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Migrating Objects: Material Culture and Italian Identities
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4/29/2016 to 4/30/2016
When: 4/28/2016
Where: The John D. Calandra Italian American Institute, Queens College
25 West 43rd Street, 17th floor
New York City, New York 
United States

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This interdisciplinary conference focuses on material culture in the contexts of Italy, its colonies, and its diasporic communities. Material culture, broadly defined, includes all objects and things modified by humans, from the hand-crafted (a crocheted doily) to a mass-produced, factory-made object (Olivetti typewriter), including the visual arts (The Sistine Chapel), architecture (Fascist colonial modernism in the Eritrean capital Asmara), and landscapes (a Little Italy).

Material culture is inextricably tied to social identities that are negotiated, reproduced, or contested within different regimes of value whether it be domestic spaces, popular culture, sacred realms, or the world of commodities. How objects are used to communicate, store memories, and elicit narratives in interpersonal contexts are the concern of this conference.

Material culture studies recognizes how objects are made and subsequently move from one environment to another. The migration and recontextualization of things provide opportunities for transvaluation, when new and evolving meanings are ascribed to inanimate objects at the same time that pre-existing ideologies linger in new places.

The program for the Calandra Institute's conference "Migrating Objects: Material Culture and Italian Identities," April 29th-30th can be found here: The conference is free and open to the public. It can also be streamed for free online at

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