Italian Diaspora Studies Summer Seminar (June 15-July 3, 2020)

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Dear Colleagues,

I am writing to you about the Italian Diaspora Studies Summer Seminar (IDSSS) that the John D. Calandra Italian American Institute offers in partnership with Roma Tre University in Rome, Italy.

Again this year CUNY’s Office of the Executive Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs and Provost to the University has granted us four fellowships for our three-week program on the Italian Diaspora. In the past we have had a good number of CUNY professors and senior staff attend and subsequently return to offer courses on Italian American history and culture.

The history of Italians in the United States (read, historical immigrants through to the present) has had an indelible, productive impact on our country — through politics, urban affairs, cinema, literature, and other art forms that range from the very formal to more popular expressions. However, regardless of such a profound influence throughout the past 150 years, the formal study of the history and culture of Italian Americans takes place, to some degree, haphazardly in the United States.

Throughout The City University of New York, undergraduate courses on any aspect of Italian Americans are few, some having originated after the faculty attended the IDSSS. At Queens College we do have a bouquet of four courses at the graduate level that are options for MA students in Italian and Liberal Studies. This is the only place at the graduate level throughout all of CUNY where students can formally interrogate Italian American studies.

We thought that one possibility for faculty and doctoral students at the Graduate Center to access Italian American studies is through our Italian Diaspora Studies Summer Seminar in Rome. With regard to graduate students, Roma Tre University offers the equivalent of six graduate credits for free. This is part of their agreement with the CUNY/Italy Exchange, a university-wide program administered through the John D. Calandra Italian American Institute.

I am writing specifically to those of you at CUNY’s Graduate School and University Center since one way of debunking stereotypes is through formal education. As you know, Italian Americans are a “protected class” within The City University of New York, a designation that dates back to then Chancellor R. Kibbee in 1976.

I thus ask that you share this information with your colleagues and doctoral students who, desirous of studying further the history and culture of Italians in the United States, might be interested in attending this unique educational program. Fellowships are available for all those who are accepted.

I have attached a partial brochure of this year’s program, which includes the faculty and matrix of courses for the three weeks. Please do not hesitate to call on me for further questions you may have.

On behalf of my two colleagues, Professors Fred Gardaphé (Queens College) and Sabrina Vellucci (Roma Tre University), I thank you for your courtesy and attention and I remain,