CFP: Diversity in Italian American Studies: The Status of Race, Gender and Sexual Orientation in Uncertain Times - 2021 Hybrid IASA Conference

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Diversity in Italian American Studies:

The Status of Race, Gender and Sexual Orientation in Uncertain Times

Location: The conference will be available for participation via ZOOM
or in-person (at the John D. Calandra Italian American Institute, 25 West 43rd Street, NYC, NY 10036).


Date: November 10 – 13, 2021

Submission Deadline: Friday, August 15, 2021


Upload/submit proposals to Submittable:

For inquiries, please contact the conference committee at:

The global pandemic year further opened an unhealed wound; that is, inequality that persists in the postmodern world. We witness, experience or are participants in bias demonstrated towards others due to race, gender, sexual orientation, class, religion, political divide, and wealth distribution. This lack of equal treatment is hardly a new problem; as Langston Hughes wrote in 1926, “I, too, am America.” Philosophers, social scientists, historians, religious leaders and others too have long studied the insidious effects of prejudice in its many forms. In 1912, Corrado Gini, an Italian sociologist and demographer, developed a statistical technique to measure economic inequality. Still used today, the Gini Index (or Gini Coefficient) quantifies how the distribution of wealth varies from country to country and shows how each individual country stands internally with regard to income equality – the higher the value, the greater the inequality. More than one hundred years later, the Gini Index also tells us whether or not any progress has been made in shifting wealth from the richest to the neediest. The United States has a higher Gini Index than all other “western” countries including Italy; plus, the index has risen in the last 30 years. The wealth/class divide is seen currently in the Black Lives Matter movement and the political turmoil that followed bringing further attention to such matters.


Where then is Italian American Studies in this upheaval? How has Italian American/Italian Diaspora Studies confronted matters of race, gender, and sexual orientation? The aim of this conference is to explore the current work being done to better understand these issues as they relate to Italian American/Italian Diaspora Studies. Suggested topics and themes include, but are not limited to:

**The interplay of race and ethnicity in the Italian Diaspora

**How the multiplicities of identity intersect with ethnic identity

**Uses of Italian-American stereotypes in film as these pertain to race/gender/sexual orientation

**Representation of the other in Italian American literature and poetry

**The status of intersectional solidarity in Italian American Studies

**Race/gender/sexual orientation as seen from the ethnic margins

**The politics of race and gender in the Italian Diaspora

**Intersectional pedagogies in Italian American Studies

**Gender and foodways

**Race/Gender/Sexual Orientation in the shadow of the global COVID-19 pandemic

**#Black Lives Matter

**#Me Too

**Social media and social movements

**Trans and Transnational

**Why and how an Italian Diaspora came to be


The Italian American Studies Association (IASA formerly the American Italian Historical Association AIHA) celebrates its fifty-fourth year of academic inquiry into all things Italian and Italian American. We welcome independent thinkers, scholars, and academics, past and present, to participate in its annual conference This year’s conference theme will focus on borders, boundaries, and walls, both tangible and intangible that influence the lives of Italian Americans.


We encourage the submission of organized panels of no more than three presenters, not including the chair and/or respondent; this is also the case for creative writers and artists. All presentations are limited to 15-20 minutes per speaker based upon the number of people on the panel. If you are willing to serve as chair, please indicate that willingness in your cover letter. This is separate from your session presentation.


All presenters, respondents, and discussants must be members in good standing of the Italian American Studies Association by October 1, 2021.


IASA encourages proposals in diverse formats, including round tables, debates, workshops, teaching sessions, and performances. We prefer fully formed sessions, although we also encourage people to submit individual presentations, as well as we encourage submission of individuals who would prefer to moderate or to comment. If this is your interest, please submit a CV and statement of areas of interest and expertise. We are especially interested in linking scholars across fields and we welcome participants from multiple disciplines, roles, and backgrounds. The conference committee will consider proposals that do not specifically address but may complement this year’s conference theme. 


Guidelines for Proposals:

Sessions will be 75 minutes, and we will ask the presenter to limit remarks to 15-20 minutes each, so there is ample time for Q&A and discussion. Proposals may be for one of three forms:

  • Individual presentation, paper, or talk.
  • Panel session or workshop, featuring multiple presenters.
  • Performance, reading, or screening of creative work.


Proposals should include:

  • Proposal title and a brief (250-word description)           
  • Suggested topic category (see list above)      
  • Brief biographical statement, affiliation, and e-mail     
  • Technology needs, if any.
  • Indication of whether you will present in-person or via ZOOM.


For further information, please visit