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Annual Meeting for Italian Studies

Public Programs

Annual Meeting of the American Association for Italian Studies
and the Canadian Society for Italian Studies
Fri, Apr 21, 2017 1 PM

Join the American Association for Italian Studies and the Canadian Society for Italian Studies for an afternoon of screenings and panel discussions exploring cutting-edge topics in Italian film studies. All events are free and open to the public. For conference details, please contact AAIS organizer Dana Renga, associate professor in Ohio State’s Department of French and Italian at


Highlights include:


On the Other Side of the Mirror (Cecilia Grasso, 2015) focuses on the stories and experiences of a group of drag kings in Italy. The screening will be followed by panel discussion with the members of the Queer Studies Caucus.



Blaxploitalian: 100 Years of Blackness in Italian Cinema (Fred Kuwornu, 2016) is a documentary that uncovers the careers of a population of entertainers seldom heard from before: black actors in Italian cinema. Blaxploitalian unveils the historic struggles faced by Afro-Italian and African diasporic actors, which are correlated with stories of actors who work to find respectable and significant roles in contemporary films. The screening will be followed by panel discussion with the director and Ohio State faculty and students.



Ruth Ben-Ghiat

“Leaps of Faith: On Intuition and Interdisciplinarity in Italian Studies”

This talk will reflect on the challenge of doing interdisciplinary work. The case study will be Professor Ben-Ghiat’s attempt to bring history and Italian film studies to bear on each other to understand Fascist empire cinema: the task of conveying the place of history in images, and the place of images in history. The talk also focuses on the interpretative issues posed in studying objects and texts about which little is known, and the place of intuition in such circumstances. This is one meaning of the “leaps of faith” in the talk’s title; others might be having the courage of one’s convictions, and the daring to go off-grid with respect to the canons of this, or any, discipline.

Ruth Ben-Ghiat is Professor of History and Italian Studies at New York University.


Support for this conference is provided by the Italian Cultural Institute of Chicago and Ohio State’s Arts and Humanities Large Grant; Billy Ireland Cartoon Library and Museum; Center for Languages, Literatures, and Cultures; Department of French and Italian; Department of African American and African Studies; Film Studies Program; Department of Women’s Gender, and Sexuality Studies; The Center for Medieval and Renaissance Studies; Popular Culture Studies; Thompson Library; and Wexner Center for the Arts.

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