Italian Brooklyn: Photographs by Martha Cooper

In this collection of images, photojournalist Martha Cooper, well-known for her work on graffiti and the early days of hip-hop, documents Italian American vernacular expressive culture in 1980s Brooklyn. These thirty-nine photographs were made as part of various documentation projects undertaken by folklorists some three decades ago. Cooper’s photographs of everyday scenes and interactions, many of them involving public Catholic practices in Italian Brooklyn, shine a light on often overlooked details of the urban landscape. Digitized from their original slide formats and newly printed, the photographs depict, among other things, Williamsburg’s annual giglio feast, the Manteo Sicilian marionette theater, yard shrines and sidewalk altars, as well as portraits of community members both noted and lesser-known. This is the first exhibit of Cooper’s extensive earlier Italian American oeuvre.

This exhibition is in collaboration with City Lore, a nonprofit arts organization dedicated to New York City’s vibrant folk arts. City Lore is the repository of Cooper’s extensive slide collection.

On view April 19–August 31, 2018
Exhibition Opening: Wednesday, April 18, 20

Italian Americans and Immigrants

Italiani d’America, before you jump on the anti-immigration band wagon here in the United States, just keep in mind not only what our grandparents and great-grandparents had to endure, but check out what is going on today with Italians having to leave Italy in order to find a job and have a decent wage. No one in this video is sitting on “their ass,” to quote a prominent U.S. official… A little sympathy and good karma go a long way! Alla ricossa, ragazzi!

Oh, yeah, it is not a “spostamento,” as one former Italian official would have it; it is a “fuga,” and then some!

Rome Summer Program

Study italian diaspora culture through a unique summer program in rome.

The Italian Diaspora Studies Summer Seminar™ is a three-week summer program that takes place at Roma Tre University from June 11 to 29, 2018. It is designed to introduce participants (doctoral students and professors) to cultural studies of the Italian Diaspora from a variety of academic perspectives and to foster development of individual projects responding to the materials covered in the series of seminars in literature, film, and the social sciences. All participants will engage in a special research project.

The Italian Diaspora Studies Summer Seminar is open to graduate students (doctorate; advanced MA students may be considered) and professors from colleges and universities worldwide. This is a collaborative program between the John D. Calandra Italian American Institute / Queens College of The City University of New York and the Roma Tre University. Professors from these two institutions and others will comprise the teaching faculty of the entire three weeks. This is the fourth year of the Italian Diaspora Studies Summer Seminar.

The program will accept up to twenty participants for the 2018 summer program.

Fellowships of $1,500 per participant are available.

Cost of room, board (breakfast and lunch) and tuition (12 Roma Tre credit hours): $3,000. Air and ground travel are additional. Click here for the application form, and click here for more information on the program schedule and faculty.

For more information about the program schedule and faculty, contact Dean Anthony Julian Tamburri at 212.642.2094 or via email at

Application Deadline—February 24, 2018.