Professor Massimo Lollini of the University of Oregon organized and chaired a session on Gramsci at 1993 conference of the American Association of Italian Studies that was held on 15-18 April 1993 in Austin, Texas. Mr. Lollini has kindly provided us with the following description of the papers that were delivered on that occasion:
1. "Reclaiming Gramsci: Unearthing Italy's Internal Colonial History"
Pasquale Verdicchio (University of California at San Diego La Jolla)
This presentation outlined uses of Gramsci in the fields of cultural and post-colonial studies. While Gramsci's works are quoted with regularity, many of his concepts have been incorporated within the critical body of cultural studies without reference as to their provenance. As a result of the distancing of the works from the context that stimulated them (Italian nationhood and the North/South question), a large and valuable dimension has been lost. Restoring Gramsci's signature to his works, and reconsidering them in the light of the colonial relationship that was installed by Northern Italy in the Southern part of the peninsula, would offer a revitalized Gramsci, useful not only to cultural and post-colonial studies, but also to an expansion of the scope of Southern Italian studies. This shift of focus would not subtract Gramsci from an internationalist view, and will redefine the relationship of the South to Italy and Europe, possibly toward a Mediterranean perspective.
2. "Gramsci, Mosca and the Fascist Law Against Freemasonry"
Maurice A. Finocchiaro (University of Nevada--Las Vegas; Dept. of Philosophy)
This paper discussed the hypothesis that the political theory of Gramsci is largely a constructive criticism or critical development of that of Gaetano Mosca. A crucial example of the theoretical convergence between Gramsci and Mosca is the recognition by Gramsci of the fundamental law of Mosca's political science, which Professor Finocchiaro calls "The analytical principle of elitism." Moreover, the two thinkers interpreted Freemasonry as an effective political organization; and both gave a partially positive favorable evaluation of Freemasonry. [END PAGE 52]
3. "Cara Tania, Cara Julca, Caro Censore: Censorship and the Writing Strategy in Gramsci's Lettere dal carcere"
Barbara Zaczeck (University of Oregon; Dept. of Comparative Literature)
This paper examined how the ubiquitous presence of the censor affected Gramsci's correspondence, and what strategies Gramsci applied to make his letters conform to the guidelines of censorship and thus to ensure their smooth passage through the intricate machinery of the prison system. The paper studies also the hypothesis that Gramsci occasionally used the censor as a scapegoat, a writing device that allowed him to justify omissions and inexplicable silences in the correspondence with his wife.
4. "The Analysis of Feelings in Gramsci's Prison Letters"
Frank Rosengarten (Queens College--City University of New York)
This paper dealt with six of Gramsci's prison letters from the years 1929, 1930, and 1931for the purpose of illustrating some of the ways in which he tried to make his feelings known to his wife Giulia, his sister-in-law Tania Schucht, and his mother Giuseppina. Professor Rosengarten concludes that Gramsci's letters are extraordinarily revealing not only for their intellectual content but also in their emotional color, their analysis and expression of feelings through a wide gamut of rhetorical strategies. *
The program of the volksuni '93 held on 28-31 May 1993, as usual, in Berlin (this was the 14th year of the Berliner volksuniversität and all its activities took place at Humboldt University) included a number of presentations and discussions centred on Gramsci's thought and work. One entire session was devoted to a discussion on the topic: "Was ist Tot, was Lebendig am Denken von Antonio Gramsci?"--chaired by Wolfgang Fritz Haug with the participation of Giorgio Barattta, Joseph Buttigieg, and Georges Labica. A large crowd attended the ceremony at which the Wolfgang Abendroth Prize was awarded to editors/translators of the German critical edition of the Prison Notebooks. The speakers on that occasion included Walter Jens, Frank Deppe, and Joseph Buttigieg, in addition to the two principal co-ordinators of the edition of the Gefängnishefte, Klaus Bochmann and Wolfgang F. Haug. Also during the volksuni, Giogio Baratta presented his new documentary film on Gramsci "New York e il mistero di Napoli." In addition, Joseph Buttigieg delivered a lecture on "Philology and Politics in the Interpretation of the Quaderni" and Renate Holub spoke on "Differenzpragmatik und Gramsci." [END PAGE 53]