Impegno in Italian Culture; Modern and Contemporary Italian Literature and Film; Language Pedagogy
Teaching Fellow, University of Birmingham, UK, 2016-2019
Teaching Associate, University of Birmingham, UK, 2015-2016
Teaching Assistant, Joseph Fourier University, France, 2012-2013
Teaching Assistant, Grenoble-Alpes University, France, 2012-2013
Maître Assistant, University of Gabès, Tunisia, 2009-2012
Instructor, University of Monastir, Tunisia, 2010
My main area of research revolves around the concept of impegno in Italian culture, taking an interdisciplinary approach that resides in a variety of fields such as Italian history, literature, cinema, and theater, as a privileged standpoint for literary criticism.
I have published monographs and articles on 20th- and 21st-century authors such as Pier Paolo Pasolini, Ottiero Ottieri, Luther Blissett and Wu Ming who have employed their works as a form of artistic commitment, or impegno.
My first book Pier Paolo Pasolini: il teatro in un porcile (2009) is a close textual analysis of Pasolini’s theater, poetry, narrative and cinema, emphasizing the fact that theater is at the heart of his intermediality. In a series of chapters organized around Pasolini’s six dramatic works, I present them as a metaphorical representation of the Italian society of the 60s and 70s.
My second book, Ottiero Ottieri. Un caso letterario (2014), argues for a significant re-evaluation of a figure who I consider to be one of the 20th century’s most prominent Italian authors. In my analysis, I focused on Ottieri’s ethical commitment in the narration of crucial themes such as the alienation of modern men, the working class condition during the post-WWII reconstruction, and the corruption of Italian politics and society.
My most recent work (a doctoral dissertation, 2019), “The Dialectical Relationship of Power and Freedom,” centers on the historical novels of Luther Blissett and the Italian author collective, Wu Ming. My aim in this work is to demonstrate how, through a systematic and dialectical process, Luther Blissett and Wu Ming have shown an engaging and politically committed use of literature intended as a “strumento di lotta.” This form of impegno has the potential to contribute to the creation of a form of participatory culture whose very collaborative nature is to shed light on events that have been neglected and/or distorted by the main historical accounts. I am preparing this work for publication in the near future.
My current project is a natural development of all of these previous studies. I will be working on “Impegno in 20th-21st century Italian Culture.” This period includes a great number of intellectuals who have put engagement at the center of their writings and activities with a wide array of differing perspectives, ideas and practices. Traditionally, the Italian word impegno has been associated with the idea of “political hegemony,” as elaborated by Gramsci. Engaged writers had to mold a collective consciousness in order to achieve revolutionary changes in society. From the 1960s onwards, however, this view has progressively lost its impact and opened a space for other notions of impegno that reflect new attitudes towards the relationship between politics and the arts. Since then, thanks to the writings of Calvino, Vittorini and Pasolini, in contrast to any restrictive ideological definition, impegno has been considered emancipatory and closer to social (rather than only political) engagement. In this sense, the relationship between politics and intellectuals has shifted from Gramsci’s concept of hegemony. Intellectuals are no longer the “spokespeople” for existing political needs, but are focused more on emerging social issues.
Drawing on a variety of cultural fields and artistic media, from literature to cinema, theater, music, and blogs, this project will focus on forms of engagement in Italian culture, from the 50s to today. My aim is to demonstrate how Italian authors, artists, thinkers, poets, musicians, directors, activists (among others, Pier Paolo Pasolini, Dacia Maraini, Fabrizio De Andrè, Rossana Rossanda, Nanni Moretti, Lina Wertmüller, Luther Blissett, Wu Ming, Carlo Lucarelli, Igiaba Scego, Roberto Saviano, Matteo Garrone, Roberta Torre, Marco Tullio Giordana, Fred Kuwornu), through the notion of artistic commitment, or impegno, have narrated the transformations of Italian society from the post-war “economic boom” to the revolution of ’68, the “Years of Lead”, Tangentopoli, the rise of the Second Republic, the mafia, migration, and “Black Italy.”
Fabrizio Di Maio is Lecturer at the University of California, Irvine. He holds a Ph.D. in Italian Studies from the University of Rome 2, and a Ph.D. in Modern Languages at the University of Birmingham, UK. He has been teaching Italian in different academic contexts (in Italy, Tunisia, France, UK, and USA) since 2010.
(2014) Ottiero Ottieri. Un caso letterario, Carocci Editore, Roma, 104 pp.
(2009) Pier Paolo Pasolini: Il teatro in un porcile, Il filo, Viterbo, 441 pp.
