Celebrating Diversity: Italian American Heritage & Culture Month

by Carlo Minchillo, Substitute Librarian for Research & Information Services

The Queens College Library celebrates Italian American Heritage & Culture Month this October, where we acknowledge the history of Italian immigrants and Italian Americans, their journeys and experiences in America, and their contributions to our society. Our leaders have continuously called upon Americans to learn more about the history of Italian Americans through education, programming, and participation in cultural events. 

In that spirit, we have compiled a list of books/ebooks, streaming films/television series, streaming music, and scholarly works in Italian-American studies that are available through our print and digital collections at the Queens College Library. The full list can be found in our updated library guide. Here are some highlights to get you started.

Historical Facts

About 5.5 million Italians immigrated to the U.S. between 1820 and 2004. The greatest influx of migration took place between 1880 and 1920 when over 4 million Italians came to America.

Dr. Anthony Fauci, born in Brooklyn, NY, has been the Director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases since 1984. He is well-known for his work in HIV-AIDS research and combating outbreaks of the West Nile virus, SARS, Ebola, and COVID-19.

An Italian-American broke the gender barrier in U.S. politics. Geraldine Ferraro, a schoolteacher turned criminal prosecutor and congresswoman from Queens, was the first woman on a major party ticket, running for vice president alongside presidential candidate Walter Mondale.

Reading Recommendations

anti-italianism

Anti-Italianism by William J. Connell (Editor); Fred Gardaphe
(Editor)

Call Number: E184 .I8 A55 2010
ISBN: 9780230108295
Publication Date: 2011-09-28

There has been an odd reluctance on the part of historians of the Italian American experience to confront the discrimination faced by Italians and Americans of Italian ancestry. This volume is a bold attempt by an esteemed group of scholars and writers to discuss the question openly by charting the historical and cultural boundaries of stereotypes, prejudice, and assimilation.

Rosa

Rosa by Marie Hall Ets; Helen Barolini (Introduction by); Rudolph Vecoli (Foreword by)

Call Number: E184 .I8 E8 1999
ISBN: 9780299162542
Publication Date: 1999-03-31

This is the life story of Rosa Cavalleri, an Italian woman who came to the United States in 1884, one of the peak years in the nineteenth-century wave of immigration. A vivid, richly detailed account, the narrative traces Rosa’s life in an Italian peasant village and later in Chicago.

Profiles of Italian Americans

Profiles of Italian Americans by Cosmo F. Ferrara (Editor)

Call Number: E184 .I8 F47 2010
ISBN: 9781599540160
Publication Date: 2010-06-15

The large majority of the twenty million Italian Americans are law-abiding, hard-working, and accomplished. Yet the image of Italian Americans is often distorted by stereotypes portrayed in popular media. This book counters those stereotypes with brief sketches of Italian Americans who have achieved success and enriched the lives of others.

Italian Immigrant Radical Culture

Italian Immigrant Radical Culture by Marcella Bencivenni

Call Number: E184 .I8 B46 2011
ISBN: 9780814791035
Publication Date: 2011-05-09

Maligned by modern media and often stereotyped, Italian Americans possess a vibrant, if largely forgotten, radical past. Bencivenni delves into the history of the sovversivi, a transnational genration of social rebels, and offers a fascinating portrait of their political struggle as well as their milieu, beliefs, and artistic creativity in the United States.

Italian American Government

Forty Years of Italian-American Government Employment in New York City and New York State by Vincenzo Milione; Itala Pelizzoli; Carmine Pizzirusso

Call Number: E184.I8 F67 2015
ISBN: 9781939323057
Publication Date: 2015-04-01

This study reviews forty years of Italian-American government employment in New York City and New York State. The study analyzes the percentage of Italian Americans in 411 New York State and 391 New York City occupations, including management and professional, service, and skilled and unskilled government employment.

