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2018 Conference

Italy & East Asia: Exchanges & Parallels

October, 11, 12 & 13 2018
Thursday, 4:00-6:00 PM 
Friday and Saturday, 8:30 PM-5:30 PM 
Location: Wang Center, Stony Brook University 
Cooperation and support of The China Center and the Confucius Institute

Many relationships exist between Italy and East Asia that have captured the attention of current English and Italian language scholarship.  Through a wide ranging set of panels that will include presentations by international scholars from Asia, Canada, the United States and Western Europe, the conference will explore and assess what is at stake in the Italian-East Asian dialogue and expand existing research on issues relating to Italy and East Asia. 

Conference Agenda

2017 Conference


The timely conference “Explaining the Populist Movements and Their Impact on Western Democracies,” hosted by Stony Brook University’s   Center for Italian Studies   on April 29, featured presentations that were informative, thought-provoking, well-researched and intellectually stimulating. Speakers connected well with the audience, and the conference created a forum for a rich exchange of ideas and for the creation of new knowledge.

Center Director Mario B. Mignone and Provost Michael Bernstein provided a warm welcome and gracious opening of the proceedings. This was followed by the morning session chaired by Frank Myers, Distinguished Teaching Professor Emeritus from Stony Brook’s Department of Political Science.

The conference agenda included:

Session I Presentations

Luigi Troiani, Angelicum, Pontificia Università, S.Tommaso d’Aquino, Rome, whose paper, “Zeitgeist, National-Populisms in Current International Politics,” defined National-Populisms and their content, using parallels with previous times, investigating their roots and reasons, and now their present assets to depict the risks involved for democracies and the uneasy effect they have on international politics.

Giorgio Benvenuto   , Former Secretary of the Italian Socialist Party and Italian Labor Union Presidente Fondazione Pietro Nenni, whose paper, “Intermediate Bodies, the Antidote to Populism,”     was delivered in Italian with English translation handouts. He identified the “Intermediate Bodies” as entities that represent various interests and values, such as labor unions, business and entrepreneurial associations, and voluntary organizations that traditionally have fostered consensus and social cohesion as well as an ordered development in the dialectic among themselves and the institutions of government. But with globalization, everything changes with more direct forms of democracy, as represented in populist movements that undermine the value of intermediate organizations as “social mediators.”

finchelsteinFederico Finchelstein , The New School for Social Research, in his advisement “How to Think About Populism Globally”    argued for a global understanding of populism and an analysis of its emergence from a transnational perspective that includes the history of fascisms as well as the post-war creation of populist regimes in Latin America.

The lively exchange of the Q&A following this session carried into the lunchtime gathering at the Simons Café, where Chef Paolo Fontana and his staff prepared a gracious buffet of international flavorful dishes that represented the diversity of the participants and encouraged an anticipation of the Session II presentations chaired by Peter Carravetta, Alfonse M. D’Amato Professor of Italian and Italian American Studies in Stony Brook’s Department of European Languages, Literatures, and Cultures.

Session II Presentations

vaccaraStefano Vaccara   , Editor-in-Chief of    La Voce di New York, revealed how the journalistic insight from his position as UN European Correspondent for    Radio Radicale enabled his commentary, “America First, The Implication for the United Nations.” Through several audio-visual clips of UN Security Council meetings, he presented how US announcements of actions it will take on international problems has had the effect of showing support for the UN when such pronouncements of “America First” might indicate otherwise.

del ponteAlessandro Del Ponte
, PhD student, Stony Brook University Department of Political Science, in his presentation, “Nationalism and Support for the EU,”    examined how nationalism and such other factors as the sense of a European identity in Western nations and the development of Eurosceptic parties work to fuel populist politics and weaken support for the EU.


Angelo Martelli, London School of Economics and Political Sciences, in his talk, “Structural Employment Changes and the Disappearing Middle-Class   ,” investigated the joint effect of technology and labor market institutions on the evolution of European employment structures over the last three decades. He sought to establish through graphic illustrations how job polarization has affected the paths and intensity of political transformation across Europe.

