IASA Executive Council (2018-2020)
Dr. Ryan Calabretta-Sajder is currently Visiting Assistant Professor of Italian at the University of Arkansas, Fayetteville, where he teaches courses in Italian, Italian American, Film, Jewish, and Gender Studies. He is the author of Divergenze in celluloide: colore, migrazione e identità sessuale nei film gay di Ferzan Ozpetek (Celluloid Divergences: Color, Migration, and Sexual Identity in the Gay Series of Ferzan Ozpetek) with Mimesis editore and Pasolini’s Lasting Impressions: Death, Eros, and Literary Enterprise in the Opus of Pier Paolo Pasolini with Fairleigh Dickinson University Press (Dec. 2017). His research interests include the integration of gender, class, and migration in both Italian and Italian American literature and cinema. He has recently been awarded one of four Fulbright Awards for the Foundation of the South to conduct research and teach at the University of Calabria, Arcavacata for the Spring of 2017. As part of his Fulbright responsibilities, he taught a course entitled “Queering Gay Italian Americana.” He is currently working on two, authored book-length projects, one exploring the Italian American gay author Robert Ferro who died of AIDS complications in 1988 and the second on the Algerian Italian author Amara Lakhous.
Calabretta-Sajder is currently the Director of Communications for the American Association of Teachers of Italian, the President of Gamma Kappa Alpha, the National Italian Honors Society, the former Co-chair for the Committee of Graduate Students in the Profession for the Modern Language Association, an Executive Committee member of the Italian American Studies Association, and Secretary/Treasurer of the American Association of University Supervisors and Coordinators. In May 2015 he received a research grant from the South Central MLA Association to conduct archival research on Italian American authors at Yale University’s Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library on Robert Ferro.
As member of the Executive Council of the Italian American Studies Association, Calabretta-Sajder has served on the Scholarship Committee, Constitution Committee, and is currently chairing the Nominations Committee. In June 2017, he chaired the “Theorizing the Italian Diaspora” Symposium committee, which boasted an attendance of over 60 colleagues from five countries, hosting both workshops and traditional sessions, and two keynotes presentations. He is also working as Associate Editor for the annual IASA publication.
As a member of the Executive Council, I have been working hard to [and will continue to]
- expand membership and cross-pollinate membership from similar academic organizations (in particular American Association of Teachers of Italian, Modern Language Association, Society of Cinema and Media Studies)
- build a more international ‘face’ of the organization through conferences/symposiums both nationally and internationally
- introduce graduate students to the organization
Dr. Donna Chirico is Professor of Psychology and Dean of the School of Arts and Sciences at York College/CUNY. Her field research in India studying moral and spiritual development constitutes the foundation for her ongoing research program exploring the nature of imagination as it relates to aspects of psychological development. One implication is the role of the imaginative process in educational attainment among Americans of Italian ancestry. The objective of this work is to understand the function of transcendent imagination in personal development, attainment of valued goals and general well being.
In a secondary project, matters of personal identity formation are being explored to achieve an understanding of how ethnic identity contributes to the psychological development of the self. She has published numerous papers on these topics and is a much sought after speaker on these matters vital to the Italian American community. Dr. Chirico is also an expert in the application of statistical analysis in sports who explores the use of statistical paradigms in sports betting and choices made by fantasy sports league participants.
Dr. Chirico currently serves on the Executive Committee of the Italian American Studies Association, is Chair of the Italian American Faculty Staff Advisory Council of the John D. Calandra Italian American Institute, serves on the Board of the National Organization of Italian American Women, and is president of the American arm of the Italian Language Inter-Cultural Alliance. ILICA is a not-for-profit foundation dedicated to the promotion of the Italian language as an instrument of understanding and study of a culture in continuous evolution, directed at Americans of Italian origin, and all those ethnic groups that share interest in learning the Italian language as a key to understanding Italian culture within the context of the 21st century.
Here are just two of the goals she has in mind for IASA:
- Expand membership especially among early-career scholars and professionals as well as those new to the field of Italian American Studies.
- Increase the recognition of IASA as a scholarly force in the field of Italian Diaspora Studies.
