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Italian-American Experience Lecture Series


Hofstra University gratefully acknowledges the financial support of the Long Island Regional Chapter of the Italian American Studies Association and the Association of Italian American Educator, Cav. Josephine Maietta, president.

All events are FREE and open to the public, unless otherwise indicated. Advance registration is requested.

Reservations will be honored on a first-come, first-serve basis. For more information, please contact the Hofstra Cultural Center at 516-463-5669.


New York Yankees Stadium

Tuesday, March 7,7 p.m.
DiDonato and Puzo Classics: La Famiglia, From Cities to Suburbs

Tuesday, April 4, 7 p.m.
Generations: From Immigrant to Second, Third, Fourth — and Beyond "Salad Bowl" to "Melting Pot"

Tuesday, May 2, 7 p.m.
How the "Low" People Moved Up: Sports as Pathways to Wealth, Celebrity (Respect?)

Speaker for all three lectures: Michael D'Innocenzo, distinguished professor emeritus, Hofstra University.

Professor D'Innocenzo was named the Eugene Asher National Distinguished Teacher by the American Historical Association in 2008. Growing up in an immigrant enclave (13 people sharing his home), he went on to attend Columbia University and was named a Danforth Scholar and an Edward John Noble Leadership Fellow. He came to Hofstra in 1960 and developed the University's first course on immigration history, which led to the book American Immigration and Ethnicity: "Melting Pot" or "Salad Bowl"? (which he co-edited). Location for all lectures: Guthart Cultural Center Theater, Axinn Library

Presented by the Hofstra Cultural Center and supported, in part, by the Association of Italian American Educators.


For more information please contact the Hofstra Cultural Center at (516) 463-5669, M-F, 9 a.m.-5 p.m.


Stanislao Pugliese
Professor of History
Hofstra Cultural Center Fellow
Queensboro UNICO Distinguished Professor of Italian and Italian American Studies


Long Island Regional Chapter of the Italian American Studies Association

Register for Hofstra Cultural Center Events by Credit Card Online »
  • Fall 2016


    Tuesday, October 25, 7 p.m.
    Author and Activist: The Daniela Gioseffi Story

    A docu-drama portraying a life-affirming struggle to make art of civil rights, democratic equality and climate justice by prize-winning filmmaker,Anton EvangelistaDaniela Gioseffi, a pioneer of Italian American culture, recipient of an American Book Award and author of 16 books of prose and poetry. Her career as a journalist in Selma, AL, during the Civil Rights Movement. She was among the first to integrate Deep South TV and was abused by the KKK for her activism. Ms. Gioseffi’s immigrant father, an inventor in the electronics industry, inspired her tenacity. As a poor, hardworking young man, he was among the first Italian immigrants to win a Phi Beta Kappa and Sigma Psi from Union College. Speakers: Daniela Gioseffi, Writer and Anton Evangelista, Filmmaker, authorandactivist.com

    Tuesday, November 1, 7 p.m.
    Blaxploitalian 100 Years of Blackness in the Italian Cinema

    BlaxploItalianis a documentary that uncovers the careers of a population of entertainers seldom heard from before: Black actors in Italian cinema.BlaxploItalian cleverly discloses the personal struggles classic Afro-Italian and African diasporic actors faced, correlating it with the contemporary actors who work diligently to find respectable and significant roles. More than an unveiling of history, it is a call-to-action for increased diversity and esteem in international cinema.