Sebastian Rotella, ProPublica Senior Reporter, guided the presentations and discussion through Session III.    

Session III Presentations  

Helmut Norpoth , Professor, Stony Brook University Department of Political Science, in his talk, “Change Trumps Experience,” historically traced and justified his prediction that the electoral pendulum was poised to bring about a “change election” in US/2017 and how the strong populist wave of disapproval with government in Washington especially helped Donald Trump achieve victory.

Andrea Mammone , Royal Holloway, University of London, in his talk, “On the Rise of Europe’s Far Right,”     reflected on the recent popularity of right-wing politics and groups that are considered the heirs of fascism — then speculated on the readiness and will of the “European elites,” including the center left, to respond to this development within the EU.

Jonathan Anzalone , Center for News Literacy, School of   Journalism, Stony Brook University, in his presentation,   Is Fake News Another Name for Propaganda? The Role of Disinformation in the Rise of Populist Movements,” reminded us that voters in democratic countries have always been on guard against deceptive and exaggerated assertions of ambitious politicians In 2016 forward, however, the effort to find reliable information on which to base one’s vote has become more challenging than ever before, thanks to the proliferation of “fake news” online and in social media. The presentation then examined the motives of the purveyors of fake news, the consumers’ appetite for bogus information that confirms their beliefs, and the role of disinformation in furthering populist movements in democratic nations.

In Closing
Closing remarks by Salvatore Rotella, Chancellor Emeritus Member of Advisory Board, Center for Italian Studies, commented that the presenters, community members and many students who attended the conference created an extraordinary forum in which people with different cultural and intellectual formation engaged in discussion in a way that is rare at academic events.

For 30 years, the Center for Italian Studies has been building a strong cultural bridge between the University and the community. To make sure that the information and new ideas that emerged from the discussions will have a lasting effect, the video recording of the event may be accessed at the following link:


Stony Brook’s Distinguished Service Professor and Director of the Center for Italian Studies, Mario B. Mignone, Honored in the Chamber of Deputies of the Italian Parliament

May 16, 2017, Rome, Italy


Professor Mario B. Mignone, Director of the Center for Italian Studies, had the honor to celebrate the fiftieth year of publication of  Forum Italicum, a journal of Italian Studies, of which he has been Editor for the past twenty-five years, before the Chamber of Deputies of the Italian Parliament in Rome.  On this occasion a special issue of the  Forum ItalicumLucania within Us: Carlo Levi e Rocco Scotellaro, a volume of 722 pages, was presented by a panel that included, Mario Mignone along with  the Hon. Stefano Dambruoso (Commissioner of the Chamber of Deputies), Vito De Filippo (Undersecretary of State of the Ministry of University Education and Research), Antonio Felice Uricchio (President of the University of Bari), and the guest editors of the volume: Giulia Dell'Aquila and Franco Vitelli (University of Bari), and Sebastiano Martelli (University of Salerno).

general3This anniversary celebration provided both a veritable homage to the fifty year history of the journal, for its contributions to the knowledge and diffusion of Italian culture and literature throughout the world and an opportunity especially to recognize its annual special issue intended to deepen themes and authors of Italian literature studied in the context of Italian culture, history, and society. 

The volume being recognized on this occasion:  Lucania within us. Carlo Levi e Rocco Scotellaro (August 2016) presents the literary contributions of two important Italian writers who had a profound impact, through their writings and political and civic actions, on Italian society in postwar Italy. In focusing on these two writers in combination with the textual contributions of literary intellectuals, journalists, economists, sociologists, and anthropologists, attention is directed inescapably to studying Italy's “Southern Question” and uniquely the mosaic of the wide and deep complexity of the life of farmers rooted in secular traditions strongly attached to their natural habitat.  The rich interdisciplinary perspective and the sense of openness derived from the fact that the two writers are translated into many languages, enable a more universal way of viewing the farmer’s world with values rooted in mother-earth.


