Research and education are the two pillars on which the Institute was founded and that continue to sustain everything we do. From the earliest days of the Institute, research into residual anti-Italian American bias in higher education has been central to its mission. Demonstrating the ways in which such discrimination remained a force for Italian American students and educators to contend with was a point of departure for the founders of the organization, including Sen. John D. Calandra himself. Illustrating these biases with a view to eradicating them fueled early days of the enterprise, and exploring inequities in hiring and tenure for Italian Americans in education fields is an ongoing concern.
In the 1990s, the scope of the research efforts at Calandra blossomed into additional fields, as in-depth historical work around topics of immigration, economic realities, social and political development, and vernacular expressive culture developed and swiftly overtook the initial research streams. With the advent of scholarship by academics including the late Philip Cannistraro (former Distinguished Professor of Italian American Studies), Peter Vellon, Joseph Sciorra, and Anthony Julian Tamburri (the Institute is also affiliated with the current Distinguished Professor of Italian American Studies, Fred Gardaphé), the scope and energy of the research at Calandra came into its own. Now, in addition to consistently producing books of historical and sociological research, the Institute also publishes a peer-reviewed scholarly journal and hosts an international academic conference every spring.
The Calandra Institute has similarly grown into a multifaceted and powerful educational entity, with public-education programs including seminars, lectures, and on-site non-credit courses. Most significantly to date, perhaps, have been the cooperative initiatives Calandra has launched with Italian universities and with organizations in New York such as Università Roma Tre and the Società Dante Alighieri. These agreements have enabled scholars from all over the world to engage in research and study on every aspect of Italian diaspora work.
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