The Cultural Politics of the Presepio: Autoethnography, Artistry, and Protest from the Italian American Imaginarium

Joseph Sciorra (Queens College, City University of New York)

This paper is an autoethnographic consideration of my two-decade long involvement as a creator of presepi, the Italian-style miniature Nativity landscape, as well as my thirty-year interest in the medium as a scholar of Italian American lived religion and vernacular expressivity. This analytical self-reflection is intended to shift my standard scholarly perspective to reveal, through my own creative praxis, the holiday diorama’s emergent artistic and political possibilities in the twenty-first century. This paper considers the intersections of artistry, social commentary, and cultural identity in the re-imagining of a living folk tradition.

Part of 03-13 Engaging the Personal in the Cultural Politics of Italian Migrations, Thursday, October 13, 2:30 pm–4:30 pm