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Franco MANAI
Faculty of Arts, University of Auckland, New Zealand

Franco Manai has a laurea in Foreign Languages and Literature from the University of Pisa and a PhD in Italian Studies from Brown University. He has taught at various American colleges such as Vassar, Wellesley and Smith. He joined the Department in 1993 after teaching for two years at the University of British Columbia in Vancouver, Canada.

He has published on many Italian authors, including Francesco Petrarca, Pietro Bembo, Niccolò Machiavelli, Carlo Goldoni, Pierpaolo Pasolini, Leonardo Sciascia. He has written a book entitled Capuana e la letteratura campagnola (Pisa: Etp, 1997) where he studies the contribution of Luigi Capuana to  the representation of rural life in Italian fiction till the 1910s. In 2006 he published a book entitled Cosa succede a Fraus? Sardegna e mondo nel racconto di Giulio Angioni (Cagliari: Cuec) where he studies the fiction of contemporary fiction writer and anthropologist Giulio Angioni. In 2015 he co-edited a book on Italian postcolonial media production, Memoria storica e postcolonialismo. Il caso italiano. He is currently working on a book focusing on the representation of Italian colonialism in Italian literature.

Franco also has a strong interest in Italian popular culture, from detective novels to comic books and cinema. In these fields he has published on well known authors such as Fruttero & Lucentini, Loriano Macchiavelli, Andrea Camilleri, Carlo Collodi and Roberto Benigni.

New Zealanders have attempted to connect and communicate namely through written messages, drawing and small installations as it were, that appeared during the lockdown on the fences, windows, and sidewalks around the dwellings in Oakland’s low-density suburban neighborhoods.

Insight from "Innovative Approaches and Creative Practices in Response to the COVID-19 Pandemic"

Franco and colleague Kirsten explored the use of public space by ordinary people attempting to communicate with their neighbors during lockdown. With low-density housing and single or two stories homes with gardens, forms of personal expressions and creativity were intended for neighbors walking or cycling past in the vicinity. ‘These can be seen as a laudable effort to establish some kind of connection and communication with what could be a community of people living in the same area’, to establish a sense of community via the use of public space and private space for public view. There are mainly two types of signs: 1) Riddles, jokes, and the popular teddy bear hunt entertaining passers-by, 2) Signs with messages such as ‘Stay Home Save Lives’ and ‘Lest We Forget’ represented by the Anzac Day red poppy. 

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