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Making Italian America wins John G. Cawelti Award for the Best Textbook/Primer

23rd July 2015

Presented by the Pop Culture Association and the American Culture Association, this award is named after John Cawelti, a pioneer in the study of Popular and American Culture. His numerous works established the basis for the study of the literature and film for popular audiences. Among his most prominent books are Apostles of the Self-Made Man Adventure, Mystery, and Romance: Formula Stories as Art and Popular Culture, The Six-gun Mystique, and The Spy Story.

“Through its attentiveness to Italian-American consumers and the U.S. consumption of Italianness, this collection of essays makes a compelling case for taste as a leading determinant of ethnic identity. Ranging from nineteenth-century immigration to twenty-first century popular culture, from fashion to Italian-themed restaurants, from one side of the Atlantic to the other and back across again, this volume casts ethnicity as more a matter of style than of tradition, due to its ever-changing nature. Like the very best lasagnes—layered, multi-textured, the whole a transcendent blending of the constituent parts—Making Italian America reveals how we have all come to be at least partly Italian and what this Italianness means.”—Kristin Hoganson, author of Consumers’ Imperium: The Global Production of American Domesticity, 1865-1920

Making Italian America: Consumer Culture and the Production of Ethnic Identities by Simone Cinotto follows in the footsteps of Cawelti. Cinotto offers a fascinating exploration of consumer culture in Italian American history and life, the role of consumption in the production of ethnic identities, and the commodification of cultural difference.