AISCLI WEBINAR SERIES 2024. SALVATORE MARANO: Boombox and the City. Respondent: Sara Antonelli

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SUMMARY:AISCLI WEBINAR SERIES 2024. SALVATORE MARANO: Boombox and the City. Respondent: Sara Antonelli


The boombox, or ghettoblaster, is an industrial artifact that, between the second half of the Seventies and the end of the Eighties, became a part of the domestic landscape and the urban scene on a global scale. Equipped with microphones and a double playback deck, the boombox functions as both a radio and a recorder—an amateur recording studio where music intertwines with voices, creating a remix of various sounds broadcast at full volume. In the United States, this process became the hallmark of hip hop culture, narrating the urbanization of black popular culture. Closely linked to the proliferation of the boombox, the development of rap represents a significant moment in reclaiming urban space and asserting denied identities, in symbiosis with graffiti, breakdance, and the new forms of street art.

The conversation focuses on the exhibition Boombox and the City: The Boombox in AfricanAmerican Urban Culture, curated by Adriano Elia and Salvatore Marano. Financed by the PRIN research project “Between Text and Performance: Race and Gender in Anglophone Literatures and Cultures (1970s-today)”, the exhibition will take place at the Department of Political Science, Roma Tre University, from May 7th to May 24th, 2024. Maria Paola Guarducci and Adriano Elia will participate in the Webinar.


Salvatore Marano

Salvatore Marano is associate professor of American Literature and Cultural Studies at the University of Catania. He has been working on the spatial relationships of literature (the interrelations of the arts in modernist and postmodernist writing; concrete, L=A=N=G=U=A=G=E and digital poetry; literature and the city, comics and the graphic novel, the text in performance) and he is currently writing on the technologies of writing. The editor of the Italian editions of Mark Twain’s Double-Barrelled Detective Story (Roma, 1992) and Djuna Barnes’ Ladies Almanack (Macerata, 2014), he has published essays on Walter Abish, William Burroughs and Hart Crane (on Letterature d’America), E. E. Cummings (on Letterature d’America, Siculorum Gymnasium and RSA Journal), Laurie Anderson, Marina Abramović and Vito Acconci (Performing/Transforming, Torino 2021) and various other American and Canadian writers (most notably, John Barth, William Faulkner, Amy Lowell, Mina Loy, Steve McCaffery, bp Nichol, Alice B. Toklas). Among his books, La rosa senza perché. Gertrude Stein e la scrittura (Catania, 1991), American Games (Catania, 2001), Lo spazio obliquo, Georges Perec fra segno e disegno (with S. Nucifora e D. Colistra, Roma, 2015), Il velo di Maya. Scritti in onore di Maria Vittoria D’Amico (ed., Acireale-Roma, 2017), Performance. Dal testo al gesto (ed., ebook, 2019), Boombox and the City (with S. Nucifora, Acireale-Roma, 2023).

Sara Antonelli

Sara Antonelli is Ricercatore of American Literature at the Università Roma Tre. She earned a B.A. in Literature (1991), a Master in Literary Translation (1996), and a Ph.D. (2000) in American Literature at the Sapienza Università di Roma. In 1993 she was awarded a Fulbright Scholarship and earned a Diploma in American Studies at Mount Holyoke College (1994). In 2010 and 2014 she was a Visiting Professor at the École Normale Supérieure in Lyon. She has written extensively on both 19th-Century and 20th-Century American Literature and Culture, focusing especially on F. Scott Fitzgerald, African American Studies, the America Novel, American Photography, and Film. She has translated in Italian the works of Harriet Jacobs, Nathaniel Hawthorne, Louisa May Alcott, Thomas Hardy, James Baldwin, Edith Wharton, F. Scott Fitzgerald, Margo Jefferson, Gayl Jones, and Sam Shepard. She curated two photo exhibitions: “Alfred Stieglitz and the Photographers of Camera Work,” Roma – Palazzo delle Esposizioni (2002) and “Freedom Fighters: The Kennedys and the Struggle for the Civil Rights,” Roma – MAXXI (2013). She regularly appears on Italian National Radio (RAI-Radio3) to comment on American culture and politics.

AISCLI WEBINAR SERIES 2024. SALVATORE MARANO: Boombox and the City. Respondent: Sara Antonelli