Transatlantic Literary Networks, 1949-1972: Translation, Modernity, and Cultural Transfer between Italy and the United States

Cristina Iuli Announcement
Subject Fields
American History / Studies, Cultural History / Studies, Humanities, Italian History / Studies, Literature

Università del Piemonte Orientale (Vercelli, Italy) invites paper proposals for a conference exploring the routes and branches of literary and cultural exchanges from Italy to the United States in the years 1945-1975. The conference is the third in a series of events taking place within the framework of the transdisciplinary research project Transatlantic Transfers: the Italian presence in Postwar America 1949-1972 (PRIN 2017, 2020-23) developed in partnership with Politecnico di Milano, Università degli Studi Roma Tre, and Università di Scienze Gastronomiche di Pollenzo. 

Transatlantic Literary Networks aims to solicit reflections and to gather contributions for assessing the presence and understanding the role of Italian literary and artistic culture in the United States between 1949 and 1972.

Circulation and mediation of cultural objects involved actors of differing natures, who were able to intercept the attention and the taste of the cultural élites as well as the strata involved in the market of the so-called consumer culture and the migratory movements that brought millions of Italians to the United States from the nineteenth century onwards. Transatlantic Literary Networks intends to map and understand this field of relationships. In particular, it seeks to investigate the elaboration of a recognizable Italian modern style as a result of transatlantic exchange networks.

Areas of research range from the work of individual actors (authors, publishers, intellectuals, institutions, agents, and translators) to the study of cultural objects and their adaptations, alongside the social and professional networks involved and the documents they left behind (magazines, correspondence, archives, etc.). We aim to outline features that were implicitly or explicitly recognized as peculiar to Italian culture, and to observe how these were connected to literary and cultural forms that were taking shape in those decades in North America.

Contributions to the conference will expand the Atlas of Italian Modern Transatlantic Transfers, a digital atlas of the transatlantic exchange through texts, images and documents, which can be interrogated through guided modes as well as according to user-defined search criteria. The Atlas is one of the main deliverables of the research project: it will be available in Open Access, fully bilingual, for the knowledge and study of the national and international scientific community.

We welcome proposals that expressly address the topics covered by the conference, enhancing the entries in the Atlas of transatlantic exchange, namely:

- subjects (individuals, institutions, companies, etc.);

- events (conferences, meetings, exhibitions, presentations, etc.);

- media (books, magazines, articles, films, etc.).

Proposals may address the following (or other) topics:

  • circulation and reception of specific Italian literary or artistic products in the United States;
  • Italian literature and art in the U.S. in relation to modernity and modernism;
  • American writers and cultural mediators in Italy and, vice versa, Italian writers and mediators in the United States;
  • Cases of triangulation linking Italy, the U.S. and other national cultural contexts;
  • translators, literary agents, cultural institutions and publishers working across national borders;
  • intertextual and interdiscursive practices among Italian and US-American authors;
  • the positioning of Italian culture in the context of the Cultural Cold War.

Submission standards

In this framework, contributors are invited to submit an abstract in English of max 4000 characters (including spaces), with 5 keywords, a short biography (max 1000 characters) and technical requirements for submission. Keywords may be developed into entries for the Atlas of Transatlantic Transfers. A list of completed and in-progress entries can be found at the link:

Accepted contributors will be requested to submit an essay of 25'000~30'000 characters (including spaces) for pre-circulation. Selected papers will be considered for publication in a special journal issue.

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