Scheda insegnamento

  • Docente Cristina Demaria

  • Crediti formativi 6

  • SSD M-FIL/05

  • Modalità didattica Convenzionale - Lezioni in presenza

  • Lingua di insegnamento Inglese


L'insegnamento contribuisce al perseguimento degli Obiettivi di Sviluppo Sostenibile dell'Agenda 2030 dell'ONU.

Istruzione di qualità Uguaglianza di genere Pace, giustizia e istituzioni forti

Anno Accademico 2019/2020

Conoscenze e abilità da conseguire

At the end of the course, students will be capable of using the tools necessary to critically develop the main themes and aspects relative to Italian cultures of conflict and post-conflict (from trauma to the grieving process) from a semiotic perspective. Students will have acquired methodological analysis skills and be able to re-elaborate complex concepts.


From the thawing of the Cold War to 9/11, up to nowadays post-Al Queida and Isis threats, the very definition and imagining of war and conflict has dramatically changed. However, while scholarship in such areas as strategic studies, international relations, international law, peace studies, psychology and psychiatry is still addressing conflicts in terms of ‘conflict resolution’, ‘post-conflict reconstruction’, ‘post-conflict justice’, and the treatment of post-conflict trauma, little or no attention has been given to the reciprocal play between conflict, culture and memories as semiotic mechanisms.

The course aims at addressing this very play and tensions, focussing on how a conflict as an “event”, along with its representations, is a semiotic and cultural phenomenon. In other words, it is also a conflict on the significance to be attributed to events, and to the actors participating in it as, for example, when mediated discourse labels or sanctions one of the concerned parties as “the barbarian”, “the oppressed” or “the oppressor”, “the victim”, or “the perpetrator”, thus influencing the effects and the affects that international public opinion lives and feels in confronting and interpreting the conflict itself.

The course will focus on how conflicts – their regulation, repression and particularly their representations – constitute privileged loci for a semiotic analysis, arguing how conflicts challenge and rearrange pre-existing systems of cultural control, not only in the first explosive moments of violence or spontaneous civil disobedience but also, subsequently, when they encounter modes of historicisation linked closely to unifying discourses of national identity.

Particular focus will be given to the relationship between still and moving images (photograph, cinema) and conflict; on how and to what extent images and icons inspired by the examination of issues of memory and oblivion experienced in the last century respond to the challenges imposed by 21st-century conflicts.

With a view to discussing the semiotic process of conflict and post-conflict situations, the course will concentrate on the ways in which 20th and 21st-century (post-)conflict images address and (re)mediate memory and post-memory; along with cultural identities in post-conflict contexts.


Boudana, S.; Cohen, A.C.; Frosh, P. 2017, “Reviving icons to death: when historic photographs become digital memes”, Media, Culture & Society, vol. 39 (8), pp. 1210-1230

Demaria, C. (ed.) (2019), Post-conflict Cultures: A Reader, London, CCCP Press (the introduction and one selected essay)

Elsaesser, T. (1996), “Subject positions: from Holocaust, Our Hitler and Heimat, to Shoah and Schindler's list”, in V. Sobchack (ed.) (1996), The Persistence of History, London and New York, Routledge, pp. 145-186.

Frosh, P. (2011), “Telling Presences: Witnessing, Mass Media, and the Imagined Lives of Strangers”, in P. Frosh e A. Pinchevski (ed.), 2011, pp. 49-72.

Glynn, R. 2013, Women, Terrorism, and Trauma in Italian Culture, London and New York, Palgrave.

Hoskins, A. (2011), “7/7 and Connective Memory: Interactional Trajectories of Remembering in Post-scarcity Culture”, Memory Studies, 4, 3, pp. 269-280.

Maurer, K. (2017), “Visual Power: The scopic regime of military drone operations”, Media,

War & Conflict, vol. 10, no. 2, pp. 141-151,

Radstone, S. (2001), «Trauma and Screen Studies. Opening the Debate », Screen, 42, 2, pp. 188-193.

Pollock, G. 2012, “Photographing Atrocity: Becoming Iconic?”, in G. Batchen, M. Gidley, Miller, K. and J. Prosser (eds), Picturing Atrocity. Photography in Crisis, London, Reaktion Books.

Zelizer, B. 2012, “Cannibalizing Memory in the Global Flow of News”, in M. Neiger; Meyers; E. Zandberg, On Media and Memory, London and New York, Palgrave.

Metodi didattici

The classes are meant to engage the students in participating actively to the discussion on the topics of the course. After the first introductory week, students will be asked to give either individual or group (maximum of 4 people) presentations. The presentations can be both on theoretical stances or methodological positions within the debates addressed during the classes (further reading, in this case, will be provided), or on a specific case-study that will have to be selected and analyzed.

Modalità di verifica dell'apprendimento

For those who will attend the course, and therefore will have given a class presentation, the exams will consist in the oral discussion of an exam paper.

The paper will be valued by assessing the capacity to elaborate the theoretical and methodological categories of analysis discussed throughout the course. The students who will not be able to attend the course will have to write a paper on one of the topic of the course program. They will have to undergo an oral examination based on the recommend readings.

In order to choose a topic for the exam paper, a meeting with the teacher is strongly recommended. For the students who will attend the course, the paper could also be written collectively.

In both cases (that is for students attending the course, and for the ones that will not the course), the paper written will have to be 4000 thousand words long. Paper wrote collectively will have to have a length proportional to the number of people in the group.

The paper will have to be handed in at least seven days before the oral examination.

Strumenti a supporto della didattica

Classes will be taught with the help of the multimedia tools (computer, projector, media player) available in all the teaching rooms of the Department.

Orario di ricevimento

Consulta il sito web di Cristina Demaria