.

Saskia Ziolkowski, Duke University, sez2002 AT

This session is also related to a collection, tentatively with the same title, that I am editing.

Call for Papers: Travel, Immigration, and Exile in Italy

I am organizing two panels (one is already complete) related to SAMLA’s special focus.   The conference will take place in Durham, NC November 9th-11th. Please submit!

This session welcomes submissions on Italian literature and culture (1600 to the present) related to the conference’s focus, “Text as Memoir: Tales of Travel, Immigration, and Exile,” including but not limited to Italian immigrant literature, tourism in Italy, literature by Italian exiles, travel in Italian literature, and representations of immigrants in Italian film. By June 25, 2012, please submit a brief abstract (200-500 words) to Saskia Ziolkowski, University of California at Berkeley, at