Authors in Conversation | Flavor and Soul: Italian America at its African American Edge with John Gennari
In his recent book Flavor and Soul: Italian America at its African American Edge, John Gennari explores the affinity between Italian American and African American culture. He argues that it is a space of mutual emulation and suspicion, a joyous cultural meeting sometimes darkened by violent collision. Through studies of music and sound, film and media, sports and foodways, Gennari shows how an Afro-Italian sensibility has nourished and vitalized American culture writ large, even as Italian Americans and African Americans have fought each other for urban space, recognition of overlapping histories of suffering and exclusion, and political and personal rispetto.
John Gennari will be in conversation with Camilla Hawthorne where they will discuss the confluence of Italian and African American culture, particularly as it relates to Ficre Ghebreyesus, whose Italian influenced Eritrean restaurant is featured in Flavor and Soul.
John Gennari is Associate Professor of English and Critical Race and Ethnic Studies at the University of Vermont. He is an American Studies-trained U.S. cultural historian with specializations in jazz and popular music, race and ethnicity, Italian American culture, food, sports, and cultural criticism. He is the author of Flavor and Soul: Italian America at Its African American Edge (University of Chicago Press, 2017. His earlier book, Blowin’ Hot and Cool: Jazz and Its Critics (University of Chicago Press, 2006), was awarded the ASCAP-Deems Taylor Award for Excellence in Music Criticism and the John Cawelti Award for the Best Book in American Culture.
Camilla Hawthorne is Assistant Professor of Sociology at UC Santa Cruz. She is a critical human geographer and interdisciplinary social scientist broadly interested in the racial politics of migration and citizenship, inequality, social movements, and Black geographies. Her current project, “There Are No Black Italians? Race and Citizenship in the Black Mediterranean,” explores the politics of race and citizenship in Italy. Professor Hawthorne received her BA and MPA from Brown University and recently completed her Ph.D. in Geography from UC Berkeley.