The involvement of well known intellectuals and writers ( Goffredo Fofi, Nicola Lagioia, Sandra Petrignani, Alessandro Leogrande, Alfonso Guida), of famous photographers, directors, playwrights (Mario Carbone, Luigi Di Gianni, Maricla Boggio) and the contribution of scholarly authoritative supporters of many Italian and foreign universities, present a volume that depicts a way of life with values rooted in mother-earth that are universal.   From such an interdisciplinary dimension that is historic, literary, linguistic-philological, socio-anthropological, artistic, musical, cinematic, La Lucania dentro di noi  becomes a metaphorical representation of the spiritual and material state present throughout the world, today. 

2016 Conference

Remembering Justice Antonin Scalia

justice antonin scalia

Saturday, September 17, 2016

Presenters included scholars, legislators and judges along with former Supreme Court associates who clerked for Justice Scalia, who, all together, from different perspectives, reflected on Justice Scalia's life and legacy.

The conference closed on a unique note (literally) with a presentation of an excerpt from the opera Scalia and Ginsburg with commentary by its composer and librettist, Derrick Wang, and Stony Brook Opera Guild Director, David Lawton. The duet/excerpt was performed by Stony Brook Doctoral students, Jeremy Little and Catherine Sandstedt.

The conference agenda included:

Welcome ~ Greetings:

Mario B. Mignone, Director, Center for Italian Studies, Stony Brook University
Cavaliere Richard Nasti, Chairman, Center for Italian Studies Advisory Committee
Sacha Kopp, Dean, College of Arts and Sciences, Stony Brook University

Introductory Remarks:
State Senator, Honorable Kenneth P. LaValle

Session I:

Moderator: Elizabeth Mignone Jakic,
Former Assistant District Attorney; Law Clerk, Kings County Supreme Court

Jeffrey Segal, Chairperson, Political Science Department, Stony Brook University
Justice Scalia by the Numbers

Judge Gail Prudenti, Hofstra University
Former Chief Administrative Judge, New York State
Justice Scalia and Judicial Diversity: More Than Just "Ethnic Pride"

Judge John Ingram
Justice, Kings County Supreme Court
Scalia: Growing Up Italian and Irish
In an Italian and Irish Neighborhood in Queens:
The Rivalries and Friendship between Irish Americans and Italian Americans

Session II

Moderator: Frank Myers
Former Dean and Professor of Political Science, Stony Brook University

Brian Fitzpatrick
Professor of Law, Vanderbilt University Former Clerk for Justice Scalia
Where Will Justice Scalia Rank Among
The Most Influential Supreme Court Justices

Ian Samuel
Climenko Fellow, Harvard University
Former Clerk for Justice Scalia
The Counter Clerks of Justice Scalia

Scott P. Martin
Partner: Gibson, Dunn and Crutcher, Washington D.C.
Former Clerk for Justice Scalia
Justice Scalia's Legacy from a Practitioner's Perspective

Session III

Moderator: Salvatore Rotella, Chancellor Emeritus
Member of Advisory Board of Center for Italian Studies

Giannicola Sinisi, Judge
Court of Appeals, Rome
Justice Scalia: The Italian Enlightenment:
The Hidden Deepness of His Thought

Stefano Dambruoso, Italian Magistrate
Current Member of the Italian Parliament
Justice Scalia's Legacy from an Italian Perspective

Vito De Simone
Interpreter, New York Supreme Court
How Justice Scalia's Appointment Impacted
on how Italian Americans were Perceived

Closing Remarks on Proceedings
Salvatore Rotella, Chancellor Emeritus


Closing Presentation
Derrick Wang, Composer and Librettist,
Of the Opera, Scalia/Ginsburg
“The Aesthetic Influence of Justices Scalia and Ginsburg”
With  Performance: Excerpt from the Opera, Scalia / Ginsburg
 by Composer and Librettist,   Derrick Wang,
 Stony Brook Opera Guild Director, David Lawton
and Singers, Jeremy Little and Catherine Sandstedt
Video recordings of the presentations can be viewed at the following link:


Director Mario B. Mignone Recognized by the Honorable Pietro Grasso in Rome

Rome 2015

As part of Stony Brook's Study Abroad/Rome experience, which Dr. Mario Mignone directs each summer, participants in that program have the experience of visiting a session of the Italian Parliament.

