The conference “New Queer South: Perspectives on Italian Society and Culture” took place at
the University of Oxford between the 21 and 22 of September 2023. Numerous scholars,
postgraduate students, and independent researchers participated in it as speakers or attendees
from various national and international contexts. For instance, the speakers came from London
Metropolitan University, University College London, Universidade de Lisboa, Sapienza
Università di Roma, Universidade de Coimbra, Université Sorbonne Nouvelle – Paris 3,
University of Exeter, to name a few. The conference was organised by Alice Parrinello
(University of Oxford), and the scientific committee was formed by Professor Dimitris
Papanikolaou (University of Oxford), Billie Mitsikakos (University of Oxford), and Claudio
Russello (University of Oxford). Not only benefitting from the financial support of the Society
for Italian Studies, the conference was also sponsored by the Association for the Study of
Modern Italy and of two Oxford-based research groups, the Queer Intersections Oxford
network and the Intersectional Humanities programme.

The aim of the conference was to explore various queer cultural practices, activists’
movements, and local histories of the South of Italy, which constitute an epistemological
change that contrast the backwardness rhetoric imposed on it. Dr Charlotte Ross’ (University
of Birmingham) keynote speech opened the conference by problematising the three main
keywords “new,” “queer,” and “South” and laying out several themes, which were further
explored during the event. Afterwards, the speakers presented their research during five panels,
“Displacement,” “The Sociology of Queerness,” “Femminielli,” “Literary Mappings,” and
“Centre/Periphery.” “Displacement” focused on the disruption of essentialising gender roles in
poetry and cinema (Dr Francesca Romana Ammaturo, Dr Stefano Rossoni, Dr Marzia
D’Amico), while “The Sociology of Queerness” explored a transfeminist association group in
Palermo, Rome activism, and the history of AIDS/HIV in Sicily (Valentina Amenta, Martina
I. Millefiorini, Leonardo Campagna). “Femminelli” explored the history and representation of
the Neapolitan femminelli (Luca Starita, Frances Clemente, Jules de Bellis, Dr Marco
Ruggieri), “Literary Mappings” focused on the literary representations of the queer South (Dr
Carla Panico, Gian Pietro Leonardi), while the final panel, “Centre/Periphery” explored queer
eccentricities in cinema and theatre (Dr Maria Elena Alampi, Dr Stefania Lodi Rizzini, Dani

The conference highlighted the fact that the South of Italy is bustling with queer creativity and
community building, which is reflected in several artistic practices. Overall, the conference
was a great success because it brought together scholars, whose research presents several
affinities but who usually do not find the means to interact and work together. For this reason,
it was greatly appreciated by both speakers and attendees. Undoubtedly, the conference will be
the springboard for further events on the topic, as the speakers have repeatedly expressed
interest in continuing the conference’s research.
The conference organiser and scientific committee wish to express their heartfelt gratitude and
appreciation to the SIS Executive Committee for their support, which covered both Travel
Awards to postgraduate scholars and, in part, the catering expenses.

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