War, Prison, and Artistry: Creative Expression and Material Culture of Italian Prisoners of War During World War II


Mellon/ACLS Community College Faculty Fellowships


Arts and Cultural Studies


This study uses the historical experience of the over 50,000 World War II Italian prisoners of war in the United States to consider ongoing concerns in the humanities about the relationship between identity, imagination, community, and war. Through documentation and analysis of the art and architecture made by Italian POWs held in the United States, this project considers how meaning is ascribed to the material world, especially during wartime. Of central concern is the role of creativity and personal expression during imprisonment and how the experiences of these POWs connects with the artistry and imagination among other wartime-interned communities. As such, this project sits at the junction of Italian diaspora studies, material culture studies, and studies on war and captivity.