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David Birdsong, Chair 201 W 21ST STREET STOP B7600, HRH 2.114A, AUSTIN, TX 78712 • 512-471-5531

Faculty and Graduate Student Colloquium

Fri, April 1, 2011 • 3:30 PM • HRH 2.118 French and Italian Lounge

Paola Bonifazio
It’s time to take things (not too) seriously: Women Directors and the Documentary in Contemporary Italy

This paper will focus on the conjuncture of two contemporary trends in Italian cinema: the increased production and distribution of documentary films by women directors; the spread of works frequently defined as “documentary,” but that cover a variety of styles that hybridizes the very definition of the latter. I argue that the fact that many women directors experiment in new documentary forms, and inquire into social realities, speaks to a “neo”-feminist approach towards filmmaking. I use this term in light of the feminist group Diotima’s philosophical practice of  “partire da sè,” elaborated in the 1980s, which indicates a political engagement with the collective that begins from an inquiry into the self. Furthermore, the renovated engagement with the social is realized in the films under study, quite frequently, through an ironic gaze. This element opens up questions about the relationship between feminism and postmodernist aesthetics, that is, between disruptive forms (irony or hybridism) and the search for a definition of the political subject.
 
 
Melissa Demos
Laura Battiferri: a portrait of Florentine literary tradition


This paper explores the atypical iconography of Agnolo Bronzino's portrait of a woman holding a 'petrarchino', believed to be an unusually well-respected poetess and intellectual of the Cinquecento, Laura Battiferri. Art historians have traditionally established their identification of Battiferri based on the sitter's overt connection to
Petrarch and his poetic Laura. Recent studies have likened the portrait to typical Dante iconography as well.  This study suggests also her embodiment of Beatrice, the combative and moral poetic spirit of Dante and proposes that the sitter's hybridity is an allegory representing contemporary debates concerning the ?questione della lingua?.

Sponsored by: Department of French and Italian


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