Upcoming Volumes

AdI 2014: From Otium and Occupatio to Work & Labor in Italian Culture

Labor, work, and their changed conditions at the dawn of the 21st century are among the most discussed and debated questions of our times. In recognition of the topicality of this subject and in light of the historical centrality of Italy in the constitution of — but also antagonism towards — capitalist formations, Annali d'Italianistica will devote its 32nd issue to investigating the temporal and spatial articulations of work and labor in Italian culture, from the pre-industrial era to the Industrial Revolution and beyond. Coverage will thus span from the early Middle Ages to the present.

As the medieval organization of society underwent profound transformations in the course of the 13th century, so did conceptions of work and labor. During the late Middle Ages, the legitimacy acquired by various forms of work and labor facilitated the consolidation of corporate guild structures, networks of laborers' associations, and even demands for corporate representation. The late medieval re-conceptualization of work underwent further transformations during the Renaissance. Italian city-states emerged as pioneers in the creation of early forms of capitalist accumulation and wage-labor relations that would profoundly alter the material conditions of work and class structure. The changes in labor processes and class-consciousness of early modernity would be fully actualized with the integration of labor-saving technological inventions into large-scale modes of agricultural and industrial production. With the increased rationalization of work-productivity through the early doctrines of Taylorism and Fordism in the 20th century, Italy's role as a full-fledged, if belated, member of Western modernity was consolidated.

In addition to exploring literary and aesthetic engagements with the work and labor cultures that have emerged in different periods of Italian history, this volume also seeks to investigate present-day cultural responses to the transformations that have occurred in post-Fordist, late capitalist society. While experiencing, like most Western societies, the impact of the growth of information technology and the effects of global economic networks on its national labor market, including the new conditions of "lavoro immateriale," Italy is responding in contradictory ways: from enthusiasm over the freedom and flexibility deriving from geographical and temporal constraints enabled by cyberspace and cybertime, to the anxiety over the changes wrought by shifts in the global economic hierarchy.

Deadline for submission is September 30, 2013; the volume will be published in the fall of 2014. All contributions will be refereed. Essays, not to exceed 25 double-spaced pages, can be written in Italian or English, and should conform to the style-sheet criteria set forth by Annali d'Italianistica.

Prospective contributors should address all inquiries to both guest editors:
Norma Bouchard, University of Connecticut: Normabouchard60@hotmail.com
Valerio Ferme, Santa Clara University, Santa Clara, CA: vferme@msn.com

AdI 2015: The Great War and the Modernist Imagination in Italy

Guest-Editors: Luca Somigli (University of Toronto) and Simona Storchi (University of Leicester)

In his recent survey of cultural responses to the First World War, historian Emilio Gentile defined the Great War as the “apocalypse of modernity,” the event considered by general consensus as a defining moment in Western civilization, caused by the forces of modernity (in terms of politics, philosophy, economic systems) but also experienced as a quintessential “modern” phenomenon (in terms of warfare, apocalyptic imaginary, eschatological philosophy, etc.). Clearly perceived as a creation of modern man, an event capable of changing the destiny and future of human beings and nations, the war challenged received notions about the foundations of European civilization, the relationship between human beings and technology, and, in general, the faith in progress that had characterized the development of industrial society. The attempts made by the various nations involved to legitimate the conflict produced clashing interpretations and myths — not least, the “war to end all wars.” In Italy in particular, even before intervention and increasingly so after its end, the war was seen as a crucial rite of passage in the formation of national identity, leading to the rise of competing interpretations — from the “fourth war of Independence” to the “capitalist war,” from the “mutilated victory” to the conflict that produced the Fascist spirit, to name only a few — that informed Italian cultural production well into the Fascist ventennio.

2015 marks the centenary of Italy’s intervention in the First World War. This issue of Annali d’Italianistica aims to reassess and shed new light on the cultural perceptions of the experience of the war and its elaborations. Essays that consider the impact of the war on the literary and visual culture of modernism, for which it constitutes a watershed moment, are especially welcome. The volume will be divided into four sections, each addressing one of the following questions: How did the war impact on the literary and artistic imaginary and become a catalyst for cultural debates and aesthetic expressions? How were conceptions of the modern elaborated in relation to the war experience? How did art and politics collide and clash when confronted with the reality of the war and its aftermath? How did the experience of the war affect the perception and self-perception of intellectuals and of their role in society?

Possible topics to be considered may include: Apocalyptic aesthetics — war and the literary and artistic imaginary before, during and after the conflict; the war and Italian identity: redefining national culture; artists at war: avant-gardes/arrière gardes and the politics of the modern; the war and technological imagination; gendering the Great War: rethinking gender roles during the conflict; the Great War as a historical turning point, e.g., as culmination of the process of national unification; as ground of formation of Fascism, etc.; shell-shocked: representing physical and psychological trauma; the war and the new media (photography, telegraphy, cinema); the war in popular culture; he Great War between myth and reality; on the battlefield: writing in the trenches and on the frontlines; guerrafondai and disfattisti: intellectuals and the legitimation of the war.

Deadline for submission is September 30, 2014; the volume will be published in the fall of 2015. All contributions will be refereed. Essays, not to exceed 25 double-spaced pages, can be written in Italian or English, and should conform to the style-sheet criteria set forth by Annali d’Italianistica: http://ibiblio.org/annali/norms.html.

Prospective contributors should address inquires to both guest editors:
Luca Somigli: luca.somigli@utoronto.ca
Simona Storchi: ss557@leicester.ac.uk