Immigration and Handiwork: Saverino Presents Research at Distinguished Speaker Series

By schwartzsa | November 29, 2011

Dr. Joan Saverino, Adjunct Professor of Sociology, Anthropology and Criminal Justice, presented at Villanova University’s Falvey Memorial Library as part of the Alfred F. Mannella & Rose T. Lauria-Mannella Distinguished Speakers Series on Nov. 16. Her lecture, “Embroidery as Inscription in the Life of a Calabrian Immigrant Woman,” focused on the relationship between the creativity of handiwork and Italian immigrant women. Saverino is developing her work into a book-length manuscript.

A close reading of one Italian woman’s self-representation through her artwork provides the perfect context to discuss social and economic change in the lives of Italian women and the communities in which they lived, both in Italy and the United States. Saverino raises larger concerns surrounding issues of women’s role in the (re)production of culture, expands recent research on Italian and Italian immigrant women, and touches on the role of dialogue and reflexivity in the ethnographic process.

To compliment the lecture, a cultural window exhibit  featuring two crocheted pieces are on display at the Falvey Library through November. The bedspread and a vanity cover were made by Maria Pullino Calla, who immigrated to the United States from Cinquefrondi, Calabria, Italy. The items are on loan from Calla’s grandson Richard Calla, who is the president of Il Circolo Italiano, a Main Line organization dedicated to the preservation and sharing of Italian culture. Read more.