The Italian American Studies minor at Queens College is the oldest such college program in existence. Founded in 1973 by Richard Gambino, the program reflects the extraordinary ethnic diversity of New York City’s population and the commitment of Queens College to a multicultural education.
Italian American Studies offers intellectually challenging and culturally enriching courses dealing with the Italian experience in the United States. The curriculum was redesigned in 2000 to meet the needs and interests of students facing the challenges of the 21st century. Our approach is interdisciplinary and rests on the belief that knowledge of Italian history and culture is essential to understanding the Italian presence in American society. The program offers courses in three broad areas: Cultural Studies (literature, film studies, Italian language, art, and music), The Social and Political Heritage (history, political science, sociology, and ethnic studies), and Language Studies (all levels of Italian language).
In Fall 2012, four graduate courses in Italian-American Studies were approved by Queens College and the CUNY Board of Trustees and constitute an option in at least two MA programs at Queens College: the MALS (Master of Artes in Liberal Studies) and the M.A. in Italian. The course titles are: Problematics in Italian/American Culture; Italian Americans and Ethnic Relations: Interdisciplinary Approaches to the Study of Interculturalism; Italian American Literature; Italian/American Cinema: Production and Representation. Professor Gardaphé and Dean Tamburri worked closely with Professors Haller (Italian), Jones (Chair, ELL), Jordan (Chair, MALS), and Paulicelli (Italian) in order to make this a reality. The first course — Italian American Literature — was offered in Spring 2013.
In addition to course offerings from a wide range of academic departments, Italian-American Studies cooperates with faculty teaching in interdisciplinary programs such as Women’s Studies, Film Studies, and other ethnic studies programs.
The Italian-American Studies Program works closely with the John D. Calandra Italian American Institute. Credit-earning internships and practicum experience are available to students through the Calandra Institute.