Annual Conference: Bambini, Ragazzi, Giovani: Children and Youth in Italy and the Italian Diaspora

The Italian family has been a quintessential subject for scholarly research and creative work in Italy and among various diasporic communities, with matters relating to children and youth receiving significant exploration. In the United States, notable inquiries concerning youth issues include sociologist William Foote Whyte’s urban ethnography Street Corner Society (1943) and educator Leonard Covello’s The Social Background of the Italo-American School Child (1967). The twenty-first century brings new lines of inquiry as well as previously unexplored issues, such as changing family structures, Internet culture, and increased migratory movement.

Novels like Edmondo De Amicis’s Sull’oceano (1889) and Melania Mazzucco’s Vita (2003) examine the lives of children immigrating to the Americas, while the memoirs Nero di Puglia (1980) by Antonio Campobasso, and The Skin Between Us (2006) by Kym Ragusa, movingly discuss the childhoods of their biracial authors. Although scholars have discussed youth culture and its media depictions, e.g., Guidos and Jersey Shore, little work has been done on topics like consumer culture that targets children—from picture books to Disney films to video games—that use Italian-American and Italian ethnic characters.

Working from interdisciplinary and transnational and perspectives, this conference seeks to expand and update knowledge concerning historical and contemporary childhood and youth in Italy and among the diaspora and former colonial sites.

The conference will be streamed online at