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Art, Cinema, Fashion, Gastronomy, History & Politics, Italian American Issues, Music, Photography, Theater & Dance

Made With Italy

The "Italian Touch" in American Hip-Hop Culture, 1973-1996

October 3, 2023
7:00 pm

Please note:
This event was postponed from September 25

Made With Italy
The “Italian Touch” in American Hip-Hop Culture, 1973-1996

A lecture by
Giuseppe Gatti, University of Turin

Introduced by
Isabella Livorni, Faculty Fellow, NYU


The lecture offers an original theoretical and methodological framework for mapping the impact of Italian modern style (the so-called “Made in Italy”) on the early years of hip-hop culture, notably between 1973 (the conventional date of the first hip-hop party) and 1996 (the year of Tupac’s passing). Recognizing the transatlantic circulation of “Italian” bodies (performers, entrepreneurs and characters), products (film, clothes, and goods) and other intangible items (gestures, dance styles, attitude etc.), Giuseppe Gatti maintains that Made in Italy had a profound impact on the visual manifestation of the hip-hop Foundational (1973-79) and Golden Age era (1980-96), operating as a symbolic mediator for the rise of a hip-hop “global nation-building” and, overall, for the demands of new lifestyles and expressive languages in American urban youth culture in that period. The lecture will shed new light on the study of the multiple exchanges between Italian cinema/fashion and the hip-hop generation, with particular attention to the role of the “Italian touch” on hip-hop’s early dance styles, lyrics and outfits in a transcultural perspective.

Giuseppe Gatti is a researcher in Film and Media Studies at the Department of Humanities of the University of Turin. In 2020-2022 he was a Postdoctoral Fellow at Roma Tre University in the PRIN Project “Transatlantic Transfers: The Italian Presence in Post-War America. 1949-72”. He is the author of Dispositivo. Un’archeologia della mente e dei media (Dispositif. An Archaeology of Mind and Media), Roma TrE-Press, 2019, and Stradario hip-hop (Hip-hop Roadmap), Alegre, 2020. Under the pseudonym “Nexus” he is an active hip-hop performer and theatrical director. His current topics of research include Italian cinematic and cultural heritage, media archaeology and hip-hop culture.

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