Events celebrate centenary of Italian Studies

The University’s centre for excellence in Italian language and culture has launched a series of events to celebrate its 100th birthday.

The first lecturship in Italian was established after the First World War, in 1919. As a subject, Italian has been formally studied at the University since the eighteenth century. 

An event to mark the milestone was hosted by Linda Fabiani MSP, Deputy Presiding Officer of the Scottish Parliament, to consider what the future holds for the discipline at Edinburgh.

The Parliament event marked the official opening of the Biennial Conference of the Society of Italian Studies UK which runs from 26 to 28 June at the University.

Parliament event

Pulitzer Prize winner Professor Jhumpa Lahiri from the University of Princeton gave a presentation on the benefits of intercultural exchange.

Speakers at the event, called Speaking in Cultures, included the Principal of the University, Professor Peter Mathieson.

Also taking part were Italian Consul General for Scotland and Northern Ireland, Fabio Monaco and Professor Simon Gilson from the University of Oxford who is President of the Society for Italian Studies in the UK. Professor Federica Pedriali from the University of Edinburgh spoke too.  

Among the guests of honour was Tony Crolla who is Chief Executive of Vittoria Group.

Scholarly Prize

The Vittoria Group is one of the sponsors of the Edinburgh Gadda Prize, a scholarly award in contemporary Italian Studies recognising excellence in both established and early career scholarship.

The prize was created by the University in 2010, it complements the Edinburgh Journal of Gadda Studies, created in 2000 to celebrate the work of the acclaimed Italian modernist writer Carlo Emilio Gadda.

The Edinburgh Gadda Prize is open to scholarly works on Italian culture in the 20th and 21st centuries. This year 147 published monographs were submitted.

This year’s winners – judged by 30 scholars from Europe and North America – received their prizes at the Scottish Parliament.

Seven prizes will be awarded in total – four for the Crolla Amato Gadda Prize for Cultural and Literary Studies and three for the Vittoria Group Prize for scholars aged 40 or under.

International conference

The University is hosting more than 300 delegates at 50 George Square for the 2019 Biennial Conference of the Society for Italian Studies.

The event includes some of the most distinguished academics in the field.

Speakers across the three days include acclaimed Italian writer Igiaba Scego and literary critic Walter Siti.

Also presenting is Professor Lino Pertile of Harvard University and Susan Bassnett of the University of Glasgow.

Edinburgh Gadda Prize President and conference co-Leader Professor Federica Pedriali says the conference, the prize and the parliamentary events celebrate the dynamism of the discipline. 

We are grateful to the staff, students, partners and sponsors who have supported the work of Italian over the years. We hope that these celebratory events mark these achievements. I am personally grateful to my conference co-leader Dr Davide Messina.

Professor Federica PedrialiProfessor of Literary Metatheory and Modern Italian Studies 

Related links

The Edinburgh Gadda Prize


Society for Italian Studies Biennial Conference 2019 

Illustration by Italo-Scottish artist Richard Demarco, CBE.