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Dartmouth College Office of Public Affairs • Press Release
"Cultures of Migration" Conference at Dartmouth June 22-24, 2007
While the United States has more than 200 years of experience with it, immigration is a modern issue in other countries. In Italy, for example, immigration has only been a national topic since the early 1970s. Graziella Parati, professor of French and Italian at Dartmouth, thinks that it's strange when people chafe against immigration. "Migration is a global phenomenon," she says. "It's inevitable."
A "Cultures of Migration" conference at Dartmouth, co-organized by Parati, on June 22-24 will examine Italian immigration and culture from various points of view. Her co-organizer is Anthony Julian Tamburri, the dean of the John D. Calandra Italian American Institute at Queen's College at the City University of New York.
Parati explains that immigration and emigration are a remarkable global occurrence—a testament to the adaptability of humans. But there is often a political rhetoric that takes a "protect us from invaders" attitude, and many people feel their national identities and cultures will be ruined with too many non-natives. This disconnect, according to Parati, is part of what makes it interesting. In fact, she and an international group of colleagues have come together to contribute to this new field of study, and the "Cultures of Migration" conference is the first such academic gathering in the U.S.
The conference will welcome geographers, anthropologists, literary specialists, film experts, and sociologists, and the eclectic, interdisciplinary nature of the meeting excites Parati.
"In order to truly understand the nature and scope of what immigration and emigration does to a culture, you need to look at it from as many angles as possible," she says. "It's vital to have an interdisciplinary approach, and I'm pleased that our conference will benefit from many disciplines."
Parati, who is also the chair of Dartmouth's comparative literature program, traces her interest in Italian migration to the early 1990s when migrant writers started publishing their novels in Italian. Her most recent book, Migration Italy (University of Toronto Press 2005), examines how Italian culture has been influenced and changed by immigrants over the past 35 years.
For more information about "Cultures of Migration," see www.dartmouth.edu/~lhc/events/2007/migration.html
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