EXPLAINING THE EMERGENCE OF POPULIST MOVEMENTS AND THEIR IMPACT ON WESTERN DEMOCRACIES
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.”
Federico 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
Stefano 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.
Alessandro 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.
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:
Remembering 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
State Senator, Honorable Kenneth P. LaValle
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
Moderator: Frank Myers
Former Dean and Professor of Political Science, Stony Brook University
Professor of Law, Vanderbilt University Former Clerk for Justice Scalia
Where Will Justice Scalia Rank Among
The Most Influential Supreme Court Justices
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
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
Director Mario B. Mignone Recognized by the Honorable Pietro Grasso in Rome
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
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.
Book Presentation of 'Explorers Emigrants Citizens' at the Consolato Generale d'Italia in New York
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.
Rick Nasti Knighted by the Italian Republic
CONGRATULAZIONI 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."
Center for Italian Studies Celebrates 25th Anniversary
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."