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The Second Italian American Studies Association International Symposium in Italy is entitled Transposing Landscapes and Identities in the Italian Diaspora: Visual and Verbal Representations. It will be held on June 20-22, 2019 at the Roma Tre University (Via Valco di San Paolo, 19), Rome, Italy.


As the organizers stress, ‘The focus of the Symposium is Italian/Italian-American and Italian diaspora crosscurrents of the 19th, 20th, or 21st century on immigrants who were engaged in refuting as well as perpetuating stereotypes and racist beliefs that disturbed Italian diasporic relations. Notions of class, gender, and cross-ethnic contamination undergird the intentions of this symposium. Italian immigrants and their progeny often repelled certain offensive imagery that categorized them as second-class citizens if not petty criminals. On the other hand, some Italian immigrants and their descendants actually embraced certain stereotypes regardless of their overall negative effects.
Pertinent to such internal attitudes is the century-plus long interactions with other U.S. ethnic/racial groups. Let us also remember, for example, that during the late 1800s and early 1900s, Italians and blacks were two groups often excluded from employment: “No Italians or Negroes Need Apply” was often listed at the bottom of ads for jobs. Gender and sexuality, on the other hand, are, and remain, a much more complicated issue. Initially, women were relegated to the home: cleaning, cooking, and caring for children. The independent woman, instead, often found herself on the margin and, depending on the degree of her “rebellion,” ostracized. Sexual identity beyond “hetero” has also been met with resistance within an Italian-American milieu; gay, lesbian, and, especially today, transgender people are often in constant negotiations with hetero-thinking mainstream.’
Topics include, but they are not limited to:

  • Recovering Italian diasporic voices (e.g., Italian North Americans, Italian Latin Americans, Italian Australians, Italian Europeans);
  • Struggles of immigrant women broadly imagined;
  • Women pioneers, in professions, activism, innovation; women activists (abolitionism, anti-lynching, temperance, child labor, reform, animal rights);
  • Female networks and sisterhoods—of writers, journalists, travelers;
  • Women travelers and their descriptive gaze;
  • Fictional and realistic descriptions of places, people, and societies;
  • The effects and consequences of bi-racial or homosexual relationships (including how these impact social and religious structures);
  • Treatment of bi-racial children; the psychological results of being a bi-racial child in a dominant White culture (including, but not limited to, the children of Black American soldiers and Italian women);
  • The intersections and disconnections among poor, middle class, and affluent immigrants;
  • The role of the Catholic Church in Italy and abroad in the negative or positive treatment of poor immigrants;
  • Representations of Italian Americans in Italian Cinema;
  • Cinematic portrayals of women in Italian and/or Italian/American films;
  • Italian-American theater: respected art form or lowbrow popular culture?;
  • The Italian-American presence in the figurative arts;
  • Italian Diasporic Food-ways: The Transformation of Italian Cuisine in the New Land(s);
  • Repatriation: The (In)voluntary Return to Italy from Destination Countries;
  • Circular Migration. Or, The Repeated Travel between Italy and Destination Countries.


IASA encourages proposals in diverse formats, including round tables, debates, workshops, teaching sessions, and performances. They prefer fully formed sessions, although they also encourage people to submit individual presentations. As well, they encourage submission of individuals who would prefer to moderate or to comment. If this is your interest, please submit a CV and statement of areas of interest and expertise. They are especially interested in linking scholars across fields and we welcome participants from multiple disciplines, roles, and backgrounds. The conference committee will consider proposals that do not specifically address, but may complement this year’s conference theme.

The deadline for applications is March 15, 2019.

Sessions will be 75 minutes; each presenter must limit her/his remarks to 15-20 minutes each (inclusive of film clips and PowerPoint presentations) in order to allow ample time for Q&A and discussion. Proposals may be for one of three forms:

  • Individual presentation, paper, or talk;
  • Panel session or workshop, featuring multiple presenters;
  • Performance, reading, or screening of creative work;

Presentations may be in English or Italian.
Conference fee: €70; €50 (adjuncts); €30 (students).
More information about the symposium can be found on the Association website:

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