(2021) ‘Mechanized Exploitation in Ottiero Ottieri: Tempi stretti and Donnarumma all’assalto’, in Italian Industrial Literature and Film. Perspectives on the Representation of Post-war Labor, Eds. James Carter, Carlo Baghetti, Peter Lang Press, pp. 251-261
(2019) ‘Wu Ming’s “Factory”. A Laboratory of Collective Writings through Participatory Culture and Creative Networking’, in Deconstructing the Model in 20th and 21st-Century Italian Experimental Writings. Eds. Beppe Cavatorta, Federica Santini, Newcastle upon Tyne: Cambridge Scholars Publishing, pp. 136-153
(2019) ‘Sentirsi Scorticati Vivi. The Theme of Alienation in Ottiero Ottieri’s Works’, in The Years of Alienation in Italy. Factory and Asylum Between the Economic Miracle and the Years of Lead, Eds. Alessandra Diazzi, Alvise Tarabocchia Sforza, London: Palgrave, pp. 97-114
(2012) ‘Trasmigrazioni di idee tra le tragedie e i film di Pasolini’, Pasolini ed il teatro, Eds. Stefano Casi, Angela Felice, Gerardo Guccini, Marsilio, Milano, pp. 257-266
(2011) ‘Ottiero Ottieri e la dismorfofobia letteraria’, Attorno a questo mio corpo. Ritratti e autoritratti degli scrittori della letteratura italiana, Eds. Laura Pacelli, Maria Francesca Papi, Fabio Pierangeli, Edizioni Hacca, Roma, pp. 389-399
(2010) ‘Ottiero Ottieri: “figlio mal riuscito” ribelle ai suoi Padri’, Padri e figli, Eds. Marta Alessi, Irene Baccarini, Alessandro Cifariello, Edizioni Nuova Cultura, Roma, pp. 161-167
Articles in Peer-Reviewed Journals
(2019) ‘Welcome to Hell. Dante’s Inferno in Evangelisti’s Eymerich Saga’, in Medioevo Pop, Purloined Letters. An International Journal of Quotation Studies, Parma University, pp. 133-147
(2019) ‘Process Drama and Theatre in the Learning of Italian. The case of I Promessi sposi di Birmingham, un romanzo criminale’, New Trends in Language Teaching and Learning at University, Research-publishing.net, pp. 45-51
(2013) ‘Repubblicidio. La politica nelle ultime opere di Ottieri’, Ottiero Ottieri, Autografo n. 49, Interlinea Edizioni, Novara, pp. 97-113
(2008) ‘Pier Paolo Pasolini: Bestia da stile, un’autobiografia teatrale’, Sincronie n. XXIII, Vecchiarelli editore, Manziana, Roma, pp. 181-194
(2016) ‘Countercultural Collective Writing in Wu Ming’, available from Reading Italy, Italian Studies Postgraduate Forum, University of Reading
(2015) ‘Gothic and Sci-fi in Evangelisti’s Eymerich Series’, American Association Teachers of Italian Online Papers, Siena volume
(2011) ‘Cesare Pavese: nel Diario una vita da bestemmiare’, La letteratura degli italiani. Centri e periferie. Atti del 13° Congresso dell’Associazione degli italianisti (ADI), Edizioni del Rosone, Foggia
Professional Development Award, University of California Irvine (2019-2020);
Neville Chamberlain Scholarship, University of Birmingham, UK (2016-2017);
Graduate Centre for Europe Annual Budget, University of Birmingham, UK, (2015-2016);
Research Development Fund, University of Birmingham, UK, Interdisciplinary Graduate Workshop “Fear: Aesthetic, Philosophical, and Economic Perspectives” (June 2016);
Research Support Fund, University of Birmingham, UK, Presentation of the paper ‘Wu Ming’s Asce di Guerra. The Italian Resistance from a New Perspective’, SIS (Society for Italian Studies) Postgraduate Conference Representing the War (November 2015);
Research Support Fund, University of Birmingham, UK, Presentation of the paper ‘Gothic Features in Tommaso Landolfi’s Works’, SIS (Society for Italian Studies) Biannual Conference (September 2015);
Research Development Fund, University of Birmingham, UK, Organization of the Interdisciplinary Workshop “(Re)writing and depicting History. Denial, Transformation, Interpretation of the 20th and 21st century events in the Arts” (June 2015);
Research Support Fund, University of Birmingham, UK, Presentation of the paper ‘From Ivrea to Pozzuoli: the Industrial Alienation in Ottieri’s Work’, Workshop “The Years of Alienation. Asylum and Factory in Italy 1960s-1970s” (May 2015);
Ph.D. Scholarship, University of Rome 2, Italy (2006-2010);
Erasmus Exchange Program Scholarship, University of Angers, France (1999-2000);
BA Scholarship, University of Rome 3, Italy (1996-2001)
American Association Italian Studies