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School of History, Philosophy and Culture
Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences
+44 (0)1865 488535
Silvia Dibeltulo’s research mainly focuses on the representation of identity on screen, specifically in terms of ethnicity, nationality, gender and culture. Her work also centers on film genre theory and history, audience and reception studies, cinema heritage, and digital humanities. She obtained her PhD in Film Studies from Trinity College Dublin with a dissertation on cinematic representations of Irish-Americans and Italian-Americans in Hollywood gangster film. She joined Oxford Brookes University to work on the Italian Cinema Audiences project, while also teaching on the Film Studies and Communication, Media and Culture programmes.
Within the Communication, Media and Culture programme, Silvia is currently leading and teaching Understanding Media (U75102), Communication, Culture and Organisations (U75123), Culture, Gender and Sexuality (U74124), and Subject to Culture (U75184). She also contributes to Understanding Culture (U75108), Special Topics (U75172), Research Methods (U75125), and Dissertation (U75199).
Silvia is currently co-supervising a PhD dissertation on the language of memory in Italian films from the post-war period to the present.
Silvia's doctoral dissertation, “Hyphenated Identities: Irish- and Italian-American Gangsters in Hollywood Cinema” is the first comparative study of cinematic representations of Irish-Americans and Italian-Americans in Hollywood gangster film, and applies a novel multi-disciplinary approach to the topic. It examines the different ways in which mainstream American cinema perceives and portrays these two groups, while exploring the various meanings and connotations associated with Irish and Italian ethnicity in society and popular culture. Silvia’s work also focuses on media representations of the interrelation of gender and ethnic identity.
Silvia was involved in the AHRC-funded Italian Cinema Audiences project (2013-2016 http://italiancinemaaudiences.org/) and in the BA/Leverhulme-funded European Cinema Audiences project. Both projects focus on memories of cinema-going experiences and contextualize them by analysing box-office figures, archival materials, and film industry data.
She is interested in Digital Humanities and while working on film programming and exhibition and distribution in 1950s Italy has applied a novel approach to this research area by employing geo-visualisation digital tools (see, for example, http://italiancinemaaudiences.org/blog/maps/).
She also works on genre in film and media and has co-edited a collection that explores the intersection between traditional modes of production and new, transitional/transnational approaches to film genre and related discourses in a contemporary, global context.
Silvia is part of the OXFORD CENTRE FOR AUDIENCE RESEARCH (OCAR) based at Oxford Brookes University (School of Arts).
‘Italian Cinema Audiences’ è un progetto di ricerca collaborativo che indaga la memoria collettiva legata all’esperienza dell’andare al cinema in Italia negli anni Cinquanta.1 In particolare, il progetto si concentra sull’importanza del cinema nella vita quotidiana attraverso interviste con membri del pubblico, le cui risposte vengono elaborate e contestualizzate grazie ad ulteriori ricerche di archivio. Questo articolo offre una panoramica su alcuni dei risultati della prima fase di questo processo, basato su un’indagine a livello nazionale, condotta su più di 1000 italiani ultra sessantacinquenni, che ha raccolto sia dati statistici sulle loro esperienze di frequentazione cinematografica sia testimonianze dei loro ricordi. Con l’aiuto dell’Università delle Tre Età in Italia, abbiamo distribuito un questionario a un gruppo di partecipanti scelti fra otto province e otto città. Le città di Bari, Roma, Torino, Milano, Palermo, Napoli, Cagliari e Firenze sono state selezionate tra le 12 città capozona, scelte dall’AGIS per monitorare gli incassi al botteghino nel periodo in questione. Le realtà urbane sono state affiancate da località rurali in Toscana, Lombardia, Piemonte, Lazio, Sardegna, Campania, Sicilia e Puglia. I partecipanti ai questionari comprendono in maniera più o meno equa uomini e donne, abitanti di città e provincia, e rispecchiano un panorama completo di provenienza sociale.
In this chapter, Dibeltulo and Barrett outline the critical premises upon which a rethinking of “genre” as an analytical category in contemporary film and media studies is predicated. While pointing out the changes within generic modes of production, distribution, marketing, exhibition and reception, the authors argue for a reconception of the category of film genre as one “in transition,” in light of an increasingly globalized mediascape. To this end, the chapter reconsiders seminal genre theories (Neale in Screen 31(1):45–66, 1990; Altman in Film/Genre. BFI, London, 1999; Cawelti in Mystery, violence, and popular culture: essays. University of Wisconsin Press, Madison, pp. 79–94, 2004; Grant in Film genre reader IV. University of Texas Press, Austin, 2012) against the backdrop of the intersection of generic film-making with transitional/transnational and transmedial practices. Within this context, the authors emphasize the need to move beyond traditional Hollywood-centric approaches to genre criticism in order to shed new light on how film genres have evolved and continue to evolve in a global context. Finally, the chapter details the structure of the collection and the content of its contributions in relation to the book’s rationale.
