Christopher Sorrentino, Vanessa Pérez-Rosario, and Joseph Salvatore at Calandra

Sorrentino book reading at Calandra Institute
Image courtesy Rosaria Musco

Novelist Christopher Sorrentino did a book reading on May 10 from his new memoir Now Beacon, Now Sea: A Son’s Memoir. With him were Vanessa Pérez-Rosario and Joseph Salvatore to discuss the book. Co-sponsored with Centro, The Center for Puerto Rican Studies, Hunter College, the event was live-streamed to dozens of viewers and also videotaped.

In the book, Sorrentino excavates his own memories and family folklore in an effort to peel back the ways in which his mother Victoria seemed trapped between conflicting identities: the Puerto Rican girl identified on her birth certificate as Black, and the white woman she had decided to become.


Dean Tamburri Interviewed for “Tutto Italiano!” Radio Show

tamburri.jpgThe Tutto Italiano! radio show interviewed Dean Tamburri Sunday, May 15, 2022. Here is the episode description:

“Join us with guest Anthony Julian Tamburri, Dean of the John D. Calandra Italian American Institute (Queens College, CUNY) and Distinguished Professor of European Languages and Literatures. His research interests lie in literature, cinema, semiotics, interpretation theory, and cultural studies. Dr. Tamburri has divided his intellectual work evenly between Italian and Italian/American studies, authoring sixteen books and more than one hundred essays on both subject areas in English and Italian.”

And you can listen to the complete episode here:

Video of Claudia Durastanti’s Reading at Calandra

Writer Claudia Durastanti
Durastanti at Calandra

In April writer Claudia Durastanti came to the Calandra Institute to give a reading from her acclaimed book Strangers I Know as part of our regular Writers Read series, which has begun again in person for the first time since 2020. Joseph Salvatore interviewed her about the work and her life. Our cable TV show Italics crew were there to tape the event, and now you can watch the entire event here.

Dr. Joseph Sciorra Gives Talk at Italian American Museum of Los Angeles

Dr. Jjoseph Sciorra speaking at IAMLA
Joseph Sciorra speaking on Italian American embroidery at the IAMLA. Image used with kind permission of Luisa Del Giudice.

On Saturday, April 23, Dr. Sciorra made a presentation at the IAMLA in connection with the museum’s show “Woven Lives: Exploring Women’s Needlework from the Italian Diaspora.” The talk incorporated some material from his 2014 book (with co-editor Edvige Giunta, published by University Press of Mississippi) Embroidered Stories: Interpreting Women’s Domestic Needlework from the Italian Diaspora. To watch an earlier presentation (from the Institute’s cable TV show Italics) on this topic by Dr. Sciorra, click here.

Calandra’s Spring Events Commence

Our first in-person events in our regular series took place last night. Calandra hosted filmmaker Mark Pedri and producer Carrie McCarthy (pictured here) for a screening of Dear Sirs (2021) as part of the Documented Italians series. We had a full house in attendance (in accordance with our COVID protocols, everyone showed ID and vaccination cards upon entering, and the crowd was limited to twenty audience members). For more information about all our spring series events, click here.

New Approaches to Italian American Studies

Click here to watch a video discussion among Calandra Dean Anthony Julian Tamburri, Queens College Distinguished Professor of Italian American Studies Dr. Fred Gardaphé, Calandra’s Director of Academic and Cultural Programs Dr. Joseph Sciorra, and York College Professor Dr. Donna Chirico on new directions scholars are taking while exploring the historical and contemporary experiences and output of the world’s Italian diaspora.

To watch all Italics programs on YouTube, click here.

Calandra Conference 2022 Eco Italie: Material Landscapes and Environmental Imaginaries

The theme for the 2022 edition of the Calandra Institute’s annual conference will be Eco Italie: Material Landscapes and Environmental Imaginaries. The conference will take place in person at the Institute on April 28–30, 2022.

Italians operating under diverse historical conditions within the national borders and beyond have participated in varied roles and perspectives in transforming the global environment. Building on the growing scholarship analyzing Italian histories and cultures from the perspective of the environmental humanities this interdisciplinary conference encompasses a wide range of topics concerning the environment, broadly understood, from backyard gardening practices to industrial farming, from Fascist-era agricultural projects to the dumping of toxic waste by perpetrators of organized crime. At the forefront of this scholarly encounter is the dire global climate crisis and the science, activism, and everyday cultural shifts involved in alleviating a future catastrophe.
Attendance at the conference is open to all and free of charge. Please register by calling 212-642-2094; space is limited. Proof of vaccination and ID are required upon entry. Masks are encouraged but not required. We will continue to assess the latest data and public health guidance and to act in compliance with CUNY protocols.
The conference will be live streamed. You may watch the conference via live stream link here:
For more information, email or call 212-642-2094.