17 April – Mara Donato Di Paola

Mara Donato Di Paola

Wiener-Anspach Post-Doctoral Fellow (University of Oxford)

Making Italians at school: the linguistic and literary canon in 19th century Italian education

Among the main components of Italian identity, national language and literature play today a central role. This seems very natural and self-evident, but nothing is less true. Looking back, we discover that these elements are the product of a series of political decisions regarding social and cultural matters which were taken in the past. Indeed, in the 19th century, only 2% of the inhabitants of the peninsula spoke Italian. 80% of the population was illiterate and several languages were spoken in the country. Starting from a general reflection on the literary canon, this lecture will address the question of the historical and political roots of Italian sense of identity, showing how the modern Italian school in the 19th century contributed to its construction and reinforcement.

The lecture will be divided into three parts. In the first part we will discuss the political, social and economic context of Italy after the Risorgimento and the importance attributed to the school at this time. The subject of the second part is the questione della lingua and the way in which the codification of modern Italian has been discussed. The third part is dedicated to the evolution of national literature in school curricula and school debates. Which authors were on the program and why?


When: April 17, 13.15-14.15
Where: Lipsius 005

All welcome!