Catholic film policies in 1950s Italy were clearly dictated by the Censorship Commission of the Centro Cattolico di Cinematografia1 (Catholic Cinema Centre) which issued regular guidelines about what films were acceptable by the Vatican and, therefore, allowed to be screened in religious venues. If, in theory, the network of parish cinemas was meant to function as an indirect way to censor immoral film content, the reality, however, was very different. In practice films that the CCC considered unsuitable to be screened in parish venues were often shown in religious cinemas. So far – as information on parish cinema programming is patchy and inconsistent – no research has been conducted which looks at the extent to which the Catholic Church’s attempt to moralise programming in parish cinemas was successful. This chapter will use Rome as a significant example of contrast between official policies and programming practices in the city which was the centre of the Catholic world, housing the Vatican, the Catholic curia and all the main Catholic administration offices. Catholic programming of the Roman parish cinemas listed in the online archive of the local edition of the newspaper L’Unità will be analysed. A research into what religious venues screened will offer a better understanding of the dynamics at play between the educational and censorial intentions of parish cinema networks in the mind of the ecclesiastic establishment and the actual processes put in place by the local exhibitors to attract audiences and run a profitable business.
In this chapter, Dibeltulo looks at how recent Irish-themed American gangster films, such as State of Grace (Phil Joanou, 1990), Gangs of New York (Martin Scorsese, 2002), and The Departed (Martin Scorsese, 2006), explore the tensions inherent to the double identity—Irish and American—of their protagonists. She illustrates how these films reveal the conflictual dynamics of the hyphenated self by focusing on the themes of loss, betrayal, and regain in relation to ethnic identity. Dibeltulo argues that the films in question share a common trait: they stage a return of the protagonist to the ethnic community/identity, which he had previously betrayed in favour of Americanization. Drawing on theories of ethnicity (Gans in Ethnic and Racial Studies, 2: 1–20, 1979; Sollors in Beyond Ethnicity: Consent and Descent in American Culture, Oxford University Press, New York and London, 1986; Alba in Ethnic Identity: The Transformation of White America. Yale University Press, New Haven, CT and London, 1990; Waters in Ethnic Options: Choosing Identities in America, University of California Press, Berkeley, Los Angeles and London, 1990), Dibeltulo examines the function of ethnicity for later-generation Irish-Americans. Furthermore, Dibeltulo’s chapter investigates the connotations of Irishness in contemporary American culture, at a time when the strong urge for ethnic identification clashes with the disappearance of the social texture of ethnic groups and the increasingly symbolic nature of ethnicity.
Dibeltulo S., and C. Barrett (eds.) (2018) Rethinking Genre in Contemporary Global Cinema (Palgrave Macmillan).
Dibeltulo S. and C. Barrett (2018) ‘Introduction: Genres in Transition’, in Rethinking Genre in Contemporary Global Cinema, Dibeltulo S., C. Barrett (eds.) (Palgrave Macmillan).
Dibeltulo S. (2018) ‘Tales of Loss, Betrayal and Regain: Irishness and Ethnic Identity in Contemporary Irish-themed American Gangster Films’, in Rethinking Genre in Contemporary Global Cinema, Dibeltulo S., C. Barrett (eds.) (Palgrave Macmillan).
Hipkins D., S. Culhane, S. Dibeltulo, D. Treveri Gennari and C. O’Rawe (2018) ‘‘A World I thought was impossible’: Provincial Cinema-going in Italy of the 1950s’, in Cinema Outside the City - Rural Cinema-going from a Global Perspective, Treveri Gennari D., C. O’Rawe and D. Hipkins (eds.) (Palgrave Macmillan, forthcoming).
Treveri Gennari D., S. Dibeltulo, D. Hipkins and C. O’Rawe (2018) ‘Analysing Memories through Video-Interviews: a Case Study of Post-War Italian Cinema-going’, in The Routledge Companion to New Cinema History, Biltereyst D., R. Maltby and P. Meers (eds.) (Routledge: New York, forthcoming).
Treveri Gennari D., S. Dibeltulo (2016) ‘Censorship Italian Style: Catholic policies and programming in 1950s Roman parish cinemas’, in Requiem for a Nation: Religion and Politics in Post-war Italian Cinema, R. Cavallini (ed.) (Mimesis International).
Dibeltulo S. (2015) ‘Old and New Irish Ethnics: Exploring ethnic and gender representation in P.S. I Love You’, in Ireland and Cinema: Culture and Contexts, B. Monahan (ed.) (Palgrave Macmillan).
Treveri Gennari D., S. Dibeltulo (2017) ‘It existed indeed…..it was all over the papers’: memories of film censorship in 1950s Italy’, Participations: Journal of Audience & Reception Studies (forthcoming).
Hipkins D., S. Culhane, S. Dibeltulo, D. Treveri Gennari and C. O’Rawe (2016) ‘‘Un mondo che pensavo impossibile’: al cinema in Italia negli anni Cinquanta’, Cinema e Storia, September (Special issue ed. by Elena Dagrada).
Ercole P., D. Treveri Gennari, S. Dibeltulo and L. Van de Vijver (eds.) (2016) ‘Cinema Heritage in Europe: Preserving and Sharing Culture by Engaging with Film Exhibition and Audiences’, Special issue of Alphaville: Journal of Film and Screen Media, Issue 11, Summer (Editorial article)
Dibeltulo S. (2015) ‘Family, Gang and Ethnicity in Italian-themed Hollywood Gangster Films’, Film International, Vol. 12, No. 4.
Dibeltulo S. (2015) ‘Dreamscapes in Italian Cinema’ (book review), Italian Studies, Vol. 70, No. 3, August.