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: LGBTQ+ Pride Month

To celebrate LGBTQ+ Pride Month in June 2021, the Library is showcasing a research guide on Pride curated by Prof. Leila Walker, Digital Scholarship Librarian, which features ebooks and other e-resources. Check out these resources and join us for a virtual celebration at CUNY Pridefest at Queens College on June 25.

Some History and Background

Each year in June, we celebrate LGBTQ+ Pride and commemorate the June 28, 1969, Stonewall Uprising. At that time, when homosexuality was a criminal offense, the Stonewall Inn was one of the most popular gay bars in New York City, and it was subjected to frequent police raids. In the early hours of June 28, 1969, police raided the bar; the powerful resistance to the raid, the ensuing riots, and the commemoration of the uprising the following June are often considered the origins of the modern LGBTQ+ rights movement.

As a queer woman, Pride month is personal for me. While June is a time to celebrate the joy, pride, power, and diversity of LGBTQ+ people and our history, it can also be a very stressful time of year for many of us. June is the month when we remember the 2016 massacre at the Pulse nightclub in Orlando, Florida. June is also the month when Supreme Court decisions are traditionally handed down: in June 2003, the Supreme Court decision in Lawrence v. Texas legalized same-sex sexual activity across the US; in June 2015, the Supreme Court held state bans on same-sex marriage unconstitutional in Obergefell v. Hodges; in June 2018, the Supreme Court ruled in Masterpiece Cakeshop v. Colorado Civil Rights Commission that owners of public accommodations can refuse service to gay people on religious grounds. This year, the Court’s decision in Fulton v. City of Philadelphia is expected any day. That ruling will determine whether a Catholic child welfare organization can refuse to recommend gay and lesbian couples as foster parents. Each of these decisions affects whether and how we are legally allowed to enter into familial relationships; each of these decisions feels like a ruling on my humanity.

As a queer librarian, Pride month is especially personal for me, because the archival mission, the mission of organizing and making available resources about LGBTQ+ pride and history, is so urgently necessary to the ongoing formation of my community. As Eve Kosofsky Sedgwick wrote in The Epistemology of the Closet in 1990, in a passage that immediately resonated with me as a young lesbian, gay people are people “who seldom grow up in gay families; who are exposed to their culture’s, if not their parents’, high ambient homophobia long before either they or those who care for them know that they are among those who most urgently need to define themselves against it; who have with difficulty and always belatedly to patch together from fragments a community, a usable heritage, a politics of survival or resistance” (p. 81). Growing up, usually, outside of queer communities, we must work to seek them out. Thus the particular importance of LGBTQ+ community centers, archives, and oral history projects, through which we belatedly learn (and create) a collective history.

This archival impulse is compounded by the monumental loss of gay community to the HIV/AIDS epidemic, the immeasurable loss of human lives and collective knowledge. June of 2021 marks the 40th anniversary of the first known cases of the disease that would eventually be known as HIV/AIDS. As government agencies refused to act, LGBTQ+ communities came together to educate each other, care for each other, fight for change, and remember lost loved ones in memorials and works of art. (The struggle for same-sex marriage gained urgency in this crisis as well, as gay couples with no legally recognized relationship were denied the rights to hospital visits or inheritance; Sarah Schulman traces how those legal lacunae shaped the development of New York City in The Gentrification of the Mind.)

I hope that you find in these resources a celebration of LGBTQ+ joy, fabulousness, and community, and an acknowledgment of the work that is left to be done.

Resource Highlights!

Cover ArtThe Gay Metropolis by Charles Kaiser

ISBN: 0802147208
Publication Date: 2019-06-04

Cover ArtTrans Bodies, Trans Selves by Laura Erickson-Schroth (Editor)

ISBN: 9780199325351
Publication Date: 2014-06-10

Cover ArtAnd Tango Makes Three by Justin Richardson; Peter Parnell; Henry Cole (Illustrator)

ISBN: 1481446959
Publication Date: 2015-06-02

Alexander Street Press LGBT Studies in Video

Carol (available through June 30)

Celebrating Diversity: Jewish American Heritage Month

To celebrate Jewish American Heritage Month in May 2021, the Library is showcasing a research guide for Jewish American studies, curated by our Jewish Studies librarian Prof. Izabella Taler, which features streaming videos and other e-resources!

