AIPI Summer School Ricerca a fumetti: generi, forme, declinazioni (“Comics research: genres, forms, declinations”)

The Italian ‘fumetto’ is, together with the American comics, the Franco-Belgian ‘bande dessinnée’ and the Japanese manga, one of the most prolific and internationally renowned traditions in the area of graphic narratives. Authors like Guido Crepax, Milo Manara or Hugo Pratt and characters such as Tex, Valentina, Corto Maltese, Diabolik or Dylan Dog (just to mention a few) are famous among comics lovers and experts worldwide. The crucial position occupied by Italian comics is confirmed by the publication, in 1969, of Poema a fumetti, an illustrated story by the literary author Dino Buzzati, which is now considered by scholars an antecedent of the graphic novel format. It is not a coincidence that, back in 1964, the semiologist Umberto Eco was one of the first to pay scholarly attention to the medium of comics in his Apocalittici e integrati, a collection of essays on popular culture. Nowadays, Italian graphic narratives are experiencing a second renaissance fostered by the growing popularity of the graphic novel. Contemporary Italian comic artists such as Zerocalcare, Gipi, Fumettibrutti are now national celebrities and comics festival are booming all around the peninsula (among other, Lucca Comics & Games, BilBolBul, Napoli Comicon, Etna Comics, Cartoomics, Romics, Ratatà).

Notwithstanding its undeniable achievements, the Italian fumetto keeps struggling when it comes to getting critical recognition from Italian or Italophone academic research. Recently, though, things are starting to change and several scholars are now showing a growing interest for the ninth art, as well as for the study of its resonance in Italian popular culture. Contributions coming from cultural studies, gender studies, migration studies, sociology, semiotics and narratology are enriching the research on the medium.

The AIPI Summer School Ricerca a fumetti: generi, forme, declinazioni (“Comics research: genres, forms, declinations”), which will be held at the Universiteit Gent (Belgium) from 12 to 15 July 2021, was created with the idea of bringing together early career researchers (doctoral or postdoctoral level) and include them into a recently created network of scholars working on Italian comics (SnIF: Searching’n Investigating Fumetti).  Participants will come from different geographical contexts and explore different methodologies, so that we can consolidate the academic study of comics as an independent (inter)discipline in the context of Italian-language scholarship.

During the four days of the School, participants will be able to take part in lectures that cover three different methodological approaches and will be organised in plenary sessions in the morning. The lectures will be by Prof. Sergio Brancato, Emiliano Chirchiano, Maheen Ahmed, Ivan Pintor Iranzo, Inge Lanslots and Natalie Dupré. Participants will also be able to participate in one of the five thematic workshops. These will be held on the first two afternoons (for a total of five hours). The last day is dedicated to a practical workshop on using comics to display one’s research and to the presentation by the participants of their research topic on comics. The programme is completed by a roundtable on diversity in Italian comics, a visit to the CBBB (Brussels Comics Museum) and the BD parcours (a walk through the streets of Brussels decorated with comics-themed murals).

The working language is Italian (only one of the lectures will be held in English). Applications can be filled through the application form on the School’s website; the deadline is 1 May 2021.

The organizers are constantly monitoring the evolution of the situation related to the Covid-19 pandemic and, although we are cautiously and carefully aiming to keep the School on campus, by June 10th the participants will be informed if the event will have to be postponed to July 2022.

If you have any doubts or further questions, please do not hesitate to contact us at

Dr. Alessia Mangiavillano (Coventry University)

Dr. Dario Boemia (Università IULM)

Dr. Eva Van de Wiele (Universiteit Gent)

Dr Giorgio Busi Rizzi (Universiteit Gent)

Dr Nicoletta Mandolini (Universidade do Minho)

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