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56th Annual Conference at Florida Atlantic University

Submit your proposal for the 56th Annual Conference by June 28, 2024.

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All conference updates will be posted here on the conference page.

Call for Proposals - MLA

Modern Language Association 2025

9-11 January 2025

New Orleans, LA



Call for Abstracts- 2025 MLA Annual Convention

#26425 - Italian American LLC Guaranteed Session

Call for Papers

Title: Italoamericanos: The Italian Diasporic Experience in the Americas

New Orleans has for centuries been a port of call and interstitial space beckoning people to its banks, whether through choice, coercion, or bondage.

For the Italian diaspora, New Orleans has been one of the nodal points on a map that spans the full length of the Americas, from Canada to Patagonia and across Central America, the Caribbean and the Southern US States. This history is part of a wider, global set of trajectories and  part of a long durée that takes us from the so-called age of exploration to the current day. The trajectories of Italian migration trace an intricate web of material culture and practices, artistic and intellectual influence, linguistic and, more broadly, cultural creation and recreation.  This panel aims to explore those practices and their complex circulation across a variety of locations, historical moments, and social formations.

We invite papers that investigate any of the following themes:

-The Italian diaspora in the Americas: histories, routes and narratives

-The (changing)  social positioning of Italians

-Italians as agents of change and/or tradition

-Identity and its ‘anchoring’ in material and immaterial practices

-Question of (multiple)  belonging, affect and identification

- Place, space and nostalgia,

- Resilience and adaptation

- Social interactions and forms of solidarity

- Cultural Practices and Rituals

- Representations, perceptions and stereotypes

-Cultural and transcultural creativity

- Languaging & translanguaging

- The “color line”

Please send 250-word abstract and 75-word bio to Anthony Mitzel ( ), Loredana Polezzi (, and Colleen Ryan ( by March 15, 2024.



#26426-Non-Guaranteed Italian American LLC Session

Title: Italian Creole: Accents and Intersections

This panel takes the rich history of Italian Americans in New Orleans as a starting point for exploring the politics and power of ethnic visibility in New Orleans. Italians and Italian Americans were foundational to the early infrastructure of New Orleans, from Pietro Maspero’s New Exchange Coffee Salon to the famous Hotel Monteleone to the city’s earliest groceries. Italian American cuisine and cultural traditions also permeate the city and its mythos: need we say more than “Muffaletta”? However, the inverse of this hyper-visible cultural saturation is a complex world of submerged politics and power. Maspero’s Coffee Salon, for example, made most of its money from its backroom trade in kidnapped people; the famed St. Joseph Parade often plays second or third fiddle to St. Patrick’s Day and the Mardi Gras Indians’ Super Sunday celebration. This panel seeks a wide range of approaches and examples that celebrate and interrogate Italian American contributions to the life of New Orleans from the early colonial period to the present day. We invite proposals that draw on the many cultural institutions, artifacts, and histories of Italian Americans in New Orleans, from publications and artworks to the businesses and community centers created by and for Italian Americans in New Orleans.

Please send 250-word abstract and 75-word bio to Sarah Salter ( and Colleen Ryan ( by March 15, 2024.



#26428-Non-Guaranteed Italian American LLC and AATI Nonguaranteed Session

Title:  Helen Barolini’s Dream Book: An Anthology of Writings by Italian American Women at Forty

This panel celebrates one of the seminal classics of Italian American literature on the advent of its fortieth anniversary. Helen Barolini’s 1985 anthology marked a fundamental moment for Italian American literature, giving visibility to the barriers of its women writers while demonstrating the variety of their production: memoirs, fiction, nonfiction, drama, and poetry. With contributions from over fifty authors, Barolini simultaneously spotlights the talents of these writers while underscoring the suppression of a culture that silenced them. As Barolini herself states, being “thrice an outsider” (Italian American, female, and a writer) left them without advocates and with obstacles that were too arduous to overcome: a notion that, at least partly, resonates still today. With a revised edition in 2000, Barolini continued the discussion in a cultural climate that had assimilated Italian American women yet in which Italian American female authors had still not received widespread and well-merited recognition.

We invite proposals  exploring the impact of Barolini’s work on Italian American literature and  its female writers. Contributions may also address the trajectory of Italian American female authors from the Dream Book’s publication to the present day and/or the evolution of  Italian American women writers in the American literary landscape. Discussions on individual authors/works will also be considered if related to the Dream Book project.

Please send 250-word abstract and 75-word bio to Alan Gravano (, Daniele DeFeo (, and Colleen Ryan ( by March 15, 2024.



#25997: Allied Organization Session for IASA Guaranteed

Title: (In)Visibility in the Marginalized Field of Italian American Studies

MLA Description: Examines Morrison’s assertion that “Invisible ink is what lies under, between, outside the lines, hidden until the right reader discovers it,” then can only Italian Americans be the “right reader[s]” of Italian-American texts. Works dealing with fiction, film, memoir, poetry, and theater are welcome. 250-word abstract and 75-word bio.


Longer Call for Papers

Guaranteed Session Title:(In)Visibility in the Marginalized Field of Italian American Studies

Inspired by Toni Morrison’s insight that “Invisible ink is what lies under, between, outside the lines, hidden until the right reader discovers it” (348), this session explores the hidden narratives, obscured identities, and nuanced perspectives within Italian-American texts.

The central question guiding this session is who is the “right reader” for Italian-American works. By delving into Morrison’s notion of invisible ink, we investigate whether only Italian Americans can unveil the intricate layers of meaning embedded in these texts. This inquiry sparks a compelling exploration into the intersections of identity, cultural context, and reader reception within the realm of Italian American Studies.

Submissions are invited across a spectrum of literary and artistic mediums, including fiction, film, memoir, poetry, and theater. We welcome diverse perspectives and approaches that shed light on the multifaceted aspects of (in)visibility within the Italian-American experience. Scholars are encouraged to engage critically with the theme, examining how Italian-American texts negotiate visibility, representation, and the construction of identity.

This session offers a platform for scholars to contribute to the ongoing discourse in Italian American Studies, fostering a deeper understanding of the complexities inherent in the marginalized field. By addressing the theme of (in)visibility, contributors have the opportunity to unravel hidden narratives, challenge existing assumptions, and contribute to the broader conversation on the nuanced experiences of Italian Americans. We look forward to a rich and diverse array of submissions that will illuminate the untold stories and perspectives within this vibrant and complex cultural landscape.

Please send your 250-word abstract and 75-word bio to Alan Gravano  ( by Sunday, March 17, 2024.

Remembering Salvatore LaGumina





Italian American historian Salvatore J. LaGumina died December 31, 2023,  after a brief illness. Born in Brooklyn in 1928, LaGumina completed his undergraduate degree at Duquesne University and his MA and PhD at St. John’s University in NYC. The author of nearly two dozen monographs or edited volumes and more than a hundred chapters, essays, and articles, he was a pre-eminent chronicler of the Italian American experience in the twentieth century.  Professor of History Emeritus and the Director of the Center for Italian American Studies at Nassau County Community College (SUNY), LaGumina was one of the founders of the American Italian Historical Association (now the Italian American Studies Association) in 1966. From anti-Italian discrimination to the history of Long Island Italians, to the role of Italian Americans in the Office of Strategic Services (OSS, the forerunner of the CIA), LaGumina wrote across a wide range of subjects in a style accessible to many audiences. A full remembrance will be published in the next issue of the Italian American Review.  A more detailed obituary is also posted here.

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