Community Cultural Center Women's Studies

Italian-American Women – Struggles at Home, Work and War

A scene from "Brooklyn Roses," a new film by Christine Noschese.

“Bread, Roses and Fire: Italian American Women at Home and Abroad” is the theme of the spring 2018 Italian American Experience Lecture Series presented by the Hofstra Cultural Center. This semester’s events, consisting of a film screening and two lectures, take place Tuesdays at 7 p.m. All are free and open to the public. For more information call 516-463-5669.

The Italian American Experience Lecture Series is supported in part by the Association of Italian American Educators and the Long Island Regional Chapter of the Italian American Studies Association.

Tuesday, February 27, 7 p.m. Film Screening: Brooklyn Roses

211 Breslin Hall, South Campus

Speaker: Christine Noschese, associate professor in The Lawrence Herbert School of Communication

In Brooklyn RosesProfessor Noschese blends documentary and fiction to re-examine her childhood and her mother’s feminist struggles in working-class Brooklyn during the 1950s and ’60s.

The film was shot in Noschese’s childhood home, where she previously made a dramatic film about her mother called June Roses. After her mother died, Noschese returned to the house and in sorting through her mother’s belongings and props from the earlier movie,  realized that her perceptions had changed and the characterizations of her mother in June Roses were incomplete. Noschese recorded new documentary footage to create Brooklyn Roses. In the process, she deconstructed the earlier account, raising questions about narrative and documentary storytelling and their capacity to convey truth.

Brooklyn Roses was named best documentary feature at the 2017 Fic Autor festival, which honors films that go beyond traditional storytelling and demonstrate strong creative vision.

Tuesday, March 13, 7 p.m. The Triangle Shirtwaist Factory Fire and Monument

Guthart Cultural Center Theater, 1st Floor, Axinn Library, South Campus

Speaker:  Mary Anne Trasciatti, associate professor and chair, Department of Writing Studies and Rhetoric
President, The Triangle Factory Fire Coalition Inc.

In 1911, a fire at the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory in New York City killed 146 people, mostly Italian and Jewish immigrant women and girls. Professor Trasciatti will discuss the impact of the fire – the deadliest industrial disaster in New York City history – and how it led to  reforms, including the city requiring automatic sprinklers in tall buildings and workplace fire drills. The tragedy continues to serve as a reminder of the importance of fighting for a safe workplace environment.

Tuesday, April 3, 7 p.m. When the War Came to Pulcherini: Italian Americans and the Italian Campaign, 1943-1945

Speaker: Angela Danzi, professor emerita of sociology, Farmingdale State College, SUNY, and author, From Home to Hospital: Jewish and Italian American Women and Childbirth, 1920-1940 

Using family photographs and US Army visuals from World War II, this presentation explores how the wartime suffering of the civilian population in Italy may have affected the lives of Italian Americans.

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