The Italian relationship with feet seems contradictory to me. On one hand, they revere feet, encasing them in expensive and beautifully hand-crafted leather shoes. It is rare to see dirty, run-down or shoddy shoes on the pins of an Italian. … Continue reading →
In a memoir called Fat Girl: A True Story (2005), author Judith Moore concludes “I am ashamed and I am resigned to my shame.” It is hard to blame Moore for failing to take pride in her fat body. Large bodies have been associated with inferior, primitive qualities, and considered to be unproductive, undisciplined, and weak for a very long time. Amy Farrell dates the rise of fat phobia to the end of the nineteenth century, when an emphasis on industrial efficiency made fat bodies seem wasteful, undermining their previous status as alluring signifiers of wealth (Fat Shame: Stigma and the Fat Body in American Culture, 2011). Continue reading →
After finishing my book, which is now in the hands of external referees, I realized that many photographs—taken by the incomparable artist and designer Patrick J. Reed—could not be included in it. I think his images offer feminist interventions in the often heteronormative, … Continue reading →
This photograph shows me emptying gravel from my homemade ‘dumbbell’ after completing a final bootcamp in Cortona’s public park on May 29. Inventiveness and dedication are often necessary in order to pursue fitness while traveling, especially during extended periods away from home, far from a proper gym. I was recently in this situation for 52 days, teaching and doing research in Cortona, Florence, Siena, Rome, Arezzo, and Paris, but still managed to work out over 45 times. I post here a few pictures of my training during this period, Continue reading →
‘Yeah I saw a player get pantsed on the field,’ explains my student, describing her spectatorship of an Italian soccer match. ‘I think that is pretty commonplace.’ She has just provided me with yet another reason to love il calcio. But depantifying the average Italian man is not necessary, for his basket region is often visibly evident through tight cloth wrapped around nutsack. The young man jogging toward me the other morning, for example, wore white rubber-like shorts with neon green arrows that pointed to his man-parts, complete with the command ‘Guarda!’ I sure did. ‘I wish I had my camera with me,’ I mused regretfully. Precisely then I was struck with a brilliant idea, namely the creation of the photo-documentary below. Clearly, I would need help to collect, classify, and provide statistical information about Tuscan leg wear and buttock display, not to mention crotch projection. Thankfully, the students in the Cortona Program were quite gung ho about this new project and performed the required research with enthusiasm, esp E, E, M, and S. This week, I began each class with the following probing question ‘Find any good pants?’ and ended with the command: ‘Don’t forget to e-mail me your pants!’ Please enjoy the literal fruits of our collective labour, which is designed to teach you crucial lessons about Italian cultural practices, and to show you what some fellow jackass tourists actually wear while traveling.