Call for Papers for a special journal issue: Monuments, Memorials, and Italian Migrations

Laura E. Ruberto's picture
Call for Papers
February 1, 2020 to July 1, 2020
United States
Subject Fields: 
Architecture and Architectural History, Art, Art History & Visual Studies, Ethnic History / Studies, Immigration & Migration History / Studies, Italian History / Studies


Call for Papers for a Journal Special Issue 

Monuments, Memorials, and Italian Migrations


In 1911, a lighthouse designed by architect Manfredo Manfredi was inaugurated on Rome’s Janiculum Hill to commemorate the fiftieth anniversary of the Italian nation state. Italian emigrants in Argentina had conceived, funded, and gifted the marble monument with its tricolor lantern to the Italian capital, offering to pay for its maintenance. This ceremonial column is an example of a transnational and diasporic use of material culture publicly marking the cultural and political landscape of Italian migrations. 


Monuments, memorials, and markers of various types are created ostensibly to fix time, “to defeat history,” as W.J.T. Mitchell has put it. These objects work in multiple, often overlapping, ways; they might identify a site of historical significance (e.g., a battle ground), commemorate a life lived (e.g., a tombstone), or designate a sacred space (e.g., a religious statue). How sites are marked for special designation involves the cultural politics of the significance of characteristics including wealth, gender, race and power. What is deemed worthy of recognition is often negotiated and contested, and the assumed value of that recognition can change over time (e.g., Columbus statues in the United States). The often fraught public entities are in varying and (sometimes) conflicting ways claims to public space in the name of collective history, community identity, and political power. As sites of memory (pace Pierre Nora) they offer us intriguing entries to examine how the conceptualization and artistic crafting of materials come to define and instruct values and ideologies through their very physicality.


We are currently seeking contributions for an edited volume of the journal Italian American Review (IAR) on any aspect related to monuments, memorials, and Italian migrations. We seek articles that address a wide range of Italian migratory experiences including emigration, immigrations, internal migrations, and colonial subjects. We understand migrations to involve the voluntary or forced movement of peoples as well as of objects and ideas. We are interested in articles about physical objects that mark migration and/or objects that themselves have migrated and that engage with contemporary discussions of transnationalism, diaspora, and/or colonialism. We are also interested in essays that unpack the social-politics of the people involved in any one monument or marker.



  • Monuments and memorials among the Italian diaspora (e.g., politicians, athletes)
  • The process of developing and implementing monuments and memorials
  • Critical histories of monument designers, craftspeople, or laborers
  • Monuments and memorials in Italy by Italian emigrants (e.g., monumenti degli emigranti, Faro degli italiani d’Argentina)
  • Emigrant funding of Italian monuments (e.g., war memorials; sacred spaces)
  • Cemetery memorials and tombstones (e.g., Barre, Vermont)
  • Markers of forced displacements in Italy (e.g., Shoah-related “stumbling stones”; confino or internal exile)
  • Memorials to immigrants to Italy (e.g., Giardino della memoria on Lampedusa)
  • Migrated monuments as war spoils (e.g., Obelisk of Axum)
  • Fascist gifts to diasporic communities (e.g., Capitoline Wolf in Cincinnati)
  • Memorials to labor struggles and activism (e.g., Italian Fallen Workers Memorial, Toronto)
  • Imagined or incomplete monuments or memorials
  • Anti-monuments
  • Destruction, vandalism, and/or opposition to monuments and memorials


This publication is projected for the journal’s Winter 2022 issue and will involve the IAR’s standard peer review and publishing processes.


Abstracts up to 500 words and a brief curriculum vitae are due by April 15, 2020.


If accepted, authors should plan to send completed articles (approximately 6,000 words) by July 1, 2020. Articles must adhere to the journal’s house style (see


Abstracts, final papers, and other inquiries should be emailed to the special issue guest editors, Laura E. Ruberto ( and Joseph Sciorra (

Laura E. Ruberto
Professor and Chair
Department of Arts and Cultural Studies
Berkeley City College 
Laura E. Ruberto has published
on Italian and Italian American film, material culture, and cultural theories of migration, diaspora, and transnationalism. Her co-edited volumes include New Italian Migrations to the United States, Volumes 1 & 2 (2017) and Italian Neorealism and Global Cinema (2007); she is the author of Gramsci, Migration, and the Representation of Women’s Work in Italy and the United States (2007).

Joseph Sciorra
Director of Academic and Cultural Programs
John D. Calandra Italian American Institute
Queens College, City University of New York 
Joseph Sciorra is a folklorist who has published on religious practices, material culture, and cultural landscapes. He is the editor of
Italian Folk: Vernacular Culture in Italian-American Lives (2011), co-editor of New Italian Migrations to the United States, Volumes 1 & 2 (2017), and Embroidered Stories: Interpreting Women’s Domestic Needlework from the Italian Diaspora (2014) and author of Built with Faith: Italian American Imagination and Catholic Material Culture in New York City (2015).  

The Italian American Review (IAR), a bi-annual, peer-reviewed journal of the John D. Calandra Italian American Institute, publishes scholarly articles about the history and culture of Italian Americans, as well as other aspects of the Italian diaspora. The journal embraces a wide range of professional concerns and theoretical orientations in the social sciences, cultural studies, and the humanities. The journal entertains articles about such topics as migration, politics, labor, race and ethnicity, urban studies, gender studies, literary criticism, as well as various forms of cultural production (religious feasts, cinema, music, etc.), especially those addressing societal aspects.


The IAR is published and distributed by the University of Illinois Press. The journal’s full content, including back issues, is be available online through JSTOR and EBSCO’s “America: History and Life” databases. The IAR is listed in the MLA Directory of Periodicals and in the Italian National Agency for the Evaluation of the University and Research Systems (ANVUR) Directory of Scientific Publications with “class A” status for area studies 11/A5 (Cultural, Ethnic and Anthropological Studies) and 14/C2 (Sociology).

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