Celebrating Diversity: Italian American Heritage Month Highlights

Research Services Librarian Alexandra de Luise, liaison for Italian American Studies, presents highlights from the Italian American Studies Guide.

The month of October has been designated Italian American Heritage month. Although overlapping with Hispanic Heritage month, it was chosen in 1989 by presidential decree to overlap with Columbus Day on October 11th.   For many, it is a time to reflect on Italian Americans’ many contributions and to enrich their understanding through lectures, readings and events.  It is also a time to explore through publications and media outlets the changes and new attitudes felt in the field by this group as they touch on its history, sociology, art, culture and literature. 

For a few years now, Italian American authors have been exploring new directions in their scholarship which can be best understood from watching a recent segment of  Italics (Television for the Italian American Experience a monthly presentation co-produced in collaboration with the John D. Calandra Italian American Institute).  In the video. Queens College Professor and the Dean of the John D. Calandra Institute Anthony Julian Tamburri, as well as Queens College Distinguished Professor of Italian American Studies Dr. Fred Gardaphé, are in conversation with  Calandra’s Director of Academic and Cultural Programs, Dr. Joseph Sciorra, and  York College Professor Dr. Donna Chirico.   As leaders in their fields and from their broad and wide-reaching perspectives, they discuss what they see as a greater emphasis on transnationalism, gender, sexuality, whiteness and colonialism.  Current day scholarship is leaning towards a better understanding of our past, to help explain our emigration, immigration and human experiences.  Here are some books and media productions that bear this out:

Books

Migrant Marketplaces by Elizabeth Zanoni 
Call Number: GT2850 .Z36 2018ISBN: 9780252041655
Publication Date: 2018′ Elizabeth Zanoni provides a cutting-edge comparative look at Italian people and products on the move between 1880 and 1940. Concentrating on foodstuffs–a trade dominated by Italian entrepreneurs in New York and Buenos Aires–Zanoni reveals how consumption of these increasingly global imports affected consumer habits and identities and sparked changing and competing connections between gender, nationality, and ethnicity.’

 Whom We Shall Welcome : Italian Americans and Immigration Reform, 1945-1965 by Battisti, Danielle 
Call Number: onlineISBN: 0823286347
Publication Date: 2019                                                                                                                          ‘Danielle Battisti looks at efforts by Italian American organizations to foster Italian immigration along with the lobbying efforts of Italian Americans to change the quota laws. While Italian Americans (and other white ethnics) had attained virtual political and social equality with many other groups of older-stock Americans by the end of the war, Italians continued to be classified as undesirable immigrants.”

 The Divo and the Duce by Giorgio Bertellini 
Call Number: onlineISBN: 9780520301368
Publication Date: 2019
‘Giorgio Bertellini’s work on Italian-born star Rodolfo Valentino and Italy’s dictator Benito Mussolini shows how their popularity, both political and erotic, largely depended on the efforts of public opinion managers, including publicists, journalists, and even ambassadors. Beyond the democratic celebrations of the Jazz Age, the promotion of their charismatic masculinity through spectacle and press coverage inaugurated the now-familiar convergence of popular celebrity and political authority.  Co-winner of the Italian American Studies 2020 book award.’

Napoli/New York/Hollywood by Giuliana Muscio Call Number: OnlineISBN: 0823279405Publication Date: 2018-10-30‘Napoli/New York/Hollywood is an absorbing investigation of the significant impact that Italian immigrant actors, musicians, and directors–and the southern Italian stage traditions they embodied–have had on the history of Hollywood cinema and American media, from 1895 to the present day. Included are such well-known directors and actors as Francis Coppola and his sister Talia Shire, John Turturro, Nancy Savoca, James Gandolfini, David Chase, Joe Dante, and Annabella Sciorra.’

Featured Media and Websites

i-Italy   ‘A guide to everything Italian in America.” A fascinating bilingual blog/magazine/website of information and video clips, the project of the John D Calandra Italian American Institute.

The Italian Americans.  Well-known series shown on the Public Broadcasting System. With Stanley Tucci, narrator.; Ark Media (Firm) production company.; WETA-TV (Television station : Washington, D.C.) production company. 2014

Italian American Studies Association (formerly American Italian Historical Assn.)  Association devoted to the interdisciplinary study of the culture, history, literature, sociology, psychology, demography, folklore, and politics of Italians in America.

Italics, Television for the Italian American Experience. The Italian American magazine of CUNYTV, the online television program, produced by the John D Calandra Italian American Institute, hosted by Dr. Anthony Julian Tamburri, Dean of the John D. Calandra Italian American Institute.

