Queens College

Changing Images of Italian Womanhood

July 8, 2009 | CUNY Lecture Series, Queens College

The end of World War II marked a watershed moment for the depiction of Italian women in American film, says Vera Dika, assistant professor of media arts at New Jersey City University. “They presented new models of Italian identity after World War II, ” said professor Dika, referring to actresses Anna Magnani and Sophia Loren and two movies, “The Rose Tattoo,” (1955) and “Two Women” (1962), in which they starred, respectively. “Italy was no longer a fascist country, no longer a country of poverty, no longer a country in defeat.” In a talk entitled “Italian Divas in American Film: Changing Images of Italian Womanhood,” part of the Philip V. Cannistraro Seminar Series in Italian American Studies at the John D. Calandra Italian American Institute at Queens College, Dika discusses this seismic shift from supporting role to leading lady.
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John Lewis to Grads: "Get in the Way"

June 11, 2009 | CUNY Lecture Series, Queens College

Rep. John R. Lewis challenged Queens College’s 2009 graduates to “find a way to get in the way.” The Democratic Congressman from Georgia said, “You must stand up for what is right, for what is just, for what is good, you must do it — it is your calling.” The civil rights pioneer recalled growing up in rural Alabama when blacks, including his parents, endured the injustices of segregation. “But one day, at age 15, I heard about Rosa Parks, I heard the words of Martin Luther King, Jr. on the radio and I was inspired to get in into trouble.” Lewis’s activism began as a founding member of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC). He later marched alongside King, and was the major organizer and keynoter of the March on Washington in August 1963, when King delivered his “I Have a Dream” speech.
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Queens Professor Takes On ADHD

May 29, 2009 | CUNY Lecture Series, Queens College

Prescription drugs can treat children with attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), but, says Dr. Jeffrey Halperin, much more can be done. “Environmental enrichment, as well as physical exercise, improves brain growth,” said Dr. Halperin, Queens College distinguished professor of psychology and director of the Queens College Preschool Project, a federally funded research lab that works that examines the interplay of biology and environment on preschoolers. Dr. Halperin discussed his work in the final lecture of the Serving Science Cafe series, “Thinking Outside the Jack-in-the-Box: Novel Approaches to the Treatment of ADHD.”
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Married to LeRoi, and Other Musings

May 29, 2009 | CUNY Lecture Series, Queens College

Her muse is the group of childhood photos of herself that she keeps on her desk. “There is something about that little girl within (me) that I felt I could never disappoint,” said Hettie Cohen Jones, whose first poetry collection, “Drive,” was honored by the Poetry Society of America in 1997. The author of “How I Became Hettie Jones,” (1990), a memoir of the Greenwich Village beat scene of the 1950s and 1960s when she was married to the poet LeRoi Jones (Amiri Baraka), discussed her life and read her poetry at an event co-sponsored by the Poetry Society of America and the Queens College MFA Program in Creative Writing and Literary Translation.
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Struggling With Jihad

May 14, 2009 | CUNY Lecture Series, Queens College

Often defined as “holy war” or “just war,” jihad actually means “struggle” or “striving in the path of Allah,” according to Kristina Richardson, professor of Islamic history at Queens College. “Fighting and warfare are central things found in the Koran, but jihad itself does not have that same meaning,” she said. “These are misuses of the Koran and should not have been applied to modern Jews and Christians.” In a lecture at Queens College, “Myths and Realities of Jihad,” Prof. Richardson examines the theological debates surrounding “greater” and “lesser” jihads and the rise of a new jihad by current-day Muslim extremists.
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From Speechwriting to Poetry

April 9, 2009 | CUNY Lecture Series, Queens College

As a speechwriter for New Orleans Mayor Ray Nagin, Jericho Brown found that he was drawn to poetry as a way to ask, rather than answer, questions. “When you’re writing speeches, you’re writing a message,” said Brown, now an English professor at the University of San Diego. “Speeches don’t allow for people to be unsure…(the way) poems do.” At an event co-sponsored by the Poetry Society of America (PSA) and Queens College’s MFA Program in Creative Writing and Literary Translation, Prof. Brown discussed his work with Robert Casper, programs director at PSA, and read from his first book of poetry, “Please.”
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The Making of Italy at Home and Abroad

April 6, 2009 | CUNY Lecture Series, Queens College

Between 1880 and 1915, more than 13 million people left Italy for the Americas, North and South, in search of a better life. It was the largest exodus ever recorded from any country in history. Mark Choate, professor of history at Brigham Young University, discussed this mass emigration and its importance to the development of the newly created Italian state. The author of “Emigrant Nation: The Making of Italy Abroad,” Prof. Choate spoke at the Philip V. Cannistraro Seminar Series in Italian American Studies at the John D. Calandra Italian American Institute at Queens College, about how Italy struggled to adapt as immigrants formed “Little Italies,” abroad. “What we see, with this vast emigration and the Italian states initiatives, is a ‘global nation’ in the making.”
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Lincoln, Believer in Freedom and the Written Word

March 10, 2009 | Book Beat, Graduate Center, Queens College

If Mark Twain was the Abraham Lincoln of American literature, then Lincoln was the Twain of American politics. So says Fred Kaplan, distinguished professor emeritus of English at Queens College and the CUNY Graduate Center, who has written biographies on both men. His new book, “Lincoln: The Biography of a Writer,” has been generating attention, in this bicentennial year of Lincoln’s birth. Just months before his inauguration, President Obama was photographed by the Associated Press holding a copy of the book. Prof. Kaplan discusses how he seized an unprecedented opportunity to “look into the origin and development of Lincoln’s genius with language, especially since I saw that no one else had done that before.”
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Stephen Rea at Queens College

January 2, 2009 | CUNY Lecture Series, Queens College

Before appearing on the big screen, Irish actor Stephen Rea acted on stage, something he says all actors should experience. “In theater, you learn how to act properly,” says Rea, who trained at the venerable Abbey Theater in Dublin. “It’s hard to learn how to act on film because you do so little acting — in a day’s work, you might act for five minutes.” Rea has appeared in nearly 40 films and received an Oscar nomination for his lead role in Neil Jordan’s critically acclaimed “The Crying Game.” In October, as an artist-in-residence at Queens College, he coached students in the college’s production of the J. M. Synge classic “The Playboy of the Western World.'” After the play, Rea was interviewed by Prof. Kevin Whelan of Notre Dame University, Dublin.
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"Honor" and Murder

November 25, 2008 | CUNY Lecture Series, Queens College

For nine decades, Karen Tintori’s ancestors had fiercely guarded the family’s secret. Then, a genealogical query by Tintori unearthed the name of a great-aunt that had mysteriously vanished from her family tree. In “Unto the Daughters: The Legacy of an Honor Killing,” Tintori traces her family’s immigrant Sicilian roots and, along the way, discovers Frances Costa, her grandmother’s sister, who was brutally murdered by her own brothers in a 1920 honor killing in Detroit. “This was something that was buried, hidden and changed so many times to protect the guilty and the innocent,” said Tintori, who read from her book as part of the John D. Calandra Italian-American Institute’s Writers Read Series at Queens College.
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