18 September 2009

Italian Cinema Posting

One of the blogs I follow, Becoming Italian Word by Word, has an excellent post today about Italian cinema, including translations of some classic movie lines into idiomatic Italian. The post also includes the trailer to Ladri di Biciclette (Bicycle Thieves), one of the films we studied during our time in Roma.

14 January 2009


One of the Italian ex-pat blogs that I follow, Cross Cultural Moments, has an excellent entry today about complexity and systems science. She's talking about the ways that dynamism functions, particularly, and how being at the edge of a dynamic system (the edge of chaos) works in cross-cultural experiences. Like Roman traffic. Dynamic, complex systems that seem chaotic but are all the stronger for their complexity.

My spouse's masters degree is in Systems Science, so this is an area that I'm fairly familiar with, but I think an ecological, systems science perspective on culture is an excellent move. Abbot does a particularly nice job making these connections explicit.


Mary Anne Trasciatti has an article in the new edition of Rhetoric Society Quarterly about trans-atlantic letter-writing in Italian immigrant communities that's rather interesting. Here's the abstract:

"Alfonso Arbib-Costa's 1909 Manuale di Corrispondenza Commerciale, Familiare, e Amorose Italiana-Inglese offered letter-writing instruction to Italian immigrants hoping to succeed in American business and social circles. The book contained some theory, but was primarily a collection of model letters, or formulary. This article identifies the text as one of a distinct type of bilingual, bicultural letter-writing handbooks for immigrants that arose in the United States in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, situates it in the American parlor rhetoric tradition, and analyzes its theoretical content and models. Although formularies are often overlooked by scholars, they are rich texts that reveal important connections between rhetoric and culture. Formularies for immigrants are particularly interesting because they clearly demonstrate how attempts at social engineering may be embedded in rhetorical pedagogy. The study concludes with a call for additional research into this area of rhetorical history, which remains largely unknown."

Because so much of what we do in our Rome program is talking through travel-writing, letter-writing seems a natural corollary, and this article does a nice job of fleshing it out.

19 October 2008

Transportation Strike as Protest

Italy's major cities found themselves less mobile this week, as groups banded together to protest Berlusconi. Major news sources, such as UPI, report 300,000 Romans participated in the protest, not only stopping transportation but turning out in the streets and piazzas.

To be in Rome on such a day... What a dream for we rhetoricians interested in resistance and transformation!

15 October 2008


I miss Italy, and I'm envious of those who are seeing it in all its autumnal beauty. The blogs I follow of expats living in Italy are full of beautiful autumn leaves right now. Lucky for us, State College is vividly in autumnal glory, as well. We are appreciating the crisp air and the turning leaves. One thing the East Coast absolutely has over the West Coast is fall. Since it's my favorite season, I am appreciating being here right now.

It helps that I get my fill of Italy pics online. A photoblog I follow has been featuring some gorgeous pieces from the photographer's trip to Italy (he's an Aussie). My favorite is a shot from Treviso, of the Treviso Canal. It is definitely on the to-visit-next-time list, just because of his pics from there. Bellisima! The full blog is seriocomic.com, and he (Mike Hudson) does a nice service in providing the Photoshopping (or adjustments to RAW images) he's done to each pic, as well. The RSS Feed is reliable and provides a nice photo at the top of my reading each day :)

15 July 2008

Another Privacy Post

Here's another great post about privacy. This blogger and the previous one I mentioned cite each other back and forth. This is a nice extension of how Italians regard the role of privacy, particularly in relationship to the government.

11 July 2008

Pictures, En Masse

As I begin getting all of my photographs uploaded so that I can order prints, build photo books, and print a few key pieces for the walls, I have been devoting all of our bandwidth to Shutterfly. I'm a big fan of their photo books, and they have some of the best quality prints, in color (We use a special photography service for Greg's black and white work, as b-n-w that is printed by a printer designed for color is almost always sub-par).

You can see the full collection of photos from my time in Italy, here. A number of the photos in album 2/4 are student-taken photos, and I'd be happy to identify credit. Generally, they are from Shane St. Esprit (at the Colosseum and the Forum) and Kelley Costello (at Pompeii), although a few owe their authorship to Josie Moore (about town, mostly) and Jared Penn (the Italian flag at the Stadio Olimpico). There are three photos taken by Jessica Sheffield in album 3/4, all of people with umbrellas at the Trevi Fountain. My profound thanks to these folks--they captured the everyday moments that were missing in my photos but were in my memories.

0/4 Rome Photos
1/4 Rome Photos
2/4 Rome Photos
3/4 Rome Photos
4/4 Rome Photos


Even Berlusconi Might Protest Bush...

Berlusconi is not the most popular fellow amongst the Italians I spoke with, but even he might protest the most recent treatment he's received from George W. Bush.

From one of the most conservative news sources to your ears: FOXNews relates the press kit that smears Berlusconi requires an apology. And, on the Blogora today, a bit about how Bush greeted Berlusconi in Spanish. Amigo/amiga, folks, is in Spanish. The Italian is amica or amico.

While we were in Italy, Bush visited the Pope and Berlusconi (in Naples at the time), and a protest was held in Rome. The carabinieri lined up at the end of the parade and along the route in front of storefronts such as Blockbuster. The protest was peopled as much by American expats as Italians, but the casual conversations I had with Italians indicated that neither Bush nor Berlusconi are the most popular folks at the moment...

Yet another reason to love Italy....Publicness

One of my favorite Italy blogs, Cross Cultural Moments, had a great post today about privacy. The thread begins a few posts back, about students' examinations, but I think this bit that she appended to the end is truly fascinating for we rhetoricians:

"Interesting aside: the Italians say 'privacy' in English as there is no true translation of the concept as we know it in Italian. So the new 'privacy laws' are called 'le leggi sulla privacy'. Now try applying those, when your language doesn't even recognize the essence of the concept! In true Italian style the laws are very, very thorough, so exacting in their detail that NO ONE could EVER hope to actually adhere to them properly! I know of someone who has set up a consulting business to help offices adhere to the ever changing privacy laws."

What I love about this is that the concept of "private" is so foreign that there isn't even a word for it. Talk about publics theory! It also is a great case for why an ever-growing vocabulary is key for we teachers to advocate. Without the words, the concepts may not even exist (is it turtles all the way down?!?).

30 June 2008

Home at Last

I have finally arrived, safe and sound, in State College after three solid days of travel. Let me just say this: Rome can't hold a candle to the chaos and disorganization that is JFK International. We could read the signs and talk to people at JFK and it was STILL more confusing and disorienting than living in Rome.

Although I am fiercely missing Rome, it helps that it is pretty here this time of year. Everything is green, the boulevards are wide and open, and flowers are in bloom. My family is happy to see me, and it's a delight to be able to chat on the phone as long as I like :)

I'll be posting to this blog periodically over the next couple of weeks to wrap up some of the items I did not get posted prior to leaving Italy. You can also look forward to a photo link in the near future that will include all of my Italy photos online.

Works Cited

Fiona Wild, ed. Eyewitness Travel Rome (London: Dorling Kindersley Limited, 1993), 2007 edition.

Hawthorne, Nathaniel. The Marble Faun. New York: Penguin Books, 1990/1860.

James, Henry. Daisy Miller. New York: Penguin Books, 2005/1878.

Powers, Alice Leccese. Italy in Mind: An Anthology. Toronto: Vintage Books, 1997.

Steves, Rick. Rick Steves' Italy 2007. New York: Avalon Travel Publishing, 2006.