Celebrating Diversity: National Disability Employment Awareness Month

by Max Thorn, Substitute Instruction Librarian

The QC Library celebrates National Disability Employment Awareness Month! Led by the United States Department of Labor’s Office of Disability Employment Policy, this annual initiative, celebrated in October since 1945, recognizes people with disabilities as part of an inclusive workforce. The 2022 theme is “Disability: Part of the Equity Equation.”

Persons of working age with a disability are unemployed at a much higher rate than persons without a disability, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. They are also more likely to be employed part-time, in the service industry, or self-employed. What do scholars make of these phenomena? What do the experiences of people with disabilities say about equity (or the lack thereof) in workplaces? Or about the very ideas of productivity and work? To find out, dive into the National Disability Employment Awareness Month page in our new Disability Studies research guide.

But work is only one small part of the picture. This month also marks the publication of our research guide for Disability Studies generally. As an interdisciplinary field emerging in the late 20th-century along the lines of Gender Studies or Latino Studies, Disability Studies uses a variety of methodologies to analyze the meanings attributed to human differences, whether bodily or mental. People with disabilities have been at the forefront of both activism and scholarship that challenge the idea of what’s “normal,” and the attendant social exclusions that hide behind that idea. Especially significant have been disabled persons’ activism and theorizing around the disconnect between human beings and the built environment (think of curb cuts, ramps, elevators) in pursuit of equity for everyone. Radical scholars in disability studies have long positioned their research in the wider context of human liberation from all forms of oppression.

Here are some highlights from the Disability Studies research guide:

No Right to Be Idle: the Invention of Disability, 1840s-1930s by Sarah F. Rose
ISBN: 9781469630083
Publication Date: 2017-04-03

“During the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, Americans with all sorts of disabilities came to be labeled as ‘unproductive citizens.’ […] By tracing the experiences of policymakers, employers, reformers, and disabled people caught up in this epochal transition, Rose masterfully integrates disability history and labor history. She shows how people with disabilities lost access to paid work and the status of ‘worker’–a shift that relegated them and their families to poverty and second-class economic and social citizenship. This has vast consequences for debates about disability, work, poverty, and welfare in the century to come.”

Disabled People, Work and Welfare: Is Employment Really the Answer? by Chris Grover (Editor); Linda Piggott (Editor)
ISBN: 9781447318361
Publication Date: 2015-07-01

“This is the first book to challenge the concept of paid work for disabled people as a means to ‘independence’ and ‘self determination’. Recent attempts in many countries to increase the employment rates of disabled people have actually led to an erosion of financial support for many workless disabled people and their increasing stigmatisation as ‘scroungers’. Led by the disability movement’s concern with the employment choices faced by disabled people, this controversial book uses sociological and philosophical approaches, as well as international examples, to critically engage with possible alternatives to paid work.”

Crip Times: Disability, Globalization, and Resistance by Robert McRuer
ISBN: 9781479874156
Publication Date: 2018-01-16

“Contends that disability is a central but misunderstood element of global austerity politics. Broadly attentive to the political and economic shifts of the last several decades, Robert McRuer asks how disability activists, artists and social movements generate change and resist the dominant forms of globalization in an age of austerity, or ‘crip times.'”

Sex, Identity, Aesthetics by Jina B. Kim (Editor); Joshua Kupetz (Editor); Crystal Yin Lie (Editor); Cynthia Wu (Editor)
ISBN: 9780472902477
Publication Date: 2021-10-12

“‘Sex, Identity, Aesthetics: The Work of Tobin Siebers and Disability Studies’ uses Siebers’ work as a launchpad for thinking about contemporary disability studies. The editors provide an overview of Siebers’ research to show how it has contributed to humanistic understandings of ability and disability along three key axes: sex, identity, and aesthetics.”

The Disability Rights Movement by Doris Fleischer; Frieda Zames
ISBN: 9781439907443
Publication Date: 2011-06-03

“The authors provide a probing analysis of such topics as deinstitutionalization, housing, health care, assisted suicide, employment, education, new technologies, disabled veterans, and disability culture. Based on interviews with over one hundred activists, The Disability Rights Movement is a complex and compelling story of an ongoing movement that seeks to create an equitable and diverse society, inclusive of people with disabilities.”

