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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.