Call for Papers for Calandra’s 2025 Conference: The Bitter Bread of War: Multidisciplinary Perspectives from Italy and the Diaspora

April 25–26, 2025

War has been foundational to the shaping of modern Italian history, memory, and culture—from the wars of the Risorgimento to colonial and Fascist wars of expansion up to and including the two world wars. Furthermore, in all these Italian war efforts, emigrant and diasporic communities have played significant roles whether through moral and material support, serving in the Italian military, or through their opposition to Italian wars. As such, scholars are increasingly turning their attention to the theme of war and its importance to our understanding of the history of Italy, the Italian diaspora, and former colonial subjects. This interdisciplinary conference is open to a wide range of topics concerning war from an Italian—broadly understood—perspective. As in the past, the Institute’s conference proposes an inclusive approach to Italy and Italian mobilities, including inhabitants of the nation-state, members of the diaspora, current immigrants in Italy and their descendants, and former colonial subjects.

Suggested paper topics include but are not limited to:

  • Italian military history
  • Italy’s reaction to other nations’ wars (e.g., Vietnam War, Russian-Ukraine War)
  • Anti-war movements and statements (e.g., Scorsese’s 1967 The Big Shave)
  • Colonial wars and anti-colonial responses
  • Domestic warfare, e.g., brigands, partisans, Years of Lead
  • Diasporic involvement with Italy’s military and wars
  • Italian immigrant and descendants’ participation in host country’s military
  • Displaced persons and refugees
  • Internment, e.g., POWs, US government’s enemy alien designation, Fascist concentration camps in Libya
  • Gendered approaches to war
  • Creative accounts and depictions, e.g., memoir, fiction, film, visual arts (e.g., Mengiste’s 2019 The Shadow King)
  • War as metaphor, e.g., class wars, war on organized crime, war on migrants
  • Memory, oral history, and historical revisioning, e.g., the foibe, Fosse Ardeatine, the Shoah

This is an in-person event without virtual presentations.

The official language of the conference is English. All presentations are limited to twenty minutes, including audio and visual illustrations. Thursday evening is dedicated to welcoming comments and reception; sessions and panels will take place all day Friday and Saturday.

NOTA BENE: There are no available funds for travel, accommodations, or meals. There is no conference registration fee. The conference does not make arrangements with local hotels, so participants are responsible for booking their own accommodations.

DEADLINE FOR SUBMISSIONS: SEPTEMBER 15, 2024. Abstracts for scholarly papers (up to 500 words, plus a note on technical requirements) and a brief, narrative biography should be emailed as attached documents by September 15, 2024, to calandra@qc.cuny.edu, where other inquiries may also be addressed. We encourage the submission of organized panels (of no more than three presenters). Submission for a panel must be made by a single individual on behalf of the group and must include all the paper titles, abstract narratives, and individual biographies and emails.

Notice of acceptance or rejection will occur in early November 2024.

This year’s conference title comes from Arturo Giovannitti’s poem “Anniversary II.”

Professor Fred Gardaphé on Growing Up Italian American in Chicago

Calandra’s Professor Fred Gardaphé spoke to podcaster Danielle Romero on her channel NYTN, in which she explores issues related to identity and ethnicity. Gardaphé spoke about his working-class background and his education journey and the ways in which his upbringing has reflected and refracted in his life as a professor at Queens College and as the author of numerous scholarly books and articles. Watch the whole conversation below.

Italian Diaspora Summer Studies Seminar

The Italian Diaspora Studies Summer Seminar™ is a three-week summer program that takes place at Roma Tre University. 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 seventh year of the Italian Diaspora Studies Summer Seminar.

The program will be accepting up to twenty participants for the 2024 summer program. The dates for this year are from June 10–28, 2024.

Fellowships of $1,500 per participant are available upon acceptance. Application forms can be found on-line at www.calandrainstitute.org.

Fellows will spend three weeks in a four-star hotel; the seminar classes will be held at Roma Tre University. Cost of room, board (breakfast and lunch), and tuition is $3,300. Graduate credit pending. Air and ground travel are additional. Click here for the application form and click here for last summer’s brochure, which will give you an idea of the program.

Application Deadline—February 29, 2024

Click here to read or download the latest Italian Diaspora Summer Studies Seminar booklet as a PDF.

“Translating Italian Mobilities”: Calandra Annual Conference a Success

Scholars and interested participants began gathering at the Institute on April 26 to listen to presentations by speakers from around the world on the theme of this year’s conference, Translating Italian Mobilities. All sessions were livestreamed. With ten panels and individual presentations on topics related to translation and a keynote (“Rescue, Restore, Redeem: On Translating I Promessi Sposi“) by Michael F. Moore and Lawrence Venuti (“The Bourgeois Shudder: Translating Dino Buzzati’s Politics of Fantasy”)(with discusant Loredana Polezzi), the conference lasted two full days and provided ample material and opportunities for lively and collegial discussion. To review the program and see all the presenters and their topics, click here. Click here to see more photos from the conference.

