Founded In    1994
Published   3/year
Language(s)   Italian, English Abstracts

Fields of Interest


Literature, History, Political Science, Cinema, Music. Journal also publishes poetry and short fiction (in the original language, side-by-side with Italian translations) as well as interviews with writers, critics, scholars, etc.

ISSN   88-88865-15-2
Editorial Board


Bruno Cartosio, Giorgio Mariani, Alessandro Portelli


Annalucia Accardo, Sara Antonelli, Roberto Cagliero, Erminio Corti, Sonia Di Loreto, Ferdinando Fasce, Donatella Izzo, Mario Maffi, Cristina Mattiello, Stefano Rosso, Anna Scannavini, Cinzia Scarpino, Cinzia Schiavini

Submission Guidelines and Editorial Policies
  • Two hard copies of proposed article.
  • An electronic copy (either Word or RTF) of the article (not as an e-mail attachment)
  • A brief biographical note of approximately 250 characters, as a separate file and on a separate sheet of paper.
  • An abstract of approximately 600 characters. (in English)


Rivista internazionale di studi nordamericani
acoma 37

For fourteen years —  the first issue was published in the Spring of 1994 — Ácoma (originally published by Giunti Editore, in Florence, and now by Shake Edizioni, in Milano) has characterized itself as an “international journal of North-American Studies“ with a special interest in those social, political, and cultural realities overlooked by commonsensical approaches to the North-American universe. The journal is committed to a rigorous reading and re-reading of texts and narrations, histories and fashions and shuns both unconditional praise and prejudicial hostility towards the U.S. In the issues of Ácoma (named after the oldest inhabited settlement in the United States) we have published so far, readers can find essays on the ethnic literatures of the U.S., on Bruce Springsteen, on the death penalty, on Appalachian culture, on E. A. Poe and Toni Morrison, on current political discourse in the US, on the re-election of George Bush, Jr., on the novels of Henry James, on contemporary poetry, on Philip K. Dick and cyberpunk, on Afro-American women, on Hawaian literature, on Malcolm X, on Paul Auster. We have also interviewed major writers and critics, Sacvan Bercovitch and Sherman Alexie, Leslie Marmon Silko and Paul De Man, and we have also published a vast array of literary texts by Grace Paley, Emily Dickinson, Raymond Carver, and many, many others.



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Summer 2007, issue 34

American University: the higher educational system in the United States


Introduzione. Università americana oltre il modello?

The essay lays out and explains the terms regarding the American university system. If the absence of a federal educational system allows for a huge variety in terms of academic models, it does not follow that there is total arbitrariness: the accountability of institutions of higher education is based on a system of accreditation that is peer-reviewed, and it is established also by a national ranking of academic institutions. At the turn of the century, such paradigm is pulled into contradictory directions and divergent changes: on the one hand funds are shrinking, on the other hand the society at large requires a diversified and wider entrance into a specialized higher educational system.

Sending a Child to School in New York City

After a brief introduction outlining the functioning of the "market" of public and private education in New York City, which is not to be mistaken for an unexistent unified and coherent "American educational system", the author gives a first-person account of the procedures and costs a parent has to go through to try and find an as good as possible school for her child. The bottom line the author draws is, in the first place, that the mix of private and publicly financed education is much more precarious than it may appear on the outside, and, secondly, that parents have to spend a lot of time and money in the educational market figuring out the best options - and parents who haven't got the skills or the resources to work the system, end up shortchanging their children.

La storia come provocazione all’idea dell’università

Once history is considered, it will become clear that the idea and project of the university has always been diversified. Rather than using a discourse idea approach, where the idea of the University stands for the reality of the many institutions, Williams suggests to look at the expectations that the university has been invested with, tracing also the juridical event (Trustees of Dartmouth College vs. Woodward, 1819) that allowed the universities to acquire the legal status of private corporations. The essay invites to considersome ameliorations, and emendations, proposing, for example, that universities turn more into cooperatives, where everybody works towards the same end.

