Thursday, April 3, 2014

The Italian American Studies Network is Born


The terrain of Italian/American studies is extremely fertile and yet very much uncultivated, both in the Italy and the U.S. So a group of scholars from the two countries met in Bellagio, to discuss how to transcend borders and bridge gaps. Read the interview with Dean Anthony Julian Tamburri.
From March 3 to March 7 a group of 18 people convened from the US and Italy to the Rockfeller Center in Bellagio, on Lake Como, for a closed-door meeting. 

The Bellagio Group
From felt to right: Paolo Giordano, Patrzia Ardizzone, Fred Gardaphè, Robert Viscusi, Joseph Sciorra, Cristina Lombardi, Giorgio Mariani, Djelal Kadir, Ottorino Cappelli, Marina Camboni, Margherita Ganeri, Anthony Tamburri, Donatella Izzo, Leonardo Buonomo, Diego Lazzarich, Maddalena Tirabassi, Graziella Parati, Peter Carravetta

Bellagio on Lake Como
Organized by Anthony Tamburri andFred Gardaphè, of the John D. Calandra Italian American Institute of CUNY, the 4-day workshop was entitled “Trascending Borders, Bridging Gaps” and was open to a selected number of professors and scholars in humanities and social sciences, migration and diaspora studies, American immigrant history, society and politics.

Held up in a monastery-like atmosphere they engaged in long, detailed brainstorming on the status of Italian-American Studies in the U.S. and Italian universities. The group examined the current situation of diasporic studies in general and of “Italian Americana” in particular, and discussed possible avenues for collaboration.

At the heart of the meeting was the common recognition of the importance to study Italian diasporic experiences, of which Italian-American experience-past and present-is such a substantial part, as well as the realization that such study is intimately related not only to the study of Italian historical emigration, but also of the current immigration to Italy.

The Italian delegation presented what they do and how they perceived their work in relation to the larger field of American Studies. The American delegation illustrated the accomplishments and shortcomings of Italian- American studies in the U.S. Participants then divided into small working groups and created an outline for what they see as the needs for developing Italian-American Studies programs.

They came up with many ideas about how to work with the existing academic structures in both countries and develop Italian American studies by establishing agreements and partnership through internationalization initiatives. They also examined possibilities to create Summer schools and Master’s programs in Italian-American Studies, the organization of bilateral conferences and the launching of joint research projects and publications on the topic. Finally, they established the Italian-American Studies Network, a tool to exchange and disseminate their ideas, discuss future initiatives, and coordinate common efforts.

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