Luisa Del Giudice at Calandra

Thursday, April 11, Luisa Del Giudice, author and independent scholar, presented her new book In Search of Abundance: Mountains of Cheese, Rivers of Wine, and Other Gastronomic Utopias (2023 Bordighera Press), in which she outlines the fascinating and complex journey of ideas about plenty and scarcity in the history of Italian diasporic cultures. The book is available via Bordighera Press.

Dean Tamburri To Address Supreme Court of the State of New York

Today Calandra’s dean, Anthony J. Tamburri, will speak to the Appellate Division, Second Department, of the Supreme Court of the State of New York. His topic is “Italian Americans: Who We Were and Who We Are.”

Dean Tamburri Gives a Talk at Casa Italiana Zerilli Marimò on Italian American Film

 

On March 4, Calandra’s dean Prof. Tamburri spoke about the film Big Night (1996) from the perspective of identity. Through a comparative analysis of the three main characters (Primo, Secondo, and Pascal), we come to understand how Italian immigrants negotiated differently the challenges of the host country. Even of the same generation, we see how these three characters represent three different types of individuals, from one person to the next. Click here to see the entire presentation.

Calandra’s Stephen Cerulli Talks Italian Americans and Ethnicity on NYTN Podcast

Podcaster Danielle Romero invited Calandra college assistant Stephen Cerulli, who is getting his PhD in Modern History at Fordham University, to talk about matters relating to Italian Americans and ethnicity.

 

The Pietro “Pete” Panto Italian Diaspora Labor Dissertation Fellowship

SCOPE OF THE FELLOWSHIP

The John D. Calandra Italian American Institute, a university-wide institute under the aegis of Queens College, The City University of New York, is offering a fellowship for graduate students who are writing their dissertation on any topic involving Italian emigrant and/or Italian ethnic labor and/or working-class life either in the United States or in the wider Italian diaspora. Submissions may come from all relevant fields of study in the social sciences and humanities, including, but not limited to, history, literary studies, film studies, gender studies, and political science.

The fellowship is named after dockworker and labor activist Pietro “Pete” Panto (1910–1939), who was murdered for leading rank-and-file stevedores in a struggle for safe and democratic working conditions on the Brooklyn waterfront, which had long been in the grip of mobsters and corrupt elements in the union.

The fellowship will run for six years with one award given each year. The fellowship award is $1,000 US per year, distributed by check or bank transfer after the awardee is announced.

ELIGIBILITY

Graduate students will need to have been registered at their university in the twelve months previous to the application deadline. Recently graduated students are eligible to apply as long as they were registered within the twelve months immediately previous.

Applicants must have passed their qualifying exams, been admitted to candidacy, and have submitted an accepted dissertation proposal. This status must be confirmed in the dissertation director’s letter (see below).

Graduate students who do not win in a given year but continue to work on their dissertation or thesis in the following year are welcome to apply again.

SUBMISSION GUIDELINES

  • Application materials must be in English and submitted in .pdf format. The dissertation itself may be written in any language.
  • Project description: In no more than 750 words (double-spaced, Times New Roman 12-point font with 1-inch margins), provide a title and brief description of the dissertation project, your progress toward its completion, and an explanation of the project’s contribution to the field of diasporic Italian emigrant and/or ethnic labor and/or working-class life.
  • Curriculum vitae: The CV should include your current mailing address, email address, and telephone number and should focus on publications, courses taken and/or taught, professional activities, and awards. Maximum length not to exceed two pages.
  • Unofficial transcripts: Proof of good standing. There is no need for the transcript to be translated into English.
  • Two letters of reference: One letter must come from the dissertation director and explicitly address the relevance of your project to the furthering of Italian diaspora and labor/working-class studies. Both letters must be in English.

Please upload the documents in .pdf format to Submittable: https://bordigherapress.submittable.com/submit/285828/john-d-calandra-italian-american-institute-pietro-pete-panto-italian-diaspora

For any questions about the application process, please write to the John D. Calandra Italian American Institute at the following email: calandra@qc.cuny.edu.

DEADLINE

May 1, 2024. The announcement of this year’s winner will be made on September 2, 2024.

Exhibition Extended through April 2024: “A Legacy of Making: 21 Contemporary Italian American Artists”

“A Legacy of Making: 21 Contemporary Italian American Artists” currently on view at the John D Calandra Italian American Institute in Midtown Manhattan, will run until the end of April, 2024. Curated by Joseph Sciorra and Joanne Mattera, the exhibition features the work of artists based in New York City who are Italian American, or Italian born and and now living here, whose immigrant experience has informed them personally and artistically.
On Wednesday, December 13, artists in the exhibition will be present to speak informally in the gallery about their work, 6:00-7:30. You are invited. Come and see the show and engage with the artists.
Info:
. The Calandra Institute is at 25 W. 43 Street, 17th floor, New York City.
. Read a conversation between John Avelluto and Joanne Mattera in Two Coats of Paint: https://twocoatsofpaint.com/…/an-italian-american…
. See a walk-through of the show on Mattera’s blog: https://joannematteraartblog.blogspot.com/…/a-legacy-of…
. Artists were selected from the newly published book Italianità: Contemporary Art Inspired by the Italian Immigrant Experience: https://store.bookbaby.com/book/italianit%c3%a0