Dean Anthony Julian Tamburri Publishes Two New Books

Calandra’s dean, Anthony Julian Tamburri, has published two new books this summer.

Signing Italian/American Cinema: A More Focused Look (Ovunque Siamo Press). “The essays in this book all share a common notion that a greater awareness of the potentiality of signification of sign functions is an indispensable tool for a more extensive understanding of how a film might signify-indeed, about how any text might signify.” (from the introduction)

(You can buy the book here.)

The Columbus Affair: Imperatives for an Italian American Agenda (Casa Lago Press). “The Columbus Affair engages in the intellectual, crisscrossing zigzag of a quagmire that is the Columbus Affair and demonstrates the major complexities of such argumentation. The goal, modest it may seem, is to examine aspects of each side, with the hopes of spurring on an even greater discussion among all parties within our Italian/American semiosphere.” (from the introduction)

(You can buy the book 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’s Stephen Cerulli Receives SGA Award

Stephen Cerulli holding an espresso cup
Stephen Cerulli

Calandra College Assistant Stephen Cerulli was given a “Teacher Appreciation” award by the Student Government Association of Hostos Community College; he accepted the award during a ceremony held on Zoom this summer. Cerulli, who has a Master’s in liberal studies from the Graduate Center, CUNY, is an adjunct at Hostos and is teaching US History Through the Civil War and US History Reconstruction to Present Day this semester.

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

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

January 19, 2021, marks one year since the passing of our dear friend Robert Viscusi. As I wrote last year, for those of us who knew Bob well, we knew a kind man, someone who was always respectfully inquisitive and concerned about his friends and, at the same time, always a cheerleader in championing them and their accomplishments. He was, as well, a great advocate for the John D. Calandra Italian American Institute; he made it known to many, and we will always remain grateful. Bob exhibited erudition, largesse, and beneficence in ways that very few do.

As we announced on Twitter, we will commemorate Bob’s life and work with a special collection of essays written in his honor by some of his dearest friends. Indeed, Bob’s scholarly and creative works will live on precisely because they are so outstanding and hence greatly beneficial to all. They will serve yet future generations of scholars as they engage in their own professional development of cultural and literary studies of the Italian diaspora.

In turn, Bob the person—he who could turn a phrase and make you smile, or formulate a theoretical notion and make you go “Hmmm”—is and will remain dearly missed. As I said at the time of his passing last year, fortunately through technology we will have the opportunity to revisit with Bob: We have some recordings of him in the Italics TV archive. I will leave you with two of them here.

Un caloroso saluto a tutti,

Anthony Julian Tamburri
Dean & Distinguished Professor

Bob on Italics:
Lecture: “The Orphanage: Encounters in Transnational Space” (Sept 29, 2017)
L’oro di Napoli (at 1:03:10) Bob reading from his book Ellis Island

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.