DENUNCIA: Speaking Up in Modern Italy

Denuncia’s afterlife

Posted in Denuncia's afterlife by nyudenuncia on March 31, 2009

Ciao a tutti!

We want to thank you for your participation!

We had an incredible time with all of you.  Your papers were wonderful and inspiring. The discourse that the conference shaped is far from over!  We want use this blog–and expand it–to keep the dialogue going. Please contact us if you have any ideas or would like to write a piece on the blog in the future. We hope you had a safe trip home and enjoyed the rest of your time in New York.

Professor Ginsborg told us numerous times how much he was impressed with the quality and energy of your presentations.  Indeed, we were struck by how the questions at the end of each session went on and on! So much stimulating discussion and reflection came out of your papers.

We want to draw attention to some articles regarding the conference in the  press from America Oggi, the insert of La Repubblica in the United States,, as well as Il manifesto.

“L’opposizione senza partito” by Stefano Vaccara of America Oggi

“Regime and Resistance” by George de Stefano of i-Italy

Ginsborg: «Da noi solo l’opposizione dei martiri» by Giovanna Pajetta of Il manifesto

Stay tuned! We will upload pictures of the conference–from the panels, roundtable, keynote, and candids–by the end of the week!

All our best,

Alessandra, Jonathan, and Valeria


Conference Poster

Posted in Conference Information by nyudenuncia on March 21, 2009

It’s hard to believe that the conference is only one week away! Please circulate this poster and the schedule to everyone you think might be interested.

Thanks to our graphic designer, Meredith Mullen, for pulling together all of the conference collateral so quickly and gracefully.

Background reading

Posted in Uncategorized by nyudenuncia on March 16, 2009

Professor Ginsborg brought two recent articles to our attention in the London Review of Books.  Authored by Perry Anderson, both articles are “required reading” for conference participants!  

“An Invertebrate Left” gives a detailed account of the Left in Post-War Italy, charting the failures of the left to gain a secure footing immediately after World War II, the anni del boom, the ’60s and ’70s through the present.  

“An Entire Order Converted into What It Was Intended to End” focuses more on 1992 to the present, the period widely known as the “Second Republic”, examining how Berlusconi’s rise to power vanquished hopes for reform in contemporary Italy.

Conference Schedule

Posted in Conference Information by nyudenuncia on March 15, 2009

We are happy to announce the schedule for the Conference.   

All events take place at New York University’s Casa Italiana Zerilli-Marimò at 24 West 12th Street between Fifth and Sixth Avenues. All panels will take place in the second floor library while the keynote address and the roundtable discussion will be held in the auditorium of the Casa.

The Conference is free and open to the public

Friday March 27: 

8:45-9:15AM  Registration and Coffee 

9:15-9:30AM  Opening Comments and Welcome from Organizers 

Valeria Castelli, Alessandra Montalbano, Jonathan Mullins 

9:30-11:00AM Dovere di cronaca: Cross-Century Approaches to Socio-political Critique 

Moderator: Elisabetta Bini (Department of History, New York University) 

Maiko Favaro, Harvard University 

“‘Il re è nudo’. Marco Travaglio e il giornalismo di denuncia nell’Italia contemporanea” 

Bruno Bonomo, Università La Sapienza, Roma and Università della Tuscia, Viterbo 

“The Vandals at home’. Antonio Cederna’s denunciation of the depredation of the Italian cities in the post-war period” 

Laura Bresciani, New York University 

“Le denunce sociali di Jessie White Mario”  

11:00-11:30AM Coffee Break 

11:30AM-1:00PM  Views of Society through Comedy and Tragedy  

Moderator: Jane Tylus (Department of Italian Studies, New York University) 

Maria Elena D’amelio, State University of New York-Stonybrook 

“I nuovi mostri della commedia all’italiana. Precariato e reality show in Tutta la vita davanti di Paolo Virzì” 

Paola Staboli, Independent Scholar 

“Connivenze e corruzione nella politica italiana nella commedia L’onorevole di Leonardo Sciascia”  

Inga Pierson, New York University 

“Children, Tragedy and Denuncia on the Italian Screen” 

