Italian Studies major Marco Saglimbeni takes Sicilian Pupi across disciplines at Honors conference

Marco Saglimbeni (B.S. Biological Sciences, B.A. Italian Studies, and University Honors minor) successfully delivered a presentation titled “The Sicilian Pupi: Conveyors of Myth” at Southern Oregon University in Ashland, Oregon for the Western Regional Honors Conference on Saturday, April 8. His project explores cultural and neurological underpinnings of the traditional form of Sicilian puppetry known as “l’opera dei pupi”, and how this form of ritualistic and popular theater intersects with crucial characteristics of Sicilian history and society. Marco first started working on his project while taking Dr. Pacchioni’s Honors seminar “The Puppet Metaphor Across Media” in the spring of 2015.

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Italian Studies & Film Studies join to bring a restored Italian cult silent film to campus

Satan’s Rhapsody (1915) is a Faustian tale about an old woman who makes a pact with Mephisto to regain her youth, in return she must stay away from love. The film, directed by Nino Oxilia and starring Lyda Borelli, is one of the finest achievements of the early Italian cinema. The screening will be followed by a Q&A with Guy Borlée, coordinator of Il Cinema Ritrovato, the international film festival of the city of Bologna, Italy. The event will take place on Thursday, March 16 at 7pm in the Cloobeck Screening Room.


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Italian poet Giuseppe Conte visits Chapman

Giuseppe Conte, one of Italy’s most accomplished poets, will be reading and discussing his recent work at Chapman University on Monday, March 13, at 5pm in Beckman Hall 404.

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Listening to Italy: A Memorable Morning of Learning and Music Appreciation

On Saturday, February 11th over 200 guests attended the Music and Culture: An Italian Perspective in the Musco Center for the Arts. This celebratory symposium, exploring the complexity of Italy’s cultural and artistic import, brought together faculty, staff and students from Chapman University and other local schools, as well as the broader local community of Southern California.

This event was a unique opportunity to understand and appreciate the cultural significance and influence of Italian music throughout the ages. A group of distinguished scholars of Italian Studies guided the audience through a fascinating journey beginning in the Middle Ages, continuing through the Italian Renaissance and today’s regional cultures. Francesco Ciabattoni, director of Italian Graduate Studies at Georgetown University, revealed the historical, theological and literary underpinnings of the powerful soundscape of Hell, Purgatory and Paradiso, following Dante Alighieri’s scale all the way up to the music of the spheres. Giulio Ongaro, Dean of Chapman’s College of Performing Art, described the evolution of the relationship between poetry and music inventiveness in the secular music of Renaissance Italy. Alessandro Carrera, director of Italian Studies at the University of Houston, demonstrated how Italy’s folk music represents the grass root experience of historical as well as how it charges geographically and is constantly reinvents itself. The symposium included representative music examples from different periods and parts of the Itlian peninsula as well as featured Michela Musolino’s unique and moving performance of the Sicilian worldview as expressed by authentic folk songs from the island.

Special thanks go out to Paul and Marybelle Musco, President Daniele Struppa, our guest speakers, the members of the Italian Studies Council, Musco Center’s director Richard Bryant and his team, the staff of the IdeationLab, and Italian Studies faculty and students for making this event possible.



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Italian for All! A New Partnership between Chapman Italian Studies & Fondazione Italia

Fondazione Italia has now opened its Orange County Italian Language Center offering courses for children and adults on the Chapman University campus. The Italian Studies program is delighted to support the teaching of Italian to the larger Orange community and is excited about the possibilities inherent in this new partnership.

Fondazione Italia is a non-profit organization founded in 1998 for the purpose of promoting the teaching of the Italian language and culture across Southern California. The organization receives grants from the government of Italy in support of its mission, and it works in close collaboration with the Consulate General of Italy in Los Angeles and the Education Office at the Italian Consulate in San Francisco. For a list of Fondazione Italia’s courses available on the Chapman campus click here.

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Estrellita Uribe begins internship with Pacific Symphony

Estrellita Uribe (Strategic and Corporate Communication/Italian Studies 2017) has just started an internship with Pacific Symphony. Below she describes her new role and how the study of Italian language and culture is helping her to advance professionally.

“I am the public relations intern at Pacific Symphony, an american orchestra directed by Carl St. Clair. I mainly research and write creative social media content and conduct interviews and write stories for program books and the website. On any day I might also organize photo resources and the media database, prepare media kits, assist media at concerts and special events, and assist the Symphony’s overall marketing and PR campaigns. Not only did knowing Italian help with my interview, where I had the chance to discuss a lot of the literary work I have been reading in class (and the fact that speaking another language is a huge plus), but a lot of my knowledge of the artists or the pieces come from my Italian Studies minor. I recently worked on social media content for multiple platforms about an opera by Giuseppe Verdi, an Italian composer. There is also a concert by the symphony on Ellis Island, a major immigration theme for one of my papers for a course in the minor.”

Estrellita Uribe is a senior majoring in Strategic and Corporate Communication and minoring in Italian Studies. During her time at Chapman, she has been involved with Greek life (she was the director of community service for Alpha Phi) and served as president for ISA (International Student Association). She also works at the office of admission giving tours of our beautiful campus. She has a huge passion for languages, Italian is her third language and she is excited to keep learning about Italy and its culture.


