Current projects

GEPHRAS2 is the follow-up project to GEPHRAS (, director: Erica Autelli): Both projects are funded by the FWF and are dedicated to the creation of an online phraseological dictionary of Genoese-Italian (Autelli/Lusito/Konecny/Toso 2018-21; in prep.). The aim is to systematically record Genoese phrasemes (collocations, idioms, communicative, comparative and structural phrasemes) with their current Italian equivalents, incl. indication of different variants, metalexicographic information, IPA transcriptions, audio files, example sentences, historical evidence and images for one phraseme of each lemma. Particularly innovative are the numerous search options that allow browsing the database by single or multiple words, phrase type or morphosyntactic category - in Genoese or Italian - while also taking into account the different graphics of Genoese. The project is intended to contribute to the documentation and preservation of endangered Genoese and at the same time serve as a model for further phraseographic work.

This project examines the Pan-African encounters and national cultural diplomatic actions as nodal points of the Transatlantic transfers between Latin America and Africa, that were articulated between 1960 and 1990, in the bipolar political frame of the Cold War. Specifically, the research focuses on diverse routes of circulation of intellectuals and artists between Brazil, Colombia, Cuba, Senegal, Algeria and Nigeria and the way these exchanges facilitated the emergence of race-conscious discourses in the Americas and positioned culture at the core of the decolonial project and solidarity alliances among Third World countries.

The project "Research as Vocality" aims to highlight the physical, relational, political and expressive power of the voices of artists and activists of African background in Naples, both their singing voices and their spoken words, thereby bringing these artists and activists to the fore. The ethnological research line of the project is built on dialogical and performative collaborations in which artists and researchers analyse and question historical documentation. The aim is to focus on the historical relations between Naples and Africa in order to build a new and sustainable understanding of contemporary issues of mobility, nationality, differences in ethnicity or gender, access to rights and opportunities.

Music and song often play a major role in shaping and representing cultural encounters. The project aims to investigate this fact in the context of the Second Italian-Ethiopian War. During the Italian occupation of Ethiopia, records were produced in the form of 78 r.p.m. shellacs, intended both for the institutional archive in Italy and for commercial distribution. In addition, an official monograph on Ethiopian music was published in Italian only a few months after Italy's entry into the Second World War. The collections from sound archives and ethnographies from this period are used - both in Ethiopia and in Italy - and serve as a stimulus for participatory research. The question of the significance of these cultural productions in the development of processes of social and societal change, involving representations, performances, personal as well as collective, will be explored.

The aim of my research project is to investigate representations of the Mediterranean (space) in Italian literature and cinema, starting with verismo in the late 19th century up to the present. The central question is how the Mediterranean is narrated, conceptualised, reflected and shaped in literary and cinematic representations. In addition, the potential of theoretical text and film analysis will be used to describe the contribution of fictions to Mediterranean discourse formation and its reflection. The research corpus of the project comprises five focal points and begins with a re-reading of Italian verismo: Giovanni Verga's stories as well as selected texts by the writer and publicist Matilde Serao are examined from the perspective of Mediterranean studies. While Verga describes the mythical-archaic world of Sicily in his texts, Serao focuses primarily on urban space, above all on the social problems of the Mediterranean metropolis of Naples. In a further step, the project examines Verdi's Aida in the context of trans-Mediterranean relations; insofar as the opera represented the most important popular genre in Italy in the 19th century, possible Orientalist implications are to be highlighted by means of an investigation of Aida and its context of origin and, in addition, research is to be conducted into how this opera, for its part, discursively shaped imaginaries of the Mediterranean region. Another project focus is dedicated to Italian Mediterranean poetry in the first half of the 20th century and deals with questions of Mediterranean discourse formation and its forms of staging in authors as different as Pascoli and D'Annunzio on the one hand, Saba, Montale and Ungaretti on the other. Finally, further considerations focus on narrative texts, especially the Mediterranean novels of Fausta Cialente, as well as films representing Mediterranean port cities and Mediterranean passages.

In the research project "Italian Migration Cinema: An Intersectional Analysis", I analyse an extensive corpus of films on the topic of contemporary migrations to Italy produced by Italian and foreign directors as well as "second generation" directors. My focus is on the analysis of the cinematic representation of the constructions of race and ethnicity, gender and sexuality as well as social class and aims at a differentiation and situated identification of the represented identities of migrants in Italian cinema of the last 30 years (1990-2020).

