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  • 26 Apr 2016 by Robert Oppedisano

    This interdisciplinary conference focuses on material culture in the contexts of Italy, its colonies, and its diasporic communities. Material culture, broadly defined, includes all objects and things modified by humans, from the hand-crafted (a crocheted doily) to a mass-produced, factory-made object (Olivetti typewriter), including the visual arts (The Sistine Chapel), architecture (Fascist colonial modernism in the Eritrean capital Asmara), and landscapes (a Little Italy).  

           Material culture is inextricably tied to social identities that are negotiated, reproduced, or contested within different regimes of value whether it be domestic spaces, popular culture, sacred realms, or the world of commodities. How objects are used to communicate, store memories, and elicit narratives in interpersonal contexts are the concern of this conference. Material culture studies recognizes how objects are made and subsequently move from one environment to another. The migration and recontextualization of things provide opportunities for transvaluation, when new and evolving meanings are ascribed to inanimate objects at the same time that pre-existing ideologies linger in new places. 

    Friday, April 29  &  Saturday, April 30

    Free and open to the public
    The John D. Calandra Italian American Institute
    25 West 43 Street, 17th Floor
    New York

    For more information: (212) 642-2094.


    PROGRAM (subject to change)

    FRIDAY, APRIL 29, 2016
    9:30-10:25 am
    The Painted Object CONFERENCE ROOM
    His Paintings Are Our Clues: The Works of Donatus Buongiorno (1865-1935), Janice Carapellucci, Carapellucci Design
    Pinkie and Blue Boy: Non-Italian Material Culture in the Italian Immigrant Household, Denise Scannell Guida, New York City College of Technology (CUNY)

    10:40am-12:15 pm 
    Statuary and Monuments, Cemeteries and Memorials CONFERENCE ROOM
    Commemorating Italian Soldiers Who Fell in Crimea: The War Memorial in Istanbul as a Community Cohesion Symbol, Francesco Pongiluppi, Sapienza University of Rome
    From Italy to the USA: Recontextualizing Historical Art through Italian Statuary, Angelyn Balodimas-Bartolomei, North Park University
    From Milan to Pittsburgh: Allegheny Cemetery's Porter Angel and the Mobility of Italian Cemetery Sculpture, Elisabeth L. Roark, Chatham University
    New York Monuments to and Monuments by Italian Immigrants, Kate Burns Ottavino, A. Ottavino Corporation

    The Narrated Object in Literature LA GALLERIA
    Contemporary Revelations from Renaissance Women Poets, Carol Leotta Moore-Schulman, University of the Arts
    A Black Madonna in Naples: Anna Maria Ortese's L'Infanta sepolta, Amelia Moser, Italian Poetry Review
    Le cose tangibili: Landscape and Cultural Narratives in the Novels of Carmine Abate, Viktor Berberi, University of Minnesota
    Object of Desire: Women's Cloth Work as Transnational Symbol of Mobility in Adria Bernardi's Openwork, Mary Jo Bona, Stony Brook University (SUNY)

    1:30-2:45 pm 
    Fear of the Gavon: Civiltà Italiana, Material Culture, and the Making of Italian American Identity, Joseph Sciorra, John D. Calandra Italian American Institute, Queens College (CUNY)

    3-4:15 pm 
    Textiles and Needlework #1 CONFERENCE ROOM
    Embodied Femininity: White Lace, Women's Work, and Lives of Feeling in a Calabrian Town, Joan L. Saverino, Arcadia University
    Stitches in Air: Needlework as Spiritual Practice and Service in Batavia, New York, Christine Zinni, College at Brockport (SUNY)
    La Scuola d'Industrie Italiane: The Theory of Economic Independence for Italian Immigrant Women in the Late 1800s, Rose Marie Cutropia, Museo + Archivio, Inc.

