Association for the Study of Modern Italy (ASMI) Annual Conference

Live event: 4 December 2020, 15-17:30


Representation of the Mediterranean

Organising Committee:
Alessandro de Arcangelis (UCL), Fernanda Gallo (University of Cambridge), Giuseppe Grieco (Queen Mary, University of London), Joseph John Viscomi (Birkbeck, University of London).

Due to the current global circumstances, this year’s conference will be divided into a series of events – a Keynote lecture, a roundtable discussion, a series of podcasts/interviews, and (hopefully) an in-person event in June 2021 -- which together explore a theme of growing interest to scholars of Italy. This year's ASMI conference considers the relation between Italy and the Mediterranean against the grain of methodological nationalism and transnationalism. The Mediterranean waxes and wanes as a region of scholarly investigation. In recent years it has reasserted itself in public debate: popular uprisings unsettled long-standing political regimes; economic crises generated widespread precarity and insecurity, nationalist movements have reified some borders while condemning others, and climate change continues to affect Mediterranean landscapes. In all of this, Italy has played a central role. Its shores have received refugees; its youth have borne the consequences of economic crisis and continue along well-trodden paths of emigration; a new populism has emerged in the renamed ‘Lega’ (and in a broader right-wing coalition); its environment has been affected by both the changing salinity of the sea and the rising waters which transform its agricultural landscape. Italy’s connection to the Mediterranean is, in many ways, a driving force of its socio-cultural, political, historical and environmental challenges.


These processes have historical precedents; some appear in continuity with the past, while others demarcate divergences and suggest new horizons. Therefore, this unconventional ASMI conference sets out to examine Italy as an interconnected nexus of encounter – across space and time -- that does not simply sit in the Mediterranean, but rather feeds upon historical changes in and beyond the region. In order to understand these changes, the ASMI 2020 interdisciplinary conference will consider social, political, and environmental conditions as well as cultural and intellectual undercurrents that place Italy in relation to its multiple seas.


Italian Mediterraneans, 1800-Present will commence with: 

Keynote Lecture:

Maurizio Isabella (Queen Mary, University of London)

The keynote is available to stream here

Roundtable Programme

4 December 2020

Introductory comments: 3:00-3:20pm

Katia Pizzi, Italian Cultural Institute & School of Advanced Study, U. of London 

Phil Cooke, Association for the Study of Modern Italy & University of Strathclyde

Fernanda Gallo (University of Cambridge) & Joseph Viscomi (Birkbeck, University of London)

Roundtable: 3:20-4:20

Naor Ben-Yehoyada, Columbia University

Norma Bouchard, Drexel University

Barbara Curli, Università di Torino

Roberto Dainotto, Duke University

Maurizio Isabella, QMUL

Konstantina Zanou, Columbia University

Pausa: 4:20-4:30

Discussion and Q&A: 4:30-5:30


The events on 4 December 2020 will be followed by a monthly series of podcasts and interviews (all will be available online) conducted by Alessandro de Arcangelis, Fernanda Gallo, Giuseppe Grieco, Valerie McGuire and Joseph Viscomi.