Defying Boundaries, Rais(az)ing Walls: 

                      Italian Americans Negotiating Borders in a Changing Ethnic Framework

                    Location: Doubletree at Hilton, 6 E. Greenway Plaza; Houston, Texas, 77046

                                                  Date: October 31-November 3, 2019

Submission Deadline: Friday, April 26, 2019

Upload/submit proposals to Submittable after February 1:

For inquiries, please contact the conference committee at:

The Italian American Studies Association (IASA formerly the American Italian Historical Association AIHA) celebrates its fifty-second year of academic inquiry into all things Italian and Italian American. We welcome independent thinkers, scholars, and academics, past and present, to participate in its annual conference This year’s conference theme will focus on borders, boundaries, and walls, both tangible and intangible that influence the lives of Italian Americans.

We encourage the submission of organized panels of no more than three presenters, not including the chair and respondent, and creative writers and artists of three or more presenters. All presentations are limited to 15-20 minutes based upon the number of people on the panel. Participation is limited to 3 presentations per panel; this may include academic papers, creative readings, and/or as a part of round table or respondent. If you are willing to serve as chair, please indicate that willingness in your cover letter. This is separate from your presentation(s).

All presenters, respondents, and discussants must be members in good standing of the Italian American Studies Association by September 1, 2019.

IASA encourages proposals in diverse formats, including round tables, debates, workshops, teaching sessions, and performances. We prefer fully formed sessions, although we also encourage people to submit individual presentations, as well as we encourage submission of individuals who would prefer to moderate or to comment. If this is your interest, please submit a CV and statement of areas of interest and expertise. We are especially interested in linking scholars across fields and we welcome participants from multiple disciplines, roles, and backgrounds. The conference committee will consider proposals that do not specifically address but may complement this year’s conference theme. 

Guidelines for Proposals:

Sessions will be 75 minutes, and we will ask the presenter to limit her or his remarks to 15-20 minutes each, so there is ample time for Q&A and discussion. Proposals may be for one of three forms:

* Individual presentation, paper, or talk.

* Panel session or workshop, featuring multiple presenters.

* Performance, reading, or screening of creative work.

Proposals should include:

* Proposal title and a brief (250-word description)           

* Suggested topic category (see list above)      

* Brief biographical statement, affiliation, and e-mail     

* Technology needs, if any.

Possible presentation and panel topics may include but are not limited to the following:

* 'Old World' vs. 'New World' immigrants: Examining the Italian Diaspora from the past to the present

* The experience of the Southern Italians in Texas and the Southwestern United States

* Migrations beyond the East Coast: From the Port of New Orleans to the Port of Galveston

* Intersections with other ethnic communities of Texas and the Southwest; intersections with other ethnic/racial communities

* Maintaining ethnic traditions: St. Joseph’s Day tables, folk music, feste

* Contributions to the visual and aural arts in crossing, defying, eliminating borders

* Italian-American literary and artistic productions in Texas and the Southwest: influences, settings, voices

* Keeping the faith in the land of liberation theology and Black liberation theology

* The influence of the Italian immigrants of the brain-drain on businesses and the professions as well as the established Italian Americans in Houston (and Dallas)

* The influence of mafias outside of the East coast moving west; the Mafia in NoLa/Galveston/Houston

* Italian Americans in the service (armed forces, NASA, etc.) from Basilone to Schirra to Pace

* The political and social dynamics of Italian migration, past and present, against the realities of communities of color, crossing borders today

* Sicilian Italians in Houston

* Calabrian Italians in San Antonio and Dallas

                            For further information, please visit

The Italian American Studies Association