In the book, Sorrentino excavates his own memories and family folklore in an effort to peel back the ways in which his mother Victoria seemed trapped between conflicting identities: the Puerto Rican girl identified on her birth certificate as Black, and the white woman she had decided to become.
The Tutto Italiano! radio show interviewed Dean Tamburri Sunday, May 15, 2022. Here is the episode description:
“Join us with guest Anthony Julian Tamburri, Dean of the John D. Calandra Italian American Institute (Queens College, CUNY) and Distinguished Professor of European Languages and Literatures. His research interests lie in literature, cinema, semiotics, interpretation theory, and cultural studies. Dr. Tamburri has divided his intellectual work evenly between Italian and Italian/American studies, authoring sixteen books and more than one hundred essays on both subject areas in English and Italian.”
In April writer Claudia Durastanti came to the Calandra Institute to give a reading from her acclaimed book Strangers I Know as part of our regular Writers Read series, which has begun again in person for the first time since 2020. Joseph Salvatore interviewed her about the work and her life. Our cable TV show Italics crew were there to tape the event, and now you can watch the entire event here.
A lecture at CIMA, Center for Modern Italian Art, by Dr. Joseph Sciorra
During the great wave of European emigration Italians brought a vibrant and varied array of music making to the United States: folk music in the form of domestic lullabies and Christmas bagpiping; artisan string trios and quartets; brass band symphonic marches; anarchist protest songs, and the ever-popular Neapolitan song. In New York City, small and large ethnic publishing houses produced sheet music for musical entertainment while mainstream US companies like Columbia and Victor recorded Italian immigrant performers as part of a branded “ethnic series.” Dr. Joseph Sciorra will discuss the lost world of Italian immigrant music making and how contemporary scholars, collectors, performers, and archival institutions are researching, reviving, and preserving this cultural legacy in the twenty-first century.
After the lecture, Dr. Sciorra will conduct an interview with Ernie Rossi, owner of E. Rossi & Co.
Dr. Joseph Sciorra is the director for Academic and Cultural Programs at Queens College’s John D. Calandra Italian American Institute, a City University of New York research institute. As a folklorist, he has researched and published on religious practices, material culture, and popular music, among other topics. He is the author of Built with Faith: Italian American Imagination and Catholic Material Culture in New York City, and co-editor of Neapolitan Postcards: The Canzone Napoletana as Transnational Subject and the two-volume collection New Italian Migrations to the United States. Recently he has published on Italian Americans’ shifting and diverse relationships to Columbus commemorations, as well as the material culture of monuments, memorials, and Italian migrations.
This event is produced in collaboration with the John D. Calandra Italian American Institute.
At Stony Brook University’s Center for Italian Studies, Calandra’s dean, Dr. Anthony Julian Tamburri, will be in conversation with the Center’s Director Giuseppe Gazzola about Dr. Tamburri’s recent book The Columbus Affair.
Free and open to the public. Click here to see the event ad. Info: email@example.com THECOLUMBUS AFFAIRengages in the intellectual, crisscrossing zigzag of a quagmire that is the Columbus Affair and hence demonstrates the major complexities of such argumentation. The goal, modest it may seem, is to examine aspects of each side, with the hopes of spurring on an even greater discussion among all parties within our Italian/American semiosphere. After all, one of numerous issues with which Italian Americans at large need to come to terms is the Columbus Affair. Education, philanthropy, social and cultural activism are just three other issues that reside on the same plane. There is an interconnection here, the sight of which we cannot lose.
Gianna Patriarca reads from This Way Home: Selected and New Work (Guernica Editions, 2021).
This Way Home, Gianna Patriarca’s new poetry collection, is, among other things, a challenge to invisibility. This book offers a uniquely and universally powerful voice from a woman who writes clearly and passionately for all generations. She writes about immigrant communities, anger, love, displacement, religion, and violence and about young and older women who defy their socially designated roles.
“Gianna Patriarca has contributed decades of intense and inspiring poetry to the Canadian literary landscape. She writes about … the rough broken skin of workers’ hands, fierce young women who defy their fathers’ belts and ultimately the practicality of survival. Patriarca offers us hauntingly powerful poems with a spirited humour and a full heart.”
— Karleen Pendleton Jimenez, author of Are You a Boy or a Girl?
Discussion led by Anthony Julian Tamburri, John D. Calandra Italian American Institute, Queens College, CUNY.
Free, open to the public, and held in person at the
Registration is required for all events in order to follow current CUNY COVID guidelines. Proof of vaccination and ID are required upon entry. Masks are encouraged but not required. We will continue to assess the latest data and public health guidance and to act in compliance with CUNY protocols.
On October 15, 1915, in the mountains of Western Canada, a tragic work accident ended the life of twenty-eight-year-old Angelo Conte, a young immigrant from Veneto. Throughout the thirty months spent far away from his wife, Anna, Angelo had written to her continually. One hundred years later, Angelo’s love letters, hidden in a drawer, were discovered, giving rise to a new adventure. Nicola Moruzzi, the film’s director and Angelo’s great-grandson, travels to Canada with his partner Irene Vecchio, searching for traces of Angelo’s story. From Italy to Vancouver and finally Revelstoke, where Angelo is buried, the couple uncover his mystery, crossing paths with Canada’s contemporary immigrants, historians, and ordinary citizens.
Post-screening discussion led by Joseph Sciorra, John D. Calandra Italian American Institute, Queens College, CUNY.
Filmmaker Mark Pedri had never heard his grandfather Silvio’s story, despite spending nearly every day with him for ten years. It wasn’t until after Silvio’s death that Mark found an archive of old photos, letters, and documents detailing Silvio’s horrifying experiences as a prisoner of war during World War II. The discovery inspired Mark to bike across Europe with his wife, the film’s producer Carrie McCarthy, following the original POW transportation routes, in an effort to better understand his grandfather and tell his story.
Post-screening discussion with the director led by Joseph Sciorra, John D. Calandra Italian American Institute, Queens College, CUNY.
The death of Christopher Sorrentino’s mother in 2017 marked the end of a journey that had begun eighty years earlier in the South Bronx. Victoria Ortiz’s life took her to New York City’s vibrant downtown art scene—where she met her husband, the writer Gilbert Sorrentino—to the sedate Stanford campus, and finally to south Brooklyn. Her son watched helplessly as she grew more isolated, distancing herself from everyone and everything she loved. Sorrentino excavates his own memories and family folklore in an effort to peel back the ways in which Victoria seemed trapped between conflicting identities: the Puerto Rican girl identified on her birth certificate as Black, and the white woman she had decided to become. Meanwhile Christopher experiences his own transformation, emerging from under his father’s shadow and his mother’s thumb to establish his identity as a writer.
“Christopher Sorrentino’s memoir is an incredibly moving masterpiece. … I had to reach back to Nabokov’s Speak, Memory to find another memoir as powerful and poignant as this one and to find one that as profoundly explores the art of memory.”— David Treuer, author of The Heartbeat of Wounded Knee