    Recovering Memories and Reclaiming Carmin DeVito's 1949 Home Movie LA GALLERIA
    Patricia DeVito, Buell Kratzer Powell, Lori DeVito, AET Environmental, and Mario Perrotta, CILSI

    4:30-5:45 pm
    The Transnational Life of Objects CONFERENCE ROOM
    The Transnational Life of Objects, Loredana Polizzi, Cardiff University
    Moving Objects: Memory and Affect in Transgenerational Italian Narratives from South America, Margaret Hills de Zárate, Queen Margaret University
    Exploring Italian Identity through Cultural Materials Collected in a New Transnational Media Collection, Carlo Pirozzi, St. Andrews University

    SATURDAY, APRIL 30, 2016
    9:30-10:45 am
    Material Culture at the Center for Migration Studies, Mary Elizabeth Brown, Center for Migration Studies
    Archival Material on William Foote Whyte's Street Corner Society, James S. Pasto, Boston University
    The Secret Life of Artifacts: Migration Stories from the Senator John Heinz History Center's Italian American Collection, Melissa E. Marinaro, Senator John Heinz History Center
    11am-12:15 pm

    Colonial Spaces CONFERENCE ROOM
    Asmara: Objects in the Mirror, Peter Volgger, University of Innsbruck
    The Plan for Addis Ababa and the Construction of Imperial Identities, Elisa Dainese, University of Pennsylvania
    Asmara-Roma: Colonial Spaces in Postcolonial Times, Cristina Lombardi-Diop, Loyola University Chicago

    Domestic/ated Objects LA GALLERIA
    Home in a Fig: Italian American Agrarian Identity in Brooklyn Domestic Gardens, Hillary Lindsay, University of Gastronomic Sciences
    The Role of Migrating Objects in Older Italian Migrants' Homes in Newcastle upon Tyne, UK, Simona Palladino, Newcastle University
    Objects of Family Life and the Making of Home: A Study of Everyday Objects that Post-World War II Italian and Greek Migrants Brought to South Australia, Eric Bouvet, Flinders University, Daniela Cosmini-Rose, Flinders University, Diana Glenn, Flinders University, and Maria Palaktsoglou, Flinders University

    1:30-2:45 pm
    Textiles and Needlework #2 CONFERENCE ROOM
    Stitching for Virtue: Material Culture and Wayward Girls from Sixteenth-Century Italy to Twenty-First-Century Bronx, Patricia Rocco, Hunter College (CUNY)
    Migrating Objects: From Discarded Artifacts to Resurfacing Memory, Francesca Canadé Sautman, Hunter College (CUNY)
    Webs across the Ocean: Antique Italian Lace in America, 1900-1930, Diana Greenwold, Portland Museum of Art

    Consuming in Print LA GALLERIA
    All-Consuming? Citizenship and Consumer Culture in Pittsburgh's La Trinacria Newspaper, 1917-1921, Lina Insana, University of Pittsburgh
    Italian Immigration, Criminality, and the Dime Novel, Nancy Caronia, University of Rhode Island
    Patriotic Buyers: Fascist Autarky and Advertising Strategies for Italian American Consumers in the United States, Stefano Luconi, University of Padua

    3-4:15 pm
    Recovering Lost Histories CONFERENCE ROOM
    The Precious Things of Humble Folk: A Case of Trans-Atlantic and Intergenerational Migration of Material Culture, Joseph J. Inguanti, Southern Connecticut State University
    Mining the Archives: Memory and Materiality in the Lives of Sacco and Vanzetti, Michele Fazio, University of North Carolina at Pembroke
    The Art of Making Do: Creative Expression and the Material Culture of Italian POWs in the United States During World War II, Laura E. Ruberto, Berkeley City College

    The Neighborhood as Landscape LA GALLERIA
    DIY Texts: How American Italianità Is Constructed in Youngstown, Ohio, Anthony D. Mitzel, University College London
    The Artifacts of Haarlem House/LaGuardia Memorial House: Memorable and Tangible, LuLu LoLo Pascale, Independent Scholar
    The Italians of Brooklyn Revisited, Jerome Krase, Brooklyn College (CUNY)

    4:30-5:45 pm
    Consuming "Italian" through Food CONFERENCE ROOM
    Take the Cannoli: The Commodification of Italian and Italian American Culture at Mazzaro Italian Market, St. Petersburg, Florida, Jacqueline Maggio-May, Florida Humanities Council
    Ice Cream Parlors in Germany Run by Italians from the Zoldo Valley, Anna Marijke Weber, RWTH Aachen, and Benedikt Boucsein, ETH Zurich
    Going to and from Eataly: Importing and Exporting Italian Identity and Culture Through Food, Wine, and Other Migrating Objects, Ron Scapp, College of Mt. St. Vincent

    For more information: (212) 642-2094.

