Call for Papers Italian-American Foodways

Italian-American Foodways

Call for Papers for a Special Issue of Italian American Review

Italian and Italian-American food has a long history in the homes, markets, and restaurants of the United States. For many immigrants, the hunger and food shortages associated with la miseria (literally, “misery”) were a primary motivation for emigration, and thus the foodways these immigrants and their descendants brought to and developed in the United States were not only a means for maintaining ethnic identity and culture, but also a marker of success and assimilation. In addition, given that these foodways emerged as the United States’ first notable “ethnic cuisine,” they have long functioned as a primary representation of that ethnicity to American society at large — a context, then, in which Italian-American identity and culture were expressed, encountered, negotiated, and re-formed over time.

This special issue will build on existing scholarship in the fields of history, anthropology, and folklore and folklife studies, and it welcomes contributions from those working in the area of food studies. Overall, this special issue of Italian American Review proposes to investigate a range of historical and contemporary topics related to Italian-American foodways, with the goal of broadening the scope of scholarly discussion and exploring innovative approaches to research. To this end, all submissions should demonstrate knowledge of previous scholarship and identify theoretical perspectives. Suggested themes include, but are not limited to:

  • Representations of Italian-American foodways in popular culture
  • Critical studies of Italian-American culinary literature (cookbooks, memoirs, etc.)
  • Regional variations in Italian-American foodways
  • Relations between Italian and Italian-American foodways
  • Mass-marketing and “branding” Italian-American foodways
  • Histories of Italian-American restaurants, food merchants, and food producers
  • The evolution of Italian-American foodways
  • The chef as Italian-American icon
  • Foodways, assimilation, and national identity
  • Foodways and class, gender, and/or sexual identity
  • Relations between Italian-American foodways and other ethnic American foodways
  • Italian-American food establishments (restaurants, markets, etc.), ethnic neighborhoods, and the urban landscape
  • Italian-American foodways and the politics of food
  • Comparative discussion with other communities within the United States or with parts of the Italian diaspora.

DEADLINE FOR SUBMISSIONS: May 1, 2013 May 15, 2013
Abstracts for scholarly papers (up to 500 words) and a brief curriculum vitae should be emailed to guest editors, Rocco Marinaccio ( and Peter Naccarato (, to whom other inquiries may also be directed. Requests to submit full papers will be sent by July 1. Final article submissions will be subject to review by the editors and external reviewers selected by the Italian American Review.

Guest Editors:
Rocco Marinaccio is associate professor of English at Manhattan College in New York City. His previous publications on Italian-American literature and culture have included essays on Sacco and Vanzetti, Frank Sinatra, John Fante, and Italian-American foodways and have appeared in such journals as MELUS, Italian American Review, and LIT: Literature, Interpretation, Theory. His current research examines the relations of food and eating, literature, and culture in modern New York City.

Peter Naccarato is professor of English and currently serves as chair of the Humanities Division at Marymount Manhattan College. His recent scholarly work is in the area of food studies, focusing on the roles of food and food practices in circulating ideologies and sustaining individual and group identities. With Kathleen LeBesco, he has co-authored Culinary Capital (Berg Press, 2012) and co-edited Edible Ideologies: Representing Food and Meaning (SUNY Press, 2008).


The Italian American Review (IAR), a bi-annual, peer-reviewed journal of Queens College’s  John D. Calandra Italian American Institute, publishes scholarly articles about the history and culture of Italian Americans, as well as other aspects of the Italian diaspora. The journal embraces a wide range of professional concerns and theoretical orientations in the social sciences and in cultural studies. The journal entertains articles about such topics as migration, politics, labor, race and ethnicity, urban studies, gender studies, as well as various forms of cultural production (religious feasts, cinema, music, etc.), especially those addressing societal aspects. The IAR does not publish literary criticism or creative work such as poetry or fiction. Journal guidelines can be found at