Nov. 1, 2019

Kenise Lyons comes to the LRC

Beyond Besieged:  Black Femininity and the Location of Culture in Italy
Kenise Lyons at the UofC
Kenise Lyons (left) with Francesca Cadel (top right) and Eleonora Buonocore

Dr. Kenise Lyons teaches Italian Language and Literature at the Catholic University of America, where she specializes in Italian Film Studies. She had a very successful visit to the University of Calgary this fall. In the morning of Friday, October 4th, Dr. Lyons had a brief tour of the University of Calgary’s campus, and of the School of Languages, in particular she saw Il Circolino, the Italian Center in ChC 318.

Dr. Lyons had a quick lunch while gathering her thoughts before her talk to the Language Resource Center, in Craigie Hall E212. The talk was well attended, more than 40 between students, colleagues, and members of the Italian American community were present in this nice October’s afternoon. Dr. Lyons spoke on "Beyond Besieged:  Black Femininity and the Location of Culture in Italy." She presented a new interpretation of Bernardo Bertolucci’s controversial 1998 film Besieged, by retracing for us the development of the main character, her self-creation of a new, interstitial identity, between her African roots and her Italian future. In her engaging  and personal style, Dr. Lyons lead the audience in a journey throughout the entire length of the film, with the aim of locating the pragmatic power of the film, showing us how the lens of the camera revealed new spaces for black women working within an Italian cultural context at the end of the 1990s. There was a lively discussion after the talk. One of the students commented: “Dr. Lyon’s talk changed my perspective on Bertolucci’s movie Besieged. Shandurai had a rough journey, made even worst by the fact that she is a woman of color. How intense, and how real her situation was, what it does represent to woman who are often mistreated and sexualized, what it meant to be away from home, but also find a place to call home. When the clips of the movies were shown, I could see them from another perspective and notice small things that were once unnoticed.”