Some History & Background

As noted on the Library of Congress’ commemoration site, Jewish American Heritage Month began with President Carter’s proclamation in April 1980 in “which he spoke about the bountiful contributions made by the Jews to the culture and history of the United States.” The month has been honored ever since as the Jewish American community has continued to change and expand.

According to the American Jewish Yearbook, by 2019 the US Jewish population was almost 7 million, with Jews of Color representing at least 6% of American Jews. The states with the largest Jewish population include New York (25%), California (17%), Florida (9%), and New Jersey (8%). More information can be found at this terrific site on Jewish American Heritage Month created by the Library of Congress, the National Archives, and other federal agencies.

Resource Highlights!

Our guide for Jewish American Heritage Month highlights various digital resources on Jewish American studies available for research and entertainment!

  • Read articles in Jewish American newspapers like the Baltimore Jewish Star and the New York Jewish Week in our Ethnic Newswatch database
  • Consult our collection of digital books on a variety of topics in Jewish Studies by searching in OneSearch
  • And finally, watch and enjoy streaming videos, such as:
The Chosen theatrical release poster

The Chosen – acclaimed film about two Jewish boys in Brooklyn

RBG theatrical release poster

RBG – revealing documentary about Ruth Bader Ginsburg

Celebrating Diversity: Asian/Pacific American Heritage Month

To celebrate Asian/Pacific American Heritage Month in May 2021, the Library is showcasing a research guide on Asian/Pacific American studies curated by our Asian Studies librarian Prof. Joan Xu, which features ebooks and other e-resources!

Some History & Background

In 1978, Asian/Pacific American Heritage Month was first declared to commemorate two important milestones in Asian/Pacific American history: the arrival in the United States of the first Japanese immigrants (May 7, 1843) and contributions of Chinese workers to the building of the transcontinental railroad, completed May 10, 1869.

Asian Americans is a term for immigrants who came from the continent of Asia, and for the modern Americans who are descended from them. Asian immigrants are diverse in their ethnicity, religion, and politics, but they share the experience of leaving their homes to come to the U. S. to make a new life, enriching it by bringing their varied cultures with them. Asian alone-or-in-combination residents in the United States are the fastest-growing race group from 2000 to 2019. The estimated number of Asian Americans in 2019 was almost 23 million (US Census Bureau and Asian Pacific American Heritage Month).

Resource Highlights!

Here are some highlights from our research guide for Asian/Pacific American Heritage Month – digital archives, streaming videos, and ebooks!

Race, Rights, and the Asian American Experience by Angelo N. Ancheta – New Brunswick, N.J.: Rutgers University Press. 2006

Angelo N. Ancheta demonstrates how United States civil rights laws have been framed by a black-white model of race that typically ignores the experiences of other groups, including Asian Americans.

A Thousand Miles of Dreams by Sasha Su-Ling Welland – Lanham, Maryland: Rowman & Littlefield Publishers, Inc., 2007

A Thousand Miles of Dreams is an evocative and intimate biography of two Chinese sisters who took very different paths in their quest to be independent women.

Waterman by David Davis – Lincoln, Nebraska: University of Nebraska Press, 2015

Waterman is the first comprehensive biography of Duke Kahanamoku (1890-1968): swimmer, surfer, Olympic gold medalist, Hawaiian icon, waterman. Long before Michael Phelps and Mark Spitz made their splashes in the pool, Kahanamoku emerged from the backwaters of Waikiki to become America’s first superstar Olympic swimmer.

Asian America book cover

Asian America: Chinese and Japanese in the United States since 1850 by Roger Daniels – Seattle: University of Washington Press, 2011.

“In this important and masterful synthesis of the Chinese and Japanese experience in America, historian Roger Daniels provides a new perspective on the significance of Asian immigration to the United States.”

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: Black History Month Resources!

Resources for African American Studies by James Tasato Mellone, Historical Cultural and Social Sciences Librarian

The QC Library is delighted to celebrate Black History Month (also known as African American History Month)! In this time of continuing struggle for racial justice we acknowledge the contributions to our global society made by African American culture and history!

