British Association for American Studies


Hybrid Republicanism: Italy and American Art, c. 1840-1918 (Rome)

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Hybrid Republicanism: Italy and American Art, c. 1840-1918 (Rome)

October 6, 2016 - October 7, 2016

Hybrid Republicanism: Italy and American Art, c. 1840-1918

Rome, October 6-7 2016

Sponsors:  American Academy in Rome, Centro Studi Americani, Rome, and Museo di Roma, Palazzo Braschi, Rome

Italy has served as a key destination for American artists since the founding of the republic.  American painters, sculptors, and illustrators were enchanted with its mythic arcadian past, fascinated with its classical legacy, and impassioned by its political movement toward independence and unification, the Risorgimento.  This conference will consider the shared notions of republicanism and tyranny that animated American and Italian politics in the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries.  Although Italians eventually chose a constitutional monarchy as their governing structure, Americans understood the Italian state in republican terms—as a nation comprised of free, autonomous, and self-governing citizens.  The scope of the conference will take into account significant historical events that linked Italy and the United States, such as the Italian wars of independence, the American Civil War, the founding of the Italian nation with Rome as its capital, the rise and decline of progressive reforms in Italy and the United States in the late nineteenth century, and both nations’ participation in World War I.  The conference organizers seek papers that are concerned with, but not limited to, the following issues:  How did Italian and American artists articulate a language of republicanism that suited both their country’s political needs?  In what way was neoclassicism infused with both republican and imperial ideologies, at times simultaneously?  How were images of Garibaldi and Washington (or other prominent leaders) deployed to further the political ends of Italy and the United States?  How did American artistic responses to Italy, and conversely, Italian responses to the United States, shift after Italian unification? How did artistic, literary and political responses intertwine in the period considered?

A linked conference, “The Course of Empire: American Fascination with Classical and Renaissance Italy, 1760-1970,” will be held in the fall of 2017 at the Smithsonian American Art Museum in Washington, D.C.  A call for papers for this conference will be circulated in the spring of 2016.

For further information contact: Melissa Dabakis, Professor and Chair of Art History, Kenyon College (dabakis@kenyon.edu); Paul Kaplan, Professor of Art History, Purchase College, SUNY (paul.kaplan@purchase.edu); Daniele Fiorentino, Professor of U. S. History and Political Science, Università di Roma Tre (daniele.fiorentino@uniroma3.it).


October 6, 2016
October 7, 2016
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