Curated by Joanne Mattera and Joseph Sciorra
Exhibition opening takes place on Wednesday, September 27, 2023, at 6pm.
The work of the twenty-one artists featured in this exhibit offers a richness of form, medium, subject matter, color, and style that is a delight and a revelation to behold. Connections to a discernable Italian art tradition—or for that matter to Italian American aesthetic practices more specifically—vary across the exhibition, ranging from the explicit to the suggestive to the nonexistent.
After the opening on September 27, the exhibition will be accessible during business hours, 9:00am to 5:00pm, Monday through Friday, and is located in the Galleria of the John D. Calandra Italian American Institute.
Image: Claudia DeMonte, Il Corno, 2013
Calandra’s dean Anthony Tamburri was in Italy recently, representing the Institute and Queens College, CUNY, at a number of events. One of these was a presentation, organized by the mayor of Settefrati, of a book titled Una Nuova e Più Grande Settefrati sul Suolo D’America (A new and greater Settefrati on American soil), written by Mario Vitti (edited by Dean Tamburri). The book covers the immigration of Italians from Settefrati (Frosinone province) to Connecticut. Dean Tamburri made some remarks at the event. (Video is in Italian; the book is in Italian and in English.)
Wednesday, November 15, 2023, 6pm
Potentially Dangerous: When It Was a Crime to Be Italian (2021), 50 minutes
Zach Baliva, dir.
Potentially Dangerous presents the history of Italian immigrants interned and persecuted as America’s “enemy aliens” during World War II. The US government restricted the actions and freedoms of 600,000 Italian residents of the United States, many of whom were placed under curfew, banned from their workplaces, evacuated from their homes and communities, and even placed in internment camps. Many of these people had been in the United States for decades, had children born in their adopted country, and had sons serving in the US military. Interned Italians were not charged with a crime or allowed legal representation. They were subjected to “loyalty hearings” and held for the duration of the war. The United States government considered them “potentially dangerous” based on where they had been born. Potentially Dangerous offers the people affected by these policies a chance to give voice to their experiences and those of their families.
The 2023 edition of the Italian Diaspora Summer Studies Seminar at Roma Tre University has concluded, and it was a huge success. For more information on the Seminar or to apply for next year’s trip and course of study, please go to our IDSSS page. Buona estate.
On May 9, 2023, Bordighera Press republished The Italians in America Before the Revolution, by Giovanni Schiavo, as the first book in the Giovanni Schiavo Series.
On Wednesday, May 24, 2023, join Stanislao G. Pugliese, Marcella Bencivenni, and Stephen J. Cerulli at the John D. Calandra Italian American Institute for a conversation on Schiavo, his legacy, and the practice of Italian American history.
Giovanni Schiavo is considered one of the pioneers of Italian American studies. He dedicated his life to highlighting Italian contributions to the United States of America. Schiavo published numerous volumes on Italian American history including: Italian-American History: Volume I; Italian-American History Volume II: Contribution to the Catholic Church; Four Centuries of Italian-American History; The Italians in America Before the Civil War; The Italians in America Before the Revolution; Antonio Meucci: Inventor of the Telephone; Italians in Missouri; and The Italians in Chicago.
The Giovanni Schiavo Series aims, in honor of its namesake, to “attempt to rescue from oblivion” the work of the founders of Italian American and Italian Diaspora studies as an academic discipline. The field has expanded greatly, especially during the last twenty-five years of the twentieth century; as a result, a plethora of contemporary works fill the shelves of scholars, readers, and university libraries. However, many of the classics remain out of print. Hence, in the spirit of Giovanni Schiavo, who sought to highlight the experience of Italian Americans’ forgotten past, we seek to do the same but with scholarly works on Italian American subjects.
Stanislao G. Pugliese is the Queensboro UNICO Distinguished Professor of Italian & Italian American Studies at Hofstra University. He specializes in modern Italy, Italian Fascism and anti-Fascism, the Holocaust, Italian Jews, Italian American history and culture, and modern Europe’s intellectual and cultural history. He is the author, editor, and/or translator of fifteen books on Italian and Italian American history. In 2009, Farrar, Straus, and Giroux published Bitter Spring: A Life of Ignazio Silone, which won the Fraenkel Prize in London, the Premio Flaiano in Italy, and the Howard Marraro Prize from the American Historical Association. He co-edited The Routledge History of Italian Americans with William Connell.
Marcella Bencivenni is a professor of history at Hostos Community College, CUNY. Her research focuses on the histories of im/migration, labor, and social movements in the modern United States, with a particular interest in the Italian diaspora. She is the author of Italian Immigrant Radical Culture: The Idealism of the Sovversivi in the United States, 1890–1940 (NYU Press, 2011, repr. 2014), and co-editor of Radical Perspectives on Immigration (Routledge, 2008), a special issue of the journal Socialism and Democracy of which she is an editorial board member. She is editor emerita of the Italian American Review.
Stephen J. Cerulli is the Bennet Distinguished Fellow at Fordham University, where he is a PhD candidate in modern history. He holds two appointments at The City University of New York as a Lecturer in Social Sciences at Hostos Community College (CUNY), and as a researcher at the John D. Calandra Italian American Institute, Queens College (CUNY). He sits on the board of the Italian Enclaves Historical Society. His writings on Italian America have appeared in La Voce di New York, Ovunque Siamo, and Pumarol.
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.”
And you can listen to the complete episode here: https://radiokingston.org/en/broadcast/tutto-italiano/episodes/anthony-julian-tamburri-dean-of-the-john-d-calandra-italian-american-institute
On Saturday, April 23, Dr. Sciorra made a presentation at the IAMLA in connection with the museum’s show “Woven Lives: Exploring Women’s Needlework from the Italian Diaspora.” The talk incorporated some material from his 2014 book (with co-editor Edvige Giunta, published by University Press of Mississippi) Embroidered Stories: Interpreting Women’s Domestic Needlework from the Italian Diaspora. To watch an earlier presentation (from the Institute’s cable TV show Italics) on this topic by Dr. Sciorra, click here.
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.
THE COLUMBUS AFFAIR engages 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.