Music, Performing Arts and Artists in the North - The French and Italian Diasporas (1600-1900) – University of Copenhagen

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Music, Performing Arts and Artists in the North - The French and Italian Diasporas (1600-1900)

Call for papers

Focusing on mobility, routes of travel, diasporas and migration, translation, reception, and transmission of skills and artistic practices in music, dance, and theater, this two-day conference aims to investigate French and Italian artists going North along with the networks and routes they followed and the impact they had on the cultural politics of the Nordic countries. 

The “North” is understood first and foremost as Scandinavia, but contributions expanding the framework to Germany, Russia, or England are welcome, especially if they focus on routes of travel and issues of territory and identity. By comparing French and Italian artists’ activities in the North, we intend to understand how their identities were received, appreciated, and/or rejected, and to understand more clearly how they negotiated and (re)defined local cultures. Universalist ideas clashed with cultural differences, and the idea of art as a cosmopolitan form was often confronted with regional and local expectations, both cultural and political. The performing arts and migrating artists played a crucial role in defining new forms of inclusion or exclusion in their adopted countries for short or long periods. Among the topics addressed, cosmopolitanism and localism are crucial and raise issues of political, cultural, and religious confrontation or acceptance. Adaptation to local tastes was necessary and involved translations, shifts to familiar settings, and all the visual aspects of musical and theatrical performance. Moreover, Nordic countries have until recently been largely ignored by scholars working on cultural transfers and artistic diasporas; this conference is an opportunity to put Scandinavia on the map.

We are keen to incorporate a performance-based or practice-based approach and seek to develop this dimension methodologically in order to understand the history of Italian and French artists in the North from a performative angle. Therefore we invite not only scholars but also performers—ideally a  collaboration between the two—willing to combine archival research with performance-based approaches.

We therefore invite scholars and performers to submit abstracts on any of the following aspects:

  • Traveling opera or theater companies, ballets troupes, circus artists in the North
  • Networks and routes of travel, from France and Italy to the North from a transnational perspective
  • “Frenchness,” Italianità, and their reception in the North
  • French and Italian artists: operisti, musicians, actors, dancers, impresarios and other individuals involved in the production of performing arts in the North
  • Cosmopolitanism and local reception; political, cultural, and religious confrontations with performing arts
  • Translations, cultural transfers, adaptations to local taste

We expect to publish a volume with a selection of the best presentations.

Deadline for submission: 30 June 2018

Please send abstracts (350 words) and a short biography before 30 June 2018 to and