Annie Chartres Vivanti (Norwood, 1866 - Turin, 1942) was a cosmopolitan and polyhedral writer who lived for a long time in Italy and published many of her works in Italian. Although she was very famous at the transition from the 19th to the 20th century, she fell into oblivion after her death, partly because of the enactment of racial laws in Italy (1938), which banned the works of many Jewish-born authors (including Annie Vivanti) from libraries and publishing houses. Today, in the wake of interest in the "scrittura femminile", Annie Vivanti, along with many other female authors, has been rediscovered. Detached from a national context, this author moved across borders early on. Her perspective is thus never completely "internal", as she always maintains a very particular cosmopolitan gaze. Annie Vivanti has dealt with various themes, including the colonial theme (alterity, hybridity, identity, etc.). This is dealt with in three texts in particular: in the novels Terra di Cleopatra (1925), Mea Culpa (1927) (on British colonialism in Egypt), and in the novella "Tenebroso amore" (1920) (on Italian colonialism in Libya). With my work, I would like to offer a systematic postcolonial reading of Annie Vivanti's production, which has not been done before, with a special focus on the role of women and the female body within the (post-)colonial imaginary and discourse. In doing so, I would like to emphasise the innovation and especially the modernity of Annie Vivanti's literary achievements and demonstrate the scope of her writing back.

This dissertation project is about the investigation of the linguistic construction of tourist places in (digital) space. It examines the extent to which there are similarities and/or differences in the linguistic valorisation of places in tourist areas in Andalusia. The research is supported by a tripartite corpus with which language-bound place-making is analysed in a multiperspectival and -methodological way. The project's focus on Spanish Andalusia provides a necessary perspective on Spanish localities, which have hardly been considered in studies of multilingualism in (digital) space.

Starting from the question "How to be a lesbian poet?", the hitherto little researched lyrical work of the authors Gloria Fuertes (Madrid, 1917- 1998) and María Elena Walsh (Buenos Aires, 1930-2011), who are primarily known for their children's literature, will be examined with regard to their self-designs and strategies of authorisation as poets. The focus is on the conceptual entanglements between cultural authorship and gender/heteronormativity. The project thus ties in with the authorship studies that have been increasingly received in Hispanic studies in recent years and subjects their methods and concepts to a queer-feminist revision.

At the interface between emotion and literary linguistics, this dissertation project will explore the different linguistic manifestations of lovesickness in Spanish-language pop song texts of the 21st century. On the basis of a corpus, the coding (or non-linguisation) of this emotion will be examined on a morphosyntactic, lexical, semantic and pragmatic level by combining the corresponding linguistic categories and concepts (theoretical linguistics) with insights into the experience of heartbreak (psychology) and jointly applying them to the selected lyrics . With the help of objectifiable linguistic 'evidence', conclusions will be drawn about a whole spectrum of subjective negative feelings in the lyrical form under investigation, thus contributing to emotion linguistics and presenting literary linguistics as a complementary approach that can enrich literary analyses/interpretations.

Interweaving ecocriticism and Anthropocene studies, the representations and actions of tropical climatic phenomena in the Latin American novel will be examined. Instead of the representation of space and landscape, the focus will be on tropical heat, rain and hurricanes, a desideratum in previous research and also a more than topical subject in view of the increasingly frequent extreme weather phenomena in the course of climate change. The aim is to take a diachronic perspective with literary works of the 20th and 21st centuries that address the tropical nature of Latin America and not only provide insights into the present, but also show prospective representations.

It is only in recent years that the study of texts explicitly addressed to children and young people has increasingly become the focus of academic interest. In Italian literary studies in particular, this subject area has so far eked out a niche existence, if at all - mainly in didactic research projects. However, the central postulate of this research project is that literary studies can no longer avoid turning its attention to children's and young people's books by Italian authors. "The working title of the project is derived from this finding, which refers to the young adult novel and film Io non ho paura by Niccolo Ammaniti and a systematic rehabilitation of Italian children's and young adult literature in literary studies.

In her habilitation Fraseografia bilingue e delle varietà. Riflessioni diacroniche e sincroniche su esempio di alcune lingue e varietà romanze, Erica Autelli devotes herself to phraseology and phraseography and gives an overview of their development and terminological history. She examines phraseographic works of different centuries from Italy, France and Spain and elaborates metalexicographic guidelines for the compilation of modern bilingual dictionaries, with special attention to diatopic varieties as well as phraseodidactic and computationally linguistically relevant aspects.

