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The Humanities Conference 2003

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Un-globalizing the Spirit: Re-claiming Dialects and Regional Culture in Contemporary Italy.

Annalisa Sacca.

In the past ten years Italy has been rotating inward and outward: outward toward a global evolution that has taken her as one of the most industrialized nation of the G8, and inward toward an involution experienced as a reaction to this industrialization and globalization.
The dispersion of identity through globalization has brought in Italy the need to find its identity beyond the language imposed by the state, in the regional dialects where memories and tradition come back to life to tell of man and of his world.
The linguistic anonymity of the new international esperantos filtered in the Italian language, has brought a sense of mourning, a sense of loss: loss of worlds, of balances, of habitual ties. Thus the need for a return to tradition, to man, through the use of a language that promises familiarity: the dialect, symbol of resistance and identity.
The dialect is the uncorrupted language of the primordial. Today unlike 30 years ago, dialects are less spoken as Italian has become more prominent. Not only, but they are going through an Italianization to reflect the need of a new reality. Thus, dialect as they were, have become a private language, full of archaic flavors sought by writers to find their private self in the background of a regional culture.
As the Multinationals impose all over the world a uniform language, in a uniform context, be it that of Disney or McDonalds, the sub languages, and let’s call them now exactly that, the idiolects spoken in different parts of the world, are modified as they assimilate the experience of the uniform language, sacrificing at the same time their potential growth and the memory of their culture through the physical loss of words which in the new world context become obsolete, relics. And to lose wordsis to lose oneself.
In this context the aim is to frame the particular situation of regional literary revival in Italy that sprung from the mid seventies culminating in the past ten years with what I like to call in Pavesian term “un ritorno all’uomo”, a return to man.


Annalisa Sacca  (United States)
Dr. Carla Lucente Daniela De Pau Department of Languages and Literatures
St. John's University

Born in Italy Received Ph.D. from New York University in Italian .Specialization in Contemporary Italian Literature. Published four books and two collections of poems. Member of the Parnassos poetry Society in Greece.

  • Regional culture

(60 min Workshop, English)