The Calandra Institute hosted a two-day conference January 17 and 18 on diversity in Italian studies. Participants came from all over the country and abroad to participate. The keynote speech was delivered by Dr. Deborah Parker of the University of Virginia. Topics covered in the several sessions included race and ethnicity, gender, sexuality, diversity statistics, and class. This conference focused on a set of issues located at the absolute cutting edge of the philosophy of education, and the presentations were exciting and absorbing. Stay tuned for videos from the sessions, which were Livestreamed and recorded by the Institute and CUNY TV for Italics.
If you are interested in seeing the full program and reading presentation abstracts and finding out more about the presenters, click here.
Click here to read Helene Stapinski’s article for the New York Times about Joseph Sciorra’s research on Italian American folklore and especially presepi (Nativity scenes). Also: Click here to read a Times article by Dr. Sciorra about a new book by photographer David Maialetti about the Italian town of Luzzara.
CUNY was privileged to host Francesco “Kento” Carlo at two events this past week, culminating in his presentation and panel discussion at the John D. Calandra Italian American Institute Queens College on December 11. The Italian rapper talked about the influence of local Mafia branch ‘Ndrangheta in Calabrian life throughout history, about being a political rapper, and about the critical importance of rap and music in general in making connections between people when the world is in dire trouble. He also gave the audience a sample of some new lines he’d recently written and answered questions from Dr. Joseph Sciorra and Dean Anthony J. Tamburri, as well as from members of the audience. Kento was in town to celebrate the publication of his new book Resistenza Rap, published by Bordighera Press. (Click here to see some music videos of Kento.)
Italics: Television for the Italian American Experience aired Tuesday, November 13, with a new episode on the Elena Ferrante Phenomenon. Here in the United States, Ferrante is best known for her New York Times best-selling Neapolitan Quartet of Novels, about two friends growing up in postwar Italy. One of the nation’s most beloved novelists today, Elena Ferrante has garnered great praise both in Italy and in the United States. To discuss this unprecedented cultural event with us are Giancarlo Lombardi, professor and executive officer of the Department of Comparative Literature at the Graduate Center of the City University of New York, and Rebecca Falkoff, professor of Italian at New York University. Both guests have significant publications on Elena Ferrante. (Taped: 10/16/2018) Click here to watch the episode.
If you read or understand Italian, you can get a sense of the tenor of last week’s exciting conference Diaspore Italiane: “Transnationalism & Questions of Identity” from this article in La Voce di New York and by watching the video-taped conversation between Maddalena Tirabassi, Stafano Luconi, and Simone Battiston.
Andrea L. Dottolo, Rhode Island College (left), and Carol Dottolo, retired educator, Liverpool Central School District, New York (right). The mother-daughter research team came to the Institute Thursday, October 25, to present their work on the psychological facets of Syracuse’s Italian American women and their relationships to food.
Last night Calandra Institute was fortunate to host, together with Bordighera Press and Queens Poet Laureate Maria Lisella, a book launch for the new collection of poems by the late poet Gil Fagiani, titled Missing Madonnas. You can purchase Missing Madonnas through Bordighera Press.
Elizabeth Zanoni, associate professor of history at Virginia’s Old Dominion University, presented her new book Migrant Marketplaces: Food and Italians in North and South America (2018 University of Illinois Press) at the Institute on October 9. Her brilliant talk covered the intricate and fascinating links between Italian migration and foodways in both New York City and Buenos Aires. The relationships among all the factors are startling and rich. Autographed copies of the book were available for sale at a discount at the event (as is typically the case; another among many reasons to come to the Institute!), but you can still buy it here.