Words without Action Poison the Soul

A Sadler Seminar exploring the relationship between Italian and Colombian Mafia from a cultural studies perspective.

Silence is the most important rule in any criminal organisations. Silence kills. It conveys secrecy and obscures intentions. The Mafia gave even a word to it: omertà, the code to which every member of the honourable society should strictly adhere to. Silence does not just kill people, but it hinders memory of events as well.

The seminar will explore the relationship between Italian and Colombian Mafia from a cultural studies perspective to enhance awareness on the production of violence created by criminal organisations until the nineties in both societies.

Through an exploration of the construction of collective memory and the reaction of new generations it will discuss the role of literature and media in encouraging awareness and/or glamorising organised criminality.

Please book your place here via Eventbrite.


Anna Detheridge (NGO Connecting Cultures, Milan)

Eva Frapiccini (School of Fine Art, History of Art and Cultural Studies, University of Leeds)

Dr Roberto Musotto (School of Law, University of Leeds)

Professor Gigliola Sulis (Italian Studies, School of Languages, Cultures and Societies, University of Leeds)

Dr Camilo Tamayo Gomez (School of Law, University of Leeds)


Before and during the seminar, it will be possible to visit an exhibition of work by practice-led PhD candidate Eva Frapiccini. The Art of Memory runs from 5 to 18 September at Project Space in the School of Fine Art, History of Art & Cultural Studies. The exhibition includes an archival photographic installation created by Frapiccini with documents of magistrates, journalists, trade unionists, police inspectors, and private citizens who have spent their lives fighting the Mafia in Italy.

About the seminar

This event is convened by Camilo Tamayo Gomez, Eva Frapiccini, Gigliola Sulis and Roberto Musotto as part of the 2019/20 Sadler Seminar Series. It is supported and funded by the Leeds Arts and Humanities Research Institute (LAHRI) at the University of Leeds.

More information about the Sadler Seminar Series can be found here.

Image © Eva Frapiccini, untitled, from the series Words without Action poison the Soul