  • 09 Feb 2016 by Robert Oppedisano


    Mapping Migrations in World History / The Seventh Annual Conference of the Midwest World History Association  / 23-24th September 2016 / Metropolitan State University (Saint Paul, Minnesota) / Proposal deadline: April 15, 2016

    The Midwest World History Association is happy to announce a call for paper, poster, panel, roundtable, and workshop proposals for its annual conference to be held at Metropolitan State University in Saint Paul, Minnesota, on September 23th and 24th, 2016. The conference theme is “Mapping Migrations in World History.” Proposals that focus on any period of world history are welcome, particularly those that explore such themes as the migration of peoples globally, the impact of such migrations, and the ways in which humans have mentally and physically mapped who they are (or who they think themselves to be).We hope that such mapping allows us to consider how migration has helped to form or even to dismantle cultural identity, trade, political authority, social groupings, or other aspects of human interaction. Papers and panels on any theme in world history are also encouraged. The organizers encourage proposals from K-12 teachers, college faculty, students, and public historians, as well as scholars working in allied fields such as Anthropology or Geography.

    The conference will feature a keynote presentation by Dr. Erika Lee, Rudolf J. Vecoli Chair in Immigration History and Director of the Immigration History Research Center and Archive of the University of Minnesota. Dr. Lee’s most recent book, The Making of Asian America: A History was published by Simon & Schuster in 2015 to wide acclaim and was reviewed in The New York Times, the New Yorker, and the LA Times, among other places. Additionally, the conference will also feature an Archival and Cartographic Seminar at the University of Minnesota for a limited number of attendees. The Borchert Map Library ( and the Immigration History Research Center and Archives ( will lead tours and discussions of their extensive collections based on the interests of the attendees who sign up for this three-hour seminar.

    Please submit a 250-word abstract and a short curriculum vitae to the Program Committee Chair, Dr. Louisa Rice, at no later than April 15, 2016. Questions about the conference can also be directed to this address. Where a complete panel is proposed, the convener should also include a 250-word abstract of the panel theme. Each panelist should plan to spend no more than 20 minutes presenting her or his paper.Presenters must register for the conference by August 15, 2016 to be included in the program.

    The MWWHA will offer up to three competitive Graduate Student Awards to offset part of the conference costs. Graduate students interested in applying should include a letter with their conference proposal explaining how the conference helps them with their studies, teaching, and and/or future career plans as well as how their paper fits with the conference theme and the mission of the MWWHA.

    We also invite accepted papers to be submitted to our journal, The Middle Ground, for potential publication:

    Further information about the MWWHA, including membership and conference registration (when it becomes available) can be found on our website:

  • 09 Feb 2016 by Robert Oppedisano

    Immigrant Entrepreneurship in Transnational Comparative Perspective, 18th Century - Today / June 16-17, 2016 / Workshop at the German Historical Institute (GHI) / Conveners: Hartmut Berghoff, Jessica Csoma, Bryan Hart, Kelly McCullough, Atiba Pertilla, Benjamin Schwantes, Uwe Spiekermann

    The importance of immigration in the nation’s economic development—both as a source of low-cost labor and highly-skilled human capital—has long been acknowledged. Similarly, the American economic system’s openness to entrepreneurial activity is generally recognized as one of its defining characteristics and a central factor in its continued vitality. How did those who came as, or became entrepreneurs in the United States, integrate themselves and their businesses into the American marketplace? Did their journey give them a certain entrepreneurial advantage? What role have ethnic diasporas and networks played in the transfer of skills and knowledge?