    Speaker: Fred Kuwornu, Writer and Director

    Tuesday, December 6, 7 p.m.
    Journey to the Heart’s Waters  

    “Louisa Calio’s Journey to the Heart Waters is a searing personal work of eternal return and transformation. Calio sets out on a quest that unites southern Italy and east Africa through the image and bodies of the black madonnas who encourage her to seek, to question, to love, to grieve, to revel and to dance. These poems are a profoundly poignant and well-earned liberation from all that is oppressive in the modern world.”—Stanislao Pugliese

    Speakers:  Louisa Calio, Author; Gaetano Cipolla, Publisher; Nino Provenzano, Poet

  • Spring 2016



    The Peasant and the Priest

    Tuesday, February 23, 7 p.m.
    The Peasant and the Priest

    The story of two elderly men whose ways of life have survived from medieval Italy. Sergio, a sharecropper, uses ancient farming methods that have become overshadowed by corporate agriculture, and Father Oreste Benzi, a Roman Catholic priest, fights the tide of sexual slavery. Both represent ways of life that are rapidly fading as the modern world closes in. The point of departure for exploring their parallel lives is the 14th-century fresco, The Allegory of Good and Bad Government, by Ambrogio Lorenzetti.

    Speaker: Esther Podemski, Producer and Director

    Tuesday, March 1, 7 p.m.
    My Italian Secret: The Forgotten Heroes

    Directed by Oren Jacoby and narrated by Isabella Rossellini

    With Robert Loggia as the voice of Gino Bartali

    The story of how World War II bicycling idol Gino Bartali, physician Giovanni Borromeo and other Italians worked with Jewish leaders and high-ranking officials of the Catholic Church, risking their lives by defying the Nazis to save thousands of Italy’s Jews.

    Speaker: Stanislao G. Pugliese, Professor of History, Queensboro UNICO Distinguished Professor of Italian and Italian American Studies, Hofstra University

    Tuesday, March 15, 7 p.m.
    Men of the Cloth: Three Master Tailors A Vanishing Craft

    Directed by Vicki Vasilopoulos

    This film offers an inspiring portrait of three Italian master tailors who confront the decline of the apprentice system as they navigate their challenging roles in the twilight of their careers. The film unravels the mystery of their artistry and reveals how their passionate devotion to their Old World craft is akin to a religion.

    Speaker: Vicki Vasilopoulos, Director

    Location for all lectures: Guthart Cultural Center Theater, Axinn Library

    The Italian American Experience Lecture Series is presented by the Hofstra Cultural Center and supported, in part, by the Association of Italian American Educators.

  • Fall 2015
    Italian American Experience Lecture Series

    Hofstra University gratefully acknowledges the financial support of the Long Island Regional Chapter of the Italian American Studies Association and the Association of Italian American Educator, Cav. Josephine Maietta, president.

    All events are FREE and open to the public, unless otherwise indicated. Advance registration is required.

    Reservations will be honored on a first-come, first-serve basis. For more information, please contact the Hofstra Cultural Center at 516-463-5669.

    FALL 2015

    A century after his birth, Frank Sinatra still looms large in the American imagination and in our popular culture. Join us as we celebrate his 100th birthday and his extraordinary life and career with a series of lectures, interviews, and a master class followed by musical interludes by Hofstra students, professional singers and musicians from The Great American Song Book. Featuring legendary musicians who played and toured with Frank Sinatra: Jerry Bruno, bass, D’Addario Foundation Visiting Artists; and Grammy Award-nominated jazz vocalist Jane Monheit; authors and biographers James Kaplan, David Evanier and Will Friedwald; scholars John Gennari, University of Vermont, and Shalom Goldman, Middlebury College; journalists Sandy Kenyon, WABC-TV, Carol D’Auria, 1010 WINS, and Mark Rotella, Publishers Weekly; multimedia journalist and founding member Greg Dunmore, National Association of Black Journalists; and Sal Scognamillo, Patsy’s Italian Restaurant.

    Advance registration is required where indicated:

    Tuesday, November 10, 7 p.m.
    Gay Talese (Frank Sinatra Has a Cold and Other Essays) and Pete Hamill (Why Sinatra Matters) discuss “Sinatra As American Icon.”

    Wednesday, November 11
    Bassist Jerry Bruno, who played and toured with Sinatra, will be interviewed at 5 p.m. by John Bohannon, host of WRHU-FM’s The Jazz Café. The interview is followed by an 8 p.m. master class.

