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Scholars Day 2005, Wednesday, April 13

What is an Italian-American Today?

In contemporary America's fleeting and ever-shifting criteria for self-identification, people who identify with certain ethnic groups and are reluctant to wholly assimilate often adhere to popular, self-defeating, and very often incorrect stereotypes in an effort to maintain group identity, an attachment to the supposed "old ways" and individuate one's self from others. In turn these roles become crystallized in time and place, unfortunately but inevitably transforming one's self into popular caricature-like versions of their people's true and multi-faceted identity. An Italian American himself, Kevin Palotti's aim in investigating perceptions of self-identity among Italian-Americans is to assess the validity of Italian-American stereotypes present in popular culture--from the Sopranos and gangster movies to Olive Garden commercials--measuring them against first-hand ethnographic data collected by Italian-American informants, attempting to answer the main research question "How do Italian-Americans really see themselves at the beginning of the 21st Century?"

Presenter: Kevin Palotti (Undergraduate Student)
Topic: Anthropology
Location: 121 Smith
Time: 11:05 am (Session II)