    This workshop  at the German Historical Institute (GHI) seeks to examine these key questions and to link research on immigrants from diverse backgrounds to the results of the German Historical Institute’s multi-year project, Immigrant Entrepreneurship: German-American Business Biographies, 1720 to the Present ( The workshop is conducted on the occasion of the completion of the project and seeks to contextualize its main findings.

    Bringing together scholars from a variety of fields, the workshop aims to explore patterns and transformations in the interplay between immigration and economic innovation; to investigate how ethnicity, gender, space and time intersect in the economic sphere; and to look at similarities and differences in experiences within and between various immigrant groups. We hope to stimulate discussion on these important topics and provide a forum for comparison by looking at African, Asian, European, and Latino diasporas in the United States.

    We especially invite early-career scholars pursuing their PhD, but also recent post-docs and senior scholars from the fields of history (including business history and the history of knowledge), entrepreneurship, political science, and sociology to make a contribution. Possible topics include, but are not limited to:

    • the relationship between immigration and entrepreneurship in the United States;
    • the role of immigration in the United States’ economic development;
    • the transfer of skills and knowledge across borders and cultures;
    • geographies of ethnic entrepreneurship;
    • comparative studies across time and ethnic groups;

    It would be a great plus but not a prerequisite if the speakers could try to link their topics to the results of the GHI’s Immigrant Entrepreneurship project by comparing their cases with the German-American experience and pointing out differences and similarities as well as patterns and recurring challenges.

    The workshop at the GHI will bring together junior and senior scholars. The discussions will be based on pre-circulated papers submitted four weeks in advance. Travel and accommodation expenses will be covered by the German Historical Institute.

    Please send a short abstract of no more than 400 words and a brief CV in one file by February 15, 2016 to Jessica Csoma (

  • 09 Feb 2016 by Robert Oppedisano

    2017 Biennial Conference of the Southern American Studies Association / University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill / March 16-18, 2017

    This interdisciplinary American Studies conference will explore interactive flows of ideas, discourses, bodies, and objects across cultures, populations, periods, and geographies. These movements span a gamut of involvement: some promoting generative transculturation and entrepreneurial innovation with others enforcing established powers in ways that produce exclusion and violence. Our collective inquiries will challenge the sufficiency of local, tribal, regional, and national frames by presenting new research in American Studies that charts dynamic interconnections and exchanges. We welcome critical and creative transgressions that refigure traditional scopes and -scapes in intersectional, comparative, transnational, and global ambits in ways that dramatize how every location embodies each of these registers.

    Possible approaches are suggested but not limited by the following:

    *adoptions and adaptations of stories, songs, motifs, and performances across varied communities
    *mixed, hybrid, and blended practices, aesthetics, languages, genetics, identities, recipes
    *interethnic and transcultural influences and appropriations
    *pathways through different genealogies of belonging and inventions of memory
    *translations of events, documents, and spaces into and through digital domains
    *creative pedagogies and alternative performances for generating and transmitting learning
    *transmutations of personal identities, historical reputations, and spatial stories across time
    *migrations of refugees, emigres, defectors, asylum-seekers, contractees, adoptees, retirees
    *circulations of tourists, deportees, absconders, wanderers, and personae non gratae
    *forced migrations and restrictions on movement, such as slavery, removal, incarceration, detention, probation
    *the pushes and pulls of corporate and labor relocations, including urbanization, outsourcing, franchising
    *imports and exports and the transportation and consumption of these resources and products
    *contending conceptualizations of freedom, equality, justice, patriotism, and citizenship

    Submissions for sessions should include a panel title and 250-word abstract as well the 500-word paper proposals, two-page CVs, and requests for technology that are required for each individual presenter. Please send all proposals in either MS Word document of PDF to The deadline for submitting all proposals is Friday, September 30, 2016.

    In the interest of involving as many people in our conference as possible, each conference attendee may be listed in the conference program as a participant in a maximum of two sessions. While we welcome a range of formats, we ask that panels be designed so that they fit within a 75-minute time frame with at least 15 minutes dedicated to discussion. As always, we especially encourage graduate students to attend and present research.

    The Critoph Prize recognizes an award for the best graduate student paper presented at each SASA conference. It includes a certificate and a check for $250, as well as recognition at the next biennial gathering. Deadline for graduate students to submit the papers they are presenting at the 2017 conference as a PDF attachment to is noon on March 16, 2017.

