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BIAHI Staff - LG

Kathleen LaPenta, Co-Director (Right)

Kathleen LaPenta teaches Italian language, literature and film at Fordham University. She is co-director of the Bronx Italian American History Initiative, an oral history project about Italians and Italian American residents of the Bronx. She completed her Ph.D. in Italian Studies at Rutgers University, where she was a recipient of the University Bevier Fellowship and the Fulbright Scholarship. Her research focuses on literature and cinema of unified Italy and she has published articles about the films of Roberto Rossellini and Florestano Vancini. She is currently at work on a monograph about the representation of second generations in Italy and abroad.

Jacqueline Reich, Co-Director (Left)

Jacqueline Reich is Professor and Chair of the Department of Communication and Media Studies at Fordham University. She is the author of the author of The Maciste Films of Italian Silent Cinema (Indiana UP, 2015) and Beyond the Latin Lover: Marcello Mastroianni, Masculinity, and Italian Cinema (Bloomington: Indiana UP, 2004). She is also co-author, with Catherine O’Rawe, of Divi. La mascolinità nel cinema italiano (Donzelli, 2015) and co-editor with Piero Garofalo of Re-viewing Fascism: Italian Cinema, 1922-1943 (Bloomington: Indiana UP, 2002). She has written and published widely on Italian American cinema and culture.

Mark Naison, Director, Bronx African American History Project (Center)

Mark Naison is Professor of History and African American Studies at Fordham University. A recipient of a B.A., M.A. and Ph.D from Columbia University, he is the author of seven books and over 300 articles on African American politics, labor history, popular culture and education policy. His first book, Communists in Harlem in the Depression, published in 1983, is still in print, and is used in graduate courses around the nation.

Dr. Naison is the founder of the Bronx African American History Project, one of the largest community based oral history projects in the nation and has brought his research into more than 30 Bronx schools, as well as Bronx based cultural organizations and NGO’s. In recent years, the BAAHP’s research has led to granting landmark status to several streets with historic significance, as well as the founding of a cultural center honoring the Bronx’s musical heritage. A co-founder of the Bronx Berlin Youth exchange, Naison has published articles about Bronx music and Bronx culture in German, Spanish, Catalan, and Portuguese as well as English, and given talks about these subjects in Germany, Spain and Italy.

He recently published a novel, Pure Bronx, co-written with his former student Melissa Castillo-Garsow, and a book of essays on educational policy and Bronx history, Badass Teachers Unite. His seventh book, published by Fordham University Press in September 2016, is Before the Fires, An Oral History of African American Life in the Bronx from the 1930’s to the 1960’s. This book was of the featured readings in a new course offered by Dr. Naison at Fordham in Fall 2016 entitled “The Bronx: Immigration, Race and Culture.” He has also been featured on several news programs, the O'Reilly Factor, and the Chappelle Show, where his performance was satirized by Louis CK on Saturday Night Live.


Chris Vicari - Educational Technologist