Dispatch from Florence

Ellyn Toscana
We have been busy as ever at NYU Florence. We continue to have a diverse student body, including students from CAS, Stern, Steinhardt, Liberal Studies and Global Liberal Studies, Tisch, School of Continuing and Professional Studies, Gallatin and NYU Abu Dhabi as well as from other universities.
A key component of academic studies at NYU Florence is the opportunity for site visits that allow students to experience the cultural resources of Florence and Italy. Last semester, Professor Salvatore Sberna developed an intensive four-day module of study for students in Palermo, Sicily for his course The Politics of Organized Crime: Italian Mafias in a Comparative Perspective. Students met law enforcement officials, community activists, and local businessmen involved in anti-Mafia activities. Given the trip’s success, Professor Sberna is developing a similar initiative for Naples in Spring 2014.
The Graduate Studies Seminar at Villa La Pietra continues to grow with lectures by outstanding scholars in many fields of Italian Studies. Internationally renowned scholars and emerging new thinkers have presented to graduate students, undergraduates, faculty and members of the scholarly community at large. This fall NYU Faculty were joined by local faculty, fellows from the American Academy in Rome, scholars from the Harvard University Center for Italian Renaissance Studies, faculty from important Italian universities and the European University Institute. The series ended with a round-table co-sponsored by the Tuscan Region, that brought together leading scholars and authors to discuss the work of Carlo Coccioli, an important twentieth-century Italian author.
Giampiero Gallo, Professor of Economics at NYU Florence and the University of Florence, organized an international conference entitled Generation Jobless: Youth Unemployment and Disengagement. The conference was organized to discuss a report of the European Foundation for the Improvement of Living and Working Conditions, bringing NYU Florence students together with their peers at the University of Florence. It was live-streamed to NYU Accra, NYU Madrid and NYU Prague. For more information about this conference, please visit the La Pietra Dialogues website at www.lapietradialogues.org.
The fall semester ended with a La Pietra Dialogue organized by a student, Maria Khimulya. Maria felt that her first semester at NYU Florence had exposed her to the significant history and culture associated with this iconic Italian city of art but wondered if the commitment of the city to maintaining the historical urban space had impeded the development of a visible contemporary culture. This led her to an independent investigation into street art and in her LPD Dialogue Street Art in Florence: Politics and Practices: Conversation with Clet and the No Dump Collective. Maria led a captive audience of students and community members through an animated discussion of the practices and the politics of contemporary street artists.
In some sad news, Professor David Travis, a long-standing and highly esteemed member of our community, passed away at the end of last year. Professor Travis first joined NYU Florence fifteen years ago and served as Academic Director from September 2000 until May 2010 when he returned to full-time teaching. He is missed.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *