i-ItalyNY - 2014-06 - page 10

byOttorinoCappelli
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Dozens of speakers and a very large
audience crowded into the Manhattan
headquarters of the Calandra Italian
American Institute (Queens College,
CUNY) to attend its annual two-day
conference—this year dedicated to
an especially hot topic. We sat down
with two of the organizers, Dr. Joseph
Sciorra, Director of Academic Programs
at the Institute, and Fred Gardaphe,
Distinguished Professor of English and
Italian American Studies at Queens
College, and talked about the ideas behind
this amazing gathering of mafia experts
from all around the world.
Joseph Sciorra:
We wanted to look at
organized crime from a global perspective.
As we are an Italian American Institute,
it is obvious that in part we would be
dealing with Italian and Italian American
criminality, but we wanted to expand
beyond those two realms. Because
organized crime is not unique to any
one group or period. So we have invited
people to come speak about organized
crime in Japan, Sweden, India, among
Polish-Americans, African-Americans,
and to diversify—and thus improve—our
understanding of this topic.
Are you satisfied with the results?
JS:
Absolutely. I am really very pleased with
the presentations we had as well as with the
reaction of the audience. So many people
came here and said how important this
conference has been and howmeaningful it
has been to have this conversation here.
Fred Gardaphe:
I think the way we
envisioned this conference—MAFIAs in
InvestigatingMafia(s)
onaGlobal Scale
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INCONVERSATIONWITHCUNY’SJOSEPHSCIORRAANDFREDGARDAPHE
10
|
i-
Italyny
|
June-July 2014
|
Italian-American
organizations
spentmoremoney
infightingfictional
mafiathantheyever
didfightingthereal
mafia.Nobodywanted
totalkaboutit. The
reasonwhytherenever
wasarealstronganti-
mafiamovement
intheUS,especially
intheItalian-American
community, isthat
youcouldn’ttell…
whatmafiareallyis.
Ina recent two-day
conferenceat theJohn
D. Calandra Italian
American Institute,
dozensof scholars
fromtheU.S., Italyand
elsewhere looked into
theglobalmafia
phenomenon froma
multi-disciplinary
perspective. Theguest
of honorwas Italy’s
former Interior
MinisterVincenzo
Scotti, whosebook
about the relationship
between theMafia
and theState in Italy
has just been
translated into
English.
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