Anthony J. Tamburri and the Calandra Institute Receive Friend of NOIAW Award

Photograph by Italics, Calandra Institute

On Saturday, April 13, Dr. Donna Chirico, dean of York College, CUNY, on behalf of the National Organization of Italian American Women presented Dean Anthony Julian Tamburri and the John D. Calandra Italian American Institute with a Friend of NOIAW Award. In the audience were numerous luminaries including, but not limited to, New York First Lady Matilda Cuomo, Italian Consul Genral in New York Francesco Genuardi, and the two honorees for 2019 Sandra L. Depaolo and Dr. Judith A. Salerno. Incoming CUNY Chancellor Félix V. Matos Rodríguez congratulated all the honorees, via letter, saying of the Institute, “I am especially pleased to congratulate Dean Anthony and the Calandra Institute. … The Institute is well-known for its quality research and events that enrich our understanding of and appreciation for all things and people Italian–including the many Italian women and women of Italian heritage who make outsize contributions to society.”

Author BG Firmani at Calandra

BG Firmani, author of the poignant and funny New York City novel Time’s a Thief, gave a splendid reading at Calandra Tuesday evening to an audience of appreciative listeners. Time’s a Thief follows an Italian American narrator named Chess from the New York of the 1980s to that of the early Aughts, as she explores class consciousness, mental illness and drug addiction, and a bittersweet first try at real love. You can buy the book here.

Calandra’s Anthony J. Tamburri: Un biculturalismo negato. La letteratura «italiana» negli Stati Uniti (updated with video)


Together with a theoretical introduction, this volume presents five examples of “Italian/American” fiction writers and poets who live overseas—in our case the United States—and are part of what some have called “Italian literature” of the Italian diaspora. The five writers are representative of this long tradition of writing in Italian in the United States. As Tamburri argues in the first chapter, the notion of the “Italian” writer might benefit from a theoretical-methodological revision that concerns not so much the creative as the critical perspective. One should, as Tamburri states herein, abandon the need for a geographical notion as a decisive point for what is or is not “Italian literature” in order to recognize, to the contrary, the existence of a poly-linguistic aspect of the world of Italian Americans, which has given rise to a remarkably significant literary production in the language of Dante.

Buy the book here.

Christopher Castellani with Nicholas Boston

(Photograph of Nicholas Boston and Christopher Castellani courtesy George De Stefano.)

On Thursday, March 7, Christopher Castellani, author most recently of Leading Men, read from his historical novel about Tennessee Williams and Frank Merlo and then was in conversation with Lehman College’s Nicholas Boston about the novel, historical fiction, the figure of the stereotyped Italian American male, gender in fiction-writing, and about Castellani’s feeling that this book, his fourth, is in some sense his debut.

Buy the Leading Men here.

 

 

Assassins against the Old Order: Fraser M. Ottanelli Book Presentation 2/28

Fraser M. Ottanelli, of the University of South Florida, presented on February 28 his new, co-authored book, Assassins against the Old Order: Italian Anarchist Violence in Fin de Siècle Europe (University of Illinois Press, 2018).

The image of the anarchist assassin haunted the popular European imagination in the late nineteenth century. Fear spawned a gross but persistent stereotype: a swarthy “Italian” carrying a bloody knife or revolver and bred to violence by radical politics, madness, innate criminality, and poor genes. The late Nunzio Pernicone and his co-author Fraser M. Ottanelli have dug into the historical, social, cultural, and political conditions behind the phenomenon of anarchist violence in Italy. Looking at political assassinations in the 1890s, they illuminate in this book the public effort to equate anarchy’s goals with violent overthrow.

Diversity in Italian Studies Conference

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.

 

Calabrian Rap Star Francesco “Kento” Carlo on Italics

Francesco “Kento” Carlo spoke to Italics host Dean Anthony Tamburri 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. Francesco recently celebrated the publication of his new book Resistenza Rap, published in English translation by Bordighera Press. Click here to buy the book.

Watch the whole conversation with Francesco on Italics here.