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Ephemera and Italian Cinema. Scrapbooks, fan mail and diaries of female audience in Italy during the Regime


Ephemera and Italian Cinema. Scrapbooks, fan mails and diaries of female audience in Italy during the Regime 

Funder: University of Udine
Scientific Director:
 Prof. Mariapia Comand

Ephemera e cinema italiano. Scrapbooks, fan mail e diari delle spettatrici nell'Italia del Regime

The project aims at investigating the private and public writings produced by female cinema viewers in Italy during the fascist period. By adopting a conceptual and methodological framework which combines the perspectives and analytical tools of Gender and Women's studies with the studies on Audience and Fan Cultures, the objective is to lead an investigation through diverse sources related to the concept of "ephemerides", "minor and short-lived documents of everyday life" (Rickards 1977: v): the reader's letters published in the magazines (like Cinemondo, Cinema Illustrazione, Cineromanzo, Cine illustrato, Il cinema italiano, Il Cine mio, Il giornale della donna, Cordelia, Piccola fata and Gioia) or kept in the personal archives of the stars (like for example the one of Alida Valli at CSC), as well as diaries, scrapbooks and notebooks (from public archives and private collections) belonged to ladies cinemagoers between the '20s and the '40s. Those documents will be considered as places of inscription and negotiation of the female spectator subjectivity in relation to the narratives and the images promoted by cinema and media, as well as places of metabolization and re-elaboration of the discursive flows (linked to cinema) from the public media space to the private sphere and viceversa.
The research shall also reconstruct the most evident recurrent practices and the underlying cultural and symbolic dynamics, by exploring the (re)active and productive dimension which connotes the audience's reception, and by verifying the heuristic potential of some particular documents – the ephemera –, to this day largely overlooked by historiography, but actually formidable sources and vessels for unreleased insights into cultural history.