    Thursday, November 12, 4 p.m.
    “Racism, Civil Rights and Israel” focuses on Sinatra as a champion of civil rights and a staunch supporter of Israel. There will also be a screening of 1945’s The House I Live In, a short film opposing anti-Semitism, starring Sinatra.

    Thursday, November 12, 7 p.m.
    The Great American Songbook: Past, Present and Future is a panel that features musician, record producer and songwriter David Finck; musical director, pianist and arranger Tedd Firth; Grammy-nominated jazz vocalist Jane Monheit; and Debbi Whiting, president of My Ideal Music.

    Wednesday, November 18, 4 p.m.
    “Lessons Learned From Sinatra” is a lecture and master class with radio personality Mark Simone.

    Wednesday, November 18, 8 p.m.
    Will Friedwald, music critic and author of Sinatra! The Song Is You: A Singer’s Art, presents “Sinatra: The Television Factor,” with an introduction by Robert Foster, executive director of the Hoboken Historical Museum.

    Thursday, November 19, 4 p.m.
    “Frank Sinatra and Italian American Culture” features University of Vermont Professor John Gennari; Joe Scognamillo and Sal Scognamillo of Patsy’s Restaurant in New York City; author Mark Rotella; and scholar Rocco Marinaccio.

    Thursday, November 19, 7:30 p.m.
    “Assessing Frank Sinatra” features celebrity journalist Sandy Kenyon, music critic and author Will Friedwald, Sinatra biographer James Kaplan, radio host Ron Forman, and Bronx Opera Company Artistic Director Michael Spierman.

    Sunday, November 22, 7 p.m.
    The Peter B. Clark Memorial Scholarship Fund Concert Sinatra
    Past, Present and Future

    Legendary Guitarist Bucky Pizzarelli
    (due to health reasons)
    with Guest artist, the Legendary Jazz guitarist extraordinaire, Rick Stone
    featuring the
    Hofstra Jazz Ensemble
    Hofstra Vocal Jazz Quartet
    and the
    Sinatra Future Singers

    (A free master class and open rehearsal with Rick Stone will be given at
    4 p.m. prior to the evening performance. Interaction is limited to Hofstra students only)

    This performance takes place at The Helene Fortunoff Theater.
    Tickets are $10, $8 for senior citizens (over 65) or non-Hofstra students with ID.
    This event is sold out.

  • 2014/2015 Academic Year
    • Spring 2015
      SPRING 2015

      Divertimenti: From a Female Renaissance Painter to Soccer in War-Torn Palermo to the Recipes of Italian American South Brooklyn

      Tuesday, March 10, 7 p.m.
      Sofonisba Anguissola: Neglected Renaissance Female Painter
      Louis Barrella, NYC Department of Education; Louis Leonini, St. John’s University; Snjezana Smodlaka, Rutgers University

      Recognized by Michelangelo, Sofonisba Anguissola became a court painter for King Philip II of Spain and lady-in-waiting to the king’s third wife, Elisabeth of Valois. This presentation explores Sofonisba Anguissola’s expertise as an artist, as well as her intelligence, determination and independent spirit. Historical perspectives and a connection to Verdi’s Don Carlo round out this diverse presentation of art, music, history, culture and real-life escapades.

      Tuesday, April 21, 7 p.m.
      The Macaroni’s in the Basement: Stories and Recipes, South Brooklyn 1947
      Fran Claro, Independent Author

      You can almost smell the aroma of roasting garlic and hear the laughter of the nonnas punctuating their daily conversations about the truly important things in life – family, faith, and the best way to prepare roast pork! Fran Claro serves up a savory slice of Americana, complete with mouth-watering recipes straight from the nonnas of Brooklyn. The Macaroni’s in the Basement is a treat for the soul and for the taste buds. 

      Tuesday, April 28, 7 p.m.
      Life Is a Great Game
      Salvatore Cottone
      , Independent Author

      A work of historical fiction based on an actual soccer match that occurred near Palermo on July 10, 1943, the same day the Allied forces nvaded Sicily during World War II – based on a story retold by the only player still alive among both teams. Many factual details are included on subjects ranging from ancient mythology, art history and literature, to the sociological bases and consequences of emigration across many decades of the Sicilian experience. 