Academic Ableism by Jay T. Dolmage
ISBN: 9780472900725
Publication Date: 2017-12-05

“Academic Ableism brings together disability studies and institutional critique to recognize the ways that disability is composed in and by higher education, and rewrites the spaces, times, and economies of disability in higher education to place disability front and center. […] Examining everything from campus accommodation processes, to architecture, to popular films about college life, Dolmage argues that disability is central to higher education, and that building more inclusive schools allows better education for all.”

The Disability Studies Reader by Lennard J. Davis (Editor)

ISBN: 9781138930223

Publication Date: 2016-11-01

“The fifth edition of The Disability Studies Reader addresses the post-identity theoretical landscape by emphasizing questions of interdependency and independence, the human-animal relationship, and issues around the construction or materiality of gender, the body, and sexuality. […] The collection addresses physical disabilities, but as always investigates issues around pain, mental disability, and invisible disabilities as well.”

Celebrating Diversity: Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month 

May is Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) Heritage Month. The QC Library celebrates AAPI Heritage Month with featured resources in honor of Asian American history, culture, and contributions to social diversity. 

The AAPI Heritage Month guide features open and licensed resources, including current facts, print books, and electronic resources (eBooks, streaming media, digital archives, etc.). Below are a few of the featured resources. More information of interest may be found in the Asian Studies guide. 

AAPI Population by State 

“Per a 1997 U.S. Office of Management and Budget directive, the Asian or Pacific Islander racial category was separated into two categories: one being Asian and the other Native Hawaiian and Other Pacific Islander.” (U.S. Census Bureau, 2022). In 2020, the estimated number of Asian alone or in combination in the United States was 24 million (U.S. Census Bureau, 2022). 

Asian Population Visualization
The visualized total population of Asian Alone (left) and Native Hawaiian and Other Pacific Islander Alone (right) by State. Data Source: U.S. Census Bureau; 2016-2020 American Community Survey, 5-Year Estimates. The visualization was prepared with Social Explorer. 

Featured Books

Minor Feelings Book Cover

Minor Feelings by Cathy Park Hong
New York, New York: One World, 2020

“Part memoir and part cultural criticism, this collection is vulnerable, humorous, and provocative–and its relentless and riveting pursuit of vital questions around family and friendship, art and politics, identity and individuality will change the way you think about our world.”

Amina's Song Book Cover

Amina’s Song by Hena Khan
New York: Salaam Reads, 2021

Winner of the Asian/Pacific American Award for Children’s Literature. “In the companion novel to the beloved and award-winning Amina’s Voice, Amina once again uses her voice to bridge the places, people, and communities she loves across continents.”

Permutations of a Self Book Cover

Permutations of a Self by Thomas V. Nguyen
College Station: Texas Review Press, 2020

“Much of the poetry comes from Nguyen’s imperfect memory of himself and others as it changes over time.” “The poetry in this manuscript is about accepting that and reconciling what it means to be part of his family.”

Asians and Pacific Islanders in American Football Book Cover

Asians and Pacific Islanders in American Football by Joel S. Franks
Lanham, Maryland: Lexington, 2018.

“This book sheds light on experiences relatively underrepresented in academic and non-academic sports history. It examines how Asian and Pacific Islander peoples used American football to maintain a sense of community while encountering racial exclusion, labor exploitation, and colonialism.”

Digital Archives

  • PBS.org: “Celebrate the month with a collection of PBS video stories that explore the history, traditions, and culture of Asians and Pacific Islanders in the United States.”
  • DiversityInc.com: “A new study reports that 8 in 10 Asian Americans believe they are regularly discriminated against in the United States.”
  • Stop AAPI Hate.org: Launched in March 2020, the Stop AAPI Hate reporting center “tracks and responds to hate, violence, harassment, discrimination, shunning, and child bullying against Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders in the United States.”

