From Calabria to Yale: In Search of Italian-American Identity with Dr. Joseph Luzzi - Context Travel

From Calabria to Yale: In Search of Italian-American Identity with Dr. Joseph Luzzi


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"You may have the universe, if I may have Italy,“ Giuseppe Verdi once said, and anyone familiar with Italy’s glorious history in the arts, sciences, and fine art of living can understand these passionate words. Less known is how descendants of Italy have created Italian diasporas all over the world, from Australia and Argentina to Brazil and of course the United States with its thirty million Italian Americans and “Little Italies” spread throughout the country.

The child of Italian immigrants and an award-winning author, teacher, and scholar, Professor Joseph Luzzi will discuss how his “two Italies”––the earthy southern Italian world of his immigrant childhood and the refined northern Italian realm of his professional life—join and clash in unexpected ways that continue to enchant the many millions who are either connected to Italy by ancestry or bound to it by love.

From the dramatic struggles of his ancestors in the impoverished Italian region of Calabria to his own adventures amid the Renaissance splendor of Florence, Luzzi creates a compelling family saga and deeply personal portrait of Italy that leaps past facile clichés about Italy and Italian American that we have inherited from popular media like The Sopranos and Under the Tuscan Sun. Join him for what promises to be a lively and unique exploration of the mysteries of Italian culture and its extraordinary American afterlife.

Led by award-winning author and expert on Italian studies, Dr. Joseph Luzzi, this interactive seminar will explore the Italian diaspora from a first-hand perspective. Designed to inform curiosity as well as future travels, participants will come away with an increased understanding of the contrasts of cultures within Italy and in immigrant communities around the world

Joseph Luzzi received his Ph.D. from Yale University and is a Professor of Comparative Literature and Faculty Member in Italian Studies at Bard College, where he has taught since 2002 after being a visiting faculty member at the University of Pennsylvania. A frequent contributor to publications including the New York Times, TLS, and Chronicle of Higher Education, he is the author of 5 books, including My Two Italies, a New York Times Editors’ Choice selection and In a Dark Wood: What Dante Taught Me About Grief, Healing, and the Mysteries of Love, a Vanity Fair “Must-Read” selection. His work has been translated into multiple languages and his many awards include a Yale College Teaching Prize, Dante Society of America Essay Prize, and Wallace Fellowship at Villa I Tatti, Harvard’s Center for Italian Renaissance Studies. In 2017 he was named Cittadino Onorario/Honorary Citizen in Acri, Calabria, his Italian parents’ birthplace. His next book is Botticelli’s Secret: The Lost Drawings and the Rediscovery of the Renaissance, which will be published by W. W. Norton. Professor Luzzi is the founder of the Virtual Book Club, an online community of readers dedicated to exploring some of the best books ever written. Learn more at JosephLuzzi.com.

This conversation is suitable for all ages

90 minutes, including a 30 minute Q&A.

Customer Reviews

Based on 6 reviews
67%
(4)
17%
(1)
17%
(1)
0%
(0)
0%
(0)
P
P.
A little disappointing

Dr. Luzzi is very knowledgeable and has a fascinating personal and family history, which compelled me to try this conversation. However, I was disappointed that the conversation was disorganized and meandering to the point of frustration. I did not stay on the conversation until the end.

M
M.C.
Heartwarming and Sooo Interesting

Thhis was a wonderful story, one similar to my own. UnfortunatelyI didn't graduate from Yale like Professor Luzzi, but i did have a pretty successful life.
He was a wonderful speaker. He kept my interest. I can't wait to sign up for more of his seminars. I highly recommend him.

A
A.

Dr. Luzzi is very engaging and I look forward to doing other conversations with him. I participated with my sister, both 2nd generation Italian-Americans, born in the 1940’s. Dr. Luzzi pulled many threads of Italian and Italian-American history which were helpful to learn or re-learn. He also spoke movingly of his family experience. As I listened, I felt he had valuable information and perspective to share - yet in the end I felt unsatisfied. I wish Dr. Luzzi had done more to weave the threads together and to make clear his unifying perspective on all the information he presented. Thank you.

A
A.
Exceptional Speaker

Dr. Luzzi is a storyteller. His family story is very interesting and his presentation engaging filled with information we knew a little about and lots of new information we want to know more about. He relates extremely well to his audience displaying a very warm personality.

S
S.
Excellent

Dr. Luzzi is a a knowledgeable, articulate and entertaining speaker. I thought his seminar was excellent.

Customer Reviews

Based on 6 reviews
67%
(4)
17%
(1)
17%
(1)
0%
(0)
0%
(0)
P
P.
A little disappointing

Dr. Luzzi is very knowledgeable and has a fascinating personal and family history, which compelled me to try this conversation. However, I was disappointed that the conversation was disorganized and meandering to the point of frustration. I did not stay on the conversation until the end.

M
M.C.
Heartwarming and Sooo Interesting

Thhis was a wonderful story, one similar to my own. UnfortunatelyI didn't graduate from Yale like Professor Luzzi, but i did have a pretty successful life.
He was a wonderful speaker. He kept my interest. I can't wait to sign up for more of his seminars. I highly recommend him.

A
A.

Dr. Luzzi is very engaging and I look forward to doing other conversations with him. I participated with my sister, both 2nd generation Italian-Americans, born in the 1940’s. Dr. Luzzi pulled many threads of Italian and Italian-American history which were helpful to learn or re-learn. He also spoke movingly of his family experience. As I listened, I felt he had valuable information and perspective to share - yet in the end I felt unsatisfied. I wish Dr. Luzzi had done more to weave the threads together and to make clear his unifying perspective on all the information he presented. Thank you.

A
A.
Exceptional Speaker

Dr. Luzzi is a storyteller. His family story is very interesting and his presentation engaging filled with information we knew a little about and lots of new information we want to know more about. He relates extremely well to his audience displaying a very warm personality.

S
S.
Excellent

Dr. Luzzi is a a knowledgeable, articulate and entertaining speaker. I thought his seminar was excellent.