UWA Italian Studies Lecture Series

General Public, Faculty/Staff, Students, Alumni

Rome City

Celebrating the 90th Anniversary of Italian Studies at UWA

2019 marks the 90th anniversary of the teaching of Italian language and culture at The University of Western Australia.

In 1929, Francesco Vanzetti, an idiosyncratic and popular Venetian, offered the first courses in Italian. This was the first appointment of a lecturer in Italian in any Australian university.

This lecture series, supported by the Institute of Advanced Studies and by Italian Studies in the UWA School of Humanities, celebrates aspects of Italian language and culture, past and present.

Public Lectures - Semester Two

13 August

Italy and the Invention of Luxury

A public lecture by Dr Catherine Kovesi, History, University of Melbourne.

That Italy and Luxury go hand in hand seems hardly noteworthy. It is a pairing at once both obvious and nebulously evocative. However Luxury has a long history, one with a rather sordid past, from which it has never entirely freed itself. And Italy is there, at the heart of the concept – from its fifteenth-century definition and first articulations, to its broader manifestations into present-day luxury brands and the untrammelled consumption of our globalized age. This lecture positions Luxury as one of the key words of our time; but a concept with paradoxes at its core and a chequered history and origins.

Catherine Kovesi is a historian at the University of Melbourne. Author of Sumptuary Law in Italy 1200-1500 (OUP, 2002) and of several books on Australian religious history, editor ofLuxury and the Ethics of Greed in Early Modern Italy (Brepols, 2018), and co-general editor of the forthcoming Bloomsbury six-volume A Cultural History of Luxury, her research focuses on luxury discourses in early modern Italy, and the familial, political, and religious history of Florence and Venice. A UWA Hackett Scholar, she has been a Senior Scholar and then a Visiting Fellow at Oriel College, Oxford, a Fellow at the Harvard Centre for Renaissance Studies at Villa I Tatti in Florence, and a network partner of the Leverhulme-funded International Luxury Network.

13 August, 6pm-7pm, Murdoch Lecture Theatre, UWA Arts Building


Listen to some of the excellent talks already held in this series.