Italy’s Eighteenth Century: Gender and Culture in the Age of the Grand Tour

Friday, April 19, 2002–Saturday, April 20, 2002
All Day

William Andrews Clark Memorial Library
2520 Cimarron Street

—a conference organized by Paula Findlen, Stanford University, and Louis Marchesano, The Getty Research Institute

co-sponsored by the Getty Research Institute

The goal of the workshop is to bring together scholars of history, literature, art history, and music working on different aspects of gender and culture in eighteenth-century Italy, which has become a lively research field in the past few years. Until recently, Italy’s eighteenth century has played a marginal role in general accounts of eighteenth-century Europe. Scholarship often situates Italy on the periphery of the Enlightenment; accordingly, its political and cultural developments tend to be seen, when they are described at all, as responsive to developments in such countries as England and France rather than worth studying for their own sake. Italian scholarship on the eighteenth century has taken a different view but very little of this work, to date, is accessible to English-speaking readers.

Recent work on eighteenth-century Italy by scholars working in different disciplines in Europe and North America not only suggests that Italy is an interesting place from which to view cultural developments in the eighteenth century, but also highlights the importance of gender in understanding Italian art, literature, music, and science. It situates as well our understanding of Italy in light of its prominent role in the Grand Tour. Both foreign perceptions of Italy and regular contact with foreigners shaped this world. In an era in which Italy could no longer claim to be the most “modern” of regions, as it had during the Renaissance, it nonetheless continued to be an important point of reference for European thought and culture. Accordingly, this workshop considers how Italian culture reflected the relations between Italy and other regions of Europe.

The workshop provides a focused opportunity to discuss some of the broader implications of the research many scholars are doing and anticipates an interdisciplinary discussion that builds stronger connections among largely independent, discipline-based research projects. The plan is to produce a volume out of the discussions that should serve as an important point of departure for current and future work on the cultural life of eighteenth-century Italy.