Streaming Media

  • Hmong musicians in America: “This 58-minute video tells the story of two senior musicians from Laos who play instruments and sing for various American audiences, adapting their presentations for Hmong and non-Hmong listeners of all ages.”
  • Language of a Nation: How Hawaii Became Part of the U.S., Parts 1-4: “Native Hawaiian filmmaker Conrad Lihilihi presents a four-part historical Docu-series examining the 1896 Hawaiian Language Ban from public education. This series approaches the subject by culminating in a rich and diverse panel of academics in language, history, and politics.”
  • Chinese American History: Origins of an Organic Farmer: “Hiu Newcomb, a third-generation Chinese American, is the co-owner and operator of Potomac Vegetable Farms in Vienna, Virginia. In this interview, she discusses her family’s origins in the United States and her start as an organic farmer in Virginia.”
  • FORKLIFE: Children of Sticky Rice: “FORKLIFE traces the journeys of immigrant food traditions taking root in the United States, narrated by the D.C. chefs and cooks who carried them here.”

Celebrating Diversity: Irish-American Heritage Month Resources

Resources for Irish-American Heritage Month, by Nancy Foasberg, Librarian for Irish Studies  

The QC Library celebrates Irish-American Heritage Month by gathering and presenting resources related to the Irish-American experience, and to the achievements of Irish Americans.  

The Irish-American Heritage Month guide features both types of resources.  To present a picture of Irish-American history, it includes books about Irish immigration to the United States, Irish-Americans in the American Civil War, and the Irish-American experience. The guide also honors the literary and artistic achievements of Irish-Americans, including in poetry, short stories, and film.  

Here are a few highlights from the guide: 

Documentary Film: Adelante (2014). Adelante showcases an Irish Catholic church on the outskirts of Philadelphia that is attracting the patronage of Mexican immigrants in the area. The film shares the expectant joy of the newly arrived families as they establish lives in an unfamiliar, often bewildering country that offers opportunities entangled with sometimes painful compromises. At its core, Adelante is a celebration of two groups’ growth and an embrace of their evolving community. 

Book: The Columbia Guide to Irish-American History (2005). Timothy J. Meagher fuses an overview of Irish American history with an analysis of historians’ debates, an annotated bibliography, a chronology of critical events, and a glossary discussing crucial individuals, organizations, and dates. He addresses a range of key issues in Irish American history from the first Irish settlements in the seventeenth century through the famine years in the nineteenth century to the volatility of 1960s America and beyond. The result is a definitive guide to understanding the complexities and paradoxes that have defined the Irish American experience. 

Book: The Irish American Experience in New Jersey and Metropolitan New York: Cultural Identity, Hybridity, and Commemoration (2014). his book is a collection of nine essays exploring the Irish-American experience in the New Jersey and New York metropolitan area, both historically and today. The essays place the local Irish-American experience in the wider context of immigration studies, assimilation, and historical theory. 

Poetry Collection: The Sphere of Birds (2008). The Sphere of Birds, Ciaran Berry’s debut collection of poems, effortlessly moves back and forth between here and there, then and now, the personal and the historic, the modern and the mythic. Berry imagines the transatlantic journeys of John James Audubon and reveals his own heartfelt experience moving from his first house. Accessible, immediate, and visceral, The Sphere of Birds offers a musicality that is increasingly rare in contemporary poetry.

Celebrating Diversity: Greek American Heritage Month

Flag Greece
Flag Greece

March is Greek and Greek American Heritage Month.  We recognize the many contributions Greeks and Greek Americans have made and continue to make to our diverse society.   New academic conversations and collaborations have begun.   To find out more, we invite you to virtually stop by these online resources: 

  • A new publication sparking great interest among the academic Greek American community is  ErgonGreek/American Arts and Letters an open online journal edited by Professor Yiorgos Anagnostou of Ohio State University.
  •  Center for Byzantine and Modern Greek Studies at Queens College with a new director, Professor Gerasimus Katsan, European Languages & Literatures, Queens College.
  • The Hellenic American Project directed by Professor Nicholas Alexiou, Sociology Dept., Queens College, documenting through oral histories an understanding of the Greek American community.

