year’s conference examines the politics of the identifying term
"Italian American” from multiple perspectives and in different time
periods. The evocation of "Italian American” for political purposes and
agendas has a varied history, e.g., to combat anti-Italian American
discrimination, to rally allegiance to Mussolini’s Fascist regime, or to
support feminism. In addition to various ideological positions, the
structures for conjuring and maintaining ethnic identity have also been
myriad, including newspapers, the Catholic Church, commercial marketing,
voluntary associations, and social media sites. What are the social
conditions in which the ever-changing narratives of collective identity
are formulated and perpetuated? How are ethnic symbols and practices
mustered and re-invented at the service of "Italian American?” And
ultimately, how do competing politics reveal and engender intragroup
tensions but possibly also productive dialogue, both of which might
re-configure understandings and enactments of the very term "Italian
Suggested paper topics include, but are not limited to, the following:
* Who gets to speak for Italian Americans, both within and outside of academia, political venues, cultural venues, etc.?;
* The use of identity politics by community leaders, the press, scholars, and others;
limitations and/or role of public policy in shaping and/or supporting
Italian American identities/communities, e.g., public housing during the
1930s-1940s, suburban development during the 1950s and 1960s, the
celebration of Columbus Day;
* The self-conscious development and use of cultural and expressive forms of ethnic identity;
* The co-opting of identity politics by consumerist culture, from reality television to Olive Garden commercials;
* Resistance to elite notions of Italian-American identity;
* The role of voluntary organizations in the formation of a politicized and political Italian-American collective identity; and
Americans as a political entity in electoral politics, in Italy’s
voting abroad, in relation to political activism or electoral politics
in other countries with an Italian diaspora.
The conference is
interdisciplinary and inter-genre in its perspective and thus is open to
scholars in different disciplines, creative writers (novelists, poets,
and memoirists), and visual and media artists. The conference committee
is open to papers not addressing this year’s conference theme.
Deadline for submissions: June 15, 2013.
for scholarly papers (up to 500 words, plus a note on technical
requirements) and a brief, narrative biography should be emailed as
attached documents, by June 15, 2013, to firstname.lastname@example.org, to whom other inquiries may also be addressed.
encourage the submission of organized panels (of no more than three
presenters and a chairperson). Submission for a panel must be made by a
single individual on behalf of the group, with all the paper titles,
abstract narratives, and individual biographies. The conference
committee encourages organized panels that are interdisciplinary and
All presentations are to last no longer than twenty
minutes, including audio and visual illustrations that accompany
An individual can be a paper presenter, a panel
chair, a panel discussant, and a roundtable participant but cannot be
any one of these more than once, eg., being a presenter and a discussant
but not chairing two different panels.
Individual paper and panel proposals should any audiovisual requirements (eg., computer projector).
Prospective presenters may expect to be advised of their acceptance or otherwise by August 1, 2013.
presenters, respondents, and discussants must be members in good
standing of the Italian American Studies Association by September 15,
Laura E. Ruberto
Joseph Sciorra, chair
Download the IASA 2013 Conference paper submission guidelines as a PDF file: http://italianamericanstudies.us6.list-manage1.com/track/click?u=ecaf797f2447961076f45e295&id=7a5c08f5ca&e=cbdeebc5c5.