This year, their visit to Parliament's Senate Chamber was especially recognized by the President of the Senate, the Honorable Pietro Grasso, who in his welcome to the Stony Brook group remarked enthusiastically on its inclusion of New York State Senator, the Honorable Kenneth P. LaValle. Senator LaValle formally served as a visiting lecturer in the Summer 2015 Rome Program.

This photograph records a memorable and exciting occasion for all who were part of the Rome/2015 Program.


Director Mario B. Mignone presents book on the Italian American Experience at the Camere dei Deputati in Rome

Rome Book Presentation

May 2014— Director Mario B. Mignone had the honor of presenting the book on the Italian American Experience at the Camere dei Deputati (Italian Parliament), Rome .

Sponsored and published by the Library of Congress, Explorers, Emigrants, Citizens: A visual History of the Italian American Experience from the Collections of the Library of Congress , the book was released in Italian by AnniversaryBooks with the title Trovare l'America.

The book presentation was presided by the Honorable Stefano Dambruoso with the participation of Deputy Fucsia Nissoli FitzGerald, Prof. Marcello Saija and publisher Paolo Battaglia.

Click this link to visit our Facebook page for more photos of the event!


Book Presentation of 'Explorers Emigrants Citizens' at the Consolato Generale d'Italia in New York

explorers emigrants citizens book

On Oct. 16. 2013, the Book Presentation of 'Explorers Emigrants Citizens' took place at the Consolato Generale d'Italia in New York.

The book is a visual history of the Italian Experience from the Collections of the Library of Congress, by Linda Barrett Osborne & Paolo Battaglia

The foreword was written by acclaimed film director Martin Scorsese, with introductions by Cener for Italian Studies Director Mario B. Mignone and Antonio Canovi.

Visit OUR FACEBOOK PAGE for more pictures of this event!



Rick Nasti Knighted by the Italian Republic

Rick Nasti Knighting 2012CONGRATULAZIONI to Rick Nasti for being knighted by the Italian Republic!

From the Happenings newsletter:

"At a decoration ceremony held at the Italian Consulate in New York City on June 2, 2012, Mr. Richard Nasti received the prestigious Order of Merit of the Italian Republic, Cavaliere (Knight). In bestowing the award on behalf of Italian President Giorgio Napolitano, Consul General Natalia Quintavalle recounted some of the accomplishments of Mr. Nasti, specifically as they relate to Italy and Italian-American causes.

Mr. Nasti, who served as chair of the Stony Brook University Council for 14 years before moving to the University’s Foundation Board, has been instrumental in the success of Stony Brook’s Center for Italian Studies (CIS). The CIS, which celebrated its 25th anniversary last year, promotes and conducts scholarly research in Italian studies as well as serves as a cultural enrichment center for the community."

Click here to read the complete story in Happenings!


Center for Italian Studies Celebrates 25th Anniversary

Rick Nasti Knighting 2012

The Center celebrated its 25th Anniversary Celebration on Tuesday, March 29, 2011. Pictures from the event (and many others!) can be found on our Facebook page.

The Center has also been featured in Happenings, Stony Brook's Online Newsletter:

"The Center for Italian Studies celebrated its 25th anniversary with a festive celebration at Flowerfield in St. James on March 29. More than 230 attendees gathered to extend congratulations and support to the Center, and also honored Commendatore Peter S. Kalikow, President of H.J. Kalikow LLC, and New York State Senator Kenneth P. La Valle. Both men have addressed educational and cultural concerns, and have included Italian and Italian American Studies in their public service and philanthropic agendas.

Richard Nasti, Chair of the Center for Italian Studies Advisory Council, was the master of ceremonies for the evening, and announced that the occasion had raised $154,000 to support the programs and activities of the Center."

Click here to read the whole article!