Welcome to the Calandra Institute!



Italian Sonorities and Acoustic Communities:
Listening to the Soundscapes of Italianità
April 27-29, 2017
Queens College, City University of New York
25 West 43rd Street, 17th floor (between 5th and 6th Avenues), Manhattan

In his 1983 book Acoustic Communication, Barry Truax defined acoustic communities as "any soundscape in which acoustic information plays a pervasive role in the lives of the inhabitants. . . . The community is linked and defined by its sounds. To an outsider they may appear exotic or go unnoticed, but to the inhabitants they convey useful information about individual and community life."

Where do we find and how can we hear the Italian acoustic communities that have existed in the historical past and that exist today? Beginning with a transnational understanding of italianità, or Italianness, that encompasses the modern nation-state of Italy, including its diaspora and former colonies, such soundscapes can be composed of the cocoliche pidgin of Argentina, Mussolini's rabble-rousing broadcasts from the balcony of Piazza Venezia, Frank Sinatra's bel canto vocal styling, and the clanging of sheep bells during the transhumance.

Sounds move, cross borders, and link bodies that might otherwise not be linked, that might otherwise be divided from each other. But sounds also stay put, engendering familiarity and intimacy, creating spaces of shared identity. This interdisciplinary conference--the tenth annual conference of the John D. Calandra Italian American Institute--focuses on Italian sonorities broadly defined in order to discover hitherto unexplored perspectives and expressions regarding such movements and identities.


  • Mediated dissemination (recordings, radio, film, TV, Internet), especially among immigrant communities
  • Center-periphery relationship between acoustic communities in Italy, the diaspora, and colonies
  • Spoken language
  • The spoken word in translation, e.g., government interpreters, translation of TV shows
  • Oral literature, recitation, and spoken word poetry
  • Oral history and its problematics
  • Sound, style, and difference, e.g., accent
  • Gendered voicings
  • The sounds of stereotypes and racism
  • Aural emotions, e.g., love, fear, humor
  • Sacred sounds, e.g., prayer, hymns, incantations, liturgical music
  • Musical italianità as expressed or contested by genres, composers, and performers, e.g., opera, Neapolitan song, hybrid encounters like tango and rap
  • Sounds of nature
  • Acoustic design of landscapes and architecture
  • Archiving sound

The official language of the conference is English. All presentations are to last no longer than twenty minutes, including audio and visual illustrations. Thursday evening is dedicated to welcoming comments and reception; sessions and panels will take place all day Friday and Saturday.

NOTA BENE: There are no available funds for travel, accommodations, or meals.


Abstracts for scholarly papers (up to 500 words, plus a note on technical requirements) and a brief, narrative biography should be emailed as attached documents by September 16, 2016, to calandra@qc.edu, where other inquires may also be addressed. We encourage the submission of organized panels (of no more than three presenters). Submission for a panel must be made by a single individual on behalf of the group and must include all the paper titles, abstract narratives, and individual biographies and emails.

Call for Applications:
Film and Digital Media Review Editor

The Italian American Review is looking for a review editor for film and digital media. The film and digital media review editor researches potential documentary (not feature) films and websites for assessment, engages potential reviewers, arranges the reviews, and does initial edits, while serving as the main point of contact between reviewers and the IAR editorial staff. This editor should be familiar with current issues concerning Italian American studies and should have published works on the topic of film.This position requires editorial, organizational, and communications abilities; it is a nonpaying volunteer role, in keeping with the practice of academic journal publishing. The IAR is looking for a three-year commitment starting January 2017.

If you are interested in taking on the duties of this editorial position, please send your CV to Managing Editor Rosangela Briscese at rosangela.briscese@qc.cuny.edu.

Auguri! The latest issue, 6.1, of the Italian American Review is out. Click here to read the Introduction, by IAR Editor Joseph Sciorra, and here for reviews from the issue.

Universita degli Studi Roma Tre hosts its international conference "Re-Mapping Italian America: Places, Cultures, Identities" May 12-13, 2016. Two of the conference's keynote speakers will be Calandra's Distinguished Prof. Fred Gardaphé and Dean Anthony J. Tamburri. For more information about the conference, click here.

The Mediterranean Centre for Intercultural Studies of Erice, Italy, will host on May 18-21, 2016, its fourth annual conference, this year titled, "The Mediterranean as Lived and Dreamed by Insiders and Outsiders." For more information about the conference, click here.


This three-week summer program at the University of Calabria (Arcavacata di Rende) takes place June 13 through July 1 and is designed to introduce participants (doctoral students and professors) to cultural studies of the Italian Diaspora from a variety of academic perspectives.

This is the second year of the Italian Diaspora Studies Summer School, a collaborative program between the University of Calabria and the John D. Calandra Italian American Institute / Queens College of The City University of New York. Professors from these two institutions and others will comprise the teaching faculty.

The program will foster development of individual projects responding to the materials covered in a series of seminars in literature, film, and the social sciences. All participants will engage in a special research project. The Italian Diaspora Studies Summer School is open to graduate students (doctorate level; advanced MA students may be considered) and professors from colleges and universities worldwide. The course work will count for 6 UniCal credit hours.

Click here to see the program guide.