Photo of the crowd for Jhumpa Lahiri's visit to campus.


The 2021-22 calendar of events and activities


Even though the pandemic suspended the in-person option for events, the new online modalities proved that we can provide equally relevant enriching experiences while also privileging safety. Virtual events actually showed us how we can build audiences across borders and time zones: precisely because of the diversity of the participants, we introduced live interpretation in Italian and English, and when applicable in Spanish. For Fall 2021, the online modality will continue to stay in place given the unique opportunities it affords. This said, we are venturing into in-person with a more intimate program to be held on campus. We are dynamically assessing the Spring plan based on how the COVID situation evolves over the next few months. For now, enjoy the Fall program online and/or in person!

In line with the past seasons, the current calendar is characterized by interdisciplinary programs presented in a variety of formats from conversations to workshops and screenings, and through dynamic collaborations across departments and with outside institutions. Topics include: the common Spanish legacy in Italian and Latin American cultures; family and trauma; and Italian Americans in baseball. The geography designed by these events will take us from Argentina to Sicily and New Jersey.

Our special guests are acclaimed film, theater and opera director Emma Dante and innovative film producer Marica Stocchi. We are pleased to renew our partnership with the prestigious Accademia del Cinema Italiano Premi David di Donatello for the New Jersey premiere of Emma Dante’s film The Macaluso Sisters, adapted from a play she presented as US premiere at our own Kasser Theater. The focused work on LatinX students in collaboration with the Hispanic Initiatives Office and the Center for Pedagogy on campus will continue steadily with a workshop designed to create a network of educators interested in a trans-linguistic and trans-cultural approach to the teaching and learning of Italian. A long-term conversation with the Yogi Berra Museum and Learning Center on campus has resulted in a synergy around a thematic tour for a select number of participants at the end of the semester. Meanwhile the Italian summer course for HS students for 2022 is being sketched since it’s never too early to design programs, and new ideas around internships and scholarships are being discussed to serve an ever-changing student body and prepare it for an ever-changing society and job market.

Projects and programs count on the constant support confirmed by the generous Inserra family as well as specific sources such as the federally funded 2021 NEH FACULTY AWARD for “Memoria Presente: Common Spanish Legacy in Italian and Latin American cultures.” The approach offered by the Inserra Chair is a holistic one that strives for organically bringing together research initiatives, teaching projects, and cultural activities in the service of several communities both on and off campus in the belief that the promotion of Italian and Italian American culture happens in multi-layered ways, with several stakeholders involved, and in a sustained way over time. Its efforts continue to be particularly focused on Italian Business/Made in Italy and Translation, following a path defined since the inception of this position and that over time has been able to make an impact on the curricular offerings on campus (see translation-centered courses in the Italian major and minor as well as the Language Business Culture combined major). Research projects that involve students have been renewed: an older adult student is still involved in a multi-phase research project devoted to the impact and legacy of the Allied landing in Sicily in 1943 in connection with migration and food practices. A new vision for the course Italian for Spanish speakers is under discussion to ensure that offerings at a federally designated Hispanic Serving Institution like Montclair State University create special opportunities for LatinX students.

Thank you for supporting this vision with your participation and with the circulation of this information. We look forward to seeing you at these events!