Associate professor Marcella Bencivenni.
Hostos associate professor Marcella Bencivenni, who has taught history at Hostos since 2004, has been awarded a Distinguished CUNY Fellowship for the Spring 2016 semester for her book project titled Italian Immigration, The Triangle Fire, and the Politics of Memory.

As a CUNY Distinguished Fellow, professor Bencivenni will be able to pursue her research work at the CUNY Graduate Center. She hopes to complete her new book on the Triangle Fire by the end of 2016.

Professor Bencivenni is the author of Italian Immigrant Radical Culture: The Idealism of the Sovversivi in the United States, 1890-1940 (New York University Press, 2011). She co-edited Radical Perspectives on Immigration (Routledge, 2008) and has published over a dozen book chapters, articles and historiographical essays on topics related to Italian immigration and U.S. labor history. She also recently helped popular Italian-American actress Valerie Bertinelli trace her family’s lineage during a segment of the television program, “Who Do You Think You Are?”

The infamous blaze broke out on March 25, 1911, and is considered the deadliest industrial disaster in the history of New York City and one of the deadliest in U.S. history. The fire killed 146 garment workers and most of the victims were recent Jewish and Italian immigrant women and girls. The fire’s tragedy helped spur a broad social movement that led to important labor reforms and has also generated enormous scholarly interest. Yet, while firmly embedded in the popular imagination, the fire has surprisingly received scant attention among scholars of Italian immigration. Professor Bencivenni’s book intends to correct this omission by recovering the stories of “forgotten” Italian immigrant women and by exploring the legacy of the fire in American memory. Rescuing the “Italian” story from historical oblivion will provide not only to a more nuanced understanding of the Italian American experience and U.S. immigration, but it will also contribute to a larger conversation about subjugated memory, ethnic repression, and historical consciousness.

About the Distinguished CUNY Fellowship Award:
Every year, CUNY’S Advanced Research Collaborative (ARC) of the Graduate Center (GC) allows tenured CUNY faculty to apply for a fellowship with ARC. Distinguished CUNY Fellows present papers in the annual ARC seminar, participate in the GC intellectual community, and work with students in research praxis seminars on areas of common interest. The fellowship provides them with course releases and an office at the GC in which they can pursue their research in a collaborative context working alongside their peers and doctoral students.

The ARC extends the Graduate Center's global reach and prominence as an international hub of advanced study. Specifically, ARC partners with the Graduate Center's 40 research centers, institutes, interdisciplinary committees, and other academic initiatives to promote interdisciplinary research. ARC also works closely with Graduate Center offices to promote public programming on critical issues of the day. Through its fellowships, which attract international researchers and scholars as well as doctoral students, participants are offered even more possibilities for collaboration. ARC supports several areas of study, with a focus on a small number of research themes each year.

About Hostos Community College
Eugenio María de Hostos Community College is an educational agent for change that has been transforming and improving the quality of life in the South Bronx and neighboring communities since 1968. It serves as a gateway to intellectual growth and socioeconomic mobility, as well as a point of departure for lifelong learning, success in professional careers, and transfer to advanced higher education programs. The College’s unique "Student Success Coaching Unit" provides students with individualized guidance and exemplifies its emphasis on student support services.

Recently named one of the top 10 finalists for the 2015 Aspen Prize for Community College Excellence, Hostos offers 27 associate degree programs and two certificate programs that facilitate easy transfer to The City University of New York’s (CUNY) four-year colleges or baccalaureate studies at other institutions. The College has an award-winning Division of Continuing Education & Workforce Development that offers professional development courses and certificate-bearing workforce training programs. Hostos is part of CUNY, the nation’s leading urban public university, which serves more than 480,000 students at 24 colleges.