 1:00-2:00PM  Lunch 

 2:00-4:00PM  Problematics of Remembering:  the Uses and Sites of Memory 

Moderator: Lidia Santarelli (Center of European and Mediterranean Studies, New York University) 

Tristan Kirvin, New York University 

“‘Servants of the Prince’: Informing, ‘Dissociation,’ and Remembrance of the Seventies”

Benedetta Tobagi, Independent Scholar 

“Living memory of the victims of Italian stragi and terrorism as a form of denuncia. Two models of action: Case della Memoria and Archives’ Network” 

Andrea Hajek, University of Warwick (UK) 

“Crash vs. Cofferati. The transference of a model of resistance” 

Camilla Zamboni, Ohio State University 

L’inutilità del bene: Demythologizing the Mafia through the defeat of the Anti-Hero” 

4:00-4:30PM  Coffee Break 

4:30PM   Keynote Address, Paul Ginsborg (Università di Firenze): “ ‘Exiles in the fatherland’: acquiescence and opposition in the Berlusconi era.”

6:00PM   Wine and Cheese Reception 

Saturday March 28: 

9:00-9:30AM  Coffee 

9:30-11AM  Filming Glocalization: the Territorial Dynamics of Protest 

Moderator: Joe Perna (Department of Italian Studies, New York University)

Luana Ciavola, University of Macquarie (Australia) 

“Filming the G8 2001: desire of the gaze, desire for revolt”  

Kim Ziegler, New York University 

“Whose Biùtiful cauntri? How a Local Documentary Denounces a National Problem” 

Dominic Holdaway. University of Warwick (UK) 

I cento passi: Popular Italian Film and Denuncia in the 21st Century” 

11:00-11:30AM Coffee Break 

11:30AM-1:00PM Stranded Speakers: the Juridical Determination of Subjects 

Moderator: Ara Merjian (Department of Italian Studies, New York University) 

Cristiana Giordano, University of Calfornia-Davis 

Denuncia: the Subject Verbalized. ‘Victims of Human Trafficking’ and the Politics of (Mis)Recognition in Contemporary Italy” 

Alex Standen, University of Birmingham (UK) 

“‘Sorvegliare e punire’: Institutional Violence in Dacia Maraini’s Il manifesto and Memorie di una ladra” 

Valerie McGuire, New York University  

“Speaking Subalterns and Silvio Berlusconi: The Politics of Immigration in Scontro di civiltà per un ascensore a Piazza Vittorio” 

1:00-2:00PM  Lunch 

2:00-4:00PM  Troubling The Truth: Narrative Modes of Resistance 

Moderator: Chiara Ferrari (Department of Italian Studies, New York University) 

Raffaello Palumbo-Mosca, University of Chicago 

“The Flesh and Blood of Italy: Notes on Literature, Ethics and Society” 

Claire Watters, University of Birmingham (UK)  

“Laughing Matters: Italian Stand-up Comedians in the Berlusconi Era”

Elisabeth Fay, Cornell University 

“La morale mancata: Leonardo Sciascia’s Favole della dittatura

4:00-4:30PM Coffee Break 

4:30PM-6:00PM  Roundtable Discussion: Denuncia in the Academy?  

What is the relationship between academic criticism and research and the “io so” that the civic intellectual declaims, powerfully marking the history of denunciation from Pier Paolo Pasolini to Roberto Saviano? What convergences are there in the role of the public intellectual and the academic? Is there room for study of the voices of denuncia within the academy? What are the risks of engaging in such a dialogue?  

Moderator: Stefano Albertini (Casa Italiana Zerilli-Marimò and Department of Italian Studies, New York University) 

Teresa Fiore (California State University at Long Beach – New York University) 

Paul Ginsborg (Università di Firenze) 

Nelson Moe (Barnard College, Columbia University) 


Screening of Viva Zapatero!

Posted in Documentary Film Festival by nyudenuncia on March 14, 2009

On Thursday March 12 Viva Zapatero! was screened at the Casa Italiana Zerilli-Marimò as part of the “Denuncia in Documentary” series.  Jonathan Mullins presented the film. 

Jonathan Mullins presents the documentary.

Jonathan Mullins presents the documentary.

