Thursday, October 11, 2012

What can Greek American Studies learn from Italian American Studies?


I first had a close look into Italian American studies in 2009, while working on an article about the ways in which diaspora has been discussed in Greek American studies (see, http://immigrations-ethnicities-racial.blogspot.com/2012/09/where-does-diaspora-belong-view-from.html). I was curious about the scope and range of this field, about the kinds of questions Italian Americanists were asking. What can Greek American studies learn through a dialogue with Italian American studies? The effort was tentative and I did not include my observations in the published paper due to space limitations. Since then my interest in Italian American studies has grown in the context of my wider research interest in European ethnicities. I will therefore make it a habit to start posting news and developments from that field. As a start, here is what I originally wrote in 2009:   

"I cannot resist the temptation here to report a number of achievements by Italian American studies. This is not for comparative purposes, as this field is attached to different demographics and histories of development, but to instigate thoughts for further research on Greek America. It is instructive, for example, to reflect on the topics covered in the 2005 conference “Speaking Memory: Oral History, Oral Culture, and Italians in America” (November 2-6, 2005). I reproduce the panels almost in their entirety because of their impressive range and scope:“Italians of Los Angeles,” “The Building of Urban Spaces and Neighborhoods,” “Creative Writers on Italian-American,” “Communication in Talk and Gesture,” “Re-Tracing Family Memories: Autobiography, Family Narrative, and Poetry,” “Italian American Writers of Southern California,” “Women: Omissions, Transmissions, Transformations,” “Festival, Ritual, Reclamation,” “Oral Expressions: Proverb, Folktale and Narrative, “Californians' Mediterranean Fascination,” “Authenticity and Storytelling,” “Narrating Musical Experience: Italian Traditional Musicians Speak,” “Community/Academic Bridges: Promise and Problems,” “Varieties of Religious Experience,” “Italian American Heritage: Preservation and Advocacy,” “Italian/American "Stories": Different Perspectives,” “Performing Style: Memory and Meaning in the Music of 20th-Century Italian Americans,” “Italians of California,” “Orality and Orature in Italian and Italian American Experiences,” “Museums and the Depiction of Italian American Identity,” “Food Preparation, Presentation, and Representation,” “Italians and Italian Americans: Perceptions and Misperceptions,” “Blending Genres: Methodological Explorations in Working with Memory,” “Italian Americana Presents Its Authors,” “Fascism: Propaganda and Responses outside Italy,” “Language and Cultural Identities,” “Italian/American Cinema: Formal Re-presentations,” “Italian American-ness in Literature: From Individual Authors to Anthologies,” “Generational and Cultural Crossing: From Oral History to Memoir,” Traditional Music and Dance in Contemporary Diasporas,” “Do the Films We Watch, Watch Us? Hollywood and Italian American Culture,” “What Is Italian American Poetry?,” “Italian American Identity between Construction and Negotiation,” “Branching out into the Community: Grass Roots and Genealogical Resources for Scholars of Italian America,” “Oral History Research: Methodologies and Applications,” “Stories from the Ancestors, Past and Present (Reading),” “The War Experience,” “Truth, Dare, Consequences, Promise or Repeat? (A Reading-Performance),” “Musical Crossings,” “Nurturing Italianità: Nourishing Italian American Identity,” “The Italian American Way of Death (Open Mike),” “Italians in Hollywood, Theatre and Radio,” “From Oral Sources to Written and Visual Resources,” “Our African Black Mother and a Just, Not Violent, World,” “Italian Translation of Work by Italian American Poets.” The impressive range and scope of the conference shockingly illuminates the unrealized potential of our field. For the full program see http://www.iohi.org/aiha/schedule.html. For yet another conference see, “‘Italians in the Americas’: An International Conference,” April 24-26, 2008 (http://www.i-italy.org/1693/italians-americas-international-conference)."


No comments:

Post a Comment

There was an error in this gadget