In the Name of the Mother
Italian Americans, African Americans, and Modernity from Booker T. Washington to Bruce Springsteen
Dartmouth College Press 2017
New Books in African American StudiesNew Books in American StudiesNew Books in HistoryNew Books in Intellectual HistoryNew Books in Italian StudiesNew Books in Peoples & PlacesNew Books in Politics & SocietyNew Books Network April 26, 2017 James Stancil
In the Name of the Mother: Italian Americans, African Americans, and Modernity from Booker T. Washington to Bruce Springsteen (Dartmouth, 2017) emphasizes the racial “in-betweenness” of Italian Americans rearticulated as “invisible blackness,” a view that enlarges and complicates the color-based dimensions of American racial discourse. This strikingly original work will interest a wide spectrum of scholars in American Studies and the humanities.
The author examines the cultural relationship between African American intellectuals and Italian American writers and artists, and how it relates to American blackness in the twentieth century. He also explores the links between African American literature and the Mediterranean tradition of Italian immigrants, and then examines both against the white intellectual discourse that defines modernism in the West. This previously unexamined encounter offers a hybrid, transnational model of modernity capable of producing democratic forms of aesthetics, social consciousness, and political economy.
Sameule F. S. Pardini is the coordinator of the American Studies Program and Faculty-in-Residence of the Honors Pavilion at Elon University. He holds a Laurea degree in Letters and Philosophy from the Universita’ degli Studi di Pisa, Italy, and an M.A. and a Ph.D in Comparative Literature from the State University of New York (SUNY) at Buffalo. Dr. Pardini’s teaching and research interests focus on 20th century Italian studies, Italian American studies, American studies, cinema and literary criticism. Prior to this work, Pardini edited and translated into Italian two collections of writings of the famed critic Leslie Fiedler titled Vacanze Romane: Un critico americano a spasso nell’Italia letteraria and Arrivederci alle armi. He also edited The Devil Gets His Due: The Uncollected Essays of Leslie Fiedler. Pardini is currently pursuing a new book-length research project called Modernity on Wheels: Speed and Automobile Culture from Futurism to Fascism and the New Deal, which examines the theme of speed in automobile culture of the first half of the 20th century in Italy and the United States.
James Stancil is an independent scholar, freelance journalist, and the President and CEO of Intellect U Well, Inc. a Houston-area non-profit dedicated to increasing the joy of reading and media literacy in young people.