Living the Revolution: Italian Women’s Resistance and Radicalism in New York City
Jennifer Guglielmo, Smith College
At the turn of the twentieth century, Italian Americans led and participated in some of the period’s most volatile labor strikes. Yet Italian women’s political activism and cultures of resistance have been largely invisible. Historian Jennifer Guglielmo, author of Living the Revolution: Italian Women’s Resistance and Radicalism in New York City, 1880-1945 (University of North Carolina Press, 2010), brings to life the Italian, working-class women who helped shape the vibrant, transnational, radical political culture that expanded into the emerging industrial union movement. In this presentation, she shows how their commitment diminished as they became white, working-class Americans. The rise of fascism, the Red Scare, and the deprivations of the Great Depression led many to embrace nationalism and racism, ironically to try to meet the same desires for economic justice and dignity that had inspired their enthusiasm for anarchism, socialism, and communism. Professor Guglielmo will be joined by historian Gerald Meyer, actress Chiara Montalto, and artist Annie Lanzillotto.