Call for Papers - Theorizing Italian Diaspora Studies

Italian American Studies Association 2017

University of Calabria, Arcavacata, Italy

June 16-18, 2017


In the last twenty years, the term diaspora has become increasingly popular within academia. The scholarly appropriation of a term historically associated with the tragic dispersal of a people has been re-appropriated to facilitate the study of complex transnational identities; the term itself appeals because it gives emphasis to the relationship that is the connection of the migrant to his or her homeland. Donna Gabaccia’s Italy’s Many Diasporas is considered a remarkable work of scholarship, effectively charting the emergence of this “once regionally fragmented diaspora,” and thereby positioning the modern Italian diaspora within a historical context, and recognizing it as a “nationally conscious cultural group.” Still, scholars of Italian America and Italian Canadian are hesitant to claim Gabaccia’s theoretical constructs of the “diaspora” as their own. The Italian American Studies Association (IASA) plans to gather this summer in an effort to delve into the complexity of the diasporic condition. The University of Calabria (UNICAL) has generously agreed to host “Theorizing Italian Diaspora Studies,” and this two-day symposium will be an opportunity to revisit similar concerns that were considered in March of 2014 at the Rockefeller Foundation Center in Bellagio. 


The program committee seeks proposals for scholarly and/or creative presentations, as well as, interactive creative workshops. Considerations of class, gender, multi-ethnic and racial identity, are welcomed and strongly encouraged. 


We invite a wide array of proposals, but are especially interested in proposals that touch on the following issues:


  • Italian American, Italian Canadian, Italian Australian, etc.
  • Brain drain/emigration and contemporary immigration 
  • Approaches to ethnic studies; limitations of essentialism


IASA encourages proposals in diverse formats, including round tables, debates, workshops, teaching sessions, and performances. We prefer fully formed sessions, although we also encourage people to submit individual presentations, as well as we 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. We are especially interested in linking scholars across fields and we welcome participants from multiple disciplines, roles, and backgrounds.


Guidelines for Proposals:

Sessions will be 60 minutes and we will ask presenter to limit his or her remarks to 15 minutes each so there is 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.


Proposals should include:

  • Proposal title and a brief (200-250 word description)    
  • Suggested topic category (see list above)    
  • Brief biographical statement: address and e-mail     
  • Technology needs, if any.


All submissions should be made via Submittable (via the IASA website: ) by March 15, 2017.  


Keynote Presentations


This symposium will host two keynote presentations, one each day. 


Anthony Julian Tamburri, Distinguished Professor of European Languages and Literatures and Dean of the John D Calandra Italian American Institution at CUNY/Queens College

“Re-appropriating the Forget-me-nots: The [Mis-]state of Affairs of Italian/American Studies”


Margherita Ganeri, Professor of Contemporary Italian Literature, Università della Calabria

“Italian American Studies and Italy. Theorizing the Birth of a New Union”




The University of Calabria, Arcavacata is located outside of Cosenza, Calabria (20 minutes by car). By air, it is suggested to fly into Lamezia Terme or by train, Paola station. A shuttle will be available for those traveling into either Lamezia Terme or the Paola train station. 


Contact Info: 

Alan Gravano, President of the Italian American Studies Association

Contact Email: 



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