  • 20 Jan 2016 by Robert Oppedisano

     The Lt. Joseph Petrosino Lodge (OSIA), in collaboration with IAWA – The Italian American Writers Association, is hosting and launching a “Sagra Del Libro” (Italian-American Book Festival) on Friday, February 26, 2016 from 6 to 10 pmin the Lodge Hall at 113 Baxter Street in Manhattan’s Little Italy. Admission is free to all. In past years on a Sunday in May most bookstores remained open in Italy to support and promote its writers. This initiative was called “Celebrazione dei Libri” (Celebration of Books). Our Sagra Del Libro continues in the spirit of that movement by celebrating our Italian-American literary culture.

    All writers are invited to display and sell their published books at this event. Tables will be set up for the display of books and promotional materials, and authors will be available to speak with attendees and sign books. Also lively presentations or readings by the authors will make for a fascinating evening of celebrating our Italian-American writers. There is a small charge of $5.00 for individual authors to reserve a spot and participate. Authors interested in joining this event should immediately contact Bob Agnoli at 917 816 9916 or Gil Fagiani at to reserve a spot or for additional information. Payment in advance by check should be made out to the Lt. Joseph Petrosino Lodge and mailed to Dr. Emelise Aleandri, 3299 Cambridge Avenue #3C, Riverdale NY 10463. We look forward to your response.

    The Lt. Joseph Petrosino Lodge #285 was formed by John Fratta and Robert Fonti in February 1999, the only OSIA lodge in Manhattan. The Order Sons of Italy was formed in 1905 in the very same neighborhood. The Lodge is named after Lt. Giuseppe (Joe) Petrosino (1860-1909), the first Italian-American Police Lieutenant of the New York City Police Department. The Petrosino Lodge, whose President is William Bray, produces and supports many charitable, cultural and social events throughout the year, raises funds for cancer research, Cooley’s Anemia, Autism and other causes, and most recently hosted a Christmas party for the children of the Henry Street Settlement House.

    IAWA was founded in 1991 to promote Italian-American literature by encouraging the writing, reading, publication, distribution, translation, and study of Italian-American writing and to give Italian-American writers a public forum where the full range of Italian-American expression could find a hearing. IAWA has nurtured the growth of a community of Italian-American readers and writers.  Robert Viscusi, Broeklundian Professor and Executive Officer of the Wolfe Institute for the Humanities at Brooklyn College, is President and Founder of IAWA. Last year he served on the OSIA Grand Lodge Literary Award Committee, chaired by Emelise Aleandri.

    The Sagra Book Festival Committee is chaired by Emelise Aleandri, co-chaired for the Petrosino Lodge by Robert Agnoli and for IAWA, by board member Gil Fagiani, co-host of their Manhattan monthly readings and founding member of the Vito Marcantonio Forum. The Committee also includes Bill Castleberry, Leslie Donofrio, and Angel Marinaccio. We look forward to welcoming you to an enjoyable Italian-American cultural celebration.

  • 20 Jan 2016 by Robert Oppedisano

    Three new and two returning members were  elected to  IASA'S Executive Council in December. Their terms are for 2016-2018.

     Returning  members are:
    Jessica Femiani, Doctoral student in the Department of English and Creative Writing at Binghamton University and an adjunct professor at SUNY Broome Community College.

    Anthony Julian Tamburri, Distinguished Professor of European Languages and Literatures and Dean of the John D. Calandra Italian American Institute (Queens College,  City University of New York). 


     New members are:

    Ryan Calabretta-Sajder, Visiting Assistant Professor of Italian at the University of Arkansas, Fayetteville.

    Donna Chirico, Professor of Psychology and Dean, Arts and Sciences at York College of The City University of New York.

    Michele Fazio, Associate Professor of English, Theatre and Foreign Languages at the University of North Carolina at Pembroke.


    Congratulations. And buon lavoro!

