Association for the Study of Modern Italy (ASMI) Annual Conference

1/2 December 2017, Istituto Italiano di Cultura, Belgrave Square, London SW1


The Culture and Politics of the Italian Family from the 19th to the 21st Century

Conference convenors: Paul Ginsborg, Christian Goeschel, Sofia Serenelli and Alessandra Antola Swan



Even though the importance of the family – in all its variegated forms – has been widely recognised by scholars and commentators on modern Italy, the amount of in-depth and comparative analysis dedicated to this vast subject has remained rather limited. We would like to address this gap, both inviting different perspectives and highlighting two areas: family politics, which implies a wide consideration of the place of families in the social and political life of a nation-state; and family culture, with ‘culture’ used in a broad way, embracing ideas of family as well as all levels of family life and experience both within the family and without. Lurking behind this framework lies a nagging question: do we consider the family, with all its tenacity and social primacy, a positive or negative force in modern Italian history?

We would like to encourage contributions from a range of disciplines, including cultural history, social anthropology, sociology, literary studies, politics, film studies, medical humanities, oral history and memory studies.

Potential themes for papers include studies of the longue durée; Catholic doctrines and practices; comparative international studies of family life; Mafia families; family biographies; the debate on ‘familism’; the long-term historical decline of the institution of marriage; divorce, reconstituted families; gay and lesbian unions and same-sex civil union law; family, (mental) health and healthcare; the significance of 1968 for the family; the role of family in Italy’s collective memories and national representations.

All proposals for papers (250 word abstract per 20 minute presentation, plus a brief biography) should be sent to the conference convenors/administrators at [email protected] by 15 June 2017.

Acceptances will be communicated by 31 July. Accepted speakers will be required to join ASMI, which includes subscription to the journal Modern Italy, and register for the conference by 1 November. Registration details will be announced no later than September.


Published: May 4, 2017