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: https://us02web.zoom.us/j/84632506433?pwd=NHVpM0RFZ1dRa0YrUTljWmNKWEtVQT09
For more information, email calandra@qc.cuny.edu or call 212-642-2094.

 

Dr. Joseph Sciorra Wins Studs Terkel Award

Photograph of Joseph Sciorra
Joseph Sciorra

As part of the Working-Class Studies Association Awards for work produced in 2020, this year’s Studs Terkel Award for Single Published Articles or Series, Broadcast Media, Multimedia, and Film in Media and Journalism goes to “Protesta Per Sacco & Vanzetti,” by the Calandra Institute’s Director of Academic and Public Programs Joseph Sciorra. A judge writes that the piece includes “extensive research into the songs related to the men’s arrest, trial and executions,” a case they compare with the death of George Floyd. “The balm for xenophobia is knowledge, but the challenge is to bring people to that table. I’m there.” Also, a judge writes that Sciorra has “preserved a vital record of American anarchist history, giving credit to the working-class reproductions of this period’s emotive sounds and sensations of this historical moment.” The essay’s “focus on Italian language items provides an explicit example of working-class experience across languages, cultures, and people.”

Tribute to Robert Viscusi Published

Bordighera Press has just published this volume of essays, a Festschrift for beloved colleague and friend of the Calandra Institute Robert Viscusi (1941–2020). In it scholars deal with an array of Bob’s contributions to the worlds of letters and of academia.

This volume is available everywhere now for purchase. You may buy it at IAMBooks or at Barnes & Noble, among other booksellers. You may purchase the book directly from Bordighera Press by writing to info@bordigherapress.org.

Connecting Despite the Pandemic: Calandra Conversations

With the COVID-19 pandemic, venues that devote resources to public programming, like the Calandra Institute, have had to switch things up a bit. These more casual Zoom conversations offer a new and flexible means by which we have been able to continue with some of our scheduled events that could not take place in person as well as add other fun and informative online events. Click here to see all the conversations to date, and check back often, because we are only doing more.

Robert Viscusi 1941–2020

Our dear friend Robert Viscusi passed away on January 19, 2020. On Tuesday, January 18, 2022, we came together, a dozen of us in person and more than sixty via zoom, to celebrate his life. Contributors to the volume This Hope Sustains the Scholar: Essays in Tribute to the Work of Robert Viscusi (2021, Bordighera Press) remembered Bob as a poet, as a teacher, and as a beloved colleague.

Watch this space; we will soon publish the video of the event.

Un caloroso saluto a tutti,

Anthony Julian Tamburri
Dean & Distinguished Professor

Italics: Mark Rotella

Host Anthony Tamburri interviews Mark Rotella, the author of Amore: The Story of Italian American Song and Stolen Figs and Other Adventures in Calabria, as Rotella describes how his search for his own Italian American identity led to the writing of both books.

Rotella’s writing has appeared in The New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Salon, Washington Post, and the Village Voice, among others.

Message from the Dean on COVID-19 and Civil Unrest

Dear Friends,

We currently inhabit a time in which we struggle on the one hand with nature—that is, the deadly virus that has ravaged many sectors of more than 200 countries around the world—while on the other, we find ourselves caught up in yet another struggle, the systemic racism that has sparked more than a week-long series of protests around the United States, a result of the horrible police killing of George Floyd, an African American man, in Minneapolis.

After close to five months (two and one-half of shutdown for most), COVID-19 remains the mysterious, debilitating, and fatal disease we have witnessed and experienced since this past February. And while genetic evidence has pinpointed the origins of the virus, we still remain, nevertheless, victims of such natural indifference.

In turn, the protests that we have witnessed in many cities across the country prove to be a result of yet another indifference. COVID-19 possesses a disinterest in the human condition; as a force of nature it was born outside the human. The forces instead that killed George Floyd are multilayered and have their roots within the human, dating back 401 years to 1619 with the introduction of African slavery to what would become the United States; they are truly, and cognitively, indifferent, lacking any and all regard for the lives of African Americans and other people of color.

As Italian Americans, and especially as scholars and teachers, who are not only cognizant of our history but who purport to study and promote it, we cannot but stand with black and brown people who have suffered and continue to suffer the indignities as well as the life-threatening violence that emanate from such disregard and callousness. Not to do so is to deny our own history and the indignities that many of our ancestors endured. The difference is that our ancestors were always free and white. Further still, they lived to tell about it.

Empathy is the first step toward fighting for justice for all.

Un caloroso saluto a tutte/i,

AJT Signature
Anthony Julian Tamburri
Dean and Distinguished Professor