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Join us for “Music and Culture: An Italian Perspective”

The many pathways of Italy’s music, art and culture come together in a single event! Appreciate the harmony that inspired Dante’s immortal masterpieces, and explore the diverse voices of Italian music, from the Renaissance to the age-old melodies of folk songs. Featuring Giulio Ongaro, Ph.D., dean of Chapman’s College of Performing Arts; Francesco Ciabattoni, Ph.D., director of Italian Graduate Studies, Georgetown University; Alessandro Carrera, Ph.D., director of Italian Studies, University of Houston; and Michela Musolino, Sicilian-American folk singer.

Order your ticket now at

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Blending creativity and scholarship in Italian Studies: A glimpse into our advanced fall courses

The fall semester has come to a close. We are grateful to the students for all of the energy that they have put into their classes. In the upper-level class “Short Narrative in Italian Culture: Oral Tradition, Literature and Cinema” students explored the role of storytelling in Italian culture and learned to use the language to analyze a variety of texts. In the photo below students are sharing and discussing versions of stories that they have composed in Italian inspired by famous ancient and modern novellas by writers such as Giovanni Boccaccio, Giambattista Basile, Luigi Pirandello, and Italo Calvino.


In another class, students of Italian and graduate and undergraduate students from Film Studies came together to collaboratively tackle the fascinating connection between popular Hollywood film genres and Italian-American stereotypes such as the Latin lover, the prizefighter, and the gangster, and explore new perspectives and creative possibilities. Below is an example of one of the video essays produced by students of “Italian American Cinema”.

(“Sculpting the Gangster” by Nour Oubeid, Film Production B.F.A and Italian Studies minor).


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Dancing Sardinian Style

The fall semester ended with a taste of Sardinia at La Serata. Professor Luisa Spanu, originally from Cagliari, wearing one of Sardinia’s traditional dresses, shared photographs, food, and music from this fascinating region. Students and faculty had even a chance to try the Ballu Tundu, the ancient group dance characteristic of communities in the island’s interior.



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An evening dedicated to understanding the media’s impact on citizenship and equality in America and Italy

A crowded classroom attended the screening of Fred Kuwornu’s latest documentary “Blaxploitalian”. Offering a rare and fruitful opportunity to compare the media’s impact on the perception of otherness on both sides of the Ocean, the screening stimulated needed conversations among students and faculty on alternative ways immigration and diversity can be portrayed, to move past anxiety, denigration, and stereotypes and into a constructive vision of diversity as resource. Students also had the opportunity to understand how diverse Italy has been throughout the centuries and continues to be today, and to learn about the legal and cultural needs of new Italian citizens of immigrant descent.


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“Blaxploitalian” documentary screening and Q&A with director Fred Kuwornu

BLAXPLOITALIAN is a documentary that uncovers the careers of a population of entertainers seldom heard from before: Black actors in Italian cinema. BlaxploItalian cleverly discloses the personal struggles classic Afro-Italian and African diasporic actors faced, correlating it with the contemporary actors who work diligently to find respectable and significant roles. More than an unveiling of history it is a call-to-action for increased diversity and esteem in international cinema. Thus our alternative aim is for the stories in BlaxploItalian to serve as a call-to-action with the intention of challenging worldwide mainstream filmmakers and audiences into calling for an enhancement and practicing of ethnic and racial diversity in casting for important roles within the international film/media industries.


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Memories from Paul’s Pasta Piazza Party this fall

The jovial and magical atmosphere of this fall’s Italian Festival still hovers over the Chapman campus piazza. As the university’s Italian community awaits for next year’s celebration, here are some photographs to cherish.


Chapman University President Daniele Struppa and President Emeritus Jim Doti._mg_0147

From left to right: Lynne Doti, Jim Doti, Marybelle Musco, Sebastian Paul Musco, Daniele Struppa and Lisa Sparks.


Italian Studies Professor Federico Pacchioni.

Melissa Marino (Chapman Italian Club Vice-President) and Sara Delucchi (Club President).


Brennan Meier, a Voice Performance major, performed a series of popular Italian songs. _mg_0302

Guitarist Jared “JJ” Jamias, performance and integrated educational studies double major, graduating spring 2017.

Madrigals Choir: Madilyn Crossland, Vocal Performance, ’17; Sarah Fantappie, Vocal Performance, ’17; Matthew Grifka, Vocal Performance, ’17; Tyler Johnson, Vocal Performance, ’17; Mark Peng, Vocal Performance, ’17: Caleb Price, Vocal Performance, ’16: Erin Theodorakis, Music Education and Vocal Performance, ’17; Yllary Cajahuaringa, Vocal Performance, ’17.


_mg_0053Professor Francesca Paduano manning the Italian Studies program booth.

_mg_0239_mg_0036Giorgio Dimichina and some of his oil paintings.


Madonnari art work by Carley Corbin and Pam Looney.

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Italian Studies as Disciplinary Interface: Art, Science, and Culture

Local folks and students from the Crean College of Health and Behavioral Sciences, the Department of Art, and the Italian Studies program attended Dr. Kevin Petti’s engaging and rich lecture on the nexus between art and anatomy during the Italian Renaissance.


Italy’s medieval universities established the study of human anatomy for physicians. To heighten their art, Renaissance masters clandestinely examined anatomy through human dissection. The profound connection between art and science is best demonstrated by the genius of Michelangelo. Indeed, the wooden crucifix he carved in gratitude for secret access to corpses from a convent’s hospital still hangs in the Basilica of Santo Spirito in Florence. The talk examined the nexus between art and science, and the history of anatomy education in the university.


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Italy’s President Sergio Mattarella honors forty exemplary citizens: champions of justice, resistance and solidarity.





Read article in La Repubblica

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Dr. Pacchioni speaks at the annual conference of the Pacific Ancient and Modern Language Association in Pasadena


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