SIS Conferences

The Society for Italian Studies supports research across the discipline by holding three conferences: the Biennial Conference; the Themed Conference (previously known as the Interim), and the Postgraduate Colloquium. The Society also supports research by providing some funding to conferences and symposia run by SIS members.

Society for Italian Studies Themed Conference (previously known as the Interim Conference)

The Society holds a smaller, themed conference on alternate years to the Biennial Conference.

The 2023 SIS Themed Conference on the subject ‘Affect, Emotion, Sensation’  will take place on the 7–8 September 2023 at the University of Cambridge, Selwyn College.

Over recent years, a growing interest in affect theory and history of emotions has enriched the scholarly discussion on Italian literature and art, offering innovative interpretive perspectives. However, in certain branches of Italian Studies, a rigorous working out and historicizing of terms like emotion, affect, and sensation is still in its earliest phases. Whilst affect theory has had a significant impact in some fields of research, in other areas, there has been little sustained engagement with either affect theory or the history of emotions and sensation.

This conference aims to promote a fruitful dialogue on the perception and the representation of emotions between scholars working across different periods and different media. It will investigate how emotional repertoires and vocabularies for identifying affects and sensations evolved and changed in Italian language, literature, and the visual arts, from medieval to contemporary production. In order to further enrich the discussion, the conference will include comparative sessions with colleagues working on other Romance literatures, thus offering a comprehensive overview of ‘Italian’ thought before, after, and beyond the concretization of national boundaries.

We encourage proposals covering a wide range of periods, from the Middle Ages to the 21st century, and investigating different aspects of this debate in relation to Italian literature and culture. Potential areas of research include, but are not limited to:

Affects or emotions? Transhistorical considerations

Historicizing affect theory

The languages of emotion/affect

The relationship between sensation and affect

Affective/emotional communities. Shared affects and sensations

Race, class, and gender in affect studies

Affect, emotion, mood, atmosphere

Affect and visual culture

Affect theory, history of the emotions, and embodiment

Affect/emotion in film and media

Trans affects

Emotional/affective objects

Comparative studies of affect/emotion/sensation across time periods

Comparative studies of affect/emotion/sensation between Italian and other cultures

Affects and poetics

Affect as method

In lieu of a keynote speaker, the conference will feature one or more plenary roundtables to respond to the papers delivered. The conference will be held in person, while the plenary sessions will be streamed and recorded.

Papers may be delivered in either English or Italian, and should be no longer than 10 to 15 minutes to encourage discussion. If, as we hope, a volume might result from the conference, contributions could be usefully extended there.

You can find the provisional conference programme here: 

Registration is now open: Reduced fees are available to support the attendance of PGRs / ECAs and unwaged academics.

All attendees of the conference must be current members of the Society for Italian Studies. Find out how to join the SIS here: 

The conference is organised by Prof. Heather Webb, Dr Aistė Kiltinavičiūtė, Dr Nicolò Crisafi, Dr Alessia Carrai, Dr Giulia Boitani, George Rayson, and Orsolya Petocz. 

Biennial Conference

The biennial conference of the SIS at the University of Warwick on 20th-22nd April 2022 looks forward to bringing together again the Italian Studies community in the UK and Ireland, Italy, and beyond to share their emergent and ongoing research. We welcome scholars and practitioners at all stages of their academic and professional careers who are working on the diversity of cultures, languages, histories, and creative practices associated with Italy from the medieval period to the present and future. In planning papers, panels, and broader participation, colleagues are invited to think inclusively about what is encompassed by research and teaching in Italian Studies, which kinds of expertise and experience contribute meaningfully to its advancement, and how knowledge, outcomes, and ideas might most effectively be exchanged in the context of this gathering of diverse specialists after the recent interruption to the rhythm of regular, discipline-wide engagement.

The organizers of the SIS biennial conference at Warwick (20-22 April 2022) welcome proposals for panels and single papers on any topic within the broad area of Italian Studies. Please complete the Word document here and send your proposals to by 15 December.

Themed Conference (previously known as the Interim Conference)

The 2020 SIS Themed Conference on the subject ‘Visions of Italy’  was held virtually at the University of Kent on the 10 and 11 September 2020. The conference was organised by Dr Alex Marlow-Mann and Dr Alvise Sforza Tarabocchia.  The keynote speaker was Prof Stephen Gundle.

Postgraduate Colloquium

The Society holds an annual Postgraduate Colloquium. See this page  for further details.

Hosting the SIS Biennial Conferences

The form for the registering of interest in holding the Biennial Conference is available below.  Please complete the form as fully as possible, bearing in mind that not all questions will be relevant to the Biennial Conference (the form covers both this and the Themed Conference) and return to Gigliola Sulis, as Hon. Secretary at

Download the Conference Subvention Application Form

SIS Previous Conferences

Previous Conferences

  • The 2019 Conference was hosted by the University of Edinburgh from 26th-28th June 2019. The programme is available to download here.
  •  The 2017 Conference was hosted by the University of Hull from 27th– 30th June 2017. The programme is available for dowload is available to download in PDF format.
  • The 2015 Conference was hosted by the University of Oxford from 28 to 30 September 2015. The programme is available for download in PDF format.
  • The 2013 Conference was hosted by Durham University from 8 to 11 July 2013. The programme is available for download in PDF format.
  • The 2011 Conference was hosted by St Andrews University from 6 to 9 July 2011. The programme is available for download in PDF format.
  • The 2009 Conference was hosted by Royal Holloway University of London, from 16 to 19 April.

Previous Themed Conferences

SIS Gender Policy

Conferences and events organised by the SIS will respect the following norms:

  1. as far as possible there will be a balance in the number of male/female speakers and session chairs;
  2. single-sex panels will be avoided wherever possible;
  3. panel chairs will be briefed on how to ensure inclusive and balanced discussion;
  4. where there is more than one keynote speaker efforts will be made to ensure gender balance.