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Rockville Centre man awarded Fulbright grant to teach, research at university in Italy

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Rockville Centre resident Stanislao Pugliese, professor of history and the Queensboro UNICO Distinguished Professor of Italian and Italian-American Studies at Hofstra University, was awarded a 2020 Fulbright grant to teach at the University of Calabria in Italy next spring and research patterns of Italian immigration and emigration. He also plans to finish a book on the port city of Naples.

The Fulbright Program was established in 1946 under legislation introduced by then-Sen. J. William Fulbright, of Arkansas. It is sponsored by the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs and awards about $8,000 grants each year. Roughly 1,600 American students, 4,000 foreign students and 2,100 scholars receive awards, in addition to several hundred teachers and professionals. About 370,000 “Fullbrighters” have participated in the program since its inception.

“At one time the study of emigration was widely disregarded in Italy.” Dr. Pugliese said. “But now that 60 million Italians and their descendants live outside the country, it has become a legitimate field of study and a critical part of Italian history.

“In addition to studying the migration from Italy,” he continued, “it’s interesting to look at why many people are now coming into the country now from Turkey, North Africa and Asia and patterns of xenophobia.”

Pugliese believes his students at the University of Calabria will offer a new perspective on the subject of immigration and emigration. “I expect that many of my students are from Calabria, and their families have strong roots there,” he said. “It will be interesting learn how they perceive the past and what impact they feel immigration has had on their region.”

He is the second history professor from Hosftra in as many years to receive a Fulbright grant. Brenda Elsey, associate professor of history and co-director for Latin American and Caribbean Studies, earned an award in 2018 for her research on the history of gender, sexuality and sport in Latin America. 

“Both my mother and wife emigrated from Calabria when they were children,” Pugliese said. “My mother left the country after World War II when she was a teenager. She and her family were peasants. Although we have been back many times to visit, and my children and I have dual citizenship, it’s very meaningful for me to return as a historian.”

A specialist on modern Italy, the anti-fascist resistance and Italian jews, Pugliese is the author, editor or translator of 15 books on Italian and Italian American history. His first book, “Carlo Rosselli: Socialist Heretic and Antifascist Exile” (1999)  has been translated into Italian, Russian and Romanian. His essays regularly appear in academic and popular journals, and he is the editor of the Italian and Italian American Studies series published by Palgrave Macmillan.

Since 1996, he has directed Hofstra’s Italian American Lecture Series and has organized several international conferences for the university, including ones on Margaret Thatcher, Frank Sinatra and Primo Levi.