Documenting the Undocumented in Italo-American Female Creativity

Date of Completion


Document Type

Open Access Capstone

Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)

First Advisor

Delores B. Gallo


This synthesis project documents specific, penitential domestic tasks of ritual celebration of the feast of St. Joseph as practiced by the Amari family. While still practiced in Sicily, this ritual is rare in America. It has three phases: the making of bread dough sculptures, the creation of a home alter, and the preparation of a meal of foods eaten solely on this day. Only women participate in these events, therefore, I offer this documentation as a record of undocumented Italian-American female creativity. Through this synthesis and several photo essays I have set out to record these domestic acts of cultural meaning-making and preserving them as family and social traditions and acts of female creativity. Chapter 1 explains the evolution of my synthesis project and the reasons why I chose this topic. I also describe the 3 main components contained in my synthesis project, several narrative essays in chapters 2 and 3, traces the beginnings of the celebration feast of St. Joseph and its annual place of tradition in the Amari’s family. An appendix of several photo essays documents the explanations of domestic and ritual tasks contained in chapters 4, 5, 6, and 7. And lastly, a theoretical reflective essay in chapter 8, describes my own creative process which I relate to theoretical readings on the creative process model, by social psychologist Teresa Amabile.


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