The talk series “Global Italy: Bringing the Contemporary Society in Class” will virtually bring to campus four speakers with the goal of enriching the colleagues’ expertise in topics that are currently re-shaping the Italian study field and beyond, such as immigration, gender equality, inclusive language, and the LGBTQ+ community. Each speaker is going to offer a talk on one of these contemporary topics that affect the global society, not just Italy, and a reflection on how to implement these topics in Italian classes (and beyond) starting from language classes. The structure of each talk includes a first part where the guest speaker presents their topic in a lecture modeling how to integrate this kind of material in class, and, then, a second part where the guest speaker addresses the pedagogical implications of the topic selected.
Giuseppe Grispino (Doctoral Candidate in Italian Studies, Rutgers University):
“(Un)welcoming Nation: Sicily, Italy and the Battle of the Italian LGTBQ+ Community”
This talk shows how a case study—in this case, Sicily—relates to the complex history of a global phenomenon as the history and the battles of the LGBTQ+ community. Grispino argues that Sicily is a microcosm of what has happened across Italy. It is against this dichotomy, between welcoming and unwelcoming spaces, progress and backlashes, that the history of Italian LGBTQ+ activism and community has formed and taken shape over the past few decades in Italy. Historically, in fact, the political and cultural oppression of the LGBTQ+ community has been stronger in the southern regions of Italy. The majority of gay Italians sent to the Fascist confino were originally from Sicily. Moreover, Sicily has also become known for the heinous crimes that have had LGBTQ+ people as victims, as in the case of the famous Giarre and Syracuse murders. At the same time, though, Sicily has also proved to be welcoming places for LGBTQ+ people over the past few decades. In fact, it has also been the place where the first Italian Arcigay was founded and where the Sicilia Queer Film Festival takes place each year.
“Una Lingua per Tuttǝ: Reflections on Italiano Inclusivo”
During this workshop we will look at practices and approaches that are becoming widespread in teaching Italian as a second or foreign language to promote inclusivity of non-binary identities in the language classroom. We will look at how we can adapt syllabi and course materials, together with an analysis of the theoretical foundations of an inclusive Italian. We will also reflect on how this concept can be applied to other Romance languages and how using inclusive Italian can be beneficial in the case of mutual intelligibility language classes.