As a Roman and a member of the Tolkien Society, I was very proud to hear about AIST. I contacted Roberto Arduini, one of the men responsible for its creation, and asked him about their work, so that the SFFN could share it with other Tolkien fans.
Roberto told us that the Roman Association for Tolkien Studies was founded on the 13th of November 2005, and it was inspired by the Tolkien Society and its smial based in Rome, the Proudneck. After almost ten years, on September 28th 2014, the Association changed its name and became “Italian”.
The core mission of Associazione Italiana Studi Tolkieniani (Italian Association for Tolkien Studies) is to promote Tolkien’s work and study its impact on contemporary literature and culture from different points of view: literary, linguistic, theological, philosophical, etc.
“We look forward,” says Roberto, “to giving the serious Italian scholars in Tolkien’s work a new opportunity: a frame of quality, a collective brand that can guarantee a high level of competence and an intellectual honesty, offering at the same time a debating context and a point of reference for everyone – especially young people – wanting to study Tolkien’s opus.”
The second target of the Association is to connect with the academical context and the international debate on Tolkien, by interacting with the most active and prolific essayists in the Tolkien studies panorama. The Association is not interested in an “Italian way to Tolkien”, but in an Italian contribution to Tolkien studies.
The recent publications by Walking Tree Publishers (“The Broken Scythe” and “Tolkien and Philosophy”) is apt to illustrate this attitude. Finally, the Association wants to investigate the various forms of transmedial storytelling in which Tolkien’s narrative is translated and carried on.”
More news about AIST to come soon. In the meantime, you can visit their site on www.jrrtolkien.it