Rosetta Giuliani Caponetto
Rosetta Giuliani Caponetto
Dr. Rosetta Giuliani Caponetto. I am an Associate Professor of Italian at Auburn University where I teach and co-coordinate the Italian program. Born in Somalia and raised in Italy, my academic interests in the field of Italian Studies are focused on twentieth-century Italian literature and cinema of colonialism in Africa, ethnic studies, and more recently on Italian American philanthropy. My manuscript, Fascist Hybridities: Representations of Racial Mixing and Diaspora Cultures under Mussolini (2015), focuses on Italian diasporic issues first hand. The work examines novels and films from the period when Italian Fascism permeated countries like Somalia, Eritrea, and Ethiopia, and African-Italian mixed-race individuals and white Italian living in these countries posed a threat to the creation of a homogenous national identity. My course offerings include a successful class on cinematic representations of Italian Americans introducing undergraduate students to several dimensions of the Italian American cultural life. Questions of class, ethnicity, gender and sexual orientation, the changing of family dynamics and the position of cinema in the debate between assimilation and multiculturalism, are some of the topics addressed in the course. In collaboration with Dr. Shelleen Greene, I recently presented a paper concerning the work of Italian African American author Antonio Campobasso at the IASA symposium held in Calabria in June 2017. As faculty advisor for the Italian Studies Minor at Auburn University, I have been heavily engaged in seeking post-baccalaureate internship opportunities in Italy for American/Italian American fresh graduates. I believe that my current academic research exploring the role and impact of Italian American endowment initiatives, the experience in the field of internship opportunities in Italy, and my own family history as an Italian of African descent, could be an asset for the IASA Board. It would be an honor for me to serve on the IASA Board. Thank you for your consideration.
Mary Ann McDonald Carolan
Mary Ann McDonald Carolan
Dr. Mary Ann McDonald Carolan is a relative newcomer to the Italian American Studies Association, which she joined two years ago. She presented papers at IASA conferences in Washington, D.C. and at California State University Long Beach. Although not Italian American nor Italian, she believes that it is imperative for the survival of the field of Italian American studies that we encourage those from all ethnic backgrounds to investigate the intersections between Italy and America.
Her research focuses primarily on the cinematic exchange between Italy and America. Her book, The Transatlantic Gaze: Italian Cinema, American Film (SUNY Press, 2014), investigates the profound influence of Italian auteurs on American filmmakers such as Quentin Tarantino, Brian De Palma, and others. She has published articles on the director Nicola Cirasola whose Focaccia Blues demonstrates the connection between Italy and America in food and film and on the representation of Italian American women in comedies such as Moonstruck, Married to the Mob, and My Cousin Vinny. Her other publications examine the reception of Alfredo Panzini’s work in the United States in the early years of the twentieth century as well as the underlying significance for Italian Studies of Ruth Draper’s hysterical 1925 monologue entitled “The Italian Lesson.”
At Fairfield University, she teaches undergraduate courses on the Italian American Experience and Italian American cinema, and a graduate seminar in American Studies entitled “Visions of Italy and America in Film.” In the spring of 2019, she will hold the Tiro a Segno Fellowship in Italian American studies at New York University.
She regularly lectures and presents films at BACIO (Bridgeport Area Cultural Italian Organization), an organization founded to preserve and celebrate Italian American culture.
Thank you for your consideration as a candidate for the Executive Council of the Italian American Studies Association.
Dr. Jerome Krase, Emeritus and Murray Koppelman Professor, Brooklyn College CUNY is a Public Scholar writing, photographing, and lecturing at universities in Rome, Padua, Urbino, Trento, Trieste, Bari, and Pisa. His “Whatever Happened to Little Italy” was recently published in The Routledge History of Italian Americans about which he spoke at IASA’s D.C. conference. His Italian American works include The Melting Pot and Beyond: Italian Americans in the Year 2000 (1988), Ethnicity and Machine Politics (1992), Italian Americans in a Multicultural Society (1994), Industry, Labor, Technologies and the Italian American Communities (1997), The Review of Italian American Studies (2000), Race and Ethnicity in New York City (2005), Italian American Politics (2005), Ethnic Landscapes in an Urban World. (2006), The Staten Island Italian American Experience, (2007), Italian Americans Before the Mass Migration (2007). The Status of Interpretation in Italian American Studies (2012), and Race, Class, and Gentrification in Brooklyn (2016). A Founding Member of the city-wide social services organization and Vice President, American Italian Coalition of Organizations in 1978, he Directed Brooklyn College’s Center for Italian-American Studies Rome 1975 to 1984, received the Monsignor Gino Baroni Award from Italian Americana in 2005, and was the American Italian Historical Association’s President for two terms (1993-97) “Jerry”, as he is known to friends, hopes his long-term and broad experience can help IASA make mutually beneficial connections between the community of scholars and the Italian American community. (For those who are ethnically inquisitive, his mother Martha Rose Cangelosi’s family came from Sicily in the late Nineteenth Century.)
