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

Loredana Polezzi

Loredana Polezzi
Cardiff University




Translating Catholicism: Written and Visual Performances of Italian Religious Identity in the US.

Religious identity is one of the markers most frequently attached to the Italian diaspora. Italian migrants are identified and often self-identify, in particular, with the Catholic faith. Whether conforming to that tradition or rebelling against it, artistic production emerging from the diaspora has tapped into the imagery of Catholicism, often producing forms of linguistic and cultural translation which are specific to individual locations and communities. The talk will examine these complex translation practices as they occur in the work of a selection of writers and visual artists, starting with one of the Classics of Italian American literature, Pietro Di Donato’s Christ in Concrete (1939), and leading to the production of contemporary figures such as B. Amore. It will ask how translational processes redefine religion in a transnational perspective and how Italian migrants renegotiate the symbolic and social bonds attached to religious identity, tracing a dynamic network of connections between multiple ‘homes’.



Loredana Polezzi studied Modern Languages at the University of Venice, Ca’ Foscari, and then at the University of Siena, where she obtained a degree in English, French and Spanish. She later completed an MA in Italian Studies (Applied Linguistics) and a PhD in Translation Studies at the University of Warwick. She taught at the University of Birmingham, before returning to Warwick, where she was a member of the Department of Italian. She served as Director of the Humanities Research Centre (1999-2000 and 2001-2002) and Head of Italian (2003 and 2007). Between December 2010 and September 2015 she was Academic Director of the Warwick Venice Centre and from 2011 to 2015 she also took up the role of founding Academic Lead for a university-wide research programme on ‘Connecting Cultures’. In 2013 she was appointed Monash-Warwick Associate Professor in the School of Languages, Literatures, Cultures and Linguistics, Monash University (Melbourne, Australia). She moved to Cardiff in October 2015 to take up the Professorship of Translation Studies in the School of Modern Languages. Her main research interests are in translation studies, comparative literature, and the history of travel and migration. Her recent work focuses on how geographical and social mobilities are connected to the theories and practices of translation and self-translation. With Rita Wilson, she is co-editor of The Translator, a leading international journal in Translation Studies. She is also a co-investigator in the research project ‘Transnationalizing Modern Languages’, funded by the AHRC’s Translating Cultures scheme, as well as a founding member of the ‘Cultural Literacy in Europe’ network.


List of most recent publications


– Polezzi, L. & Di Piazza, E. (eds). 2012. “Travel Writing and the Shape of the World”, in Textus, special issue, 25(2).

– Polezzi, L. & Ouditt, S. (eds). 2012. “Travel Writing and Italy”, in Studies in Travel Writing, special issue, 16(2).

– Polezzi L. & Ross, C. (eds),. 2007. In Corpore: Bodies in Post-Unification Italy, Madison, Fairleigh Dickinson.

– Polezzi, L. (ed.) 2006. “Translation, Travel, Migration”, in The Translator, special issue, 12(2).

Selected Articles

– Polezzi, L. 2015. “Mobilità, migrazione, traduzione”, in Roots/Routes: Research on Visual Cultures, special issue on ‘(Im)Mobility’, 5(20).

– Polezzi, L. 2014. “Description, Appropriation, Transformation: Fascist Rhetoric and Colonial Nature”, in Modern Italy, special issue on ‘Fascism and Nature’, 19(3), pp. 287-303.

– Polezzi, L. 2013. “Disrupting Europe: Polylingual Models and Common Selves”, in Transversal, special issue on ‘A Communality That Cannot Speak: Europe in Translation’; also published in French, German and Spanish translation,; reprinted as Polezzi, L. 2013. “Europa unterbrechen: Modelle der Polylingualität und des gemeinsamen Selbst”, (trans. by) Mennel, B., in Translating Beyond Europe. Zur politischen Aufgabe der Übersetzung, Buden, B., Mennel, B. & Nowotny, S. (eds.), Vienna, Turia + Kant, pp. 91-107.

– Polezzi, L. 2012. “Il pieno e il vuoto: Visual Representations of Africa in Italian Accounts of Colonial Experiences”, in Italian Studies, 67(3), pp. 336-59.

– Polezzi, L. 2012. “Translation and Migration”, in Translation Studies, 5(3), pp. 345-56.

– Polezzi, L. & Di Piazza, E. 2012. “Introduction: Travel Writing and the Shape of the World”, in Textus, 25(2), pp. 7-20.

– Polezzi, L. & Ouditt, S. 2012. “Introduction: Italy as Place and Space”, in Studies in Travel Writing, 16(2), pp. 97-105.

– Polezzi, L. 2011. “Precarietà”, in Jansen, M. & Colleoni, F. (ed.)., Precarietà e Postautonomia,Quaderni della Libellula,

– Polezzi, L. 2007. “Between the Exotic and the Heroic: Re-reading the African tales of Italian travellers”, in Fogli di anglistica, 1-2, pp. 9-24.