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"The Spider Dance: Music, Tradition, And Healing In Southern Italy, "A Talk By Giovanna Parmigiani, PhD. Harvard University

Monday, March 15, 2021
2:00pm – 3:00pm


ORIGINALLY associated with tarantismo, pizzica is a Southern Italian music and dance that was used, for centuries, as a medicine to cure women who were thought to be bitten by tarantula spiders. While this particular use of pizzica disappeared in the 1970s, it was recently reintroduced and reframed, among local Pagan communities, as a spiritual practice. In this talk I will present my 2 years-long ethnography among contemporary Pagan women in the Salento area of Italy. In particular, I will focus on the relationships between the interpretation of pizzica, non-linear historicities—i.e. ways to experience and understand time and temporality— and the pursuit of well-being.

GIOVANNA PARMIGIANI is Harvard Divinity School’s Lecturer on Religion and Cultural Anthropology for the 2020–21 academic year. She is an anthropologist of religion and a scholar of Contemporary Paganisms. Her work is firmly grounded in ethnographic and auto-ethnographic practices, and her primary interests are the relationships between religion, politics, and gender. Her first monograph, Feminism, Violence and Representation in Modern Italy: “We Are Witnesses, Not Victims” (Indiana University Press, 2019) dealt with violence against women, and her second, The Spider Dance: Tradition, Time, and Healing in Southern Italy (Equinox Publishing, forthcoming) with contemporary Pagan women and healing.


Literatures, Cultures and Languages (primary), Anthropology Department, College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, Humanities Institute, Psychology Department, UConn Master Calendar

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