ITALICS: February 25, 2014 Italian Immigrants and Whiteness/Words of Love



In honor of Black History Month, “Italics” looks at the role of the press – both radical and mainstream - in the assimilation of Italian immigrants to the dominant white culture from 1886 through 1920 and its relevance in thinking about racism in our society today, and amidst recent outpourings of the masses into the streets for #BlackLivesMatter. Scholar Peter Vellon (Queens College/CUNY) explores this in his new book, “A Great Conspiracy Against Our Race: Italian Immigrant Newspapers and the Construction of Whiteness in the Early 20th Century.“ “Italics” catches up with Mr. Vellon and Dr. Joseph Sciorra at the Calandra Institute. Professor Margherita talks of love, in it’s various forms, with February’s Italian words of the month.

On this special episode of ITALICS we'll update you on new Graduate level course offerings at Queens College, and discuss the state of Italian American Studies at CUNY, SUNY and Universities & Colleges throughout the Nation, and in Italy. Dr. Anthony J. Tamburri is joined for this discussion by Dr. Mary Jo Bona, Professor of Italian American Studies & Women's and Gender Studies at Stony Brook University/SUNY, and Dr. Fred Gardaphe, Distinguished Professor of Italian American Studies and English at Queens College/CUNY.
ITALICS introduces you to Vincent Piazza, rising young actor, whose portrayal of "Lucky Luciano" on HBO's "Boardwalk Empire" has brought him great critical acclaim and public notice. Then we'll take you to a conference, Vito Marcantonio and the Puerto Rican People: Solidarity & Progress, sponsored by the Center for Puerto Rican Studies at Hunter College/CUNY, the Vito Marcantonio Forum and the Italian American Studies Association.
Host Anthony Julian Tamburri interviews President Frank Fusaro and Chairman Louis Tallarini of the Columbus Citizens Foundation. They discuss the Foundation's many contributions to the Italian community, such as running the Columbus Day Parade, as well as the history of the Foundation and its focus today.
ITALICS joins The New York Conference of Italian American State Legislators as they celebrate "Italian American Day" in Albany, N.Y. Next we follow AS Roma, Italian soccer team on their recent summer tour of some of the great cities of the United States, bringing Calcio, or football, the beautiful game to America. Bill Schempp, former ITALICS producer reports from Red Bulls Arena in nearby Harrison, New Jersey.
We take you to the Calandra Institute for our annual conference, whose theme this year was "Re-Imagining White Ethnicity: Expressivity, Identity, Race." The Conference was held at The John D. Calandra Italian American Institute/Queens College/CUNY in Mid-town Manhattan, on April 26 through April 28. Next, we go to a recent reading of excerpts from Celluloid Activist, The Life and Times of Vito Russo, a new biography by Professor Michael Schiavi.
First on ITALICS we go to The National Italian American Foundation's annual East Coast Gala Dinner 2012, held in New York City at Cipriani's on 42nd Street. Next, we join The Remember The Triangle Fire Coalition and others at the 101st Commemoration of the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory Fire.
Dr. Aileen Riotto Sirey, Founder & Chair of The National Organization of Italian American Women talks with Dean Anthony J Tamburri about her 32 years in its leadership role as Founder and Chair. ITALICS takes you to “The Hon. Geraldine A. Ferraro, The Italian American Woman Who Made History," NOIAW’s 2012 Women History Month event, in collaboration with the Calandra Institute, dedicated to the memory and legacy of the late Congresswoman Geraldine A. Ferraro.
This entire episode of Italics is dedicated to acts of devotion, religious devotion and one's personal devotion to family. First we'll look at religious devotion, through Graces Received, Painted and Metal Ex-votos from Italy, an exhibition held at the Calandra Institute in spring of 2012. Dr. Leonard Primiano speaks about his collection, which makes up the bulk of the exhibition. Our second look at devotion involves one's personal devotion to family. We'll talk with Chiara Montalto, writer and performer of "A Brooklyn Love Story: Emergency Used Candles."
On this edition dedicated entirely to Italian American Scholarship, we’ll talk with Dr Fred Gardaphe, Distinguished Professor of English and Italian American Studies at Queens College/CUNY and the Calandra Institute, who discusses some of his most recent publications. Next we’ll talk with Dr. Joseph Sciorra, Associate Director of Academic and Cultural Programs at the Calandra Institute, talking about his latest research and projects.
This special edition of ITALICS is dedicated entirely to the National Italian American Foundation's 36th Annual Weekend Conference and Gala Awards Dinner. We'll take you to the Hilton Hotel in Washington, D.C., where over 2,500 NIAF members and press convened to celebrate both Italian Heritage and Culture Month and the 150th Unification of the Republic of Italy. The highlight of the weekend conference's many events was President Barack Obama's Keynote Address.