During the week of Jan. 9th, 2023, Prof. Teresa Fiore was invited to teach a one-week graduate seminar at the the University of Palermo (UNIPA), Italy (Department of the Humanities). Titled “Italy on the Move: Cultural Encounters and Clashes along the Migratory Routes of the U.S. and Argentina,” this interdisciplinary seminar was taught in a bi-lingual modality (English and in Italian) and embraced films such as Do the Right Thing, Golden Door, and Sacco and Vanzetti, and the writings of Edmondo De Amicis, Kym Ragusa, and Edward Corsi. The engagement as Visiting Professor was part of a university program called CoRi (Comitato di Ricerca), which fosters international collaborations.
“This has been a very special opportunity,” Prof. Fiore noted. “I am grateful to Prof. Marina Cacioppo – a researcher active in Italian American Studies – for inviting me to submit a proposal as part of the 2023 competition and coordinating the implementation, to Prof. Laura Restuccia for her support during the seminar, and, of course, to the students who attended the classes with such a genuine interest in discussing works about past and present migration experiences. I was impressed by their commitment to the intensive nature of the seminar, their ability to analyze diverse films and writings, and their competence level in English.”
Prof. Marina Cacioppo remarked that “the seminar held by Prof. Fiore was an exciting dive into our past. At a time when Italy is for many the ‘New World’, discovering our history as immigrants was enlightening for our minds. Through film excerpts, letters, role-plays, historical analysis and online quizzes, Professor Fiore was able to engage us and keep our interest high. I am very pleased with this experience.” Films constituted the pivotal source of the seminar aimed at creating connections across spaces and times: from Spike Lee’s discussion of the complex relationships between Italian Americans and African Americans to address racism in Italy to Giuliano Montaldo’s inquiry into the controversial anarchist movement to examine contemporary forms of dissent and institutional responses. “Being a movie enthusiast,” student Christian Sarno, “the choice of watching a selection of movies and discussing them together was an effective way of familiarizing with this complex overlapping and intertwining of past and present migrations in and out of Italy.”
“We are very grateful to Prof. Teresa Fiore for her interesting and stimulating seminar which, with its interdisciplinary approach, brought together students of Italian Studies and American Literature,” as student Martina Guardino stated, Indeed, the seminar addressed a mixed group of students, including a Ph.D. candidate originally from Ukraine. In recognizing the relevance of the seminar’s content, Elena Moskalenko added: “My work on the Ph.D. dissertation benefited greatly from the materials provided by Prof. Fiore.”
The Humanities Department on the UNIPA campus
This seminar is the latest addition to a series of programs that have connected the University of Palermo and Montclair State University on academic endeavors. In the past few years, faculty and students have been part of class units such as the COIL (Collaborative International Learning) about Aztec chocolate in Mexico, Sicily and the U.S.; presentation of conference papers such as the one Prof. Fiore at an online MEMITÀ conference organized by UNIPA: “Border-crossing through Interdisciplinary Approaches and Media Studies”); and publications (an article by Prof. Fiore will soon be published in an issue of the journal InVerbis edited by faculty members of the University of Palermo). The general feeling about these initiatives is summed up in Martina Guardino’s words: “We hope our collaboration will continue in the future.”
Short link: https://tinyurl.com/FioreUNIPA23