Below are a few of our newer acquisitions.  Other publications of interest may be found in Libguides for  Modern Greek Language and  Literature and Greek American Studies

Cover Art

The Greek Orthodox Church in America by Alexander Kitroeff

Publication Date: 2020-06-15
“In this sweeping history, Alexander Kitroeff shows how the Greek Orthodox Church in America has functioned as much more than a religious institution, becoming the focal point in the lives of the country’s million-plus Greek immigrants and their descendants.”

Cover Art

Memories of Asia Minor in Contemporary Greek Culture: An Itinerary by Gedgaudaite, Kristina

Publication Date: 2022
“…examines the memories that shaped Asia Minor refugee identity, focusing on the ways in which these memories continue to reverberate in contemporary Greek culture.”

Cover Art

Greek Weird Wave: A Cinema of Biopolitics by Papanikolaou, Dēmētrēs

Publication Date: 2021
“This book establishes a cinematic and cultural history of Greece during the last difficult decade. It focuses on key films from the post-2009 ‘New’ or ‘Weird Wave’ of Greek cinema, proposing the Greek Weird Wave as a paradigmatic cinema movement of biopolitical realism.”

Films on the Greek American experience include:

ντοκιμαντέρ με ελληνικούς υπότιτλους

The Journey: The Greek American Dream

Aavailable on: Internet, in English.
“A work of compelling visual and audial power,..This is public history of high professional caliber, a product of collaboration between award-winning filmmaker Maria Iliou and historian Alexander Kitroeff.”

Ludlow Greek Americans in the Colorado Coal War

Available on: Vimeo
The story of the Ludlow Massacre and the Ten Day War in 1914 Colorado with a special focus on the Greek strikers and their leader Louis Tikas.

Cover Art

Greek American Radicals: the Untold Story

Publication Date: 2013
Available on: Vimeo
“Focusing from the Great Depression to the demise of ethnic radicalism in the 50s, the documentary Greek-American Radicals: the Untold Story brings forth an alternative vision of Greek-American history that highlights the transformations and multiple interrelations between ethnicity, class and radicalism.”

Celebrating Diversity: Women’s History Month Resources 

Resources for Women’s History Month by Nancy Foasberg, Librarian for Women and Gender Studies 

The QC Library celebrates Women’s History Month in March by gathering and presenting resources related to a specific aspect of women’s history.  Last year’s guide focused on women’s suffrage and voting rights, a theme designated by the National Women’s History Alliance.  

The Women’s History Month 2022 guide features resources related to the history of reproductive rights.  While not only women need access to reproductive health care, the history of reproductive rights is essential to women’s history.

We also acknowledge the reproductive rights of transgender people and plan to highlight resources related to transgender health care in a future guide. 

The guide covers a broad range of issues related to reproductive rights, including abortion, birth control, sex education, childbirth practices, and coercive “population control.”  

Documentary film:The Abortion Hotline(2016). In Chile, where abortion remains illegal and punishable by imprisonment, we follow a group of young activists who put their lives at risk to run an underground abortion hotline. 

Book: Reproductive Rights and the State: Getting the Birth Control, RU-48, and the Gardasil Vaccine to the U.S. Market  (2013). Reproductive Rights and the State: Getting the Birth Control, RU-486, and Morning-After Pills and the Gardasil Vaccine to the U.S. Market tackles a subject that remains controversial more than 60 years after “the pill”; was approved for use in the United States. The first book to examine the politicization of the FDA approval process for reproductive drugs, this study maps the hard-fought battles over the four major drugs currently on the U.S. market.

Book: Three Generations, No Imbeciles: Eugenics, the Supreme Court, and Buck v Bell (2010). “Three generations of imbeciles are enough.” Few lines from Supreme Court opinions are as memorable as this declaration by Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes Jr. in the landmark 1927 case Buck v. Bell. The ruling allowed states to forcibly sterilize residents in order to prevent “feebleminded and socially inadequate” people from having children. Though Buck set the stage for more than sixty thousand involuntary sterilizations in the United States and was cited at the Nuremberg trials in defense of Nazi sterilization experiments, it has never been overturned.

