Can Italian-Canadians have their cannoli and eat it too? Representations of Race and Italian-ness in Canada's Printed Media
Pandolfi, Krysta Robin
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In 2009, Dina Pugliese, co-host of a popular daily television show in Toronto, stated in an interview that she was hesitant to pursue an on-camera career because she worried that she was too spicy-Italian. Her words speak to long-standing stereotypes of Italians, developed out of eighteenth and nineteenth century representations of Italy. Clearly, hers is not an identity that has been uncomplicatedly subsumed into Whiteness. In this dissertation, I examine the concept of Italian-ness in two culturally specific Italian-Canadian magazines, Panoram Italia and Accenti. Thematic data was collected to explore how the magazines construct the image of the Italian-Canadian in their editorial discourses and how this discourse analysis may serve to reveal existing racialized power relations. I identify parallels between Italy as Europes south and the Italian-Canadian community, and the ways they serve to function as a filter to understanding Italian-Canadian migration and ongoing concepts of difference within Canada. The empirical chapters, based on my discourse analysis of both magazines, focus on the Italianization of John Cabot, Italian-Canadian internment during World War II and the politics of redress, and the space and place of Italian-Canadians within Canadas social and political life. I show that attempts on the part of Italian-Canadian media to legitimize the presence of Italian-Canadians in Canada often result in identities that collude and collide in the construction of Italian-ness as Whiteness. I discuss how critical Whiteness studies, as a theoretical framework, continues to omit differences between White ethnics, particularly in terms of a European continental north-south divide impacting Western thought. By critically analyzing the ways Italian-ness is constructed in printed media, I highlight the general considerations of critical Whiteness studies as obscuring certain identities, which remain peripheral (Satzewich, 2000) within its project, and the paradoxical implications this oversight may have for groups like Italian-Canadians. I note the need to de-universalize the processes of racialization within the construction of Whiteness by unpacking the field from an Anglo-British and Anglo-American dominance. That way, it may anchor the field of Whiteness by acknowledging how localized forms of cultural expression elicit a particular Canadian and Italian understanding of race and belonging.