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Local and Global: Italian American Culture Between Shores and Across Continents

Anthony J. Tamburri (PhD, UC Berkeley) is the Dean of the John D. Calandra Italian American Institute at Queens College (CUNY), where he is also Distinguished Professor of European Languages and Literatures. He is one of the founding parents of Italian American studies as an academic discipline. He has served as President of the Italian American Historical Association (2003-2007), and the AATI (2008-09). He is the co-founder of the journals Voices in Italian Americana and Italiana, as well as of Bordighera Press. He has been awarded the title of Cavaliere of the Italian Republic, as well as many other prestigious honors and awards, including the Lehman-LaGuardia Award for Civic Achievement. Before joining CUNY, Tamburri has taught at Purdue University and Florida Atlantic University, where he also served in various administrative capacities. He has published vastly on modern Italian literature and Italian American culture. Amongst his many books we can at least mention Of Saltimbanchi and Incendiari: Aldo Palazzeschi and Avant-Gardism in Italy (1990); To Hyphenate or not to Hyphenate: the Italian/American Writer: Or, An “Other” American? (1991); A Semiotic of Ethnicity: In (Re)cognition of the Italian/American Writer (1998); Italian/American Short Films & Videos: A Semiotic Reading (2002); Semiotics of Re-reading: Gozzano, Palazzeschi, and Calvino (2003); Re-viewing Italian Americana: Generalities and Specificities on Cinema (2011); Un biculturalismo negato: La letteratura “italiana” negli Stati Uniti (2018); Signing Italian/American Cinema: A More Focused Look (2021).

In this conversation, Professor Tamburri touches upon some of the multifaceted aspects related to the definition of Italian American culture and studies, what it means today, and where we stand in the academic world as well as in terms of societal perception.