History Across the Humanities Conference this week on campus

History Across the HumanitiesCarla A. Simonini, endowed associate professor and director of Italian American Studies at Loyola University in Chicago, gives the keynote address at the V.W. Starr History Across the Humanities Conference Thursday and Friday, Feb. 24 and 25 at Youngstown State University.

The free event features 23 student presentations on the theme, “Memory, Identity and Community,” exploring how individuals and communities adopt particular beliefs about the past and how those beliefs shape their actions and values in the present. 

The conference, hosted by the YSU History Program and the Phi Alpha Theta History Honor Society, also includes a roundtable for those interested in learning about internships and careers in history-related fields.

Participants can attend the conference in-person at the Youngstown Historical Center of Industry and Labor on campus or remotely via livestream on the YSU History Program’s YouTube channel. For a full schedule and to access the livestream, visit https://ysu.edu/history-across-the-humanities/programs.

The conference is named in honor of Valerie Waksmunski-Starr, who founded the conference while a student at YSU from 2013 to 2015. She died in June 2015 after a battle with breast cancer.

Simonini, a former member of the YSU faculty, presents the keynote address 5 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 24, titled “Inventing Colombo: How Italian Americans Forged a Pathway to Acceptance through Christopher Columbus.”

Simonini holds a bachelor’s degree from Amherst College, an master’s in Comparative Literature from the University of Rhode Island and a Ph.D. in Italian Studies from Brown University. Her most recent research focuses on historical interpretations of Christopher Columbus and his development into an Italian-American icon.