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Carte Italiane, Volume 12
2018 Call for Papers
Graduate Student Journal, Department of Italian at UCLA

Il sangue non è acqua? The Significance of Familial Bonds in Italian Culture & Society

Non dubito el buon governo, e’ solleciti e diligenti padri delle famiglie, le buone osservanze, gli onestissimi costumi, l’umanità, facilità, civilità rendono le famiglie amplissime e felicissime, però mi parse da investigare con ogni studio e diligenza quali ammonimenti siano al ben ordinare e amaestrare e’ padri e tutta la famiglia utili per divenire all’ultima e supprema felicità.

                                                  (Leon Battista Alberti, I libri della famiglia)

In these few lines of the prologue of his 15th-century treatise Della famiglia, Leon Battista Alberti explains the scope of his project. He does not justify why the social unit he chooses to discuss is the family; it is obvious to him, as to his contemporary humanist readers, that families constitute the basic fabric of society and are therefore worthy of examination. Emphasis on the family in Italian culture dates from long before Alberti and extends well into the twentieth-century and up to contemporary politics. Italy today is concerned with what appears to be the demise of the traditional Italian family, as evidenced in Il Corriere della sera’s recent article entitled “Fertili ma senza figli, numeri choc: In Italia sono 5,5 milioni di donne” and by phenomena such as the “Family Day” movement.  

Family relationships are consistently represented and problematized in Italian literature, theater, art, music, television and cinema, whether those relationships are between husband and wife, mother and daughter, father and son, siblings, or any combination of the above. Italy also has an outstanding tradition of historians, anthropologists and sociologists who have tracked the role of the Italian family through the centuries, describing and analyzing its idiosyncrasies, mutations, and connections with specific geographical, political, and religious contexts as well as criminal behavior and phenomena such as “amoral familism.”

This issue seeks to explore the ways in which “the family” and all the relationships this term encompasses  have shaped and continue to shape Italian culture and society. Moreover, this issue looks to examine new and alternative understandings of kinship that may disrupt, dismantle, or even challenge perceptions of what constitutes la famiglia italiana.   

Possible avenues of inquiry across media, cultural formations and historical periods include: 

  • Family life, family structure, and kinship
  • Gender dynamics in the family
  • Familial relationships vs. non-familial relationships,  i.e. romantic relationships or friendships
  • Representations of or studies on parent-child, sibling-sibling, and parent-parent relations
  • The political implications of family
  • The family as a site of conflict or contested right/the family as a site of belonging
  • Familial relations and the development of the individual
  • The relationship between family and social institutions (Church, government, etc.)
  • Representations of motherhood, fatherhood, etc.
  • Influential families in Italian cities 
  • Family and migration 
  • Family and adoption
  • Family and bio-politics
  • Family and feminism
  • Family and criminality

We welcome papers in English and Italian from all disciplines, including but not limited to Art History, Classics, Comparative Literature, Environmental Studies, Film and Media Studies, Gender Studies, Geography, History, Italian Studies, Linguistics, Migration Studies, Musicology, Philosophy, Political Science, Sociology, Anthropology, and Translation Studies.

Papers must be accompanied by an abstract of approximately 250 words and a short biographical statement. Please upload articles, abstracts, and keywords directly onto the journal site at The abstract should also include: title of the proposed article, name of the author, institutional and departmental affiliation, and current contact information.

Follow the instructions below to submit a manuscript to Carte Italiane.

1. Log onto:

2. Once you are on the Carte Italiane site click on “Submit Article” hyperlink. This will prompt you to create  an escholarship account.

3. Follow ALL submission prompts and guidelines.

4. Please follow all steps closely and COMPLETE THE KEY-WORD SECTION. The key words will result in more hits for your article once published!

All submissions must follow the updated style guidelines found here. It is imperative that all submissions adhere to these guidelines. Papers that do not comply with the publication and submission guidelines will not be considered for review.


Submission Deadline: May 15, 2018. 

We look forward to receiving your submissions. Please contact us if you  have any questions:


Sarah Cantor and Adriana Guarro