The film takes aim squarely at Silvio Berlusconi, examining how his stranglehold on the Italian media effectively eliminates voices of opposition in Italian public life.

Guzzanti, an actress, writer and director known for her penetrating satire, has personal experience with Berlusconi’s control of public discourse in Italy through his media empire.  In late 2003 she appeared on what was to be the first episode of Raiot, a late night political satire show on Rai Tre.  Her caricature of Berlusconi–complete with a double breasted suit, a wig with his dyed maroon hair and signature disregard for everyone that is not him–was spot-on. In fact, it was so good that Raiot’s first episode was also its last. Rai Tre pulled the show immediately. 

Soon thereafter, Berlusconi’s attorneys sued Guzzanti for 20 million euros, citing her “lies and insinuation” that they alleged constituted a personal attack on Berlusconi. At the heart of their lawsuit was a tenuous definition of satire, “quella cosa che tende a sdrammatizzare e a rendere simpatico un politico, a diminiure le tensioni sociali” (that which tends to make light of and render likable a politician, to diminish social tensions), Their definition of satire eliminates the critique essential to the form’s ludic potential, that   comically reveals social tensions while making its audience think hard through humor about how these tensions are structured. In its account of the censoring of her caricature of Berlusconi and resulting legal scuffle, Viva Zapatero puts into relief the dangerous challenges to free speech that exist in Berlusconi’s Italy.  Article 21 of the Italian constitution guarantees the citizen’s right to free expression with word, either in written form or through any other mean of disseminationsatire included–in order to assure democracy in the Italian Republic.  Guzzanti’s documentary illuminates the precarious state of democracy in contemporary Italy, where the multiplicity of voices are being silenced through Berlusconi’s univocal control of public discourse through Mediaset. 

Screening of Improvvisamente l’inverno Scorso

Posted in Documentary Film Festival by nyudenuncia on March 14, 2009

On Tuesday March 3 Improvvisamente l’inverno scorso was screened at the Casa Italiana Zerilli-Marimò as part of the “Denuncia in Documentary” series.  

Since 1994 the European Parliament has adopted resolutions in order to compel the member States of the European Union to eliminate any kind of discrimination against homosexuals. But because no country legally recognized same sex couples, in 1997 another parliamentary resolution considered this discrimination. In 2000 as part of a resolution on human rights, the Parliament directly requested that the States grant rights to unmarried and same sex couples equal to those of traditional marriages. Many countries in Europe complied. In 2006 the Parliament passed an official condemnation of homophobia. 

In the same year, Romano Prodi won the national election in Italy. Legal civil partnerships were part of his political platform. The following year, the Minister of Equal Opportunities proposed a bill named DiCo, a law intended to create these civil unions.

Departing from their own situation, Luca and Gustav, who have been a couple for 8 years, decided to follow the resulting debate over DiCo as it unfolded. Their documentary captures the wide-spread homophobia that emerged in reaction to DiCo across the political, religious, and social fabric of Italy. The film is also the story about their discovery and reaction to a deep-rooted anti-gay mentality that they hadn’t expected to find.  Theirs is a journey through an un-accepting Italy where they have the courage to ask the simple question, “why not?” — a question to which they often hear no real answer. Despite the bitter reality they confronted, they were able to narrate the events with irony and even lightness.

DiCo does not pass—due in no small part to the intervention of the Catholic Church—and Italy remains one of the few members of the European Union with no recognized civil partnerships.

Improvvisamente l’inverno scorso has been awarded in many film festivals around the world and gained immediate distribution abroad. But not in Italy. It hasn’t even been shown at a movie theater. Besides this, it has traveled across Italy when specifically invited to do a screening by particular organizations. However, the DVD, along with a book written by Luca and Gustav, is now available in bookstores because it was a successful film even if never given a proper reception in Italy.

Luca and Gustav kindly sent to us a short video in order to open the screening. We would like to warmly thank them for their participation.  


Audience in the auditorum of the Casa Italiana

Audience in the auditorum of the Casa Italiana


Alessandra Montalbano presents the documentary.  In the background you can see the video message that Luca and Gustav sent to introduce the screening.

Alessandra Montalbano presents the documentary. In the background you can see the video message that Luca and Gustav sent to introduce the screening.