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Conference and Film Screening | Worlds of Conflict: Violence in the Early Modern Period

World Of Conflict Web


Worlds of Conflict: Violence in the Early Modern Period

Monday, September 21 to September 23, 2023



In recent years, a growing number of scholars have turned their analyses toward the functions and meanings of violence in a variety of contexts. The early modern world remains a focus of scholars’ energy due to the richness of its source materials and the dynamic and shifting societies that occupied it. Worlds of Conflict will bring together scholars for an interdisciplinary conference to examine the roles and meanings of violence in the early modern world.


The Black Italian Renaissance

A panel discussion and reception will follow

Saturday, September 23 | 3:30PM

St. Michael’s College | AH 400
81 St Mary St | Toronto ON

Please note seating is limited

Presented with the support of the Istituto Italiano di Cultura Toronto

In the halls of the Uffizi Gallery, the great Venetian Palaces, or the naves of the most important churches in Rome, Renaissance artworks conceal countless faces hidden in plain sight: those of African and Afro-descendant characters. Who were they? Where did they come from? Why were they portrayed, and why did they remain unobserved? The award-winning documentary The Black Italian Renaissance, written by Francesca Priori and directed by Cristian Di Mattia, explores these mysterious characters’ stories. A combination of art and documentary analysis shows a whole new side of the Renaissance: a complex, multiethnic era layered in many different social classes.


Francesca Priori
Creator | Writer
Francesca Priori is an Italian journalist, editor and author of film-documentaries, series and cultural and entertainment television programs. In 2017 she left her role as Editorial Manager of SKY ARTE HD (SKY Italia) and started to work as freelance media expert creating, editing and producing Italian and international television cultural productions. Thematically, her work explores literature, cinema, art, design, science and the environment. Her attentive gaze to the historical and social context focuses on hidden and sometimes invisible details, in order to tell stories with intimate simplicity and fresh curiosity. Her empathetic observation of the world, developed as a journalist-producer-showrunner, combined with her love for the research of the sources, has allowed her to address very diverse topics, meeting and narrating the lives of illustrious personalities, both ancient and contemporary. In 2022, she wrote and produced “The Black Italian Renaissance.” This original narrative reconstructs the hidden presence and lives of African and Afrodescendant people in Italy and Europe through the elaboration of historical research and visual evidence found in the masterpieces of the European Renaissance. The documentary is currently being presented at international film festivals and screened at universities, and it has recently been shortlisted as Best Documentary in the Arts for the Grierson Awards, one of the most prestigious British awards for documentary.

Justin Randolph Thompson
Advisor | Narrator
Justin Randolph Thompson is an artist, cultural facilitator and educator born in Peekskill, NY in ’79. Based between Italy and the US since 1999, Thompson is Co-Founder and Director of Black History Month Florence, a multi-faceted exploration of Black histories and cultures in the context of Italy, founded in 2016. Having realized, coordinated, curated, facilitated and promoted over 300 events and with 9 ongoing research platforms, the initiative has been reframed as a research center called The Recovery Plan. Thompson is a recipient of a 2022 Creative Capital Award, a 2020 Italian Council Research Fellowship, a Louis Comfort Tiffany Award, a Franklin Furnace Fund Award, a Visual Artist Grant from the Fundacion Marcelino Botin and an Emerging Artist Fellowship from Socrates Sculpture Park amongst others. His work and performances have been exhibited widely in institutions including The Whitney Museum of American Art, the Centro de Arte Reina Sofia and The American Academy in Rome and are part of numerous collections including The Studio Museum in Harlem, and the Museo MADRE. His life and work seek to deepen the discussions around socio-cultural stratification and the arrogance of permanence by employing fleeting temporary communities as monuments and fostering projects that connect academic discourse, social activism and DIY networking strategies in annual and biennial gathering, sharing and gestures of collectivity.

Angelica Pesarini
Angelica Pesarini is an Assistant Professor in Race and Cultural Studies/Race and Diaspora and Italian Studies at the University of Toronto. Her work seeks to expand the field of Black Italia focusing on dynamics of race, gender, identity, and citizenship in (post)colonial Italy. She is also interested in the racialization of the political discourse on immigration, and she is among the co-founders of The Black Mediterranean Collective, which published The Black Mediterranean: Bodies, Borders, and Citizenship (Palgrave Macmillan, 2021). Angelica wrote numerous essays, peer-reviewed articles, book chapters on issues of race and colonialism in Italy and she delivered numerous talks and public lectures worldwide. She is the author of a short story published in the anthology “Future. Il domani narrato dalle voci di oggi” (Future. Tomorrow narrated by today’s voices, 2019), the first anthology written by Italian women of African descent, and she co-translated into Italian “Undercommons. Fugitive Planning and Black Study” by Fred Moten and Stefano Harney, and “Blues Legacies and Black feminism” by Angela Y. Davis. Angelica is currently writing a book on the use of oral sources as counter-narratives inspired by the oral histories of Afro Italian women during the (post)colonial fascist period in East Africa. As a scholar- activist, she is engaged in the Italian anti-racist movement, and she is investigating the impacts of BLM in Italy.

Laura Ingallinella
Assistant Professor of Italian Studies at the University of Toronto

Affiliated with the Renaissance Program at Victoria College
Laura Ingallinella’s research focuses on the intersection of identity politics, literature, and manuscript production in premodern Italy. Her work has appeared in I Tatti Studies in the Renaissance, Forum ItalicumBibliotheca DantescaMedioevo RomanzoRevue Mabillon, and ACMRS’s The Sundial. Dr. Ingallinella is currently completing two monographs. The first one, “The Fraudulent Muse: Gender and Literary Forgery in Early Modern Italy,” studies the intersection of female impersonation and “fakes” in Italy between the sixteenth and the eighteenth centuries, and it discusses cases such as the so-called petrarchiste marchigiane. Her second book, “Nations of the Book: Trade, Travel, and Transcultural Literacy in the Early Renaissance (1350–1500),” explores the book production and writings of Italian merchants and their diasporic communities. With Robert J. Clines of Western Carolina University, she currently is editing an interdisciplinary collection of essays on race in premodern Italy.