This explorative-qualitative study uses a video corpus to research learners' L2 interactional competence in French classes. The conversation-analytic study provides a comprehensive description of linguistic and multimodal patterns of action in school-based L2 interactions, presents longitudinal case analyses of selected aspects of foreign language oral competence and discusses implications of the empirical results for the teaching and learning of foreign languages.

In her habilitation project, Monika Messner examines from the perspective of linguistics and semiotics how tourist spaces are staged multimodally in print and online media. Furthermore, approaches from cultural studies and media linguistics are also included. The focus is on the analysis of language-(moving)image combinations for the advertising-strategic visualisation of the tourist space as an attractive holiday destination. The aim is to look at this type of advertising - tourism advertising/destination advertising - from different points of view - and possibly from a contrastive perspective - for example, how spatiality, temporality or even synaesthesia are articulated through the use of different modalities.

Literary studies' fear of children's and youth literature remains both evident and urgent. The project "Taboo? Lesen worüber lieber geschwiegen wird" (Reading what people prefer to keep quiet about) aims to contribute to this and pursues several goals. The academic examination of children's and young people's literature (KJL) is to be upgraded, because this subject area has so far eked out a niche existence, if at all, in Italian literary studies and literature didactics. The present taboo project thus has the pioneering function of basic research, because up to now there have been no relevant studies for Italy that investigate which texts are read at all in Italian schools, or whether they deal with taboo topics. From studies that all come from native Italian contexts (bilingual schools in Innsbruck, as well as schools in the target country Italy), it will be worked out to what extent KJL that deals with taboos can also be used in Italian foreign language teaching.

The following research questions will be examined first:

FF1: Which texts are read in Italian lessons at school (in Italy)?

FF2: Are taboos addressed in these readings?

FF3: Whether and to what extent do discrepancies exist between pupils' and teachers' assessments of the relevance attributed to Italian literature lessons in schools by the respective groups?

FF4: Does dealing with contemporary taboo topics have a motivating function for reading in general among pupils, or not?

FF5: Are there regional/socio-cultural differences in the selected regions (Tyrol, South Tyrol, Northern and Southern Italy) with regard to openness towards the discussion of taboos in Italian lessons?

This is therefore primarily a status quo survey based on the hypothesis that picture books can also be used for teaching literature (and foreign languages) in schools and are particularly suitable for addressing 'difficult' content due to their easier accessibility. Precisely because it promotes the ability to reflect on current issues, this literature has a not inconsiderable intercultural significance, not least for foreign language teaching, in which knowledge of cultural differences (and similarities) is taught in addition to pure language competence. This serves not least to promote diversity, an elementary, socio-political concern practised transnationally by institutions such as the EU (cf. It is the task of the state to allow diverse ways of life to coexist. University and schools as state educational institutions have to make their contribution to this, which has a high relevance and which - according to one of the initial theses - can also be fulfilled through literature teaching.

The project aims to use qualitative (conversation analysis) and quantitative (statistics) methods to investigate the type and form of vocal demonstrations or vocalisations used by conductors in orchestral rehearsals and to show where during the rehearsal and why and for what purpose they are used. This will be done with video data taken from rehearsals of (professional) symphony orchestras based in France, Italy, Belgium and Spain. Conductors use vocal demonstrations to tell the musicians what they want to hear. When they sing a certain passage from the score with the interpretation they have in mind, they imitate what the musicians play on their instruments and can thus demonstrate or depict different musical aspects (e.g. tempo, rhythm, melodic lines, etc.). This project aims to explore in depth the dimension of the individual syllables or syllable sequences that conductors use for auditions. It will also explore how vocalisations are organised interactively and sequentially. This project will show how singing and speech are sequentially coordinated during interruptions in the music and how these two (and additional) modalities interact. It will also explore what specific functions vocalisations can fulfil in comparison to speech (e.g. representation vs. description). Furthermore, it will be examined how vocal demonstrations of the conductor and the music of the orchestra relate to each other in playing parts and how such vocalisations differ from those used in reviewing parts. The aim of the project is to create a 'simple systematics' of the sung syllables that appear in orchestral rehearsals, according to parameters such as type and form, function and performance, and sequential organisation. This systematisation should highlight the importance of vocality as an (additional) multimodal resource and its interactive-instructive power in musical settings.

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