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Dr. Teresa Fiore Published Article on Memoria Presente, A Digital Archive about Italy-Latin American Relations

Posted in: CHSS News, Endowed Chair's Research, Inserra Chair News and Announcements, Teresa Fiore Research, World Languages and Cultures

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Dr. Teresa Fiore (Inserra Endowed Chair in Italian and Italian American Studies, WLC Dept.) published an article titled “A Familiar Foreign: Teaching Italian Language and Culture to Spanish Speakers in the U.S. through a Digital Interdisciplinary Archive” in the Italian journal InVerbis (2: July-Dec. 2022). The article focuses on the open-access archive Memoria Presente: The Common Spanish Legacy in Italian and Latin American Cultures, an ongoing project that Fiore launched after teaching “Italian for Spanish Speakers” at Montclair State University for a few semesters. Designed in response to Montclair State University’s federal designation as a Hispanic Serving Institution, this project received the initial support of an NEH fellowship in 2021. Fiore’s recent article illustrates how this archive complicates notions of border and foreignness by emphasizing colonial exchanges and movements at the time of the Spanish Empire. More specifically, Memoria Presente shows how their legacy has effectively redefined European and American cultural geographies in multiple ways.

The project illustrates this re-definition by also analyzing post-imperial migratory flows from Italy to Latin America and postcolonial ones from Latin America to Italy, which reflect further mechanisms of transnational exchange ranging from language to literature, film, religion, music and food. The main goal of Memoria Presente has so far been that of creating a digital archive of interdisciplinary materials for the use of teachers and researchers. Besides describing the content of the archive in general terms, this article addresses the applicability of these materials for public events and scholarly collaborations, and their use in courses of Italian for Spanish speakers. Ideally poised to counteract the decreased investment on languages in the U.S. education field, these courses offer valuable forms of asset-focused accelerated learning based on transcultural and translanguaging approaches, in turn strengthening cultural biodiversity, inclusivity and global citizenry.

Teresa Fiore

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