Dr. Rocco Mesiti is a professor of Italian Cultures in the Global Cultures department at Western New England University and summer faculty for the study abroad program in Sorrento Italy.
In June 2017, he was invited to present a paper at the IASA Symposium in Italy at the Universita della Calabria in Rende. The title of his research paper; “Italian When We Eat: The Politics of Identity Development in the 21st Century” was well-received. Also, he presented at the IASA 50th Annual Conference in Washington, DC, November 2017. The title of the paper, “Italy’s New Diaspora: The Cultural and Ecclesiastic Practices of New Immigrants,” focused on Italy’s current refugees and migrant crisis and the future of Muslims living in Italy. The subject brought about an engaging and interactive discussion.
Relevant to the position for IASA, Mesiti is an elected consigliere/representative for COMITES (Comitato degli italiani all’estero). As a COMITES consigliere, he represents Italians living abroad, promotes educational and cultural events, works to identify and support the needs of the Italian communities in New England.
Since 1992, he has produced a weekly radio program for the Italian communities of Western Massachusetts and Connecticut providing listeners Italian music, culture, community news, and information. He recently received an award of recognition for 25 years of community service for Italian programming by the WTCC FM committee. In 2013, Mesiti’ s commitment to the Italian community was recognized by the Italian Cultural Center of Western Massachusetts as their Servium Award recipient.
Mesiti is committed to Italian Education in the USA and is currently building new courses and travel programs with Western New England University offering its first Italian language course. Also, he has created and established a new Sicilian Cultural Aesthetics course, and travel component for spring break 2018 traveling with a significant number of students to Taormina.
With enthusiasm, energy, and passion for Italian language and culture, Mesiti would make and a great addition to the council.
Anthony Julian Tamburri
Anthony Julian Tamburri
Dr. Anthony Julian Tamburri is a Distinguished Professor of European Languages and Literatures and Dean of the John D. Calandra Italian American Institute. My research lies in literature, cinema, interpretation theory, and cultural studies, both in Italian and Italian/American studies. His more recent books are: Un-biculturalismo negato: la scrittura italiana negli Stati Uniti (2018); Re-reading Italian Americana: Specificities and Generalities on Literature and Criticism (2014/15); Re-viewing Italian Americana: Generalities and Specificities on Cinema (2011); Una semiotica dell’etnicità: nuove segnalature per la scrittura italiano/americana (2010). He is the co-editor of the anthology, From The Margin: Writings in Italian Americana (1991/2000), and co-founder of Bordighera Press.
Tamburri has served the Italian American Studies Association in various capacities since the early 1990s, first as Newsletter editor from 1993 to 2000. As president, subsequently, and also as long-standing member of the Executive Council, one of his goals was to be sure that the scholarship emanating from our publications continued to develop into more broad fields and, as well, into a type of trans-disciplinarity. And over the years things have indeed progressed. But there is still more work to do. Most recently, IASA established the IASA Annual. Our editor will need our help in getting it up and running. Secondly, membership has fallen over the years. We shall have to examine possible reasons, engage in a self-study as to what has changed and how that may have affected membership, and develop a strategy to increase membership. Thirdly, we need to be sure that along with increased membership there is a more broadening of representation of the various fields of inquiry; we live in an inter- if not trans-disciplinary world, and we need to be sure that all fields of intellectual interrogation are well represented by and within IASA.
Dr. Daniella Trimboli is a Postdoctoral Research Fellow in the Alfred Deakin Institute for Citizenship and Globalisation at Deakin University. Her dissertation analyzed the intersection of everyday multiculturalism and digital storytelling. Following her graduation, Daniella worked as a Research Fellow at the Research Unit in Public Cultures at The University of Melbourne. Here, she contributed to a range of interdisciplinary projects that explored the role of migrant contributions to urban life, most recently on the Federally-funded ‘From Ethnic Enclaves to Cosmopolitan Cultures.’ This project explored the contributions and changing dynamics of the Greek diaspora in Melbourne to Australian identity and urban culture. Daniella has taught in Cultural Studies, Tourism and Australian Studies, and worked on an Indigenous Governance project at the Yunggorendi First Nations Centre at Flinders University. She is an assistant editor of the Journal of Intercultural Studies. Prior to her academic roles, Daniella worked for the Queensland Folk Federation (QFF), organiser of the Woodford Folk Festival and the international Indigenous festival, The Dreaming. Her work with the QFF heightened her interest in community-based art and cultural diversity, interests which have since extended to studies of ethnic performativity, critical cosmopolitanism and diaspora studies.
