Monuments, Public Memory, and Group Identity: The Cultural Politics of Italian America in the Twentieth-First Century

Oct 15, 2017 1591

Tuesday, October 24, 2017, 6pm - John D. Calandra Italian American Institute - 25 West 43rd Street, 17th Floor - New York, N.Y. 10036

Recent events in Charlottesville, Virginia, have highlighted a longstanding debate over how the past should be remembered in public spaces. Although the focus of this discussion has been on monuments associated with the Confederacy, the implications are significantly much wider. Italian Americans have a responsibility to participate in the larger national conversation in a thoughtful and measured manner regarding how they have chosen to remember and celebrate their own history in the United States.

This event is a step in that direction. The panel of scholars will explore the implications of memory, identity, and politics by focusing on three cases of public art: statues of Christopher Columbus around the country; the ancient Roman column commemorating the 1933 transatlantic flight of Fascist aviator Italo Balbo in Chicago; and the proposed memorial to the victims of the 1911 Triangle Shirtwaist Factory Fire in New York City.

The panel will consist of:
* Laura E. Ruberto (Berkeley City College) and Joseph Sciorra (John D. Calandra Italian American Institute) on Columbus statues
* Fraser Ottanelli (University of South Florida) on the Balbo Monument
* Mary Anne Trasciatti (Hofstra University) on the Triangle Fire Memorial
* Fred Gardaphé (Queens College), discussant

SOURCE: John D. Calandra Italian American Institute

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