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Calandra Institute Call-Conference Papers- The Land of Our Return: Diasporic Encounters with Italy

 
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Calandra Institute Call-Conference Papers- The Land of ... - 5/15/2008 10:25:25 AM   
Fabiano

 

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 Calandra Institute announces: Call for Papers "The Land of Our Return: Diasporic Encounters with Italy" Conference, April 23-25, 2009

The Land of Our Return:
Diasporic Encounters with Italy

April 23-25, 2009

Call For Papers

The John D. Calandra Italian American Institute (Queens College, CUNY) announces its  annual conference to take place in Manhattan, April 23-25, 2009, on the theme of “The Land of Our Return: Diasporic Encounters with Italy.”
For Virgil’s Aeneas, Italy was “the land of our return,” the place his ancestor Darnanus left generations earlier.  The Aeneid is thus an epic recounting of the Trojan hero’s return, or nostos, to Italian soil. This poetic conceit offers numerous possibilities to explore the political, economic, social, and cultural impact of historical and contemporary travel and communication by Italian immigrants and their descendants to Italy.
Italian immigration was one of the largest movements of free labor in world history with over twenty-six million people immigrating between 1870s to the 1970s. Italian immigrants’ objective was, for the most part, to make enough money to return home. Forty-nine percent of the immigrants traveling to the Americas returned between 1905 and 1920. According to historian Donna Gabaccia, “The paese [town] had created its diaspora, but the diaspora in turn transformed the paese.” What was the impact of returning immigrants and their descendants on the home society?
The political dimensions of return are evident in the transnational movement of anarchists, as well as Risorgimento and later anti-fascist refugees. Religious belief and practice have long been a critical aspect of immigrant return, with remittances sent as donations pinned to the processed religious statue and post-World War II workers visiting the hometown during the annual festa.
After World War II, Italian Americans traveled to Italy increasingly as tourists and by the 1970s tourist companies began catering to this “ethic roots” market. There they experienced the disparity between personal connections to an ancestral paese and the ever changing reality of the larger nation state. In recent years, a growing number of descendants of Italian immigrants are reclaiming their Italian citizenship for various reasons.
The imagined and actual “return” has historically been a source of creativity in all genres, from comedian Eduardo “Farfariello” Migliaccio’s 1917 song “Pascale e’ Turnato d’all’Italia” to author Helen Barolini’s 1979 novel Umbertina, to director Frank Ciota’s 2002 film Ciao America.

This interdisciplinary conference is open to authors, cultural studies scholars, filmmakers, literary critics, performers, social scientists, and visual artists. Suggested topics include, but are not limited to:

Return migration
Economic impact
Return of political refugees
Return as religious pilgrimage
Reclaiming Italian citizenship
Metaphoric and mediated returns, e.g., radio, film, television, web sites.
The senses of return, e.g., nostalgia, curiosity, displacement, etc.
Return as “ethnic roots” tourism
“Study Abroad” programs as return
Learning Italian
Italian reception of cultural imports by artists such as John Fante, Astor Piazzolla, Martin Scorsese, and others
Return as creative inspiration, e.g., literature, photography, cinema
Reclamation of folk culture, e.g., music, dance, storytelling
Comparative experiences from different parts of the diaspora



Deadline for submissions: September 1, 2008.

Papers should last no longer than twenty minutes. Email abstract proposals (up to 250 words, plus audio-visual requirements, and a brief curriculum vitae) by September 1, 2008 to calandra@qc.edu, to whom inquiries may also be addressed.  In like fashion, creative writers must email a copy of their work they wish to present; visual artists must email samples of their work that they wish to discuss as jpg files, along with their abstract proposal; and filmmakers must mail a DVD copy of their work for review.  Include title, name, affiliation, and postal and email addresses as part of the submission.  Contributors will be advised of their acceptance or otherwise by November 15, 2008. The official language of the conference will be English. The conference will result in a publication of refereed essays from papers delivered.

Send all correspondence to:        The Land of Our Return Conference
John D. Calandra Italian American Institute
25 West 43rd Street, 17th Floor
New York, NY 10036
Tel: 212.642.2094
Email: calandra@qc.edu

Please do not reply to this e-mail. Send your inquiries to calandra@qc.edu
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