Italian American Cultural Studies

Italian-American Cultural Studies

Italian-American Cultural Studies is concerned with the Italian experience primarily in North America—Canada and the United States. However, attention is also given to the Italian diaspora in other parts of the Americas as well as across other Anglophone areas worldwide.

We understand cultural studies as that mode of analysis that takes as its focal point of argument, as Stuart Hall aptly underscored, “the changing ways of life of societies and groups and the networks of meanings that individuals and groups use to make sense of and to communicate with each other.” What is of primary significance is the emphasis on plurality—i.e., societies and groups—and interconnectedness—i.e., communicating with each other. This sense of plurality and interconnectedness form an obvious and necessary couplet that can result from the changing attitude toward the notion of a separate national group that was ultimately supplanted by any one of the many metaphors and similes that readily signal difference and individuality of all groups that constitute world population.

We also understand cultural studies to transcend the mere description of an ethnic group. Instead, cultural studies should aim at a profound examination and thus explanation, as well as, when appropriate, a diagnosis of the cultural group in question.

For Italian Americans, this includes the study and analysis of all components of Italian America, acknowledging that these topics of analysis may run the gamut from seemingly “pop” to “high” culture.