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Convention: Italicity. The Languages of Italy in United States between tradition and innovation

Philadelphia, University of Pennsylvania, 3-5 april 2013

On April 5 ended in Philadelphia the international conference entitled "Italicity. The languages ​​of Italy in the United States between tradition and innovation." The initiative, which is part of the calendar of the "2013 Year of Italian culture in the United States" was sponsored by the Center for Italian Studies at the University of Pennsylvania, by the Italian Consulate in Philadelphia, the AISLLI and Globus et Locus.

The entire convention was organized putting together an interesting mix of persons, like professors, business men, institutions, and make them discuss on the role of italic civilization in the world.

The main idea proposed at the convention, is that the Italics are members of a global aggregation, a community, based on shared values, like languages, cultures, ways of life, ecc. This is an innovative issue to become aware, in the belief that it is important to present the community itself in the world with a updated view of the glocal reality dynamics.

The italian consul of Philadelphia, Luigi Scotto, has introduced the convention, saying that the italic community, as a cultural global aggregation, is an interesting fact.

This issue was also caught by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. In fact on the official web site of 2013, Year of Italian Culture (Italy in US 2013), describes that:“The Italic civilization is born from a series of multipolar phenomena generated by the encounter of different cultures. It is the Italics, not only the Italians, who have promoted Italianism in the world: foreigners who chose Italian culture as the point of compass. Unlike others, such as the Anglo Saxon or Hispanic cultures, the Italian culture is only partially based on a homogenous and strongly identified linguistic community. The power of Italianism is precisely its ability to combine different languages, ethnicities, and communication codes. The matter is crucial to foreign policy as well: in a global world political and cultural relations must be maintained also with Italics who do not necessarily speak Italian and who are interested in unearthing the ‘maternal speech’ recollected in Dante’s work.”

Italicity, as clearly shown by prof. Fabio Finotti, director of the Center for Italian Studies, in his speech, assumes the shape of a cultural condition that has characterized the whole historical course of the Peninsula and was then widely established in the world, interbreeding encounter with the various local cultures host.

The interesting presentation by Piero Bassetti, President of Globus et Locus, “From Italians to Italics: moving towards a glocal civilisation”, emphasized the differences between this two categories, and explains this “call” of the italic community into a glocal civilization. Italicity is a political, economic and cultural condition, which had characterised the entire course of history in Italy, and then went on to become widely established through the world, in turn hybridising when it encountered the different cultures in the place hosting it.

One of the areas in which the aggregation process of the Italics is happening with most evidence is the business area. For that reason, many interventions were focused on the importance of the construction of a network of Italics Chambers of Commerce, as has been said by Veronica Trevisan, or the project of creation of a web platform,www.italicos.com, by the entrepreneur Alfredo D’Ambrosio and the sociologistRiccardo Giumelli.

Furthermore, one of the interesting aspect was the interdisciplinary of the contributors: for example Anna De Meo who analyses the relationship between accent, voice and identity, or Maria Teresa Cometto, from Corriere della Sera, which, with Alessandro Piol, presented the book “Tech and the City”, or at last Giustina Magistretti which emphasizes the importance of the italic talent on innovation. 


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