Rutgers University * October 19-20, 2007

Keynote Speakers: Thomas Harrison, UCLA and Nancy Canepa, Dartmouth

What is youth? An age, an image, a memory, an embodiment of an aesthetic, an ideal, a projection, or a social phenomenon? What are the chronological, psychological, cultural borders that define youth? How are significations of youth created in different historical and sociological contexts?

Since the Nineteenth century, representations of youth have been exalted and exploited throughout Western culture. Today, images of young people as an aesthetic ideal are ubiquitous in the media. Prior to modern culture’s reevaluation of youth, however, the notion was present only through its absence from the pages of Medieval and Renaissance literature.

This conference seeks to illuminate the myriad depictions of youth in Italian and Italian-American literature, film, music, art and culture. In what ways is identity defined through experiences of youth? How is youth constructed through the filters of memory and myth? What do images of youth evoke and how are they evoked?

Click here for possible paper topics

* Male and female novels of formation
* Immigrant youth culture
* Oedipal conflicts
* Memory of youth
* Cultural nostalgia for a certain “youthful” era
* Absence of youth
* Adolescence
* Eternal youth
* Italian-American experience
* The myth of youth or youth in mythology
* Les enfants prodiges
* Youth as a transcultural, psychological, historical category
* Puer senex: the image of the wise child/the inner child


As students of Italian studies, we invite discussion on the concept of youth as well as creative submissions (poetry, fiction, photography, visual art, etc.) that may provide new insights into this topic.

Please send abstracts of no more than 250 words, as hard copy or MS Word attachment to the address listed below. Selected papers will be published in an issue of La Fusta: Journal of Italian Literature and Culture.

Italian Graduate Society
Department of Italian, Rutgers University

84 College Avenue
New Brunswick, New Jersey 08901

italian.grad.society@rutgers.edu