Colloquia explore Italian art, culture, literature, philosophy

By: Agnes Shin,  A&S Communications
March 5, 2018

This spring, the Italian program within the College of Arts & Sciences is hosting the Italian Studies Colloquium, a series of lectures bringing together enthusiasts of Italian art, culture, literature and philosophy.

The colloquium will take place in six installments, each with a different guest speaker and lecture topic. The next lecture takes place March 6 and features Giuseppina Mecchia from the University of Pittsburgh.

A week prior to the lecture, presenters distribute papers to be discussed and attendees can read about the topic and bring along questions and ideas to jumpstart the discussion.

Karen Pinkus, professor of Romance studies and comparative literature, Timothy Campbell, professor of Romance studies, and Enzo Traverso, Susan and Barton Winokur Professor in the Humanities, joined forces last fall to organize the colloquium. An iteration of the colloquium initially occurred almost a decade ago.

This semester, the colloquium has a larger focus on the philosophical, and speakers will lecture on topics ranging from the “Technologies of Language” and “Disaffective Citizenship” to “Pasolini and Italian Thought.” The focus is fitting given that this time is an important moment for Italian thought and philosophy, Campbell said.

“Writers such as Toni Negri, Giorgio Agamben, Roberto Esposito, Rosi Braidotti, and Adriana Cavarero continue to enjoy intellectual and editorial success because they obviously speak to current issues and problems in ways that are deeply meaningful,” Campbell said. “It felt important to use the colloquium to probe the reasons for that.”

The Colloquium will conclude April 30 with a lecture by Robert Esposito on “Unfinished Italy,” at the Society for the Humanities. Following the lecture, Esposito will also host a seminar for students on May 1.

“It will be interesting to hear what the Italian philosopher … one of the most important figures in contemporary Italian thought … has to say about recent political events in the United States, given Italy’s own history with populist figures,” Campbell said.

Lectures will be held on Tuesdays at 4:30 p.m. in Klarman KG42, and will be followed by public receptions in the Romance studies lounge. For instructions on downloading colloquium papers on Cornell Box, contact Campbell at

Colloquium schedule:

  • February 13 - Elettra Stimili (University of Rome, Sapienza): "Italian Differences Between Politics and Philosophy"
  • March 6 - Giuseppina Mecchia (University of Pittsburgh): "Technologies of Language: Franco Berardi 'Bifo' Between Transversality and the Simulacrum"
  • March 20 - Graziella Parati (Dartmouth College): "Disaffective Citizenship"
  • April 10 - Thomas Claviez (University of Bern): "Contingency in Agamben and Esposito"
  • April 17 - Felice Cimatti (University of Cosenza): "Pasolini and Italian Thought"
  • April 30 - Roberto Esposito (Scuola Normale Superiore, Pisa): "Unfinished Italy"
 Professor Timothy Campbell

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