      Location for all lectures: Guthart Cultural Center Theater, Axinn Library

    • Fall 2014
      FALL 2014

      New Books on Italian Americana

      Luigi Bianco, Chief Carver of Mount Rushmore (1933-1940)

      Speaker: Douglas Gladstone
      The author speaks about his book, Carving a Niche for Himself:
      The Untold Story of Luigi Del Bianco
      (Bordighera Books, 2014) and
      the Italian immigrant's largely forgotten role in creating the monument.
      Tuesday, September 16, 7 p.m.

      Orange Peels and Cobblestones

      Speaker: Rose Marie Calicchio Dunphy, Independent Author
      In her debut novel, Orange Peels and Cobblestones (2013) the author
      follows Marietta, "who from her early childhood days in Italy to her life as a
      young wife and mother in Brooklyn… is haunted by hard questions from her past."
      Tuesday, October 7, 7 p.m.

      The Kennedy Assassination and Organized Crime

      Speaker: Stefano Vaccara, Lehman College/CUNY, Editor-in-Chief, "La Voce di New York"
      Over 50 years after the assassination of JFK questions linger as to the identity
      of his assassin. The author delves into the alleged role of the reputed New Orleans
      organized crime boss in his book, Carlos Marcello:
      The Man Behind the JFK Assassination (Enigma Books, 2013)
      Tuesday, October 14, 7 p.m.

      Tweeting Da Vinci

      Speaker: Ann Pizzorusso is a geologist-naturalist whose first book uses the Renaissance genius to explore Italy’s underground secrets that have confounded people since the dawn of time: from the gateway to the underworld to the stairway to heaven and the gems described by Dante in the Divine Comedy.
      Wednesday, November 19, 11:30 a.m.

      Clash of Civilizations in Italy

      Speaker: Amara Lakhous, author, Clash of Civilizations Over an Elevator in Piazza Vittorio, examines the theme of identity through the descriptions of idiosyncrasies in multicultural Italy by way of a story of a murder in Rome.
      Tuesday, December 2, 9:30 a.m.

  • Spring 2014
    SPRING 2014
    The Italian American Past: The Personal and the Political

    Waiting for Yesterday

    A revealing picture of Parenti's early years as a youth in New York's East Harlem, along with some of the influences that helped shape his lifelong commitment to activism and social justice.

    Speaker: Michael Parenti, political scientist, historian, and cultural critic
    Author, Waiting for Yesterday: Pages from a Street Kid's Life, 2013

    Date: Tuesday, February 11


    Film Viewings led by Italian Ghanaian Filmmaker Fred Kuwornu

    Fred Kuwornu, film director and activist, will present two of his acclaimed documentaries and conduct a question and answer period after each screening.

    Date: Wednesday, February 12

    Finding the Motherlode: Italian Immigrants in California

    Through stories set in seven Italian communities throughout California, this film examines how economic and social mobility became possible for many Italians in the Golden State. It is also a look at how immigrant identity is maintained and transformed as immigrants become assimilated into mainstream America.

    Speakers: Gianfrano Norelli and Suma Kurien, directors

    Date: Tuesday, March 11

    Umberto E

    Award-winning filmmaker Anton Evangelista's heart-warming documentary about the epic story of Umberto Evangelista, a dynamic and charming ninety-year-old Italian immigrant.

    Speaker: Anton Evangelista, filmmaker and director

    Date: Tuesday, April 1

    Time and location for all lectures:
    7 p.m.
    Leo A. Guthart Cultural Center Theater
    Joan and Donald E. Axinn Library, First Floor, South Campus

    Admission: Free

    Hofstra University gratefully acknowledges the financial support of the Long Island Regional Chapter of the Italian American Studies Association (www.italianamerican studies.net) and the Association of Italian American Educators, Cav. Josephine Maietta, President.