Recent Scholarship on Contemporary Italian-American Youth
A symposium presented by the John D. Calandra Italian American Institute.
“Italian-American youth” constitutes a category that has been ascribed with symbolic, iconic, and even mythic attributes. Historic cinematic depictions of Italian-American teenagers were broadly painted caricatures of the male juvenile delinquent and his sexually active female counterpart, while current television images have, to some degree, been mollified. For the news media, “Italian-American youth” is all too often a pathological problem that is susceptible to the allure of organized crime and featured in front-page articles and on evening broadcasts about racial violence and criminal activities. For many ethnic-based organizations, “Italian-American youth” is a target audience for interventionist services of social and cultural uplift, from Italian language classes to “heritage” initiatives to travel programs to Italy.
Second-generation Italian-American youth in the first half of the twentieth century has been the subject of scholarly research by historians and other social scientists who have explored topics such as the often contentious relationship with immigrant parents. Sociologist William Foote Whyte’s urban ethnography Street Corner Society (1943) remains an influential treatise on Italian-American youth at mid-century.
What of Italian American youth today? This symposium brings together six scholars from diverse disciplines who are investigating various aspects of contemporary Italian-American youth. They look at the ways in which Italian-American adolescents and young adults negotiate the social and cultural landscapes that involve educational achievement, employment opportunities, and patterns of stress, as well as mass media, popular music, consumption, and cultural style.
Greetings 1:00 PM
President James L. Muyskens (Queens College, CUNY)
Chair: Dr. Joseph Sciorra (John D. Calandra Italian American Institute)
Dr. Donna Chirco (York College, CUNY)
Dr. Vincenzo Milione (John D. Calandra Italian American Institute)
Pierre Tribaudi (John D. Calandra Italian American Institute)
Identity and Culture
Chair: Dr. Peter Vellon (Queens College)
Dr. John Mitrano (Central Connecticut State University)
Dr. Donald Tricarico (Queensborough Community College, CUNY)
Dr. Joseph Sciorra (John D. Calandra Italian American Institute)
Discussant: Dr. Peter Carravetta (Queens College)