[Thesis defense] 30/11/2023: Roberto Laghi: "Il digitale al cuore delle (tras)mutazioni delle scritture e delle realtà italiane"(ICTT)

Research news 23 November 2023

Title of the thesis

"Il digitale al cuore delle (tras)mutazioni delle scritture e delle realtà italiane" (Digital at the heart of the (tras)mutations of Italian writing and reality)

Date and place

Salle des thèses, Campus Hannah Arendt - 30 November 2023 at 9am


Romance languages and literature / Italian studies


ICTT: Cultural Identity, Texts and Theatricality Laboratory


  • Lombard Laurent (Director, Avignon University)
  • Iacoli Giulio (co-director, Università di Parma)

Composition of the jury

  • Lombard Laurent (Director, Avignon University)
  • Iacoli Giulio (co-director, Università di Parma)
  • Luglio Davide (rapporteur, Sorbonne University)
  • Piazza Isotta (rapporteur, Università di Parma)
  • Evangelou Konstantina (examiner, Aristotle University of Thessaloniki)
  • Papotti Davide (examiner, Università di Parma)

Summary of the thesis

Digital technology at the heart of (trans)mutations in Italian writing and reality

The aim of this thesis is to study the transformations that the digital has brought to contemporary Italian writing in the context of the upheavals caused by computer technologies at a global level. These changes are inextricably linked to writing, since in the digital world everything is written (in the form of computer code) and many recent scientific discoveries, which change our perception and understanding of reality, are due to the increase in computational power. Our research is based on an analysis of the role of
and technology, and then draws on the tools of cultural and literary criticism.

These theoretical foundations allow us to approach the examination of the Italian writings chosen as case studies with an important interdisciplinary opening, within the field of Digital Humanities.
The thesis is divided into three parts. The first opens with a philosophical and social analysis of technology, and digital technologies in particular, highlighting the constituent aspects (primarily economic and political) that influence users/consumers and their choices. The emphasis is therefore on writing as a technology and on the future of writing in a digital environment (first chapter). We then turn to the more traditional themes of cultural and literary criticism, highlighting in particular the changes that digital technology has brought and is bringing about in the analysis of genre (writing rather than literature), realism and the relationship between writing and reality, and finally the figure of the author (second chapter).

The second part opens with a brief analysis of contemporary Italy (third chapter), based on the relationship between literacy - including technological literacy - populism, the media and writing. This allows us to introduce the writings we present as case studies. These are niche writings, chosen for their ability to establish a profound relationship with the digital technology that makes them possible. We analyse the poems of Nuova poesia troll, the literary/computer experiments of Fabrizio Venerandi, the multimedia hip hop of Uochi Toki and the writing/performances of Salvatore Iaconesi and Oriana Persico (fourth chapter).

The analysis of these Italian writings leads us to discover new questions linked to the relationship between human writing and digital media, and thus to seek answers to these questions. The third and final part focuses on the writing produced by 'artificial intelligence' and the creative uses that writers make of it (fifth chapter). It looks at issues such as the definition of intelligence (human and machine) and consciousness, both of which have been called into question by technological and scientific progress. To identify theoretical avenues that bring these different elements together, we include disciplines such as neuroscience and biotechnology in our journey to highlight the fact that human writing, computer code (and AI writing) and genetic writing (particularly CRISPR-Cas9) are closer than we think, starting with the fact that they are different forms of information transfer.

Mots clés associés
thesis defence