In February 2020, the first issue of Simultanea: Journal of Italian Media and Popular Culture, a peer-reviewed open access electronic journal was published. Founded and edited by Professors Andrea Ciccarelli and Marco Arnaudo, with assistance from doctoral candidate Carlotta Vacchelli (M.A., 2017), the journal is supported by the Olga Ragusa Fund for the Study of Modern Italian Literature and Culture. The first issue features a number of articles that touch upon many different artistic and intellectual aspects of Italian culture, such as design, the aesthetics of toys, disability and otherness in Italian cinema, the origin of Italian sitcoms, pop music and the methods of interpretation, biblical hybridization in American and Italian comics, and more.
Simultanea also hosted an online conference on April 17 on the topic of Italian popular culture, with guest speakers Francesco Ciabattoni (Georgetown University), Eugenia Paulicelli (CUNY, Graduate Center), and Arielle Saiber (Bowdoin College). Their individual talks were followed by a lively roundtable discussion on topics ranging from games as aesthetic and cultural artifacts to the comics industry in Italy today. In addition to Arnaudo and Vacchelli, doctoral students Sara Dallavalle (M.A., 2015), Francesco Samarini (M.A., 2018), and Leonardo Cabrini (M.A., 2017) also participated. The event showed that scholarly exchanges can continue in the age of COVID-19!