Religion(s) and Cultural Production(s) of the Italian Diaspora(s)



Welcome to the website of the International Conference on Religion(s) and Cultural Production(s) of the Italian Diaspora(s).

In the context of Unesco’s World Day for Cultural Diversity for Dialogue and Development 2017, the Italian Department at Utrecht University organizes a two-day symposium to explore how religious hierarchies, institutions and practices shaped the identity and the cultural production (language, literature, performance, social media) of past and present Italian diasporas.

Religion may be seen as an impediment to or enhancer of social mobility inside and outside of Italy. It can trigger “narrations” that either revolve around cultural practices linked with traditional notions of Italianness (e.g. piccola patria), or shift towards new doctrines and spiritualities that redefine the idea of nation and culture. Furthermore, religious institutions and their missionary, educational and cultural activities can forge the identity – also linguistic – of integrated and/or segregated migrant communities.

In the context of Italian mobilities, this conference aims to bring together scholars from various disciplines to showcase how religious cults and practices cross(ed) national and cultural borders and how these practices embody a language through which emigrants represent their transnational experience. Moments of transition in which borders between nations and cultures are redefined with the decisive contribution of religion are of particular interest for this conference, with a focus on processes of (de)colonization, nationalization, secularization, tensions caused by ethnic and religious conflicts on a local and a global scale. The final aim of the symposium is to establish a platform with which to explore the shifting place and role of religion in a new age of great migrations.



This conference is organized by Matteo Brera and Monica Jansen,  Department of Languages, Literature and Communication – Italian at Utrecht University (UU).

The scientific committee includes Rosemarie Buikema (Utrecht University), Annalisa Butticci (Utrecht University), Natalie Dupré (KU Leuven), Martha Frederiks (Utrecht University), Federico Luisetti (University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill), Franco Pierno (University of Toronto).

When: 19-20 May 2017

Where: Utrecht University, Drift 21, room: Sweelinckzaal.


The conference is proudly sponsored by UU research group Comparative Literature, UU research focus area Cultures, Citizenship and Human Rights (CCHR), UU Instituut voor Cultuurwetenschappelijk Onderzoek (ICON), UU Italian studies and the Italian Cultural Institute in Amsterdam.