University of Pittsburgh
March 31, 2011

Pitt to Host the American Association for Italian Studies 2011 Conference April 7-9

Pitt Professor Marcia Landy to give the plenary address; Simonetta Soldani, professor at the University of Florence, is the Women’s Studies Caucus plenary speaker
Contact:  412-624-4147

PITTSBURGH—The University of Pittsburgh Department of French and Italian Languages and Literatures in the School of Arts and Sciences will host the 31st annual conference of The American Association for Italian Studies (AAIS), featuring a Friday and Saturday plenary session and 78 conference sessions and roundtables, from April 7 to 9 at the Holiday Inn University Center, 130-150 Lytton St., Oakland. 

The AAIS is a 30-year old organization with a membership of more than 400 scholars of Italian, hailing from universities in North America and Europe. Francesca Savoia, Pitt associate professor of Italian and conference organizer, said that approximately 300 scholars will be in attendance at this year’s conference. 

Two plenary sessions, which are free and open to the public, will be held April 8 and 9 in the Frick Fine Arts Auditorium, 650 Schenley Dr., Oakland. 

At the 5:30-7 p.m. April 8 plenary session, Marcia Landy, Pitt Distinguished Professor of English and Film Studies, will deliver the keynote address titled “Addio Mario Monicelli: Reflections on Commedia all’Italiana as Counter History.” 

The keynote speaker at the 5:45-7 p.m. April 9 AAIS Women’s Studies Caucus plenary session will be Simonetta Soldani, professor of history at the University of Florence (Universita degli Studi di Firenze), whose talk is titled “Women and Women’s Studies in the Italian Contemporary History: A Guarded, Startling Presence.” 

Material related to the conference will be displayed in two cases located in the foyer of Hillman Library. One includes a traveling exhibition compiled by the Centro di Documentazione Ebraica Contemporanea of Milan and the Primo Levi Center of New York on the persecution of Italian Jews in the 1940s. In addition, an Italian Jewish Studies Caucus has been created within AAIS, making its debut at the symposium with 18 papers and six sessions devoted to Jewish history and culture in Italy. 

The conference was organized in collaboration with Carla E. Lucente, the Honorary Consul of Italy in Pittsburgh. Along with Pitt’s French and Italian languages and literatures department, Pitt conference sponsors include the dean of the School of Arts and Sciences; Humanities Center; European Union Center of Excellence; the Women’s Studies, Cultural Studies, and Jewish Studies programs; and Hillman Library. 

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