New article: Migrating Objects: Italian American Museums and the Creation of Collective Identity

Joseph Sciorra's picture

I am writing to let folks know about a recently published article now available online at 

“Migrating Objects: Italian American Museums and the Creation of Collective Identity”

Laura E. Ruberto, Berkeley City College, Berkeley

Joseph Sciorra, Queens College, New York

Abstract: This article builds on the growing scholarship on material culture studies concerning the experiences of Italian immigrants and their descendants in the United States. We examine what happens when objects are removed from their previous sites of use and re-contextualized in the setting of eight Italian American museums, a process that involves privileging certain lived experiences and constructing authorial narratives of identity. We are particularly interested in critically highlighting the discrepancies between amateur and professional practices. Behind each object displayed are individuals whose lives intertwine with those same objects in meaningful ways; as Italian American culture continues to develop and shift, markers of its changes, noted in spaces such as museums, become all the more significant. These close associations between object, people, and greater meanings are brought to the surface in particularly striking ways within ethnic museum spaces, given that how material culture captures and recounts history underscores ideological motives.

Altreitalie 56 (January-June 2018), 131-156.