Candidate statement for 2018 ACHA Election
I humbly but happily throw my hat in the ring for the vice presidency of the ACHA, an association that, throughout my career, has provided me with a beacon and a model of collegial professionalism. My sincere hope is simply to help and to serve the organization as best I can. I firmly believe, moreover, that close collaboration with Charles Strauss and the ACHA Executive Council to be the key to a successful term. I can already point to importance experience with service on the Executive Council from 2010 until 2013; and I engineered the ACHA’s 2003 Spring meeting at Scranton which acquainted me with much “behind the scenes” work. Father Trisco told me at the time, in fact, that ours was the first Spring meeting that he knew of which turned a profit for the ACHA. More administrative experience came my way as Chair of the University of Scranton’s History Department from 2009 until 2015; and I currently head the University’s International Studies program. I am also the past president and current Executive Secretary of the Society for Italian Historical Studies, a position that I inherited about five years ago from the late Alan Reinerman of Boston College. This requires me to compile the society’s annual newsletter, arrange for its yearly meeting (alongside the AHA), help form committees for its two prizes, and administer it on a day-by-day basis. My scholarly work has taken me in various directions, from cultural history, studies of Italian and international Catholicism, and relations between Rome and the United States. My chapter, “’An Embassy to a Golf Course?’ Conundrums on the Road to the United States’ Diplomatic Representation to the Holy See, 1784-1984” will be included in the forthcoming Fordham History of Roman Catholicism in America that was edited by Margaret McGuinness; and I just completed a manuscript, “The Devil and the Dolce Vita.” It concerns Catholic cultural politics in Italy from the crucial electoral victory of the Christian Democrats in 1948 until its defeat in the “Divorce Referendum” of 1974. After examining the introductory chapter, a publisher recently agreed to see the whole work. I now wait with fingers crossed for judgment. My next large project, “Italy’s War at Home, 1940-1945” focuses on Italian society and culture during the war years. I intend this as a contribution to the “Italiani brava gente” discussion among historians, and plan to direct a great deal of attention to the role and the extent of Catholic morality among the Italian people.