Call for Papers for an Edited IAR Volume

In 1911, a lighthouse designed by architect Manfredo Manfredi was inaugurated on Rome’s Janiculum Hill to commemorate the fiftieth anniversary of the Italian nation state. Italian emigrants in Argentina had conceived, funded, and gifted the marble monument with its tricolor lantern to the Italian capital, offering to pay for its maintenance. This ceremonial column is an example of a transnational and diasporic use of material culture publicly marking the cultural and political landscape of Italian migrations.  

Monuments, memorials, and markers of various types are created ostensibly to fix time, “to defeat history,” as W.J.T. Mitchell has put it. These objects work in multiple, often overlapping, ways; they might identify a site of historical significance (e.g., a battle ground), commemorate a life lived (e.g., a tombstone), or designate a sacred space (e.g., a religious statue). How sites are marked for special designation involves the cultural politics of the significance of characteristics including wealth, gender, race and power. What is deemed worthy of recognition is often negotiated and contested, and the assumed value of that recognition can change over time (e.g., Columbus statues in the United States). The often fraught public entities are in varying and (sometimes) conflicting ways claims to public space in the name of collective history, community identity, and political power. As sites of memory (pace Pierre Nora) they offer us intriguing entries to examine how the conceptualization and artistic crafting of materials come to define and instruct values and ideologies through their very physicality.

We are currently seeking contributions for an edited volume of the journal Italian American Review (IAR) on any aspect related to monuments, memorials, and Italian migrations. We seek articles that address a wide range of Italian migratory experiences including emigration, immigrations, internal migrations, and colonial subjects. We understand migrations to involve the voluntary or forced movement of peoples as well as of objects and ideas. We are interested in articles about physical objects that mark migration and/or objects that themselves have migrated and that engage with contemporary discussions of transnationalism, diaspora, and/or colonialism. We are also interested in essays that unpack the social-politics of the people involved in any one monument or marker.


  • Monuments and memorials among the Italian diaspora (e.g., politicians, athletes) 
  • The process of developing and implementing monuments and memorials
  • Critical histories of monument designers, craftspeople, or laborers
  • Monuments and memorials in Italy by Italian emigrants (e.g., monumenti degli emigrantiFaro degli italiani d’Argentina)
  • Emigrant funding of Italian monuments (e.g., war memorials; sacred spaces)
  • Cemetery memorials and tombstones (e.g., Barre, Vermont)
  • Markers of forced displacements in Italy (e.g., Shoah-related “stumbling stones”; confino or internal exile)
  • Memorials to immigrants to Italy (e.g., Giardino della memoria on Lampedusa) 
  • Migrated monuments as war spoils (e.g., Obelisk of Axum)
  • Fascist gifts to diasporic communities (e.g., Capitoline Wolf in Cincinnati)
  • Memorials to labor struggles and activism (e.g., Italian Fallen Workers Memorial, Toronto)
  • Imagined or incomplete monuments or memorials
  • Anti-monuments
  • Destruction, vandalism, and/or opposition to monuments and memorials