  • 15 Jan 2016 by Robert Oppedisano


    At Italians in America: Recent Documentaries and Photographs, join documentary filmmakers John Maggio and Cristian Piazza and filmmaker-photographer Michele Petruzziello for a round table discussion of issues related to past and present Italian immigration to the United States. As a country of historical emigration from which young people are currently leaving once again to find opportunities abroad, Italy constitutes a unique lab to discuss issues of mobility and relocation.

    New documentaries and photographic works capture the tension between outbound and inbound flows as well as the reverberations of the past onto the present. Blending a desire for documentation and a search for a dynamic aesthetic expression, these documentaries and photographs are both personal and collective. They speak eloquently to migration in the U.S. as well as global migrations. The panel will also include the screening of excerpts from the speakers' works and a photo exhibition: Good Bye My Love by Michele Petruzziello. 

    Introductory remarks: Dr. Teresa Fiore (Inserra Chair, MSU)

    John Maggio (Executive Producer, Producer/Director, Writer at Ark Media): "Filming and Producing The Italian Americans for PBS" 
    Cristian Piazza (Filmmaker): "The Making of WAITING: Stories from Recent Italian Immigrants" 
    Michele Petruzziello (Filmmaker/Photographer): "The Past in the Present: Photographs of Recent Italian Immigrants"

    The program is spearheaded and sponsored by The Inserra Chair in Italian and Italian American Studies (Department of Spanish and Italian) at Montclair State University with the co-sponsorship of UNICO National.

    Italians in America: Recent Documentaries and Photographs
    Monday, February 8, 2016 - 6.45-8.45pm
    University Hall 7th Floor Conference Center

    RSVP required by Thur. Feb. 4, 2016

    To register for the conference and for a complete details and a listing of  Spring 2016 Inserra Chair events at Montclair State:


    Photo: Michele Petruzziello



  • 12 Jan 2016 by Robert Oppedisano


    Hit Refresh: Italian American Imagery in Mass Media – Round Table

    Sunday, February 21, 2016 – 4:30pm @ The Museo Italoamericano, San Francisco

    This roundtable discussion by leading California scholars in Italian American cinema and culture will cover some of the following questions related to Italian American media, representation, and history. What is the role of film and mass media in the constant reconstruction or refreshing of Italian and Italian American iconic images?

    What influences do such recurrent images on TV, film, the Internet, and elsewhere have? Can we consider popular images of Italian ethnicity as more than just “negative portrayals” or “positive portrayals”? Why should scholars study such popular depictions?

    The speakers will be:

    Dr. Pasquale Verdicchio, Professor of Italian and Comparative Literature, UC, San Diego

    Dr. Laura Ruberto, Humanities Professor, Co-Chair Arts and Cultural Studies Department, Berkeley City College

    Dr. Evelyn Ferraro, Lecturer, Italian, Modern Languages, and Literatures, Santa Clara University

    RSVP to (415) 673-2200

    Members $10 / non-members $20

  • 08 Jan 2016 by Robert Oppedisano

     The Center for Italian Studies at the University of Pennsylvania will host an international conference to celebrate "Sicily: Language, Art, and Culture", 11-12 February 2016 Sicily, land of culture, art, cinema, literature; land of travellers and dreamers, of artists and thinkers; land of division and unity. Sicily presents the peculiar characteristics of an island with its own complex reality, distinct from Italian "continental" reality and yet linked to it. The conference aims at exploring Sicily in all aspects of its history and culture, in itself and in relation to the rest of Italy and to the world, from its most ancient traditions to present debates, to its hope for the future. 

    Featuring presentations by Chiara Mazzucchelli, Fred Gardaphe, George De Stefano, Gaetano Cipolla and other scholars, the themes of discussion will include:

    1) Sicilianity and Sicilitude

    2) Language and Literature

    3) Visual Arts and Music

    4) Cinema and Theater

    5) The Sicilian Diaspora

    6) Popular Traditions and Modernity

    7) Gastronomic Tradition

    8) Political and Economic History

    The conference program will be available shortly.

    Conference registration: Faculty/ Professional: $100; Student: $70 

    Registration is required only of speakers by January 15. Attendance is free to the general public. 

    More information about the conference and registration: