Color photograph of a light skinned woman with long brown hair sitting at a desk covered with books and papers; she holds a pen in her hand and is writing

Elizabeth G. Elmi

Paul Mellon Rome Prize
September 2, 2022–July 14, 2023
Visiting Assistant Professor, Department of Musicology, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill
Project title
Inscribing the Self in Occupied Southern Italy: Culture, Politics, and Identity in Lyric Song Practices of the Aragonese-Ruled Kingdom of Naples
Project description

This project investigates the political and aesthetic impulses behind the musical and literary production of late-fifteenth-century southern Italy. In the fifteenth century, the Kingdom of Naples, encompassing all of southern Italy, was an occupied space ruled by the Aragonese dynasty. Neapolitan song was created in a range of contexts within Aragonese-ruled southern Italy, and while the Aragonese were part of the overall picture, they were not always a positive part. Rather, they consistently worked to break through the kingdom’s traditional social hierarchy and undermine local cultural practices by breaking up the aristocracy and centralizing power in Naples. In this study, I decentralize the historical narrative of this period by going beyond the capital city to focus on the rural territories of the Italian south, emphasizing the status and function of lyric song within the complex and constantly shifting socio- and geopolitical power structure of the Kingdom of Naples.

The photograph of Elizabeth G. Elmi was taken by Sarah J. Slover.