Book: The Search for an Abortionist: The Classic Study of How American Women Coped with Unwanted Pregnancy before Roe v. Wade (2014, reprinted from 1973). This eye-opening look at the abortion process prior to the Supreme Court’s landmark Roe v. Wade decision of 1973 is now more relevant than ever, with a new introduction by the author revisiting history that is still salient half a century later.

Primary Source Collection: Reproductive Rights: U.S. Supreme Court Cases. A list of significant cases of national prominence over the years. There are cases involving the reproductive rights of individuals, including the right to use contraception, plan a family, rear children, and gain access to reproductive healthcare. This site links to the full text of the U.S. Supreme Court decisions. 

Celebrating Diversity: Black History Month Resources!

Resources for Black History Month by James Tasato Mellone, Historical Cultural and Social Sciences Librarian

The QC Library celebrates Black History Month this February 2022 by acknowledging ongoing African-American achievements despite the continuance of racial injustice and racism against the Black American community, both locally and nationally.

Our Black History Month 2022 guide shows several intellectual and artistic creations which, if knowledge is power, may offer some hope for future racial justice. Perhaps such creations can also help us see that the African-American experience is the American experience writ small and large, and that Black Lives Matter.

As part of our Africana Studies research guide, the Black History Month 2022 guide provides a selection of streaming videos, ebooks, as well as streaming music, performances & stories in African American studies. Here are a few highlights from the guide.

The Black Panthers Vanguard of the Revolution film poster

The Black Panthers: Vanguard of the Revolution (PBS, I hr 53 min) “Revisit the turbulent 1960s, when a new revolutionary culture emerged with the Black Panther Party at the vanguard. Stanley Nelson tells the vibrant story of a pivotal movement that feels timely all over again.”

MLK/FBI film poster

MLK/FBI (2020, 1hr 46min) “In this virtuosic film, award-winning editor, and director Sam Pollard lays out a detailed account of the FBI surveillance that dogged King’s activism throughout the ’50s and ’60s, fueled by the racist and red-baiting paranoia of J. Edgar Hoover…”

Half in Shadow The Life and Legacy of Nellie Y. McKay book cover

Half in Shadow: The Life and Legacy of Nellie Y. McKay by Shanna Greene Benjamin (Publication Date: 2021) “Nellie Y. McKay (1930-2006) was a pivotal figure in contemporary American letters…best known for co-editing the canon-making Norton Anthology of African American Literature with Henry Louis Gates Jr….After her passing, new details about McKay’s life emerged, surprising everyone who knew her…”

Armstrong Now 2022

Armstrong Now 2022: Artist-in-Residence Performances (Louis Armstrong House Museum, Queens College) “Features world renowned Black artists responding creatively to the newly digitized Armstrong Archives….”

Celebrating Diversity: Native American Heritage Month Resources!

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

The QC Library celebrates Native American Heritage Month! It is fitting that this commemoration of Native American heritage occurs during Thanksgiving time. As such, we acknowledge that Native American history, culture, and society are intrinsic components of American life. Our recent climate crises have shown how essential it is for all Americans, indeed all of humanity, to adopt the physical and spiritual connections to the land that Native Americans have long held. Native American reverence for the earth is seen across the continent as first peoples advocate for clean water, land, and air.

As the leading advocacy cooperative for Native Americans, the National Congress of American Indians produces a State of Indian Nations report each year, as well as other publications like Tribal Nations and the United States: An Introduction, that can provide a window into current Native American life, including their environmental advocacy. For instance, we can learn that the more than 570 tribal nations of the United States inhabit reservations and trust land areas which encompass about 100 million acres, enough to make Native land equivalent to a fourth largest state in the U. S.

As part of our Native American Studies research guide, our Native American Heritage Month 2021: Resources guide provides a selection of QC ebooks, and links to materials in arts & culture, as well as on history, politics & governance. Here are some highlights!

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)