CALL FOR SUBMISSIONS: Re-thinking Italian American Literary Criticism: New Ideas for a Re-theorization

Joseph Sciorra's picture
July 15, 2021
Subject Fields: 
American History / Studies, Cultural History / Studies, Ethnic History / Studies, Immigration & Migration History / Studies, Literature



Re-thinking Italian American Literary Criticism: New Ideas for a Re-theorization

Edited by Anthony Julian Tamburri and Sabrina Vellucci

Abstracts Due: July 15, 2021


Criticism of Italian American written texts has been around for as long as there have been creative texts. For many years the essays were few and far between, and some of the early criticism is of questionable quality. We can see the beginnings of a paradigm shift in the late 1940s with publications like Olga Peragallo’s Italian American Authors and Their Contributions to American Literature (S.F. Vanni, 1949). A continuation of Peragallo’s mapping appears twenty-five years later in Rose Basile Green’s The Italian American Novel: A Document of the Interaction of Two Cultures (Fairleigh Dickinson University Press, 1974), a quarter of a century after the publication of Peragallo’s unfinished project.


The historization and theorization of Italian American literature continues with the ground-breaking work of scholars like Helen Barolini, Robert Viscusi, Mary Jo Bona, Edvige Giunta, and Fred Gardaphé, to name but a handful. And in the most recent years, other books of a methodological and theoretical nature have emerged to break through the canonical mindset that had for so long marginalized Italian American literary work. It is with this historical-critical backdrop that the Italian American Review seeks essays for a special issue dedicated to a re-thinking and re-articulation of Italian American literary theory. Some questions posed might include, but not be limited to:

  • Where have we been, where are we now?
  • How have methodological and theoretical frameworks such as feminism, deconstruction, narratology, post-coloniality, post-structuralism, semiotics, sexuality, etc. impacted Italian American literary criticism?
  • How might we re-read the so-called traditional Italian-American writers: e.g., Helen Barolini, Dorothy Bryant, Pietro di Donato, John Fante, Joseph Papaleo, etc.?
  • What paradigm shifts might we identify within the history of Italian American literary criticism or within the history of Italian American literature?
  • Does Italy as /sign/ still influence Italian American literature? If so, how?

At this juncture, the Italian American Review seeks abstracts for up to 500 words with an additional bibliography of no more than one page and a bio-note of no more than 200 words. The deadline for abstracts is July 15, 2021. The guest editors will then contact those authors whose abstracts are deemed relevant to the topic at hand.


All submissions go through a double-blind peer-review process. Authors are expected to follow the guidelines of the Italian American Review, which include both bibliographical formatting as well as a select number of stylistic requirements. Any accepted article that does not adhere to the journal’s guidelines risks not being included in the issue. Submissions should not exceed twenty-five double-spaced pages (notes and bibliography included).


Please submit abstracts to both Anthony Julian Tamburri ( and Sabrina Vellucci (


Guest Editors


Anthony Julian Tamburri is dean of the John D. Calandra Italian American Institute (Queens College, CUNY) and Distinguished Professor of European Languages & Literatures. In addition to his books on Italian Studies, those on literary ethnicity and diversity include: Un biculturalismo negato: la letteratura “italiana” negli Stati Uniti (2018); Re-reading Italian Americana: Specificities & Generalities on Literature and Criticism (2014); and A Semiotic of Ethnicity: In (Re)cognition of the Italian/American Writer (1998). His co-edited collections on the topic include: “Il miglior fabbro”: Essays in Honor of Joseph Tusiani (2021); This Hope Sustains the Scholar: Essays in Tribute to the Work of Robert Viscusi (2021); and From the Margins: Writings in Italian Americana (2000, 2nd ed.). He is also executive producer and host of the TV program Italics, produced in collaboration with CUNY TV.


Sabrina Vellucci is associate professor of Anglo-American literature at Roma Tre University. Her research interests mainly revolve around ethnic American literature, women’s writing, American theater, the relationship between literature and the visual arts. She is the author of the volume New Girls. Adolescenti nella cultura statunitense (1865–1890) (2008). She has published numerous articles on Italian American literature and cinema; and her co-edited volumes include: Circolazione di persone e di idee. Integrazione ed esclusione tra Europa e Americhe (2020), Re-Mapping Italian America: Places, Cultures, Identities (2018), and Miti americani fra Europa e Americhe (2008). She is the director of the Seminar on American Literature, History, and Culture at the Center for American Studies in Rome and co-director of the Italian Diaspora Studies Summer Seminar (John D. Calandra Italian American Institute-Roma Tre University). She is assistant editor of the international quarterly Letterature d’America and vice-president of the Italian Association for North American Studies (AISNA).

Contact Info: 

Anthony Julian Tamburri ( and Sabrina Vellucci (