LSU’s Joseph Ricapito Elected to the Executive Board of the Italian American Studies Association

03/18/2013 09:42 AM

BATON ROUGE – Joseph Ricapito, Yenni Distinguished Professor Emeritus of Italian, Spanish and Comparative Literature at LSU, has been elected to the executive board of the Italian American Studies Association, or IASA.

An affiliate of the American Historical Association, IASA’s purpose is to collect, preserve and disseminate information about the Italian experience in North America; to promote scholarship and publications that document every aspect of the immigration movement; and to serve as a resource for individuals and groups seeking information on the Italian experience in North America.

The association is devoted to the interdisciplinary study of the culture, history, literature, sociology, demography, folklore, and politics of Italians in America. Since its founding, IASA has published more than 30 volumes of the proceedings of its annual conference meetings. Among its members are the most noted professional authorities as well as enthusiastic lay persons. IASA uses scientific and scholarly methods as it seeks to explore and disseminate authentic information and interpretation of the wide-ranging experiences of Italians in America. For more on IASA, visit

Ricapito, now retired, graduated from Brooklyn College in 1955 with a bachelor’s degree in romance languages and literatures. He later earned a master’s degree in Spanish from the University of Iowa and a Ph.D. in romance languages from the University of California at Los Angeles. He previously held positions at Pomona College and Indiana University, Bloomington before beginning his 30-year tenure at LSU.

While at LSU, Ricapito served as section head for both Italian and Spanish in the Department of Foreign Languages & Literatures and was awarded a Distinguished Faculty Award for his accomplishments in research, publishing and service to the community. He was named the Joseph S. Yenni Distinguished Chair for the Development of Italian Studies in 1999 and is a two-time recipient of the university’s prestigious Rainmaker Award.

Ricapito presented more than 100 scholarly papers during his academic career and published three major works: an immigration novel, “Fratelli, A Novel,” two books of original poetry, “Florentine Streets and Other Poems” and “Second Wave.” He has also written a libretto for an opera, “Sacco and Vanzetti.”

In 1988 the Republic of Italy bestowed upon him a Knighthood as Cavaliere dell’ordine al merito (Knight of the Order of Merit), and the following year, the government of Spain knighted him as Caballero al orden de la Cruz de Isabel la Católica (Knight of the Order of Queen Isabel of Spain). He has also been a consular correspondent for the Consolate General of the Italian Republic for 20 years.

In addition to his academic and literary work, Ricapito has been an active member of the LSU and Baton Rouge communities. He has previously served as chair of the University Faculty Senate and Grievance Committee and as a member of the LSU Graduate Council. In addition, he is the past-president of the Greater Baton Rouge American Italian Association.

Housed in the College of Humanities & Social Sciences, the Department of Foreign Languages & Literatures offers programs that address the academic, intellectual and professional needs of students. The department’s faculty are nationally and internationally known in their various disciplines for their research and have received numerous awards recognizing their distinction in scholarship and teaching. For more information, visit

For more information on the College of Humanities & Social Sciences, visit

Ernie  Ballard 
LSU Media Relations

Posted on Monday, March 18, 2013