When discussing diversity, we remember our African American fellow citizens, whether students or colleagues, or family or friends or neighbors, and recognize the centrality of the African American experience to the American experience. We also acknowledge the ongoing American civil rights movement led by African Americans past and present.

We present a new U. S. Civil Rights History research guide, and as part of our Africana Studies research guide we present a guide to celebrate Black History Month that provides a selection of films, books, and music,

Below are a few highlights!

BlacKKKlansman theatrical release poster

BlacKkKlansman (2018, 2h 15min) Directed by Spike Lee. “A black detective sets out to infiltrate the Colorado chapter of the Ku Klux Klan with the help of his Jewish colleague. In the midst of the 1970s civil rights movement, they risk their lives to obtain insider information on the violent organization” – Swank.

I Am Not Your Negro poster

I Am Not Your Negro; James Baldwin and Race in America (2013, 1hr 33min) Directed by Raoul Peck. “An Oscar-nominated documentary narrated by Samuel L. Jackson, I AM NOT YOUR NEGRO explores the continued peril America faces from institutionalized racism. In 1979, James Baldwin wrote a letter to his literary agent describing his next project, Remember This House. The book was to be a revolutionary, personal account of the lives and successive assassinations of three of his close friends–Medgar Evers, Malcolm X and Martin Luther King, Jr. At the time of Baldwin’s death in 1987, he left behind only thirty completed pages of his manuscript.” – Kanopy

Cover Art

Motherhood So White by Nefertiti Austin
ISBN: 9781492679011
Publication Date: 2019-09-20

“All moms have to deal with choosing baby names, potty training, finding your village, and answering your kid’s tough questions, but if you are raising a Black child, you have to deal with a lot more than that. Especially if you’re a single Black mom… and adopting. Nefertiti Austin shares her story of starting a family through adoption as a single Black woman. In this unflinching account of her parenting journey, Nefertiti examines the history of adoption in the African American community, faces off against stereotypes of single Black moms, and confronts the reality of what it looks like to raise children of color and answer their questions about racism in modern-day America…”

A Past That Won’t Rest by Jim Lucas (Photographer); Jane Hearn (Editor)
ISBN: 149681651X
Publication Date: 2018-03-22

“Collects never-before-published photographs taken by Jim Lucas (1944-1980), an exceptional documentary photographer. His black-and-white images, taken during 1964 through 1968, depict events from the civil rights movement including the search for the missing civil rights workers in Neshoba County, the Meredith March Against Fear, Senator Robert F. Kennedy’s visit to the Mississippi Delta, and more. The photographs exemplify Lucas’s technical skill and reveal the essential truth in his subjects and the circumstances surrounding them…”

Barbara Hendricks: Duke Ellington and Gershwin

Warner Classics, 2007, accessed in Naxos Music Library database

Wynton Marsalis: Jazz 6 1/2 Syncopated Movements and Jump Start

Sony Classical, 1997, accessed in Naxos Music Library database

Celebrating Diversity: Native American Heritage Resources

Resources for Native American Studies by James Tasato Mellone, Historical Cultural and Social Sciences Librarian

The QC Library is glad to celebrate Native American History Month! In this time of Thanksgiving we acknowledge the contributions to our global society made by the many Native American nations and civilizations. When discussing diversity, we remember our Native American fellow citizens, whether students or colleagues, or neighbors or friends, and recognize the continued value of their traditions of friendship and thanksgiving, spirituality and environmental consciousness.

Here are two new guides curated to encourage our learning more about Native American culture and history, inside and outside of the classroom.

The new Native American Studies research guide is a good starting place for student research.

Below are a few highlights from our Native American Heritage Month: Resources guide!

Native America: A History by Michael Leroy Oberg
ISBN: 1118937120
Publication Date: 2017-05-30

“The new edition includes expanded coverage of the period since the Second World War, including an updated discussion of the Red Power Movement, the legal status of native nations in the United States, and important developments that have transformed Indian Country over the past 75 years.  Also new to this edition are sections focusing on the Pacific Northwest.”

“The Invention of Thanksgiving” by Paul Chaat Smith, Curator of “Americans”

 

“Do American Indians Celebrate Thanksgiving?” by Dennis Zotigh, “Smithsonian Voices”

Sihasin: Homegrown Concert, Music performance sponsored by the Library of Congress

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.