L’università come azienda

This essay maps out the origins of the university as a corporation at the turn of the 19th century, when tycoons funded numerous universities, thus superimposing capitalist goals over educational pursuits. This origin also explains the divide between the teaching-oriented colleges, and the research universities, where there is little individual attention to the civic formation of the students. Along with the lack of attention towards teaching and pedagogy, most of the institutions of higher education in the U.S. forgo the ideal of neutral knowledge, based on the students' interest and not on the career of the professoriate.

La verità sui college

Through some statistics, and by looking at the most recent publications on the topic, Hacker analyzes the differences between larger universities, and smaller colleges, dedicated to undergraduate teaching. Often the Ivy League schools attract students not for the quality of the education provided, but for the exclusivity attached to their names. Hence, some of the most successful professors are the ones who spend less time in teaching undergraduates, leaving them to the cares of the part-time and/or junior faculty.

Il modello tedesco e la graduate school. L'Università del Michigan e il mito di origine dell'università statunitense

Although the German model of higher education influenced the structure and evolution of the university system in the United States, especially in what has become the graduate school, not everything can be traced back to the German framework. The impulse towards utilitarianism and the ideal of the liberal arts are the contrasting, and at times complementary, factors that contributed to the transformation of the American college, as the case-study of Michigan University illustrates.

Professionalizzazione e ricerca nell’università americana: riflessioni sulla graduate school

An Italian student arriving to a graduate school in any humanities department in the United States is struck by aspects that are specific to the graduate education, as it is conceived in the American system. She will notice especially the emphasis on professionalism, since graduate education is structured as a career path, with very clear and specific rules. The importance of this professional feature can be explained by looking at the foundational conflict in the humanities, played out during the late 19th century between the "genteel urban critics" and the "philologists", when a system of accreditation became established.

My Graduation Speech

La deterritorializzazione della letteratura e cultura degli Stati Uniti

This essay argues that the national period in U.S. culture ran from approximately 1865 (the end of the Civil War) until about 1980. It suggests that the era of globalization, heightened in the twenty-first century in the wake of the 9/11 attacks, has more in common with an earlier period of American culture, where the national boundaries of the nation had not been fully consolidated. Drawing upon Gilles Deleuze's concept of "deterritorialization" or flows across administrative boundaries, this essay examines various American literary texts to consider how this changing conception of the nation has been experienced affectively and imaginatively.

La Spoon River di Fabrizio De André

This paper is an attempt to reconstruct the different contexts accounting for the remarkable success and vitality of Edgar Lee Masters' Spoon River Anthology in Italy, from its original translation during the Second World War to its successful musical adaptation by author and singer Fabrizio De André in 1971. After sketching the cultural implications of its original success in the early twentieth- century United States and of its Italian translation, the essay goes on to highlight the ways in which De André adapted the poems he selected for his album Non al denaro, non all'amore né al cielo in ways that infused them with a cogent contemporary political significance, creating through meter and rhythm as well as through the lyrics a strong sense of the liberatory potential of music and art.

Arcosanti, una città che costruisce se stessa

The "urban laboratory" of the small city of Arcosanti is a living experiment and, at the same time, an experiment in living. The Italian architect and urbanist Paolo Soleri "thought" it years ago and, much like the utopian visionaries of another century, found a way to put his ideas into practice in Arizona. The travellers and photographers Vilma Ricci and Giovanni Grilli describe Arcosanti, the experience of their visiting the place and narrate the story of its birth - which was preceeded by the other brainchild of Soleri's, Cosanti - and of its actual day to day functioning. A short piece written by Soleri himself accompanies their reportage.

Il laboratorio urbano di Arcosanti

Other Issues

Autumn 2008, issue 37
Summer 2008, issue 36
Winter 2008, issue 35
Winter 2007, issue 33
Winter-Spring 2006, issue 32
Winter 2005, issue 31
Winter 2004, Issue 29/30