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Italy, History and the Arts

Intersections/Intersezioni 2017 is dedicated to the interrelation between history and the arts. Throughout history, art has represented a system of symbolic representation which was both sacred and didactic, instrument of consciousness and tool of propaganda. The relationship between art and society changes in time and space, often transforming (expanding or contracting) the very meaning of art itself, its location, and its space of signification. Modern and contemporary literature, cinema, music, architecture, photography continue to be defined by the connection between techné and the sciences, which is fundamental in challenging reality and the stability of history as a linear development and a universalist narrative. Linking art and history allows us to consider periods, events, technological advancements in their encounter with the artistic inspiration. Analyzing artistic products in contrast with the periods that produced them can provide us with new interpretative tools, illuminating, within the complexity of human activities, notions such as modernity, progress, and shedding light on the cultural, ethical, and political underpinnings that characterize the various forms of expression shaping the contemporary world.

Artifacts, texts, films, musical scores, urban spaces conceptualize the principles, ideas, and limits of a particular period, record crises, turning points, revolutions, opening new perspectives on the historical context that has produced them and, in turn, as Panofsky observed, represent that society’s deepest tensions and drives. The critical intersection of history with the multiple ways in which art has affirmed its “being there” destabilizes our gaze, inviting us to continually change our perspective, offering the possibility of different readings, and opening the way to a critical rethinking of our role as intellectuals, thinkers, and critics.

The interpretation of art has become one of the fundamental areas of philosophy. Varied are the approaches that it elicits and that we welcome. The anthropological approach examines the space and functions art is given in a particular period or society. The stylistic one, considers the work of art’s expressive dimension and its social, cultural, or political message. The sociological one investigates the relations established between art and society through the lens of society’s structure, its rapport with the artist, with the patrons of the art, with the art market, the critics (those who Bourdieu called the “value producers”), and the community at large. Critics have a dominant role in the interpretation, classification and evaluation of a work of art. They identify the breaking points, the fissures, the transition to new expressive modes, the decline, emergence, or confusion of genres, the intersecting of normative borders. They interrogate the material, the object, the text, the image, while also interrogating the limits, the value, the significance of the artistic expression.

The mathematical concept of the intersection or the visual image of a multiple road junction continues to provide the conceptual framework for our investigation. Art, literature, music, and cinema in Italy have always pointed towards innovative ways in which intersections and interactions produce new experiential and epistemological paradigms.

Intersections/Intersezioni 2017 aims at exploring Italian literature, art, music, cinema, photography, architecture in their intersection with Italy’s modern period. In that framework, our objective is to invite the examination of unconventional contacts, exchanges, and relations which have led to an implosion of the limits of the arts, allowing the creative process to ultimately expand the horizon of the known and the knowable.

Comparative and interdisciplinary analyses pertinent to Italian and Cultural Studies, Film Studies and the Arts are welcome and may encompass Literature, History, Art History, Philosophy, Anthropology, Music, Political Science, Religion, Gender Studies, and any other relevant discipline. 

Possible topics 

may include but are not limited 

to the following: 

*Music and its Intersection with history and with other expressive forms, including melodrama, theater, and cinema.

*LiteratureItalian Studies, Post-Modernity, Feminist Theory, Post-Colonial Studies and their Intersection with Cinema, Music, the Arts but also with Politics, cultural practices, and socio-economic phenomena. In addition, theoretical Intersections can be drawn from the debate on issues involving Globalization, Global/Local/Glocal.  

*ArtContemporary trends in Art (arte povera, post-structuralism,-post-modernism) and their Intersection with Music, Literature, Cinema, Architecture, and Urban Studies.  

*Cinema and its Intersection with Literature, Art, Music and Urban Studies.    

Please send an abstract (1-2 paragraphs) to:


Att.: Organizing Committee


February 15th, 2017

WEBMASTER: FSO (Fulvio S. Orsitto)