Religions(s) and Cultural Production(s) of the Italian Diaspora(s) – International Conference – Utrecht

The Italian Department at Utrecht University would like to invite you to the International Conference on Religions(s) and Cultural Production(s) of the Italian Diaspora(s) to be held on 19-20 May 2017 at Utrecht University. The conference is organised in the context of Unesco’s World Day for Cultural Diversity for Dialogue and Development 2017.

This two-day symposium explores how religious hierarchies, institutions and practices shaped the identity and the cultural production (language, literature, performance, social media) of past and present Italian diasporas.

Religion may be seen as an impediment to or enhancer of social mobility inside and outside of Italy. It can trigger “narrations” that either revolve around cultural practices linked with traditional notions of Italianness (e.g. piccola patria), or shift towards new doctrines and spiritualities that redefine the idea of nation and culture. Furthermore, religious institutions and their missionary, educational and cultural activities can forge the identity – also linguistic – of integrated and/or segregated migrant communities.

In the context of Italian mobilities, this conference aims to bring together scholars from various disciplines to showcase how religious cults and practices cross(ed) national and cultural borders and how these practices embody a language through which emigrants represent their transnational experience. Moments of transition in which borders between nations and cultures are redefined with the decisive contribution of religion are of particular interest for this conference, with a focus on processes of colonisation/decolonisation, nationalisation, secularisation, tensions caused by ethnic and religious conflicts on a local and a global scale. The final aim of the symposium is to establish a platform with which to explore the shifting place and role of religion in a new age of great migrations.


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