Call for Papers: "Italy and the Pacific Rim"

Joseph Sciorra's picture


April 27–29, 2023


Queens College, The City University of New York

25 West 43rd Street, 17th floor (between 5th and 6th Avenues), Manhattan


Italy and the Pacific Rim

Critical interpretations of modern Italy’s histories of migration and mobilities are often set within the confines of the Mediterranean basin or along a transatlantic trajectory. Such neat accounts serve to highlight the nation’s narratives of colonization and linear notions of migration to North and South America. This path, for instance, has long undergirded studies of Italian presences in cities like Buenos Aires, New York City, and Toronto.

What happens to our understanding of modern Italy in the world when we shift our focus away from Atlantic Ocean and Mediterranean locales to consider the historical and contemporary connections between Italy and the Pacific Rim as part of transnational and transcultural interactions? How does a reconfigured study on Italy, Italians, or things Italian within contexts of lands bordering the Pacific heighten or challenge our understandings of national discourses and cultural spaces? Do Italian communities in the Pacific Rim share characteristics that set them apart from other areas of global Italian migration? What possibilities does such a realignment of perspective offer in diversifying Italian studies and migration studies broadly understood especially in regards to matters of race, gender, class, ability/disability, and other matters concerning power dynamics?

This interdisciplinary conference is open to a wide range of topics concerning connections between Italy and the Pacific. As in the past, the 2023 Calandra Institute conference proposes a transnational and inclusive approach to Italy and Italian mobilities, including inhabitants of the nation-state, members of the diaspora, current immigrants in Italy and their descendants, and former colonial subjects.


  • Italian immigration to and within Pacific Rim countries and Pacific Ocean coasts (e.g., Lima, San Francisco, Sydney, Vancouver)
  • Emigration from Pacific Rim countries to Italy (e.g., international students; Filipino domestic workers)
  • Encounters between immigrants from Italy and Pacific Rim countries and their descendants (e.g., in Little Italies and Chinatowns; John Fante’s Little Brown Brothers; Abel Ferrara’s China Girl)
  • Indigenous and Italian/American encounters and relationships  
  • Relationships between Fascist Italy and Imperial Japan
  • Cold War–era politics (e.g., Communist China; the Vietnam War)
  • Religious practices (e.g., Catholic missionaries; Buddhism in Italy)
  • Trade and economic ties (e.g., Chinese investment in Italian fashion companies)
  • Fashion and design
  • Agriculture, foodways, and culinary exchanges (e.g., Italian immigrant fishers; Itameshi fusion)
  • Touristic encounters and destination topographies (e.g., Tianjin’s Italian Style Town; Los Angeles’s Venice Canals)
  • Artistic encounters and depictions (e.g., Giacomo Puccini’s Madama Butterfly; Italo Calvino’s Invisible Cities; Hayao Miyazaki’s Porco Rosso; Dacia Maraini’s La Nave per Kobe; Olivia Lamasan’s Milan)
  • Postmodern tropes and pop culture references (e.g., Marco Polo in China; anime in Italy)

This is an in-person event without virtual presentations.

The official language of the conference is English. All presentations are to last no longer than twenty minutes, including audio and visual illustrations. Thursday evening is dedicated to welcoming comments and reception; sessions and panels will take place all day Friday and Saturday.

NOTA BENE: There are no available funds for travel, accommodations, or meals. There is no conference registration fee. The conference does not make arrangements with local hotels, so participants are responsible for booking their own accommodations.

DEADLINE FOR SUBMISSIONS: SEPTEMBER 16, 2022. Abstracts for scholarly papers (up to 500 words, plus a note on technical requirements) and a brief, narrative biography should be emailed as attached documents by September 16, 2022, to, where other inquires may also be addressed. We encourage the submission of organized panels (of no more than three presenters). Submission for a panel must be made by a single individual on behalf of the group and must include all the paper titles, abstract narratives, and individual biographies and emails. Notice of acceptance or not will occur in early November 2022.


The John D. Calandra Italian American Institute, Queens College, is a university-wide research institute of The City University of New York, dedicated to the histories and cultures of Italians in the United States and the larger diaspora.

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