Celebrating Diversity: Greek American Heritage Month

March is Greek American Heritage Month!  To support the celebration, we are featuring several exemplary ebooks and streaming videos available via the Benjamin S. Rosenthal online library.  Greek American scholars and students study the complexities of Greek immigrant assimilation within American ethnic identity.   Currently, over 2.5 million Americans are of Greek descent. New York has the highest concentration of Greek Americans and Queens College the most of any college at 1500!    

Queens College offers courses that touch on Greek American Studies, either through the Center for Byzantine & Modern Greek Studies or in the Modern Greek language and literature program of the European Languages and Literatures department

We are proud of our growing collection of books, films, and more in Greek American studies!  Below are some highlights from our collection.  To learn more, please see our Greek American Studies libguide.

EBOOKS

Contours of White Ethnicity Popular Ethnography and the Making of Usable Pasts in Greek America by Yiorgos Anagnostou 

“Yiorgo Anagnostou explores the construction of ethnic history and reveals how and why white ethnics selectively retain, rework, or reject their pasts. Challenging the tendency to portray Americans of European background as a uniform cultural category, the author demonstrates how a generalized view of American white ethnics misses the specific identity issues of particular groups as well as their internal differences.”

The religion of ethnicity : belief and belonging in a Greek-American community by Gary A. Kunkelman 

“The integrative role of religion has been a recurrent theme of sociological and anthropological theory. This role is apparent in the Greek-American community; religion functions as a cement of the social fabric. Indeed, it would be hard to overestimate the role of Greek Orthodoxy in joining people of Greek ancestry into a community and reinforcing their sense of ethnic identity. The nature of ethnic identity and the church’s role in fostering and sustaining it are subjects of this study, first published in 1990.”

Greek Americans : struggle and success by Moskos, Peter C. and Moskos, Charles C.

“This is an engrossing account of Greek Americans–their history, strengths, conflicts, aspirations, and contributions. This is the story of immigrants, their children and grandchildren, most of whom maintain an attachment to Greek ethnic identity even as they have become one of this country’s most successful ethnic groups.”

STREAMING VIDEOS

Maria by Callas (1 hour, 58 minutes, 2017)

“Tom Volf’s MARIA BY CALLAS is the first film to tell the life story of the legendary Greek/American opera singer completely in her own words. Told through performances, TV interviews, home movies, family photographs, private letters and unpublished memoirs—nearly all of which have never been shown to the public—the film reveals the essence of an extraordinary woman who rose from humble beginnings in New York City to become a glamorous international superstar and one of the greatest artists of all time.”

Celebrating Diversity – Italian American Heritage Resources

Research Services Librarian Alexandra de Luise, liaison for Italian American Studies, presents highlights from the Italian American Studies Guide.

Welcome! The month of October has been designated Italian American Heritage month – although it has been known to stretch from September to December. It is a time of reflection and coming together- via Zoom lectures, Youtube talks, poetry events and more- to highlight Italian American heritage and culture in all its many facets for this fifth largest ethnic group in the United States. Aspects of our history, such as immigration, assimilation, family life, and social history, are well known to most. But present day scholars, including some writing from outside the U.S., are delving into new areas, including transnationalism, diaspora, food culture, film, gender, and sexuality.

Featured E-Resources and Websites

i-Italy   ‘A guide to everything Italian in America.” A fascinating bilingual blog/magazine/website of information and video clips, the project of the John D Calandra Italian American Institute.

Italian American Studies Association (formerly American Italian Historical Assn.)  Association devoted to the interdisciplinary study of the culture, history, literature, sociology, psychology, demography, folklore, and politics of Italians in America.

Italics, Television for the Italian American Experience. The Italian American magazine of CUNYTV, the online television program, produced by the John D Calandra Italian American Institute, hosted by Dr. Anthony Julian Tamburri, Dean of the John D. Calandra Italian American Institute.

Featured E-Books


A Companion to Martin Scorsese

Aaron Baker, 2014

Flushing born film director Martin Scorsese is one of America’s most prominent contemporary filmmakers, and the focus of this series of essays.

Cover Art

The Italian American Table: Food, Family, and Community in New York City

Simone Cinotto, 2013

Pioneering study on Italian American food culture in New York City.

Description: https://images-na.ssl-images-amazon.com/images/I/51JKcALQxIL._SX348_BO1,204,203,200_.jpg

The Routledge History of Italian Americans 

William J. Connell (Editor); Stanislao G. Pugliese (Editor), 2018

Encyclopedic collection of essays by leading academics in the  field of Italian American Studies.