Friday, January 18
James S. Copley Auditorium
Cristina Della Coletta, Ph.D., Dean of the Division of Arts & Humanities at the University of California, San Diego will share her research on the 1911 expo in Turin, covered in her book World’s Fairs Italian Style, the Great Expositions in Turin and Their Narratives, 1860-1915 (2006).
According to conventional wisdom, Italy was not an influential participant in the nationalistic and imperialistic discourses that world’s fairs produced in countries such as Great Britain, France, and the United States. In the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, however, Italy hosted numerous national and international exhibitions expounding notions of national identity, imperial expansion, technological progress, and capitalist growth.
World’s Fairs Italian-Style explores world’s fairs in Italy at the turn of the twentieth century in comparison to their more famous counterparts in France, England, and the United States. Cristina Della Coletta demonstrates that, because of its social fragmentation and hybrid history, Italy was a site of both hegemony and subordination – an aspiring imperial power whose colonization started from within. She focuses on two best-selling authors, Emilio Salgari and Guido Gozzano, and illustrates how these authors interpreted their age’s ‘exposition mentality.’ Salgari and Gozzano’s exposition narratives, Della Coletta argues, reveal Italy’s uncertainties about own sense of national identity, and its belated commitment to Western imperialism.
Of interest to students and scholars of literature, cultural history, and Italian, World’s Fairs Italian-Style provides a fascinating glimpse into a hitherto unexplored area of study, and brings to light a cultural phenomenon that played a significant role in shaping Italy’s national identity.
This lecture is presented as a part of the Guest Lecture & Tour series, which focuses on works of art on view in the Museum as well as topics of interest in the broader art world. Lectures are followed by docent-led tours.
$13 members | $16 nonmembers | $8 seniors and military | $5 students
Sponsored by The San Diego Museum of Art Docent Council