Statement about research interests
Daniella’s work examines how ethnic performativity occurs in contemporary art forms, including digital media, and how this performativity deconstructs and/or reinforces normative discourses of race, multiculturalism, and nationhood. She views digital spaces as affectively-charged stages in which complex articulations of the public and the private are animated and re-negotiated. Digital forms are increasingly being used to understand cultural diversity in neo-colonial contexts like Australia, and she is interested in how this occurs at an everyday level, for example, through v-logging, Instagram stories, and snapchats. What kinds of discursive and affective ‘sets’ are in place for these everyday digital stories? What kinds of excesses, slippages, and/or blips occur within them that might allow for alternative readings of cultural difference? Her postdoctoral research will test the hypothesis that these kinds of stories mobilize new kinds of diasporic identities, and explore how diasporic intimacies can provide an alternative identity politics for everyday life. A subsidiary arm of her research utilizes affect and performativity to consider the ‘global migration crisis’, in particular, to ask how (in)hospitality becomes entwined with corporeality. This interest surfaces most prominently in the not-for-profit organisation she co-manages, I’ll Be Your First Mate (yourfirstmate.org), which uses art to reinterpret dominant narratives about refugees.
Due to her family heritage, Daniella is interested in the ways that the Italian diasporic experience is translated, and how these translations shift according to place and time. In Australia, scholars frequently look to countries like Canada to model their work on multiculturalism; though, for studying Italianness, the United States’ Italian-American Studies’ scholarship offers many useful insights. These insights are becoming increasingly relevant as global mobility becomes heightened, and as the Italian diaspora subsequently diversifies.
The relationship between the Italian-Australian diaspora and the Italian-American diaspora became pronounced for Daniella when at the IASA 2017 conference in Calabria earlier in 2017. It was clear to her that the theoretical movements Professor Anthony Tamburri and others were making within the field of Italian-American Studies were about widening the parameters through which the Italian diaspora is interpreted. Moving forward, Daniella is excited about this growing network, and the potential for collaborations and mutual learning between these two sites of Italian diaspora study and beyond.
Daniella’s father’s experience of Italianness is displaced from his homeland of Calabria, and her experience of Italianness displaced further in Australia. And yet, Italianness is fundamental to how both her and her father inhabit the world and relate to others within it. In this way, they are both connected and disconnected from the dual notions of Italian cultural roots and Australian rootedness. Daniella thus pursues her theoretical understanding of diaspora in the same manner that Grant Farred does: as an experience that must be explored both in and out of context. For Daniella, this in/out ontological position of the world is useful as she begins tracing her family’s migration history, but also for thinking through the complex but important role that migrants play in creating a more open and cosmopolitan perspective of the world.
Jessica Whitehead is a PhD candidate in Communication and Cultural Studies at York University with plans to defend in February 2018. Her dissertation, Cinema-going on the Margins: The Mascioli Film Circuit of Northeastern Ontario, explores how the remote geographic location of mining communities in Canada’s north created unique cinema-going experiences for the immigrant workers who populated the area. In this work, she concentrates on the Italian community in the region, and how Leo Mascioli’s Italian ethnicity impacted his theater chain. Her research has been featured on the Canadian Broadcasting Corporations’ radio show Up North and in The Timmins Daily Press. She also has several forthcoming book chapters and articles awaiting publication from this research. After she defends her dissertation, she plans to continue my examination of Italian-Canadian communities, and the contribution of Italians to the theater industry in Canada through her work with the Hidden Circuits research project.
Her motivation for becoming a member of IASA Executive Council is to help continue the relationship between Canadian and American scholars looking at the Italian communities in North America. She would also like to help with upcoming IASA conferences and support another future conference in Canada. She has conference organizing experience, and she co-organized the Circuits of Cinema conference in June 2017, which had over 100 presenters. In co-organizing this conference, she helped to write a successful Social Science and Humanities Research Council Connection Grant. Her experience will be an asset to IASA Executive Council, and she envisions herself working closely with other council members to organize upcoming conferences and write funding applications for future events.