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Italian immigration’s influence on California to be topic of Musco Italian Studies lecture

May 3, 2011

Dr. Ruberto

The third annual Musco Italian Studies lecture is scheduled for 1 p.m. this Thursday, May 5 in Hashinger Science Center 131.  “On Oranges and Organ Grinders: California’s Encounter With Italy and the Transnational Imagination of Culture” will be presented by Laura Ruberto, Ph.D., of Berkeley City College, author of Gramsci, Migration and the Representation of Women’s Rights in Italy and the U.S. (2010) and numerous publications on cinema, immigration, labor and the culture of food.

Did you know that Hesperian College, the forerunner institution of Chapman University, was founded in the very same year, 1861, that Italy was reunified into its present modern state?  So, both modern Italy and Chapman University celebrate their 150th birthdays in 2011!  Dr. Ruberto’s lecture will focus first on 1861, when there were more Italian immigrants living in California than in any other state.  Her talk situates the history of Italy and California with this transnational relationship in mind, considering some of the ways in which California’s cultural development was formed by Italian immigrants and through concepts of italianità (“Italianness”). Through a critical reading of popular and commercial imagery, this talk considers how western regional contexts came to shape ethnic identities and in turn how those identities influenced culture.

Admission is free. For more information, contact Robert Buranello, Ph.D., the Paul and Marybelle Musco Professor of Italian Studies, at 714-744-7846.

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