Dr Maria Elena Alampi
Postdoctoral Research Fellow
My research interest lies in Italian cinema. Specifically: labour, precarity, and gender representations. Co-Founder of the Academic Network: Cinematic Precarity Research Network
Maria Elena Alampi's interests lie in the representation of precarity and labour and gender representations in contemporary cinema. She is also interested in girlhood and Italian media.
Labour Precarity, Existential Precarity and Gender in Italian cinema
Maria Elena Alampi's PhD thesis "The New Italian Cinema of Precarity" investigates the Italian labour system's representations, particularly the phenomenon of the precarity in contemporary Italian cinema with a special focus on gender. She participates in and co-organises research several events such as the annual PGR Symposium as Research Assistant for B-Film- International Research Centre of Film Scholars at the University of Birmingham, "Let’s Queer It(aly)" (a cycle of online meeting about queer culture in Italy together with Dr Anna Lisa Somma and the Department of Italian Studies of the University of Birmingham which won the SIS EDI Awards 2021 held by The Society of Italian Studies. In 2020, she set up, together with Dr Francesco Sticchi from Oxford Brookes University, an academic international network called "Cinematic Precarity Research Network".
Girlhood studies in Italian cinema and media
Maria Elena Alampi is currently working as Postdoctoral Research Assistant on the project "A Girls’Eye-view: Girlhood on the Italian screen since 1950" (https://agirlseyeview.exeter.ac.uk/en/) funded by Arts and Humanities Research Council and supervised by Professor Danielle Hipkins (University of Exeter) and Professor Romana Andò (Sapienza, University of Rome). Working between the UK and Italy, with an intergenerational team, the project will chart the history of representations of girlhood in and around Italian cinema and television; preliminary archival research shows that these are always closely tied to questions of sexuality and the body politic. Through archival research we will also interrogate how postfeminist and popular feminist discourses have become entangled in contemporary ways of talking about girls in Italy. In the context of this history, we will then carry out a more detailed analysis of contemporary Italian cinema and selected television from the last decade. The bulk of our textual analysis will integrate the responses of Italian girls (aged 14 to 18) into our analysis, drawing upon data generated through individual interviews, screenings and focus group discussion. Our project will also set young women's consumption of Italian products in the context of their broader patterns of media consumption, and ask just how important Italian productions are, or could be, to their process of growing up. If they do not perceive them as relevant, why is that? When it is, how do they respond to them? These findings will be central to the impact of our project, as we ask stakeholders in the film industry to address these questions too.
This project also examines cultural memory as a key element of being a girl. As historian Franca Bimbi argues, in Italy becoming a woman is still as dependent on previous generations' understanding of the process as it is on that of the peer group. Therefore, in its final stage the project will use a participatory oral history method to put young women in dialogue with previous generations of women about the relationship between cinema and growing up. In this way we return to the periods examined at the beginning of our book, through oral history. Female audiences in Italy have largely been ignored. Not only does this project want to contribute to their recovery, but it aims to put them at the creative centre of that recovery process, thereby finally making them stakeholders in the future of the industry
Maria Elena Alampi completed her BA in Modern Languages at the University of Messina (Italy) in 2008 with a thesis on the postmodern cinema of Woody Allen. Subsequently, she obtained her MA in Modern Languages, Literatures and Translations cum laude at the University of Messina (Italy). Her thesis focused on Malcolm X and his cinematographic representation by Spike Lee (1992). She obtained her PhD at the University of Birmingham with a thesis entitled "The New Italian Cinema of Precarity". She is currently working on girlhood and media at the University of Exeter as Postdoctoral Research Assistant for the AHRC project "A Girls’Eye-view: Girlhood on the Italian screen since 1950s".