John Cabot University Hosts International Conference on Contemporary Rome

On July 7 and 8, John Cabot University hosted an international conference on “Contemporary Rome: Living the Eternal City.” The event was also sponsored by the U.K. Arts and Humanities Research Council, The University of Sheffield, and White Rose College of the Arts and Humanities (Universities of Leeds, Sheffield, and York).

“Contemporary Rome: Living the Eternal City.”
“Contemporary Rome: Living the Eternal City.”

The main organizers of the conference were JCU Professor Isabella Clough Marinaro and University of Sheffield Ph.D. candidate, Will Haynes.

Long treated as a static monument to its past glories and traumas, Rome has become the focus of much innovative social scientific research over recent years. The aim of this conference was to provide a stimulating environment for researchers across academic disciplines, geographical divides, and career stages to come together and discuss Rome’s recent social developments (particularly from the 1990s onwards) and unpack its current and possible future transformations, in the hope of contributing to a wider understanding of global urbanism.

Over thirty speakers presented their research on the changing city, covering topics such as informal street commerce, homelessness and shifting housing markets, evolving religious practices, social justice movements, legacies of fascism and colonialism, migrants’ homemaking in Rome, the feminist city, sexualities and identities, securitization and crime.

Various JCU professors presented their work from a range of disciplines and perspectives: (Eleonora Diamanti, Helton Levy, Alessandro Signorini, Alessandro Feri, Anna Gorchakovskaya, Marco Biagetti, Sergio Scicchitano, Jenn Lindsay, Ferruccio Trabalzi, Tatiana Golfetto, Nefeli Misuraca).

The organizers were also proud to showcase the work of three alumni (Lea Ramaswamy – Class of 2023; Edoardo Guerzoni – Class of 2019; and Federica Nappa – Class of 2018).

Some of the presentations across the two days included titles such as:

“Facing the hills, struggling to walk: An auto-ethnographic walking account of living in Rome with reduced mobility” (Francesca Conti, American University of Rome)

“Notti magiche: A study into Rome’s night-time culture (Eleonora Diamanti, John Cabot University)

“The afterlife of squatting: Eviction, homemaking and radical practices in the lives of former squatters in Rome” (Chiara Cacciotti, Polytechnic and University of Turin)

“Dwelling for LGBTQ+ elderly people in the city of Rome” (Anna Marocco, Sapienza University of Rome)

“Policing the Roma in Rome: Urban space, racial capitalism, and the rise of fascism” (Ana Ivasiuc, Maynooth University)

“Religious pluralism in Rome: The case of Afro-Brazilian religions” (Tatiana Golfetto, John Cabot University)

“Not Built in a Day: A Critical Analysis of the Rise and Development of the Casamonica and Spada Clans as Autochthonous Mafia Groups in Rome” (Federica Nappa, Utrecht University)

“Space-makers? Empowering women and minorities through  skateboarding activism in unruly public spaces in Rome” (Edoardo Guerzoni, Politecnico di Milano)

The conference also featured the work of various practitioners:

  • “Libreria GRIOT – Bringing African and Arab cultures to Rome: A bookshop’s perspective” (Chiara Comito, Cecilia Draicchio, Giulia Riva, Griot bookshop)
  • the screening of the short film “With a View of Rome,” by JCU alumna Natalia Stanusch (Class of 2022) about Piazza San Cosimato
  • a poetry workshop entitled “Heritages of Waste and Repair. Contemporary Poetry for Anthropological Challenges”
  • a workshop on “Feminist Rome: A Collective Practice.”